Archive for November, 2011

A Job with the right culture

November 25, 2011 1 comment

Finding a job shortly after graduation is a challenge. Many graduates are so stressed by the process that they are willing to accept any job offer that comes their way, often without considering if they fit into the culture of the organisation. It  may actually be unwise to simply visit a company’s website and attempt to manipulate your own behaviour to align with the core values detailed online.

If you manage to convince the recruiters that you are “an entrepreneurial go getter that loves to work in a fierce and competitive environment” you may get the job, but chances are you will end up hating it. Is it worth altering your own world perspectives just to match the values of a certain company? Or is doing so just wasting precious time and reducing your chances of getting the perfect job? Many graduates know that corporate culture can make a huge difference in the level of job satisfaction. However, as a company outsider, it can be very difficult to see through the polished corporate recruitment message.

Online resources provide us with some information, for example, news articles may indicate a more accurate picture, but the best resource that few graduates have is a friend or acquaintance who actually works at the company. What is the best way to get to know a company’s authentic culture, and at what point in the recruitment process should it matter?


Categories: Alex

Just ask

November 17, 2011 4 comments

I attended a job interview a few months ago. One part of the assessment was to give a presentation to the CEO and other members of the executive team, on a task that the company had previously set me. The subject highly interested me, but as I began conducting the research and structuring the information, I began to lose my way a little. I couldn’t see how to move my mini-project forward.

I believe that the key reason I could not progress was that I was unable to bounce my ideas of anyone. The last few presentations I have conducted were all in group environments. In these situations, we were all set the task, we all structured our plans together, and we all reached the same conclusions…eventually. I know I am effective at working alone when required, but I also recognise the value of being able to ask someone a question: a friend; colleague; or even family member. That way you are accessing your collective intelligence – a term that states that the group is more knowledgeable than the individual.

You would be surprised with the variety of fresh ideas and perspectives these individuals could contribute to your work. Talking through my thought process with a family member of mine, added a great deal of value to the presentation I gave. The point I want to make is that you should always be willing to test the water a little. You can waste a great deal of energy on preparing something on your own, only to turn up on the day and realise you missed out something crucial. Don’t feel too proud to ask for help. Invite critique. Take it humbly. You never know, it could greatly enhance the final outcome.

Have you ever been stuck in a rut and a small input maybe helped you pave the way forward? What are your thoughts on collective intelligence?


Andi Thompson


Categories: Andi, Core Business Skills

Social Media – Boon or Bane for business?

November 10, 2011 2 comments

Over 400 million people use facebook every day and that is only half of all registered users. There is no doubt that social media has become a part of our daily lives. Considering this impressive figure, it was only natural for social media usage to infiltrate the workplace. But does “facebooking” really add value to your work? The consensus made by employers appears to be a firm NO! So is it common practice to deny access to social sites from a firm’s intranet? Interestingly, entering the search term “how to use facebook at work without being caught”  into Google results in 1,840,000,000 hits, and I think this speaks for itself.

I have personally been in the situation where I established contact with a valuable business contact via my personal network on social media, but really, how many of the 700 billion minutes spent surfing our social media networks every week really add value to what we do at work?

On the other hand I just recently experienced the extreme opposite, when I started following an interesting user on Twitter. I had allocated my time to more worthwhile tasks, but I got side tracked reading articles this user tweeted, which appeared to be at a super human speed; but that shouldn’t be the point here.., the point I wanted to make is that the reasoning behind banning social media platforms appears to be reasonably sound – they are not productive, and their business value has not been proven. Despite this, there are those who are against companies banning social media usage at work.

I guess there are benefits of using social me in a professional capacity, which is evident in the existence of professional networks such as LinkedIn. Simply put, this is the business version of Facebook and its USP has a clear business benefit – improving and increasing an individual’s professional network.

Consequently, my suggestion is a strict separation of professional and casual social media. Even if some online platforms serve both purposes, two profiles could do the trick. But a separation not only by username, but also a timely and physical separation; leading to individuals only having to check casual networks in free time, even if they serve some professional purpose. It will not only make you stay more focused, it will also prevent you from getting fired for the misuse of your working hours for private purposes.

…with productivity in mind, I decided to unfollow the previously mentioned Twitter user, and I am now spending my time on more beneficial pursuits.

How do you organise your social media activities?

Categories: Sebastian, Social Media

Is omnidirectional CSR possible?

November 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a vast topic. Books upon books are written in relation to proper CSR implementation, the philosophical rationale for corporate actions, and role of government in the whole process. But even if you subscribe to Freidman’s philosophy and think that the only responsibility of the business is to make profit, you cannot deny the existence of  powerful CSR enforcement mechanisms, such as governments, NGOs, and media.

Governments have considerable power in legislating corporate conduct, an example of this will hopefully be the Dodd-Frank act in the US. NGOs influence from such institutions such as Amnesty International is also considerable. But these mechanisms bleak in comparison to the speed with which mass media is able to convey the shortcomings and achievements of corporate CSR to company’s clients, thus either punishing or rewarding its management for proper CSR policy. Events in 1997 with Nike will remain a classic example of how media can influence corporate behaviour. But interestingly enough, since then Nike has become a notable proponent of CSR, it is able to collaborate (or pressure with purchasing power) with suppliers to better the working conditions for the factory workers.

However what is interesting is that I was unable to find an example where a supplier could pressure its customers to become socially responsible. It seems that as soon as any leverage, such as legislative or purchasing power, is removed from the equation, implementing CSR becomes a lot more difficult. What are your thoughts on suppliers’ ability to influence CSR changes in B2B and B2C markets, as well as in competitive or monopolistic ones?

Don’t forget to comment!



Categories: Alex, CSR Tags: , ,