Living the European Dream – in Dublin and beyond

When the opportunity came up to move my career from Malaga to Dublin, I knew I had to take it. It was a difficult decision in some respects – I had a job that I enjoyed in Malaga, and I did make a few jokes about moving from “Spain to the rain”. However, I also knew, as everyone else working in technology in Europe knows, that Dublin is where things happen.

This city is the technology hub for our region. Around this corner, there’s Facebook; go around another and there’s Google; up that street is Twitter; up that one there’s Airbnb. And then, of course, there’s LinkedIn. I knew that I’d be taking my life in exciting new directions when I moved to Dublin. But it was only when I connected with an opportunity at LinkedIn that I realised just how transformative the experience would become.

Busting the Dublin myths

By then, I’d already bust the myths that I had in my head about Dublin as a location. For a start – the rain. Okay, it’s not quite as dry as the south of Spain, but it’s certainly doesn’t feel any wetter than where I grew up in Germany. It’s certainly not stopped me cycling to work pretty much every day for the last three and a half years.

I had expected to find different types of people in Dublin – but the extent of the difference really surprised me. The presence of all of those companies in a city that still feels like a community is a very special combination. It makes me feel like I’m living in a true global village. It’s diverse and dynamic but hugely warm and welcoming as well.

That came home to me when I decided to run my first marathon shortly after arriving in the city. It was a way of showing my commitment to my new home and getting to know the city a little more as well. I’ll never forget the feeling of people lining the street to support myself and the other runners. When we went through the suburbs, there were people offering us bowls of fruits and sweets on their doorsteps. It reflects the attitude of people here – and also how extremely fanatical they are about sport.

How LinkedIn took my Dublin experience to the next level

In no time at all then, I’d started to feel pretty settled in my new city – and very happy with my life working in Europe’s technology hub. I was what we at LinkedIn Talent Solutions call a ‘passive candidate’. I wasn’t actively looking for a new job; I wasn’t frustrated in my current role or desperate for a new challenge. However, when the right opportunity came up I could see immediately why I needed to take it – and that opportunity was LinkedIn.

In some respects, LinkedIn was on my radar already. I knew that it was an exciting business – and one of the reasons for Dublin being such an exciting place for a tech career. However, I hadn’t fully grasped the mission and sense of purpose it had until a recruiter from LinkedIn reached out to me and I began the interview process.

A mission that matters

I’ve always had an interest in the purpose of what I’m doing. I’ve been interested in politics for the last 20 years – and a lot of my passion for social media comes from the way it can be used to get a message out and further a cause. That’s why LinkedIn’s mission to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce really resonated with me. There was an aspect of coming here that felt like taking on a role with an NGO – and that really appealed.

That wasn’t the only LinkedIn difference that I found inspiring. Reid Hoffman’s principle of the ‘Tour of Duty’ was another idea that really resonated with me: it’s the idea of there being a contract between yourself and LinkedIn whereby you both aim to transform each other for the better during your time here; you may not be here for ever, but if you do leave here for another role, you’ll definitely be leaving better equipped than when you arrived.

Transformation with a difference

Transformation is a really important part of LinkedIn’s values – and the focus of that transformation culture is really unique. At other businesses, you’re often encouraged to think about your weaknesses and ways you could improve them; here the focus is firmly on your strengths and how you can leverage them more effectively for both you and the business. It’s very empowering.

I’ve been able to apply the principle of transformation to my approach to leadership. The result I’m most focused on as a manager is being able to develop people for their next play – that’s what really makes me proud. It’s part of how my team motivates me every day. When I come into the office and see people already at their desks, making calls, working at their laptops – the buzz that gives me is very powerful indeed.

My transformation journey at LinkedIn is now bringing my ‘Tour of Duty’ in Dublin to an end. I’m making the move to manage one of our enterprise teams in LinkedIn’s Munich office. I was right in thinking that moving to Dublin would take my career to places I hadn’t imagined – and how, thanks to LinkedIn, it’s led me to a new city, a new stage of development in my career – and more new experiences. To me, being able to open up new horizons like this is part of the European dream – and LinkedIn and Dublin both embody that dream.

The T-Shirt Factor, or how Rock’n Roll is your Company ?

 

Quick thing which came into my mind. What´s your t-shirt history ? Can you remember it? I do. When I was fourteen or fifteen or so, I desperately wanted to have a black tour t-shirt from my favorite rock band AC/DC – Back in Black. I saved all my pocket money to get it and when I finally have been able to buy and wear it, you can hardly imagine how absolutely proud I was. From my point of view from that day on, I was the coolest guy on the schoolyard ever. This shirt meant so much to me, because it was the ultimate expression of my hard rock feeling. That fact that my parents did not like it, convinced me even more. Additionally to that, it was as well an expression to belong to a specific group of people who had the right sense of music – in my opinion. The t-shirt was our common sense, a movement and our way, to see and recognize ourselves in the streets of my hometown. Long story short – wearing this shirt was not just a piece of garment – it was a belief.

Over the years the t-shirts and its messages changed. I remember names and bands like Motörhead, Depeche Mode or Pearl Jam – I even called a Che Guevara * shirt my own. The latest ones have been Cake and The Eeels. But apart from that, I increasingly noticed, that I am wearing a Linkedin t-shirt more and more often. Having a look at my suitcase for my next business trip and realizing what kind of clothes I considered to carry with me, I experienced that some Linkedin t-shirts are my natural choice. And this brings me to the beginning of my post. Why is that so?

The answer is that my current employer is an employer, who gives me a feeling of being proud as well. It is the same story like with my AC/DC t-shirt. I am part of something meaningful to me. Something where I can find a purpose and where I am part of group, which thinks the same way I do. It is a natural human desire wanting to belong to something. I feel privileged and it makes me happy that I am not the only one. Where ever I see people in public wearing a shirt of the company they work for I do think, that this should be considered as an index for a strong employer brand as well. Our talent brand index provides you a strong analytical view on how you are positioned among your competitors – but what is about the t-shirt factor? Not seriously asking, but do you know where I am coming from?

Do you wear with proud a t-shirt of your company just because you like it? Just because it makes you feel of being part of something big? What is your t-shirt story?

* – I used to play a song with my band on that topic as well

Line manager – the recruiter of today

How does your current hiring process work? Is it driven by strictly divided responsibilities and tasks? Operations, finance and senior management is focusing on strategy ? Line management puts that into headcount needed – and HR then starts to find the right talent to meet growth aspirations for the next fiscal year ? Sounds to me very re-active. In our latest research on Linkedin we found out, that 9 out of 10 really like to hear from you as a company. So far – so good.

But what is the right approach in reaching out to talents? We found out as well, that two-thirds of potential candidates are more likely open to respond, if they have been previously social engaged with you.That translates into the question you should ask yourself as a manager – are you really social?

Have you implemented it into your own recruiting strategy? If not – you should. To give you a bit of background and credibility. I am hiring as a line manager in a highly competitive environment for about 3 1/2 years. Dublin as the place of most of technology EMEA headquarters is growing rapidly in inside sales organizations, and therefore is in a high need of the best talent with the best skills. Waiting for talent acquisition to fill my seats would simply not work. Here is what I did.

Build up your personnel brand – but make it a strategy

I bet most of you would claim that you´re socially active on networks and media. But just simply having a facebook account for family and friend interactions and a Linkedin account for business purposes does not mean that your social. Have you ever looked at the word NETWORKING differently? It is the combination of Net (platform) and WORK (action). What I mean by that is, when you want to build up your digital brand which is key for hiring strategy of today, you have to put time and effort into it – and this means work. Pushing the like button or sharing something that you rather not have read before won´t help here. For all the work you have to do, you put time aside in your calendar. My advise is, do exactly the same for social media activity. Make it as a recurring event in your calendar. You need to have at least 2,5 hours for this per week, which means 30 min per day. Use the time for reading your timeline thoroughly. Interact with your connections on the basis of the content they shared and leave relevant comments which really show that you agree or disagree. Use news aggregators like google alerts, google news, flipboard or pulse to automate finding the content that you are interested in and you want to share. But always combine it with a personnel statement, because it is about your social identity and opinion. When you put 2,5 hours aside per week, you can even start blogging. This is work as well, I know – but it is now part of your strategy. You are all experts here – I bet there is a lot content and personnel views what makes you even more interesting to talk to.

Now you have a brand – what can you do with it

To me this is key and a change in recruiting strategy. Line managers must have a behavioral mind shift from re-active to co-active sourcing. You want to have the best talent for your team ? Go for it to find them. Linkedin offers you an excellent toolkit to find them easier than ever. The Next Gen Recruiter is such a simple and effective tool – it easily can transform a hiring manager into a successful sourcer. „We want to make the world´s professionals more productive and successful“ is the Linkedin mission and here it comes into reality. This is not a sales pitch – it is simply my reality and pragmatic approach. Line Manager and Talent Acquisition must build up a team to seamlessly streamline hiring processes to be faster and more efficient. This has a considerable impact of time to hire and quality of hire. Both sides have there expertise and hiring managers of today are needed to warm up the leads in HR´s pipeline. According to Gallups strengths based leadership, people follow a leader because of trust, compassion, stability and hope. This is exactly what your personnel brand should reflect in your digital identity because employees of today are motivated by soft skills and empathy. They are not looking for a job – they are looking for a purpose. The hiring manager can set the scene as he is able to to bring in a high level of credibility and trust while starting the process.

What are your thoughts on this? Tell me how you do it.L

The Alliance – eine Allianz fürs Leben

Irgendwie kam mir dieser 80iger Jahre commercial spot einer großen Versicherung wieder in den Sinn, als ich dieses Buch las. Nicht nur weil der Buchtitel dieses nahelegt, sondern auch weil eines der mission statements, der Wechsel des Arbeitsverhältnisses von lifelong employment hinzu einer lifelong alliance ist – eine Allianz fürs Leben.
Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha und Chris Yeh liefern ein kurzweiliges Werk ab, das Grundlagen des performance managements vor allem für first line manager aus einem anderen Blickwinkel betrachtet. Nämlich der Herausforderg des talent managements im networked age.
Natürlich wäre eine typisch europäische Schutzreaktion, das Ganze mit dem üblichen über-amerikanisiertem Geschwafel abzutun und nicht ernsthaft in Erwägung zu ziehen.
Doch das wäre falsch. Aufgrund seiner einfachen Struktur und der Einteilung in 3 wichtige Säulen, kann dieses Buch gerade für die Manager, die bisher keine Erfahrung mit amerikanischer Unternehmenskultur unter dem Einfluss von Silicon Valley hatten, sehr hilfreich sein. Und zwar für den HR-Manager sowie für den mittelständischen Unternehmer.

Wenn ein Arbeitsverhältnis beginnt, beginnt es in der Regel auf der Basis von gegenseitigem Misstrauen. Nach dem Vorstellungsgespräch oder währenddessen verspricht der Bewerber 100%ige Loyalität und Kontinuität. Der Arbeitgeber tut es ihm gleich. Resultat des Vertrauensverhältnisses, ist ein Arbeitsvertrag mit einer Probezeit, der dieses Vertrauen von Anfang an in Frage stellt. Das Arbeitnehmer-Arbeitgeber Verhältnis ist zerstört.
The Alliance hinterfragt diese Unehrlichkeit und schlägt als Alternative ein Verhältnis auf Augehöhe vor, in dem beide Parteien von Anfang an eine Allianz bilden, um während der Dauer der Beschäftigung für beide Seiten das bestmögliche Ergebnis zu erzielen.
Für den Arbeitnehmer eine tour of duty in der er sich nach seinen Wünschen beruflich weiterentwickeln kann – und für den Arbeitgeber die bestmögliche Nutzung der Fähigkeiten, des know-hows und seines Netzwerkes (network intelligence) zum beiderseitigen Erfolg.
Aber eben nicht nur so lange wie das Arbeitsverhältnis dauert, (und es ist beiden Seiten von vorne herein klar, dass dieses Arbeitsverhältnis eben nicht lebenslang dauert) sondern auch darüber hinaus durch den Aufbau und die Pflege eines Alumni Netzwerks.
Dieses Buch ist eine gute Ergänzung zu schon bekannten Büchern, die sich mit performance management eingehender beschäftigen wie z.B. Ken Blanchards Situational Leadership. Gerade junior managern würde ich es ans Herz legen, um von Anfang an eine moderne Unternehmenskultur zu schaffen. Aber auch Fachkräfte im Personalwesen bekommen hier gute Erkenntnisse, warum sich der heutige Arbeitsmarkt so stark verändert hat und wie man darauf in Unternehmen reagieren sollte.

Der review auf goodreads ist hier.

Job title customers friend?

Are you working in sales?  Great. What’s your position?  Have you recently opened up an online account where you found a drop down for “position”?  What was your choice?  I am working now for quite a good time in different sales positions, and I am impressed about the variety of different job titles which came up with the years.
Are you a manager? Great. Do you manage individuals or are you an account manager,  or better,  a key account manager?  You could be a territory manager as well. But in fact you’re not manager,  you are an inside sales rep or probably an account executive or a relationship manager. Maybe you are a sales agent or a pre-sales with revenue target.  In some companies a director is apparently a manager and in others a director manages manager – front line manager. Then they are manager,  not team leader, cause these carry targets and manage a team.  Still with me?
Let me give you two advices.

1. Do not chase for job titles on your business card in your career – have a brief look at the job description you may apply for and have a high level of self awareness,  if your personnel skills fit to it. If no, leave it.If yes, you can bring real value to your employer and you will be a rockstar.

2. A sales role means understanding the customer and prospect. This understanding will only achieved by active listening and an empathic response on personnel impacts and pains. Would you share those with a customer representative or just with a friend?  Be a customers friend,  not just a job title.

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