Reinvention

Cross-posted from The Green Suits:

Et tu, Don Draper? Will your inability to reinvent yourself leave you in the Madison Avenue scrap heap? h/t photo 2014 amctv.com
Et tu, Don Draper? Will your inability to reinvent yourself doom you to the Madison Avenue scrap heap? And will Peggy Olson become YOUR boss? h/t photo 2014 “MadMen” amctv.com

Nothing good necessarily lasts forever.

And, for that matter, nothing that lasts forever is necessarily good.

The generations that preceded us enjoyed success using an unchanging set of skill and experience across the entirety of their careers. Yet today’s ambitious executives–be they entry-level or seasoned–realize that great careers require even greater flexibility. As market conditions change, and as once good and solid business models and best practices learned and dependable technology mastered are suddenly disrupted by new ones, executive talent must lean forward, seize control of their lives and livelihood, and deliberately reinvent themselves.

Yep.

Frequent visitors of TheGreenSuits.com know of our affection for MadMen, the dramatic series about the fictionalized lives of Madison Avenue advertising executives and the people around them.

For us, the universal theme of MadMen is reinvention. Protagonist “Don Draper” (an invention with a fake name and background), remains virtually unchanged through the 1960s–his fashion, his management style, and his tattered moral fabric remain a constant. However, his protégé “Peggy Olson” brilliantly re-invents herself through natural talent, acquired skill and experience, and the latest fashion; at the series’ onset, Peggy is Don’s mousy secretary wearing ghastly attire. Her creative talent and leadership yet to be discovered, we see Peggy in 1960 relegated to fetching coffee for her boss, typing his memos, and withstanding his continual sexual harassment.

But as the series concludes in 1969(?) Peggy’s reinvention as a brilliant, self-confident, industry recognized and respected, and sharply dressed ad agency Creative Director is nearly complete–a full year before the real-life Gloria Steinem and the modern Feminist Movement entered American public consciousness.

The reinvented ad business of the late 1960s is long gone. A business model built on illusion, 15 percent commissions, and expense accounts, has today been completely disrupted by information technology. The “world’s second-oldest profession” once granted consumers permission to live the American Dream–to turn their aspirations into reality. Now, it uses metadata to predict what we want well before we realize that we want it.

The ad game many of us joined and loved so much no longer exists, but in the digital archives of Advertising Age and other trade mags.

Here at The Green Suits, LLC, the first part of our careers took us through the halls, conference rooms, and corner offices of MadMen-era brands, agencies, and service bureaus where we climbed the Corporate Ladder as marketing executives. During the second part, we became headhunters for the industry we knew so well, placing marketing and market insights talent into great executive assignments across the U.S. and “across the pond.”

And, now begins Part Three. The Green Suits, LLC has reinvented itself; we are no longer just a boutique headhunting firm. Instead, we have deliberately changed our focus and extended our value to provide great emerging businesses the services and resources they need to scale. We have also established a strong presence in the world of green business, empowering growing brands in cleantech, renewables, resource sustainability, and the social good.

Happy Spring! Photo 2012 The Green Suits, LLC
Happy Spring! Photo composite ©2012 The Green Suits, LLC

We call our new value proposition Success Management. It involves:

“[putting] all the pieces in place to ensure that emerging companies—and the talent who support them—seize opportunity, scale revenue, gain market share, and maximize stakeholder value, while [they] create great solutions to the world’s numerous challenges.”

Success Management is central to The Green Suits, LLC’s process: we have assembled top leaders in the fields of enterprise sales management, finance, operations, training and empowerment, and talent recruitment, to provide our clients with solutions that are custom-designed to meet their express requirements. We strive for truly great outcomes such as profitability and scalability, but also empowered people, and conserved and smartly used environmental resources.

In the next several months, we will re-stage TheGreenSuits.com to detail our reinvention and our excellent new capabilities. 

Our best days lie ahead.

The Malleable Workday: Why it is Destined to be Your ‘New Normal’

Cross-posted from The Green Suits:

Enter the Malleable Workday: executives are expected to work hard, but all are expected to work smarter and live a more balanced life. Photo 2014 by D.A. Smolen for The Green Suits.
Enter the Malleable Workday: executives are expected to work hard, but all are expected to work smarter and live a more balanced life. Photo 2014 by D.A. Smolen for The Green Suits, LLC.

Thirty years ago, the average careerist knew that his or her day broke essentially into three separate but equal parts: one-third sleep, one-third work, and one-third everything else. But during that time, “A-Types” set the agenda; the average work day ballooned in size while the sleep and everything else component parts shrunk.

In the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, a careerist was expected to outperform. And almost always that coincided with longer hours working. Back then, it wasn’t unusual for a business executive to log long hours. In fact 20 years ago, my typical early career work day averaged 11.5 hours.

Yet, despite the sacrifice, such dedication paid off. For some entry-level executives, long hours meant lots of overtime pay which added up quickly. For more experienced executives, long hours did not go unnoticed by their senior-level and C-level supervisors.

We hard workers enjoyed more promotions and pay raises.

Back in the day many executives earned a lot, but their ample rewards came with great downsides. Marriages and relationships suffered or ended. And few of us took all of our well earned vacation days. So, it is no wonder that–with too much eating-on-the-go and all the added stress on mind and body–we got sick a lot.

Until the start of the Great Recession in Fourth Quarter 2007, most executives worked long hours–the longer, the better. But the steep economic downturn proved to be a game changer; emerging from that cycle, executives now work hard, but all are expected to work smarter and live a more balanced life.

And so enters The Malleable Workday.

The research conducted by Millennial Generation experts and authors Mike Hais and Morley Winograd shows the preference for a Malleable Workday. Photo h/t Mike and Morley, LLC.
The research conducted by Millennial Generation experts and authors Mike Hais and Morley Winograd shows the preference for a Malleable Workday. Photo h/t Mike and Morley, LLC.

An important trend we see in today’s workplace is to adoption of a work day that values quality of work, but also quality of life. Millennial experts and authors Morley Winograd and Mike Hais conducted extensive research on the 90 million-strong cohort which is driving this pivot; their findings show that Millennials are effecting change not only in how long we work each day but also how our work time arrays on the clock.

Morley explains the paradigm shift from a Millennial perspective:

“[Work] is [now] a part of life, It isn’t distinct from life. And it is something that one can do over the course of the day when one does everything else one does in life, whether it is socializing with friends on line, interacting with family, Skype chats with children at school. All of that should be one thing and it shouldn’t be a set of distinct things. It should be THE DAY.”

I cannot imagine such a scenario 30 years ago. But today’s hiring managers are embracing malleability as illustrated by this comment from a hiring manager we know at a marketing insights services company:

“As long as our talent complete their work, satisfy all commitments, and meet and beat our expectations, they may arrange their workday as they please.”

Wow.

Of course, like all paradigm shifts some of us will adapt well while others–more comfortable with uniform structure–will not. Still, we believe this trend will grow to become our New Normal, because more talent entering the workforce want purposeful work and a work/life balance.

And that, indeed, is a good thing.

A Return to Professional Courtesy: Why it Matters in the Digital Age

Cross-posted from The Green Suits:

Six years ago, broad scale virtual office acceptance seemed like a sure thing. Photo 2012 The Green Suits, LLC
Six years ago, broad scale virtual office acceptance seemed like a sure thing. Photo 2012 The Green Suits, LLC

One trend that The Green Suits didn’t see coming was our culture’s abrupt about-face on virtual office work.

Six years ago, broad scale virtual office acceptance seemed like a sure thing. Office supply mega-retailers anticipated that most of us would–with bunny slippers on our feet–choose a work space in our homes, mere steps from where we slept the night before.

And then the Millennials entered the scene.

Now, in great part to their influence on culture, most of us seek work that happens in very close proximity to our other team members. Yet, with all of our new found togetherness, we cannot escape our mind-meld with another Millennial fave: mobile technology.

Yes, we’re huddled and working together. But we struggle to avert our eyes–and remove our thumbs–from our little screens.  

Sure, we think of ourselves as shiny, happy people. However, our habits suggest otherwise. As a result, our once customary adherence to, and respect for, professional courtesy has in the Digital Age taken a serious beating. Due in great part to our usage of mobile technology, we now take short cuts for just about everything including how we communicate with one another.

Yet, the C-Level has taken notice of our Mobile Jones and is doing something about it. As a result, more companies are guiding their talent to a return to professional courtesy.

Jason Simon is President of business development and success management consultancy Eta Consults.
Jason Simon is President of business development and success management consultancy Eta Consults.

Jason Simon is the President of Eta Consults. He is also our friend and a trusted business development and success-management strategic partner. Jason’s stellar career includes assignments managing the revenue scale-up of several great brands in the digital marketing space, as well as mentoring national teams of truly great enterprise sales executives.

For Jason, one of the things that set his “new business hunters” apart from the competition was [their] strict adherence to old school professional courtesy.

“It never ceases to amaze me how so many executives abandon professional courtesy. For that reason, I expected all of my hunters to automatically send thank-you email messages to their clients and prospects, and to respond promptly to the emails that their clients and prospects sent them.”

He adds: 

“Extending professional courtesy shows great attention to detail, it acknowledges that the recipient is very important, valued, and respected. And it is the right thing to do.”

To further his point, Jason recalled the recent job-hunting experience of one of his former colleagues:

“A friend of mine recently interviewed for a senior-level assignment. The hiring manager never responded to the multiple thank-you notes that she sent following each successive interview round.  So, when the time came for her to evaluate the opportunity, she decided that she no longer wanted to accept a job working with that hiring manager. [His] lack of professional courtesy raised a red flag with her. She saw in his inaction an indication of how badly he would have interacted with her sales prospect pool.”

Indeed, professional courtesy matters a lot. And, in the Digital Age, it must extend well beyond sending thoughtfully written business email messages. It should go without saying that no one should rely solely on pinging co-workers, clients, and prospects through social media–but some haven’t adapted. We must fight the temptation to take such communication shortcuts. Instead, we must choose to pick up the phone and have friendly, engaged, and meaningful conversations.

Better yet, we must strive to engage more often, face-to-face.

At The Green Suits, we find that when the quality of our customer and business prospect engagements increases, the more successful our relationships with them will be. We strive to shake their hands. But if distance prevents us from doing that, we get on the phone and call them.

Professional courtesy is timeless. It matters. And it is the key to achieving enduring professional success in the Digital Age.

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