Monday, June 7, 2010

Robert Whipple on Admitting Mistakes

Admitting Mistakes   It's not IF Mistakes happen, 
but how you handle the Mistakes.

At DeDominic & Associates  we feel fortunate to have extraordinary
resources at our fingertips.     Being Santa Barbara based strategic planning and organizational
consultants for operating more effectively, we see all types of enterprises from the under belly
as well as from the public relations point of view.    I applaud those leaders and managers who
strive to become more effective and who believe that keeping their integrity is paramount.  One
of the important qualities of a leader who operates with integrity is the ability to admit mistakes.
Frankly it is not that you don't make mistakes, everyone does.   But how you handle and grow from
those mistakes that can make a huge difference in your impact. Today we hear from a national resource on leadership, Robert Whipple, MBA and CEO of  Leadergrow, Inc.

Admitting Mistakes

By Robert Whipple  - The New New World of Work Guest Expert

One of the most powerful opportunities for any leader to build trust is to publicly admit mistakes.
The source of that power is that it is so rare for leaders to stand up in front of a group and say something like this: “I called you here today to admit that I made a serious blunder yesterday. It was not intentional, as I will explain. Nevertheless, I failed to do the best thing for our group. I sincerely apologize for this and call on all of us to help mend the damage quickly. Without being defensive, let
 me just explain what happened…”

If you were in the audience listening to this leader, how would you react? Chances are your esteem
for the leader would be enhanced, simply by the straightforward approach and honesty of the statements. Of course, it does depend on the nature of the mistake. Here are a few situations where an admission of a mistake would not produce higher trust:

• If the blunder was out of sheer stupidity.

• If this was the third time the leader had done essentially the same thing.

• If the leader is prone to making mistakes due to shooting before aiming.

• If the leader simply failed to get information that he should have had.

• If the leader was appeasing higher-ups inappropriately.

Assuming none of the above conditions is present and the mistake is an honest one, admitting it
publicly is often the best strategy. There is an interesting twist to this approach that has often baffled
 me.  Let’s suppose that I have gathered 100 leaders into a room and asked them to answer the following question: “If you had made a mistake, which of the following two actions would have the greater chance of increasing the level of respect people have for you?

(A) You call people together, admit your mistake, apologize, and ask people to help you correct the problem.
(B) You try to avoid the issue, blame the problem on someone else, downplay the significance, pretend it did not happen, or otherwise attempt to weasel out of responsibility.”

Given those two choices, I am confident that at least 99 out of the 100 leaders would say action
(A) has a much greater probability of increasing respect. The reason I am confident is that I have
 run that experiment dozens of times when working with leaders in groups. The irony is that when
 an error is subsequently made, roughly 80% of the same leaders choose action more consistent with choice (B). The real conundrum is that if you were to tap the leader on the shoulder at that time and ask him why he chose (B) over (A), he would most likely say, “I did not want to admit my mistake because
I was afraid people would lose respect for me.”

This situation illustrates that in the classroom, all leaders know how to improve respect and trust,
 but many of them tend to not use that knowledge when there is an opportunity to apply it in the field.
It seems illogical. Perhaps in the heat of the moment, leaders lose their perspective to the degree that they will knowingly do things that take them in the opposite direction from where they want to go. I believe it is because they are ashamed of making a mistake, but when you admit an error, it has an incredibly positive impact on trust because it is unexpected. Perhaps this is one of the differences between IQ and Emotional Intelligence. Intellectually, they know the best route to improve trust, but emotionally they are not mature or confident enough to take the risk. When you admit an error, it has a positive impact on trust because it is unexpected.

As Warren Bennis in Old Dogs: New Tricks noted,
“All the successful leaders I’ve met learned to embrace error and to learn from it.”


Sunday, June 6, 2010

The NEW New World of Work, FREE Career Resources: Katie White on WHAT GOES AROUND

The NEW New World of Work, FREE Career Resources: Katie White on WHAT GOES AROUND

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Patty DeDominic is a coach to high achievers and a former owner of PDQCAREERS which
 sold in 2006.  Her career placement and staffing firms  helped over250,000 people get jobs.

 De Dominic says:
Here is some advice I have for Job Hunters and Resume Writers about how to put themselves
 "in the front of the line.".

    PERSONALIZE,  Please Personalize your communication and your approach!
One of my  clients just got hired this week using RESEARCH and Personalization on her follow up to an employer. My client did several key things.   This young woman  went to the website of her desired employer and did a small (but not so critical analysis of what was missing) snapshot of the employers website and then made a couple of gentle but valuable suggestions to the employer. The job hunter also used a professional organization's social to network with the business owner/employer creating a closer connection.  Additionally,  the candidate let the employer know that she was really excited and interested to work for the company.

When placement professionals present qualified candidates to potential employers they usually try to make
 a skills match. They also try to give the employer a couple of choices to refine the chemistry fit. In today's job climate, it is likely that there are plenty of supply of skill-qualified candidates.... so those candidates who do advance homework usually can put themselves at the front of the line of candidates.

I have include more advice below. I hope it is helpful for you.

Patty DeDominic
California business coach to high achieving professionals.

Here is some general advice I give to job candidates:


Getting a job is like accomplishing most other goals, but it is often harder to be objective about it because it is so personal. Many important aspects of our lives are included in our job and it can seem so much bigger than "just a goal like any other".  It's our paycheck, our livelihood, our reason for leaving the house five or more days a week and for many people, a job or career is much of their life's identity. When your whole identity and self confidence are wrapped up in what you do for a living, finding yourself unemployed can seem like a most traumatic event.   And it is almost impossible to be objective.


Here's how to become more objective and how to engage goal setting techniques to apply to your job hunt. If you  ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly, you will be better prepared to take the steps necessary to do your outreach, networking, prospecting, preparing and follow up.

  •  WHO IS MY TARGET MARKET? ( dream job or industry)

Employers love it when the job candidate really wants to work for them.    When the fit is great everyone celebrates.   One of your goals is to look like a great fit!    
How do you do that?    How do you make your case about what a great fit you are?

In order to look like a great fit, you will need to do research on the employer.   Who have they hired in the past?  Is there a particular university that they typically recruit from?    Do the people have a "uniform" e.g., is every one always formally dressed, or super casually?   Don't make the mistake one job candidate made and go to an important interview in a sweatshirt.   Just because his last employer loved people to dress down, doesn't mean his next one will.

Look around for clues about the company culture and try to artidulate ways it will be a big WIN for this employer to hire you.  Ask people you know and read special interest group comments and blogs to learn more about a particular employer.   Are you  crazy about their field or are you just desperate for a job?    Are you willing to work long hours?   And do you understand that simply working hard does not make a person successful?  It also requires  "working effectively" and producing results, not just hours logged.
The costs of hiring the wrong person usually keeps employers eager to reduce the risks of a bad hire.  they will lose time and money when they make hiring mistakes.  Not to mention, lost opportunity costs.   Don't expect an employer to make accomodations for you, you will have to do this for them. Employers  rarely go out on a limb for job candidates. 

That second question above,  "how to make your case about what a great fit you are."  This may take some practice on your part, but learning how to do this will be a good investment of your time.   Please make a list of a few industries and then some specific companies who fit on your "I would love to work for"  list..

Take time now to list at least 5 industries and 5-10 employers in each of these industries. Once you do this you now have a target prospectlist of at least 25-50 companies you can do research on, ask for referrals to and target as a great potential employer.   You can work this list, narrow it down to a few that you feel really great about and you can learn more about them every day.

Once you have your DREAM EMPLOYER HOT LIST you are ready to begin doing some personal inventory of your own skills and potential contributions.

We found at PDQ and CT Engingeering, while recruiting for USC, Children's Hospital and local government that job candidates who knew their skill sets and could articulate their potential contributions to the employer got hired two to three times faster than other "qualified" candidates!

Questions to ask yourself about this potential employer:


Each employer is unique but many have similar goals in mind. They almost always want a person who will
 be a good fit for the current culture of the organization. My answers here  for you include employers that
are private and public corporations, not for profit organizations, local and state and federal government, universities and other independent contractor opportunities and many business opportunities. The JOB HUNTER who knows these answers for the particular employer they are meeting with has a ten fold advantage over other candidates.

How do I find this OUT?  Research.... Today research is a critical skill of all people.
 It is important that you practice and perfect your RESEARCH SKILLS as they are an essential tool in working today, just as critical as the ability to read and to communicate with others. There are plenty of things that are not essential in today's new world of work, but anything above minimum wage requires your resourcefulness and your ability to do research.

Research includes your finding information sources and resources on the internet. It also includes your working your own network of colleagues, former classmates and your friends and family.  Research includes talking to people, getting expert advice or getting second and third opinions when needed.

For example, if you were getting ready to apply for a management training job at Jiffy Lube, it would be very helpful for you to know that this company is part of a national franchise program. It will also be helpful for you to know if you are interviewing with the local franchise owner, a regional manager or the head of sales of Franchises for the Corporation. Does the person you are meeting with expect you to be his or her prospect to buy a franchise or simply to enter a local job? Good questions to ask and answer for yourself and when you do, you separate yourself from the other ten, twenty or one hundred people in line for an appointment with that hiring (or sales) manager.

How could you find out this information? First, today we have the wonderful advantage of being able to go the company website. Most employers have a website and many of them post news and information about their firm and their business goals  there. You must visit that site before you approach any potential employers. That simple step alone will separate you from many of the others "in the unemployment line".

Asking your friends and even customers of a potential employer is a good way for your to gather intelligence about the employer. In this case, local car owners may be Jiffy Lube clients and it would be helpful for you to know how that organization is perceived in the local market place. As you gather info on the potential employer you are also reinforcing whether you feel YOU can add value to this employer, whether you feel it will be a good fit for your interests and skills.  You may find that your neighbor is a favorite customer of that franchise and can recommend that the manager interview you.  

Are you great at turning around messes or at making messes?
In the first case you might be excited about a chance to join a firm that needs a little "tune up" in the PR or
 the morale department. In the latter case, I do not know of anyone who will be willing to hire you at this time.... unless it is a market research firm that wants to test cleaning services. Good luck on that job hunt!


Any why should you care about it?    Like attracts like and all employers wnat to know if you will fit in!

Many employers will not tell you about their culture because they are not even consciously aware of it. But every employer,  large or small,  has a culture and how you might fit into it - even more so than your educational background and your skill set - can have a huge impact on your success at that stage of your career development. Does this company prefer to hire new college grads? Do you notice that they brag or share that all their new hires come from a particular school or sector? This is a telling characteristicof who they are likely to hire. I noticed over the years of running PDQCAREERS and even after at Select Staffing that some companies preferred to hire college drop outs and work the heck out of them. It almost seemed like they knew that non college grads might have a bit of a feeling of insecurity and be willing to work harder to make up for somepotential or perceived shortcoming. Even today I notice that some job seekers are a bit defensive about their educational connections or lack of them. This is part of an employers culture and it helps to be aware of it.

 If your dream job brags about how 80% of their management team graduated from may not have to enroll in grad school thereto get the job nod, but it can't hurt .then for you to enroll in executive education at Stanford.

Educational background is not the only thing that shows up in company culture. There are also other important factors like the general age of workers..... are they all under 35? Yes,we all know that age or
other discrimination is illegal, but my objective here is not to help you win legal battles but it is to help YOU increase your job offers and increase your pay. So find a good fit where you can compliment the culture.... you do not have to be a clone.

Culture includes aspects like:
 Overtime.... does everyone do it regularly? If they do and if you are eager to clock out at 5pm everyday keep looking for the right fit for yourself.
Volunteerism: Is everyone expected to give of their time off to one particular cause? Does the company encourage your involvement in the community and does it give you paid time to do that? Is that important to you? Learning this helps you fit the best fit for yourself.

When you are working for an employer who not only pays you with a paycheck but they also pay you with psychic rewards, personal and emotional growth opportunities, if that is your goal, you will be so much happier. People who are fully engaged at many levels and are a great fit with the company culture rarely look for jobs elsewhere.

That is another great question to try to learn the answer to before you apply.

Please post your comments and questions and we will attempt to answer any confidential info privately if you write to me at   


What Goes Around . . .

Katherine M. White

“With every relationship – personal and professional – there is give and take. Looking for ways to compromise when possible and treating others with respect are attributes that can pay off later, in
how others treat you and whether they want to work with you.”

– Tamika Langley Tremaglio, Huron Consulting

This article is about the power of building relationships.
It is about building a successful book of business and a successful career through writing and speaking.
And it is about why doing great work and going the extra mile can help benefit your organization and you long after you have left one employer and moved on to another.

Two incredible and successful people agreed to be interviewed for this article. Tamika Tremaglio is a JD/MBA as well as the Washington Office Managing Director and co-leader of the global disputes and investigations practice for Huron Consulting Group. Kirk Pasich is a partner heading the insurance coverage practice at Dickstein Shapiro and is also a member of the Executive Committee there.

Relationships Matter

Tamika Tremaglio and I met in 2003 while I was at Morgan Lewis and she at a Big Four accounting firm. We worked together on a joint expert-witness deposition project that was ultimately very successful, giving 10 attorneys the opportunity to practice deposing expert witnesses and 10 consultants practice testifying. After the program was over, Tamika kept in touch with me by inviting me out to lunch and to receptions
 and other events at her firm. Later, when I moved to Dickstein Shapiro and she to Huron Consulting, we convinced our new employers to offer the expert witness training program. The program was a great success once again, benefiting both our firms and the attorneys and consultants who were trained.

I did not think I would ever be in a position to refer business to Tamika, or to reciprocate for all of her personal kindnesses to me. But she continued to reach out and to offer Dickstein, and later Akin Gump,
top-notch, and free-of-charge, accounting and financial training programs for their attorneys. This was a
great way for the firms to obtain training from outside experts, and Tamika’s active networking helped
 Huron gain exposure to the partners at these firms. Again, both Huron and the law firms benefited.

Fast forward to 2009. I was now Chief Attorney Recruiting Officer at Akin Gump. Tamika asked if I would introduce her to one of our litigation partners who is well known in her field. I arranged for the two of them to meet, and Tamika was engaged as an expert in one of the partner’s current cases during their first meeting. Through her work and other networking opportunities, Tamika kept in touch with this partner and began to form a professional relationship. The story came full circle earlier this year when Tamika was instrumental in referring a piece of business to Akin Gump.

Writing Your Way To A Successful Career

“I read the local legal newspaper, and noticed that practitioners would write columns about their field of expertise but that no one was writing a column about entertainment law. So I called the editor.…” - Kirk Pasich, Dickstein Shapiro

Kirk Pasich has built a successful career in the insurance coverage and entertainment law field. For 21 years, since he was a mid-level associate at Paul Hastings, he has written columns for The Los Angeles Daily Journal on entertainment law, courtroom craft, and insurance law. And he continues today to write a monthly column on insurance law.

Kirk saw an opportunity and was willing to put in the extra time to make it work.

Having clients, practitioners, mediators, and judges see his name in print, month after month, on topics of interest has served him well. People contact Kirk with questions. They refer business to him. They send his articles to friends, who contact him about potential business. Kirk keeps in touch with his contacts by sending them articles every month along with quarterly client alerts; he also keeps them informed about developments and trends that affect their business.

In addition to writing, Kirk has built contacts through public speaking and by doing great work for clients that impresses both the client and often opposing counsel (who have referred work to him as a result). Each of these things redounds to Kirk’s reputation as an expert and to his success in developing business.

Associates are often skeptical about how they can emulate Kirk’s success in their own careers. Kirk believes that they, too, can succeed with his model. Publications of all kinds, including industry blogs and magazines,
are eager to find authors to submit articles. Associates should volunteer to speak at bar association meetings, client industry conferences and meetings, in-house training programs, and business development events and conferences. They should work to become experts in their fields and to keep up with the business of their clients.

Four Cornerstones of Successful Networks

Last fall when I left Akin Gump, I turned to the network I had been building during my entire career. Through my contacts, I landed three amazing consulting opportunities that have enabled me to continue working in my field. I have seen firsthand how building relationships and friendships through networking and doing great work helps you when you most need it.
In my experience, these are the four cornerstones of building successful networks:

• Building a great reputation inside your organization by doing great work and being known for your contributions.

• Becoming a resource to colleagues inside and outside of your organization, the person they know can bring people together to achieve a goal.

• Reaching out to clients and colleagues outside of your organization in a consistent and organized manner and maintaining a relationship with your contacts.

• Attending networking events to build your contact list and stay informed about new developments in your field and practice.

Networking 101

Many books and articles have been written about this topic, and no article would be complete without a “how to” list for effective networking.

1. Determine a strategy for your networking goals.

2. Build your contact list via “” or other social networking sites that will maximize the contacts of your friends and colleagues and give you a platform for organizing your contacts.

3. List the people in your network and the people you would like to invite to join your network. Include friends, colleagues from your current and past places of employment, family members, college and law school classmates, and others you meet at business and social occasions.

4. Rank your contacts in order of importance from one to five – one for the contacts you believe can be the most helpful to you, and five the least helpful.

5. Then begin to contact the people in your network who can be the most helpful to you in achieving your goals. For example, you can contact all of the people you ranked #1 first, and see where these contacts lead you, before moving on to others on your list.

6. Make sure you have an agenda for meetings with contacts, so you will be able to make the most of their time with you, and they will come away from the meeting with a clear idea of what you are asking of them. And remember to be on the lookout for what you might be able to do for them.

7. Follow up after meeting with your contacts and be sure to follow through on anything you offered to do for them during your meeting.

So why bother? What can you gain from meeting with contacts, and what can they gain from meeting with you?

 Here are five benefits:

1. You will have the opportunity to get to know people whom you respect as successful in their field. If you are able to make a connection, you will begin to form a relationship that can be useful to both of you for years.

2. If you are on a job search, your contacts can provide information about an industry or specific field that will be helpful. They can provide answers to questions you may have as preparation for a job interview.

3. You can learn insider information about a specific work place and the people who run it. What is it really like to work there? Are people happy? How are employees treated? What kinds of clients or work do they have there?

4. You may get ideas about other people you might contact.

5. You can find much-needed mentoring and support.

There are many ways to approach networking, build a reputation, and develop business. At times the benefit may not be immediate or obvious; but rest assured, when I hear “what goes around comes around,” I no longer think of this as a negative threat. It is true in the best possible way, and I’m the first one to nod my head.

About the author, my friend of over 30 years:

Katie White consults on attorney talent management, career counseling, and business development.
 She has over 20 years of experience in law firm professional development, attorney recruiting, and diversity initiatives. She is based in Washington, DC,

Katie can be reached at