"...it's like Will Rogers, Jean Shepherd and some grumpy Jewish man all rolled into one."

Thursday, August 18, 2016

How to deceive in business without really crying

I'm pleased to announce the imminent publication of the next volume in my corporate leadership skill-building series: Business? Fo' Shizzness! Previous titles that have found their way to the top of the remainder pile include:

  • Workplace? More Like Jerk-place
  • How To Get Your Dream Job Without Actually Falling Asleep During the Interview
  • Your Employees May Be Abusing FMLA -- Here's How You Can, Too
I've received some very flattering responses to the earlier books; witness these testimonials:
  • "I found your last book very helpful when I was unexpectedly 'separated' from my last employer. At 487 pages in hardback, it left quite an impression when I smacked my supervisor over the head with it while being dragged from the building."
  • "After reading your article, 'Ten Sure-Fire Ways to Lose a Job,' I took it to heart and vowed to make changes in my behavior at work. It worked! Now I am unemployed and LOVING IT!!"
  • "I always discover something of value in your publications, John. The last time I thumbed through one at a yard sale I found a $2 bill that someone had been using as a bookmark."
I've been in the business world for quite some time now and have conducted my fair share of interviews (it's like hosting a talk show, but instead of chatting with movie stars you find yourself sitting across from their accountants) and managed plenty of people (much like herding cats, but with less success).
Here's a preview from the new book's Chapter MCXVII -- "Whether You Live To Work Or Work To Live, I Still Need That Report First Thing Tomorrow Morning":

1. See how your candidates react to the unexpected. Experts recommend arriving ten minutes before the scheduled start of an interview. Once your prospects are announced, storm out of your office and demand to know why they are twenty minutes late. If you can keep a straight face throughout their flustered apologies, so much the better.

2. Ask if they would like something to drink before getting started. If they say no, reply with, "Too bad -- I hate to drink alone," and break out a bottle of Scotch. If they say yes, slide a can of Moxie their way.


3. Do not hire anyone who brings lunch to an interview. Unless it's a salad; all the business etiquette guides say to stick with something that comes in small bites you can eat with utensils.

4.  Ask this, then sit back and get ready to watch a mind being blown. "What would you do if someone asked you a hypothetical question during an interview?"

5. Here's an easy way to identify those false "accomplishments" listed on a résumé. Rip it up and ask the candidate to hand-write a new one on the spot.

6. Learn to use open and closed questions appropriately. An example of the former is, "How early are you willing to come in to open the office?" An example of the latter is, "How late you can stay in order to close the office?" Follow up with probes to uncover more information, such as: "In that case, can you bring my coffee in the mornings?" and "Do you really have anything to go home to after work?"

7. Positive reinforcement drives stronger performance. An example is telling your team you are positive they will all lose their jobs if sales don't increase by 100% in the next quarter.

8. "A leader is a dealer in hope" -- Napoleon Bonaparte. "A dealer is a leader in dope" -- Napoleon Dynamite.

9. If you want to get more out of your people, you've got to put more into your people. That's why offices have so much junk food laying around.

10. The best interviews are two-way conversations. The worst interviews are when the hiring manager enters the conference room eighteen minutes late with a half-eaten donut in hand and says she's running behind so "this will have to be short."

BONUS! You've surely seen this so-called "inspirational" chart more times than you can count:


Here are some additions to that list, offered here exclusively and guaranteed to be equally as useless:


If this preview hasn't encouraged you to open your wallet for my new book, then you are far smarter than I am normally willing to give credit for. You wouldn't be looking for a new job by any chance, would you?

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