A Good Employer Won’t Ask to Peek at Your Privates

I loved this juicy parable about a manager dealing with the repercussions of an “open yer Facebook” hiring policy. So did a lot of other people: The post got 500K+ hits soon after its author published it, thanks to Reddit. At least some of those readers took it to be real, including me before I took a close look at it – a testament to multitasking’s marijuana-level IQ-effect. (Too bad he didn’t post it on April Fool’s Day. I’d guess that the people who on April 2 felt duped would have given the guy props for a clever prank had he put it up a day earlier.)

The idea of companies asking job applicants to show their (Facebook) privates is horrifying, yes. But is it really happening? In all the reporting, I’ve only seen a couple of documented cases – this recent statistician in Seattle and last year, a Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services employee (his story can be found at that same link). I guess it’s not that hard to imagine hand-wringing, ham-fisted HR folks sending out FB requests – still, I’d like to see numbers before I’m going to really worry that this is becoming common practice. Personally, as someone who hires staff, I would never ask for FB access. (I am friends on FB with employees, but when they’re my friends, and not before.)

Here’s my advice. If an interviewer asks you if he or she can shoulder surf, or if an HR rep who’s not yet your real-life friend sends a request, politely decline – unless it’s already your practice to share your private FB with people who you don’t know. But even then, beware: If company leadership isn’t willing to risk trusting a new employee to conduct his private life appropriately, chances are they’re not going to respect the rules of good relationships down the road, either.

No matter how good the job may seem on paper, having the courage to say “no” to unwarranted intrusions on your privacy will save you from a lot of strife.

What do you think: Would you say no? Should you say no?

Win a Year of myGreenlight – Scholarship Contest

We want everyone to have access to amazing relational capital, so today we kick off our second scholarship contest. The winner will receive a FREE one-year unlimited membership to myGreenlight.

This prize, worth $699 (!), includes unlimited access to all of myGreenlight’s resources.

  • 3-course core curriculum
  • Field-tested Relationship Action Planning tool
  • 15+ hours of webinars and masterclasses, on everything from presentation skills to body language to social media branding
  • Multimedia Coaching Resource Center
  • Hundreds of samples, templates, and articles on-demand
  • Weekly newsletter to help sustain progress
  • Monthly live Social Capitalist Event with leading business thought leaders
  • Access to our alumni directory
  • Moderated community forums
  • Lifeline Group Recruiting and Accountability tool
PLUS the winner will receive all 3 of our Kickstart Bonus Courses
  • Five Steps to Relational Capital that Closes the Deal
  • Career Advancement: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
  • Entrepreneur’s Launch Kit

Each BONUS package includes an easy-to-implement action sequence with myGreenlight support materials – rocket fuel as you build your tailored network to make your dreams reality.

To win – submit your entry in the comments below. Tell us about your biggest relationship or networking-related challenge and what you will achieve with the relationship skills you develop during the course. The most compelling response (as judged by Community Manager Kibibi Springs and Program Director Sara Grace) will receive the scholarship.

What would YOU do if you could build the relationships that wouldn’t let you fail?  Tell us!

Entries must be received by April 6th at 5PM Eastern Time.  Good luck!

For more information about myGreenlight, including access to our Spring Special deal ($200 off of the regular price) - click here.  If you enroll and then win the scholarship, your tuition will be refunded in full – so don’t wait!

MyGreenlight’s Community Manager Shares The Reasons She’s a Believer

Hi Greenlight Community!

We’re announcing a new promotion today, and I wanted to give you my personal take on why I think signing up for the myGreenlight program will be the best thing you ever do for your career.

As you’ve probably begun to notice, the world operates through relationships. Whether you’re a natural connector or not, a deeper understanding of the science behind human interaction can only equip you with more weapons in your career arsenal.

Over the past two years I have taken a strong professional communication skill set to new heights by applying the relationship mastery principles taught in the myGreenlight program. My touch points with Greenlight Community members have deepened my understanding of how a variety of personality types successfully utilize our training to reach their career goals. It’s been an exciting two years of discovery, hearing stories from those motivated to make a necessary change for themselves and their careers.

People like….

Aimee Lucas, an admitted introvert, who found inspiration in the Blue Flame principle and used it to guide her connection goals and advance her career.

Mike Bruny who uses generosity to truly connect with like-minded people and gain entry to opportunities that allow him to pursue his passion to inspire young entrepreneurs to reach their dreams.

Sandra Lester, whose commitment to get an accountability buddy for networking opened doors to opportunities she hadn’t even imagined for herself and positioned her as a trusted expert in her industry and giving her the ability to receive more job leads.

As I have seen these success stories unfold, I can very confidently say that I truly believe anyone willing to put in the work to engage in the myGreenlight program and complete the missions can gain massive benefits.

This is a perfect time to join myGreenlight at a discounted rate.  And our Spring promotion is open to anyone. If you know someone who is ready to improve their relationship game, please share the link with them. If that person is you, join us!

Check out the promotion here – a $200 savings on our regular rates and unlimited access to all of the proven resources of myGreenlight.

Have questions about the program? Use the comments and I’ll answer them.

Identify and Uplevel Your Social Identity

This week’s Social Capitalist Tip is from Master Certified Coach Leah Grant, who serves as a myGreenlight coach.

Social Identity is how well you are known and how you are seen by others. Social identity is important because it is about who you are with people.

When being considered for promotions and projects technical excellence is only one piece of what’s being considered — the other component is your social identity.

After working with hundreds of professionals in the myGreenlight program, I have recognized three main types of social identity:

  1. The Recluse — This person keeps their head down, is technically skilled and does great work. They only reach out to those people they must have contact with to complete a project. When they communicate they stay away from all personal subjects. The Recluse may get put on teams for their abilities, but they are often passed up for promotions and really great projects because no one knows who they are and they haven’t taken the time to get to know anyone else. Continue reading

You’re in Permanent Beta, So Let Your Network Help

In a recent NPR interview with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman about his new book, The Start-Up of You, he makes this great point about personal branding:

We are in a “permanent beta…you’re always investing in yourself. You’re always adapting. You’re not a finished product.”

He also suggests that your network plays a vital role in helping you keep current. He advises, “go out to lunch with different folks, go out to lunch with people from other departments, from other companies, and explicitly address questions like: How do you see the industry changing? What do you think is happening? How do you do your job effectively? Is there anything I should learn from that in terms of how do I do my job effectively? That’s how you adapt to the future, and you stay current.” (We recommend a similar approach in all three myGreenlight courses, but especially Course III: The Learning Action Plan.)

Throughout the article, Hoffman talks about the impact that the people that he worked with years ago (he calls them “the PayPal crew”) have had on each other’s careers. He even goes on to state that he believes that his network is part of the reason for his success.

“I think the really key thing is to realize that relationships are like alliances,” Hoffman says.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Do you make a conscious effort to cultivate new learning from your peers? If not, how do you stay ahead of the curve?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Who’s the Boss?

The importance of having a good relationship with your boss cannot be over-estimated. That’s why the more you understand about their likes, dislikes, and what they’re like as people, the more successful you can be.

A recent article in Forbes details some of the best questions you can ask to get to know your boss better. For the complete list of questions, check out the article, but here are a few of my favorites:

1. “What did your boss do before she was your boss? What was her previous position?”

Finding out where your boss is in their career helps you understand more about them. You can figure out where they are on their career trajectory, where they came from, and where they want to go. Understanding that makes it easier to “suss out how capable she is of handling all the responsibilities on his or her plate.”

2. “What does your boss value in the job?”

Understanding what aspects of the job are most important to your boss can help you understand the mentality with which they approach their work. Some follow-up questions would be “Is he/she intellectually stimulated by the work? Does he/she care more about internal politics or external exposure?”

3. “What does your boss value most in the people who report to her? Face time? Creativity? Or does she care more about autonomy, expediency, or attention to detail?”

This can help you understand what is expected of you – so you can focus on the areas critical to making your boss happy.

What tips do you use to make your relationship with your boss better? Do you have any tips to share?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Turn Your Volume Up

There is a lot of advice out there on the right way to act at work. Obviously, maintaining a certain level of composure and professionalism is necessary, but does that mean you can’t be yourself?

Not necessarily.

A study by Kellogg School of Management offers some reasons why.

By being yourself we don’t mean that if you sing loudly and off-key at home, you should do the same thing at work. “We all have various masks that we put on and take off as we move through the day. We may act one way with a spouse and another with a close friend, one way at work and another at home. It’s not that we switch personae entirely, but we certainly offer different glimpses of our true selves to different people,” the author writes.

I like the way this person puts it: “I’m my true self at work, but I set my volume at 3 or 4 instead of 7 or 8.”

You may ask, why be myself at work? It’s easier to just be someone totally different. The answer is that “despite our best efforts, our true selves will always show through, and any contradiction will confuse the people we work with,” the author concludes. In other words, you may come off as fake.

Also you use up the energy you could otherwise be using on doing actual work. “You expend a lot of creative energy on keeping up appearances, and this can lead to stress,” the article reveals, and we all know nothing good can come of excess stress.

So why not give your real self a go?

Are you your real self at work? Do you think it’s worth it? Please share!

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Don’t Be That Person – Avoid Etiquette Goof-Ups

The Internet has integrated all of our worlds – professional, social, personal. This is great because coworkers and even bosses seem more human. Of course this is also terrible, as every status update and comment reach every corner of our world. As in the classic Seinfeld conflict of “relationship George” vs “independent George” – all of your different facets are forced to co-exist in cyberspace, which can be a dangerous situation.

To avoid the repercussions that may result from this small world, PC World Business Center gives us Facebook Etiquette: Five Dos and Don’ts.  This article offers great tips on how to make your profile picture, tone, biography, and content suitable for all the different areas of your life, both professional and personal. One key takeaway is the importance of a “polite and measured tone” even on more relaxed sites like Facebook. Social media is too public to truly let your digital hair down.

You should also approach LinkedIn carefully. The Social Times published the top LinkedIn Etiquette Tips. LinkedIn is primarily a professional networking tool, and should be used as such. “Make sure your updates are helpful information about your company or profession. LinkedIn is not Twitter or Facebook. ‘Less is more’ applies to this particular platform. Keep the updates to a minimum.” Updates should be focused on valuable information such as sharing articles, video, or event announcements.

I personally use the embarrassment test. I think, “Would I be okay with my parents, grandparents, and boss reading this?” before I post something, and only post if the answer is a solid yes.

What are your rules in etiquette in social media, particularly when using it for professional networking? What is an absolute no-no in your opinion? Share your stories!

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Giving as a Business Strategy

Speaker, writer, strategist, Dan Waldschmidt is at war with conventional business strategy. His Edgy Conversations© have turned hundreds of companies into rock-star businesses and the Wall Street Journal calls his blog one of the” Top 7 sales blogs” anywhere in the world. He’s on a mission to empower millions of high-performers all over the globe. For more information about Waldschmidt Partners Intl, go to www.EdgyConversations.com or call at 202-630-6730.

We’re pretty good at giving.

Especially when it’s convenient or socially popular.

We give when it’s easy to give.

And that’s not blaming anyone or pointing the finger at somewhat irrelevant Christmas Cards.

That’s just how we’re wired.

Our brains are massive “Risk/Reward Calculators”.

We carefully assess each giving opportunity (sometimes without even “thinking” about it) and decide how to behave based on how big the prize is for us. Continue reading

Reclaiming “Resolutions” for Truly Transformative Progress

On the first day of the new year, I had a small group over to my 4th floor walk-up in downtown New York to eat black-eyed peas and collard greens – more than 5 pounds of collard greens, in fact. Apparently, we are hungry for the good fortune they are supposed to bring. As E. B. White famously wrote, “No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.”

While we ate, we each wrote down an intention for the New Year to add to a communal pot. A friend asked, “What’s the difference between intentions and resolutions?

My take: “resolutions” have gotten a bad rap – they feel at best like a superficial social ritual

Resolutions, Intentions, or.... Rulin's? (a la Woody Guthrie)

used to sell gym memberships, and at worst like a burdensome “should” that kills the spirit of play in our creative, productive endeavors.

“Intentions” shakes off all that bad juju to suggest an active, voluntary commitment to a unique personal goal or ethos for the year.

But truthfully, I felt a little wishy-washy even as I defended the new term. Yes, intentions are more gentle on the soul. But sometimes, what’s needed is true resolve. Is real transformation ever truly gentle?

I thought about that again on January 2, when I set out for my first run of 2012. Two years ago I launched MyThousandMileYear.com, a year-long blogging project to document my attempt to run 1000 miles in 2010. (This past year my friend Amy took over the site to run her thousand miles so you’d have to go back in the archives to see any of my posts. I made it to 900-something miles before getting benched by tendon trouble.)

The Thousand Mile Year was a very concrete goal that I executed with a high level of accountability and personal investment, thanks to the blog. I was resolved, very resolved, and as a result, I changed my physical life and sense of identity indelibly. I became a runner that year, and it’s a gift that I continue to be grateful for.

One other revelation came out of my January gathering: Sharing goals with a group of friends – some of whom may be from your official professional network, but have become part of your intentional network – is an incredibly nurturing experience, as is hosting. It is your opportunity to feel the physical reality of your self-curated support network. When they’re dispersed, it can be harder to feel the safety net. But believe me, it’s there.

Here’s to building that support network even stronger in 2012 – by helping them to achieve their goals, as you humbly but purposefully work on your own.

On that, I’m resolved.

How about you? Are you in the intentions or resolutions camp? Either way, what’s your first step?

Sara Grace is myGreenlight’s Program Director.