When I founded The Book Kahuna about two years ago, I knew that I could bring a treasure-trove to the table in terms of business savvy in addition to an expert publishing mind. If I only dealt primarily with publishing issues I would be doing my readers and viewers a disservice in terms of how corporate America is incorporating talent into the publishing structure. I’ve worked at many different companies, some good some bad, but even the bad experiences had good points. There was always a learning experience to take away from any environment. Once you’ve seen the various machinations that you do not want to be a part of, you look out for those in any future position or business endeavor.
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The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing: History, Industry Perspective (Print and E-book) and “How To” Publish Your E-book for Amazon Kindle
Driving the Talent
It was with this background in mind that I just read the article on the Forbes website by Liz Ryan: Ten Ways Companies Drive Away Talent. A thought occurred to me as I was reading this article that in many of the situations where I was employed, Ms. Ryan could’ve been looking over my shoulder, or sitting in on one of our meetings, or listening to another company meeting where only a select few got mentioned; meeting after meeting after meeting. I want to laud Ms. Ryan’s efforts in writing this article because a few of these I have lived through and seen firsthand. I would never go into detail about which companies in my past had these traits, but even the good companies that I’ve worked at in the past had some of these traits as well. It’s very difficult when you’re dealing with people who have various skill levels and personality traits to keep an open, honest, and respectful workplace in any given corporate situation.
The individual 10 items that Ms. Ryan has enumerated are:
1. Zombie-Fied Job Ads
2. Blackhole Recruiting Portals
3. Robotic Communication
4. Inflexible Time-Off Policies
5. Hear No Evil Feedback Systems
6. ScroogeTastic Compensation Plans
7. Hey, You Stole My Idea
8. Godzilla Processes
9. Constructive Sniping
10. Triumph of the Best and Brown-Nosiest
HR Ingest, Then Digest
Having been in the publishing trenches for 30 years plus, this list is pretty comprehensive and can give many HR Departments a good amount to ingest. In my personal experience, the most common of these ten occurring in the field are those from five through ten. I don’t think businesses inherently start out to try and alienate the best talent but sometimes corporate enterprises that are only marginally successful are pushing the envelope of desperation. Once upper management has hit that panic button and no new ideas or innovations are flowing into the corporate mindset, the battle will be one of an intellectual attrition as the company convulses to regain past revenue successes. As Ms. Ryan has pointed out companies that exhibit these ten negative tendencies (or some of these) are those that the best talent should avoid. There is always the possibility that an internal shift could occur and the current leadership team could be replaced with one that would address these issues, but don’t hold your breath.
Eyes Open at All Times
Depending upon your industry, it may not matter whether a company exhibits any of these tendencies when you are in job-search mode. With the sluggish economy, it’s better to have a paycheck coming in, know the score with your employment situation, and have a resume ready to go at all times. Another aspect that may preclude you from personal experience with these companies entails becoming a professional networker. Keeping in touch with industry professionals at other companies is always the best way to have a barometer of what companies are good and what companies to stay away from.
I think Ms. Ryan has really hit the nail on the head with this article and I recommend that everyone take a look. It’s always nice to know the telltale signs before you walk into a bad situation.
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