This Week in Positive Change Management : Developing Your Unique Selling Proposition

12282015 Unique Selling Proposition

In the New Year, everyone wants to brush off their resumes and apply for the all new jobs. The problem with this strategy is that you’re doing the same thing this year as you were last year. Last check, insanity is the doing the same thing but expecting a different result. It is my responsibility to dispense truth and not sell pipe dreams to anyone here. Therefore, I am telling you that you need to develop your unique selling proposition in order to get a new job this year.

Developing a unique selling proposition (USP) is a great way towards managing positive change in the New Year. A USP is mostly associated with Fortune 500 companies but you can still apply these tactics towards bolstering your personal career brand. Your USP lets you develop a positive career message to sell yourself in the global career marketplace.

What is a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

According to Kissmetrics (https://blog.kissmetrics.com/unique-selling-proposition/), USP is what your business stands for. Businesses with a USP stand for something specific, and it becomes what you’re known for.

Multinational brands like Pepsi and Cola-Cola have USPs. You must hone yours to differentiate yourself from the global competition. Yes, I mention global competition because unlike a whole lot of people on here, they are only focused on people in the United States. In the 21st century, you are competing against everyone in the world. Developing your unique selling proposition is a realistic way of landing a job. Below are the steps towards developing your USP (http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing/marketing-strategy/branding/developing-your-usp-a-step-by-step-guide). Although these are for companies, I have used for your personal brand:

Understanding your target audience

When I mention your target audience, what I mean the specific employers that fit your skill set. This is important because it is a waste of time to flood Monster and CareerBuilder with umpteen resumes with jobs that don’t fit. Cultural fit is the most important part of your unique selling proposition because it doesn’t matter if you get the money if you are miserable and your coworkers are backstabbers.

What is your competitive advantage?

Your competitive advantage is the one thing distinguishing you from your competitive advantage. I have discussed this in my former article entitled Promoting Your Competitive Advantage here .

Be a Problem Solver

Companies hire problem solvers plain and simple. Your cover letter must answer how you would solve their problems in general. In the interview you generally solve their problems. You DO NOT specifically solve their problems until they hire you and start paying for your expertise.

Testing and Refining Your USP

You have to put your USP out in the marketplace to evaluate its performance and obtain feedback. Feedback is essential towards perfecting your brand. If your USP isn’t generating phone screens or interviews, then you must refine it. Non-response is feedback that you should incorporate in order to get considered.

Communicating Your USP

Also you should refine your USP if you are getting interviews but not jobs. This means that you are doing something wrong in your interviews. Are you communicating that you are a problem-solver? That’s one of the steps. Remember that companies hire problem solvers; therefore, if you aren’t showing that you’re a problem-solver then add this into your USP.

You are a unique individual with distinguishable skills. Using these steps towards developing your unique selling proposition, increases the probability that you will land a new job this New Year.

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Assess, Action and Adapt

11302015 Assess, Action, Adapt

People always look forward to the New Year forgetting that there are still 31 days left. That would be very bad to underestimate the importance of December. Don’t relegate next year to wishful thinking. Have a plan! You must see December as your springboard into soaring higher in the upcoming New Year. Here are my three As (Assess, Action and Adapt) for using December to your full advantage.

Assess

You have to be brutally honest with yourself and your progress or lack thereof. Conduct a full autopsy of this year by doing a full SWOT analysis. Examine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Ask yourself what has gone right? These are your strengths and opportunities. Then ask yourself what has gone wrong? These are your weaknesses and threats.

Action

Now that you’ve written down your SWOT analysis, you will devote this month towards developing an annual plan for next year. You can drill this plan down into quarters, months or weeks if necessary. Then, you want to take your strengths and opportunities and maximize these for the New Year. Exploit them to the fullest. See how you can magnify your strengths at work and home towards making your life easier. Conversely, you want to minimize your weaknesses and threats. The action plan’s goal is to eliminate what you have done wrong so that you can do more of what’s going right. This annual action plan serves as your baseline for the New Year.

Adapt

Most people think that once you write the plan, it is written in stone and can never be changed. That cannot be any further from the truth! It is okay and actually encouraged to change your plan after January because situations change. Your original plan is your baseline. The purpose of your annual plan is to guide you through the New Year. When things change, you have to adapt.

Don’t waste another year of winging it by hoping that everything goes well for you on the whimsical New Year’s resolutions that you’ve made at midnight. Make your year (and life) easier by incorporating the three As (Assess, Action and Adapt).

 

This Week in Positive Change Management : Keep Working on 2015, Even Though You’re Planning for 2016

11282015 Calendar Photo

                Although 2016 is less than 32 days away, there is still time left to complete this year’s goals. You have time to make an indelible mark this year. Do not get tunnel vision simply because you want to trash this year forgetting that it has happened. There is still a little over one month left to salvage this year by completing some of this year’s goals. All is not hopeless. Dig deep, look at what you can accomplish this year and get it together because if you cannot resolve some of your problems this year, they will most certainly be waiting for you when the New Year’s ball drops welcoming in 2016!

This Week in Positive Change Management : Delivering Project Success with 45 Days Remaining in the Year

11152015 Deliver results no matter what!

There is less than with 45 days left this year; and, of course, there are still projects outstanding. Some of these critical projects are behind schedule. With looming end-of-the-year deadlines, you have to reprioritize your projects and review your schedules. If there are contractual obligations where you have to meet a deadline then you must decide which time and schedule compression techniques you will use to avoid financial penalty. Two schedule compression choices are fast tracking and crashing. There are pros and cons with each. Below are their definitions and examples when to use them.

Fast tracking is a technique that performs tasks in parallel to finish them quicker and save money. There are pros and cons towards selecting this option. The pros are that fast tracking costs less money and the tasks are done together. The cons are that project risks increase and the duties must be overlapping in order to be done in parallel. If you can use the same resources and people to produce two or more of the company’s projects simultaneously then fast tracking would be the preferred option. Next is crashing.

Crashing is a technique that’s normally considered when fast tracking doesn’t accelerate the project fast enough. With crashing, the resources are added to the critical path to speed up the schedule. The pros are that crashing works well when activities are on the critical path and the cost associated with finishing quicker. Usually crashing is chosen only when there is a financial penalty of a milestone or deadline wouldn’t been met. For instance, if you must have this product delivered by November 30th else your company pays a penalty, then you’ll have no choice but to crash your project by placing all of your work on the critical.

Although crashing and fast tracking are to be used under extreme conditions, you can still manage these techniques by developing a milestone list. This milestone list is a way to keep track of your project’s progress. Whenever you resort to use these tactics, risks automatically increase. You’re already behind schedule. You don’t want it to become anymore of a disaster.

First, before creating a milestone list, let’s define what a milestone is. A milestone is any significant task in your project. A milestone list is a list of milestones that defines project milestones, oversees milestones progress and telling the status of the compressed schedule’s story. A milestone list will communicate project progress to the team during crunch time. This list will help you and your team in the remaining 45 days to track your project and deliver any and all good news. Good luck!

Don’t Wait Until 2016 to Be Honest

10122015 Don't Wait Do It Today

This is the final quarter of 2015. Ask yourself a question: what do you want to drop for the New Year? Think about it. Okay, well why wait until January 1, 2016? Do it now in October 2015. Why stay miserable for another 80 days? Liberate yourself from the things that weigh you down because this kind of honesty saves time and money.

Time

You have a finite amount of time on this earth. Why waste it? Honesty improves time management and eliminates waste. Stop throwing good money after bad. Honesty helps time management. You sharpen your focus on what you truly want. Directed, intentional focus always increases productivity. Increased productivity means increased visibility. Increased visibility could mean increased promotions. Right now is the time to strike because everyone is preoccupied. People are already on mental autopilot with Halloween parties and setting up discount flight alerts for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why wait until 2016 to be honest with your time?

Money

How much money have you wasted going in the wrong direction? I admit that I have spent a couple thousands of dollars pursuing another certification because I thought that it would differentiate myself from others.  Although this additional certification would distinguish me from my competition, I’ve found another certification that more closely aligns myself with my future goals. Yes, I’ve wasted money but I’ve stopped digging and realized that I am going in another direction. I am better for it.

Conclusion

Instead of waiting until 2016, why not use this fourth quarter of 2015 to gain momentum towards your new goal. Remember, insanity is doing the same thing but expecting a different result. Stop this madness by being honest with yourself now in October 2015. Your future self will thank you for it.

This Week in Positive Change Management: Managing Positive Change for the Remaining 1/3 of 2015

Today is September 1st, the ninth month of 2015. If you haven’t completed what you want to thus far, I have good news and bad news. First, the bad news: 2/3 of 2015 is gone. Now, the good news: 1/3 of 2015 is left and you can still accomplish your goals with four months remaining. You can divide your tasks into quarters. September is the 1st quarter. October is the 2nd quarter. November is the 3rd quarter. December 4th quarter. Prioritize your must have tasks by quarters. Next, fast-track and accelerate mandatory tasks during the 1st quarter (September) by doing more than one task at the same time. Fast-tracking would increase risks which is why you would develop a contingency plan to handle any potential bottlenecks. Monitor the fast-track items’ progress with biweekly reporting to determine if you need to reallocate your resources. Finally, create a monitoring schedule for October through December to complete the fast-track tasks before the end of this year. Following these steps will ensure that you can still complete your mandatory tasks in the final third of the year.