It’s been a while since I left off so I will recap quickly.  I connected Dixie Gillaspie and Scott Becker.   While on the phone with Scott, he suggested that he would like to assist in my career search by putting an announcement in his ASC Review.  Now, I don’t know for sure how big that mailing list is, but I do know it’s HUGE. Everyone in an entire industry has it delivered to their in-box weekly.  What a huge break this could be.

I spent hours writing a 4 sentence blurb describing myself and emailed to Scott later that day. I continued to grow my network locally but in the back of my mind, I knew that THE lead I’d been waiting for would come from the ASC Review.

After the first publishing, nothing happened. No calls, no emails, nothing.  I waited patiently (those that know me wont’ believe that but it’s true).  After the second publishing, nothing.  Then on a Saturday, an email shows up in my in box from Todd with SourceMedical asking if I’d be interested in talking about a sales position with them. Well, YES.

Todd and I spoke several times over the next few weeks.  It became clear to me that I was not a perfect match to the profile SourceMedical originally set out to hire, yet we continued our conversations.  In the end, Todd and SourceMedical chose another candidate.  I certainly don’t blame them.  I am sure the “other guy” represented a much safer choice and is probably doing very well for them today.

The point to my story is, every interaction has value.  Every connection you can facilitate has power and none of us know how much. Further, it’s not for us to decide how the giving comes back towards us.  What I believe – Give like you don’t need it and expect nothing more than the internal joy of the gift, but remain open to saying “Thank you” and meaning it.

head-shotWho owes you a favor?

What do you expect to get in return?

When will you get it?

Where will it come from?

Why are you still thinking in Go-Getter terms? Go-Give.

Jason R. Thomas


Landings Provides a Takeoff Platform

I have landed.  This incarnation of my career search has been successful. I am now employed by Skeleton Key a technology firm in St. Louis, in a business development role.  The first person Skeleton Key has had focused completely on bringing new business into the firm. Up until now, that’s been the Principals job, Mark Richman and Oliver Block.  There’s nothing like taking your bosses job…

Now, on to what’s really important.  Landing Provides a Takeoff Platform

If you’ve followed this blog at all you know that I have many people to thank for their assistance along the way to finding Skeleton Key, or being found by Skeleton Key, depending on your perspective.  I was actually introduced to Mark Richman by Gill Wagner (seen here on The Rise to The Top).  Tracking that backwards, I was introduced to Gill by Kevin Pannebecker.  Thanks again to both. They are truly Go-Givers.

When I landed I felt a momentary ease.  It was good to know that I would not be depending on Missouri’s failing unemployment budget any longer.  By the time I actually appeared in the office, ready to work, I realized that while landing felt great, I need to put the rocket boosters back on and take off again.  What?  Take off to where?

My landing provided me a platform (Skeleton Key) from which to launch.  It has also given me new cargo and a new message to add to the Giving Experiment mission.  Many time I have more questions than answers as I ponder how to package the message and new cargo as I continue the mission of giving, but last night and this morning have been especially clear.

With that said, here is an announcement regarding The Giving Experiment.  Look for changes, both stylistic and in the content, over the next couple of months.  I have a few more posts to make regarding my career search.  They seem relevant since I’ve started the story line already and have a few new people to mention along the way.

However, my little experiment is growing as I load a companies business development plans into the cargo hold. Growth is the goal here right?  It is why I started the experiment.

<<< About Skeleton Key >>> We focus in two area, IT Consulting and FileMaker Development. In many ways they go hand in hand, but let me explain for those of you who are not so techno savvy.  Our strengths in the IT business are cross-platform (especially Mac and PC) integration, Cisco issues and unique projects that require creative solutions.  We make Mac and PC play nice together better than anyone in the St. Louis area.  Oliver Block is a magician with Cisco. (Don’t tell him I said it though.)  Our FileMaker Development team is one of the best in the world.  We are a FileMaker Business Alliance Platinum Member.  If you don’t know much about FileMaker it’s worth a look.  There is not quicker, more flexible database tool for small to medium user groups.

head-shot Who are you giving to?

What is your motivation?

When will you commit to making someone else better off?

Where will you go if you get the axe?

Why aren’t you preparing for that?

Do you know anything about electricity? Think for a moment about your networking being electric. That’s what we’re all after isn’t it? An electric reaction, sparks flying?

A few years ago, I installed a ceiling fan in my home office. It is nice fan complete with remote control. I have developed my amateur electrician skills since childhood but I still took the time to think through the connections, heck I even drew out a few alternatives. After deciding on the best way to proceed, I did.

All of the connections were made, from the switch, new electrical wire running through the wall and ceiling, to the fan itself. The fan was hung. That is about the biggest pain in the back, shoulders and arms, but it was done, and contrary to what all of you are thinking, I did read and follow the manufacturers directions. Light bulbs installed with care. Proudly, I called my wife into the room for the grand unveiling. Flipped the switch… Nothing, nothing happened. Nothing at all.

I double, triple and quadruple checked the wiring connections. They were sound. I installed a new switch, then a double switch so the fan would be on its own. I installed a new outlet. I rewired the entire thing…5 times, literally following all of the other connection options I originally diagramed. Nothing worked.

I talked to an electrician friend of mine, Terry Blatz, owner of Maryland Heights Heating.  (No I did NOT ask him to come fix it, where’s the fun in that.) He suggested that sometimes, on rare occasion the factory will produce bad electrical line, SO I ripped out the electrical wire and replaced it. I was stumped, completely.

Then I saw the remote control sitting on my desk with a battery next to it. I thought, I haven’t tried that. I put the battery in the remote and hit “on.” The light came on. I hit “high” and the fan spun – fast. Evidently the switch inside the fan, controlled by the remote, is factory preset to OFF and no amount of electricity will get through it until you put a battery in the remote and tell it to be ON. The manufacturer does not include directions for that little gem though.

What on earth does this have to do with Go-Giving. Well nothing I just needed to get that story off my chest. No, not really. The moral of the story is to check the connections you make. Make them in more than one form of communication. Let me explain further by continuing my story from the Meeting a Guru post. I ran home to connect Scott Becker and Dixie Gillaspie.

I typed a brief introduction to Scott, using the format I shared in the How Do You Introduce People? post. Then I thought to myself, “what if Scott doesn’t see your email. It has been long time since talked and he is a busy guy, what if it gets set aside to deal with later.” We’ve all done these things ourselves and I always feel bad for it later but sometimes life just gets in the way.

I decide to call Scott. I’ll just leave a voice mail, reminding him of how we met and that I dropped him an email about an individual he should meet. I dial the phone, it rings, a live voice answers…

The shock I feel every time that happens in this age of voicemails dissipates to a point that I can speak.

Scott and I catch up briefly and I tell him about Dixie over the phone. I get the chance to ask him about The Go-Giver and if he’s read it. Not only has he read it, but he gave about 100 copies out to clients and prospective clients as Christmas presents. WOW. He’s got to talk to Dixie now.

Then a most surprising thing happens. Scott suggests, after hearing about my career search, that he can help me by posting a profile in his weekly newsletter. I know his distribution list is huge. An entire industry gets his news letter and keeps up to day with it. This is HUGE. Following the 5th Law of Stratospheric Success I stay open to the possibility of receiving and say “Yes, thank you.”

Who is burning a hole in your mind?

What part of your agenda today can you share with another person and bring some value to their experience?

When is your next lunch meeting with a stranger?

Where do you hide when surrounded by people to meet?

Why stay hidden?

To play a little catch up here, Kevin Pannebecker overheard Greg Younger and I talking about The Go-Giver and a local coach  consultant who’d been asked to design the coaching program for the material.  Kevin, being the go-giving connector he is, introduced Greg and I to Dixie Gillaspie and arranged for us to meet.

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to be a little bit nervous when I’m meeting a guru.  It just doesn’t happen that often I guess.  Meeting someone who’s so profoundly connected to the concepts that have started to take over my mind.  It’s a bit intimidating.

This reminds me of a point I should be talking about.  In The Go-Giver, the main character, Joe, makes a statement to Pindar, the guru, about his surprise that Pindar is willing to meet with him and share so much.  Pindar’s response is to tell Joe that it is common practice among extremely successful people to give of their time when asked to mentor.  At first glance, this is one point I really doubted.  Then again, how many times had I asked to be mentored?  None, I assumed (we all know what that does) that people wouldn’t have time.

Moral: Respect people enough to let them manage their own time.  Don’t assume for them.

Dixie is one of the most approachable people I’ve met.  I think it comes from the following of the Law of Authenticity.  There is no pretense or judgment, just Dixie being herself.

As we chat, each of us shares a bit about ourselves and what’s brought us all to this table. The interconnectedness is astounding and definitely worthy of conversation.  That we are all here to learn how we can help one anther there is a race the magic networking questions: “How will I know when I’m talking to someone I should connect you with?”  Greg gets there first to the astonishment of Dixie, who’s obviously accustomed to leading the giving parade.

Dixie’s response is interesting, she needs to connect with diverse groups who would like to learn The Go-Giver model in a series of presentations / coaching sessions.  At that point, the modules are in place and she’s really working on putting them in front of people who will challenge them before moving on to training other coaches.  In addition, she’s always interested in meeting people who’ve read The Go-Giver and are willing to share their reaction.

For me this is almost a water shed moment.  I am fortunate enough to know some people who really might be good contacts for Dixie.  I mention an a lawyer in Chicago I’d met through my recruiting practice, Scott Becker.  Scott is one of the best networkers I’ve ever seen in action.  He knows everyone within a specific segment of the health care market and EVERYONE knows, and respects him.

Dixie’s insights into my career search have proven to be invaluable, both in terms of my perspective and the view others are given.  Perspective makes all the difference.

I run home as quickly as I can to introduce Scott to Dixie.  (Okay I drove but you’ll have to wait until next time for the rest of the story…)

Who have you always wanted to meet but never taken the chance?
What long lost member of your network should you be connecting with a new contact?
When is you next appointment with someone you admire?
Where do you love to meet people?
How do you maintain information about your network connections?

Calling To Say Thank You

January 14, 2009

The day after I finished reading The Go-Giver, I called John Woodhead to express my sincere thanks for suggesting the book.  He was delighted to hear it had impacted me so strongly and invited me to a networking get together later that evening.  Now, I’ve never been a big bar patron, but the opportunity to meet and great people associated with John was more than I could pass up.

The group met at a nice little place in Clayton called Roxanes.  While there I met several people who I am still communicating with.  One of the is Robyn Obermoeller who started Hope Campaign.  Robyn’s concept for Hope Campaign is inspiring and our discussions about building Hope Campaign grew into talks me coming on board to help her develop the idea to fruition.  In the end, the timing was not right on either end.  I was happy to share my thoughts with Robyn and some contacts that will hopefully be valuable as she continues to build Hope Campaign.  By the way, if you are in the market for real estate in the St. Louis area take a look at Hope Campaign.

At the networking meeting I was also able to meet with John again and his wife, Kelly.  He introduced me to several people and I took some time to observe the group.  Watching people interact and learning from how others introduce themselves and their associates.  As I might have noted previously, networking for me has been a business venture.  Dollars tied to each connection.  That is not the approach needed for Go-Giver so I find myself re-learning some relatively basic things.

The good news is, this re-learning is really a return to natural communication away from manipulative communication.  As a recruiter, I was taught to get the referral by virtually any means necessary.  In many models I tried it quickly became a pushy sales guy approach because of the lack of trust developed within the relationships.  Just think, after 3 minute conversation I’m asking you to give me names and numbers of people I should talk to about a job.  During that 3 minutes I might not have listened to you for more than 30 seconds.  It sound crazy I know, but that is the standard method.  Also, as I met new people here at Roxane’s I again realized that despite my personal leanings towards the introverted I need people surrounding me to do good work.

In closing this post I’d like to say Thanks to John Woodhead one more time.

I would also like to ask you, as the reader, where do you need to challenge yourself to make some changes?
What keeping your from being a Go-Giver?
What are you waiting for?
Why do you expect different results from the same old processes?
Who do you need to call just to say “thank you?”

Later in the same week I met with John Woodhead.  I had been introduced to John, again my Mike Neubaurer, as an executive level sales manager with a really strong background of success with corporate giants like PepsiCo.  I was excited beyond belief that a guy like that would agree to meet with me at all.  When we met, I still hadn’t taken seriously all of Jerry’s advice so I was not really prepared for this meeting either.  John’s approachability and laid back demeanor were very settling.  In minutes, I was sharing career search struggles with John that I had only shared with my wife up to that point.  As we talked, John made a couple of suggestions.  First, get prepared by knowing exactly what career I am searching for.  Second, be ready to tell anyone who asks very crisply what career I am searching for and third, read The Go-Giver.

Now the first two ideas are important and I did them.  The third, I made note of in my notebook and John stopped me by saying, “I see you’re writing that down, but this is one you need to read.”  He explained that it is the reason he was meeting with me.  The reason he was sharing his hard earned knowledge with someone he’d never met and had very little reason to trust would follow through and make his time worth while.  John’s endorsement was so strong I had little choice but to read the book.  He was so passionate about following the Go-Giver philosophy that he carried the five laws of stratospheric success around in his wallet with him. (An idea I’ve also borrowed).

Furthermore, to give credence to the ideas in the book John referred me to a friend of his Chris Stark, who is a recruiter focused on sales roles in the St. Louis Market, and Kelly Woodhead, John’s wife, has since partnered with Chris at The CAS Group.

I worked with Chris and got had an interview within the first week.  The opportunity turned out to be a mismatch but the lesson was learned well.  Networking, with a focus on giving, was the way to go.  Needless to say, I have since read the book and learned much, much more.

Picking up where I left off this story from the last post…

The first of the two gentleman I met with was Jerry Orzano.  Jerry had been introduced to me as “the best networker I’ve ever met,” by Mike Neubaurer.  As I looked through Jerry’s LinkedIn profile in preparation for our meeting I was excited that he’d agreed to meet with me at all.  His background is very strong and I thought that he would likely know someone who needed a business development person or outside sales rep.  Jerry was also the first person I could ever recall meeting for the sole purpose of networking.  I had no idea how to frame the conversation without sounding like I was on a job interview, but I jumped in and we met at a local St. Louis Bread Co.

As we met first time, I was completely unprepared but Jerry made up for it.  He had printed my LinkedIn profile and brought it with him.  (That goes to show you it is important to keep that puppy updated).  Jerry was also more than willing to help me help myself and taught me some of the most valuable lessons of my career search.  Shared with me his marketing plan, which is a document used to highlight your previous professional accomplishments and list several companies you are interested in learning more about for future employment.  It is a great way to spark conversation and keep the conversation focused on networking and learning information as opposed to getting bogged down in the many other traps.

During our conversation Jerry suggested I read two books. One, written by Frank Danzo, is People Hire People – Not Resumes
contains career search secrets and tips like the marketing plan and networking strategies that have proven to be effective.  The other book, The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann, I simply filed away in my mind a something to read once I’d gotten the job I sought.  After all, what did I really have to give at the time.  Certainly nothing I found valuable.

Jerry and I parted ways that day with a list of introductions to be made later but more importantly, Jerry had given me confidence and a plan.  He had shown me, in sharing his story and career search so candidly, that there is dignity and integrity in a career search, if I choose to undertake it properly.  He also showed me how to undertake this search properly.  Jerry Orzano not only was a great networker, he provided a great role-model for me in my search.  Thanks again Jerry.