Category Archives: Career

It’s true! I’m coming out of retirement

det-trans

I am honored to help Truscott Rossman, a highly respected Michigan PR agency, grow its Detroit business.

Here is the official press release:

John Bailey joins Truscott Rossman

DETROIT – John Bailey, a highly regarded strategic communications leader in Michigan for more than four decades and founder of John Bailey & Associates Public Relations, has joined Truscott Rossman as its first business strategist.

Bailey, a member of the Public Relations Society of Detroit’s Hall of Fame, will be based in Detroit, helping expand Truscott Rossman’s presence in the city as well as across the state. Truscott Rossman, which also has offices in Grand Rapids and Lansing, opened its Detroit office a year ago.

“Since my retirement two years ago, I have been speaking about building careers and businesses to general audiences throughout our state and have enjoyed it immensely,” Bailey said. “Now, with TR, I can work with a respected group to help them build their public relations business in the city I love, Detroit, Michigan. And it will be fun getting back into public relations.”

Bailey is an expert in public relations strategy, media relations and crisis communications, and often speaks on the topic of ethics in business.

“I’ve held John Bailey in the highest regard for as long as I’ve known him,” said Kelly Rossman-McKinney, CEO of Truscott Rossman. “John worked for every major PR firm in Detroit before starting his own highly successful firm, and we are truly honored that he chose to help us build Truscott Rossman in the same way: through good, hard, honest work.”

Bailey is the author of “The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business.” The book details the challenges he overcame in building his successful career, including founding his own public relations firm in 1996 and growing it into a $5 million company in just 12 years. He sold the firm in 2009.

“John Bailey’s professional experience and personal reach will help us not only in Detroit but statewide and beyond,” said John Truscott, president of Truscott Rossman. “We’re honored to have someone of John’s caliber working with us. Even more important, throughout John’s career, his commitment to ethics has guided so many professionals in this business. We’re so glad to be able to continue that legacy with him.”

Bailey has been active in the Detroit area’s professional, civic and cultural organizations. He is a graduate of Leadership Detroit, a program for executives designed to bring about positive change in the community, and has been a director of the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Truscott Rossman represents local, statewide, national and international clients. The firm offers a full range of communications services, including issues management, crisis communication, media relations, new media, government affairs, ballot initiatives, community relations and grassroots initiatives.

You can also read coverage of my announcement on Crain’s Detroit Business.

How important is appearance and presentation to getting or keeping a job?

Colorful ties

How you look, which includes your grooming and what you wear plus how you present yourself are very important to getting and/or keeping a job or in landing a new piece of business. In all my blogs and other writings, I do not spend much time on this subject, so here it is.

On page 199 of my book, The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business, I do say: “Don’t drink alcohol at client or customer events.” And I say: Dress well and stays in good physical condition for you.” Those tips are just as important as the other 16 Career Tips listed.

Gone are the days when we all must follow specific dress codes like men must wearing ties and women can’t wear pants or slacks. But even with these two examples, there may be exceptions.

I always thought about myself at the event and tried to think through what was proper attire. I would find out what others wear either every day or to any event. Then I would dress once small notch above that level. For example, it is easy to take a tie off but almost impossible to put one on, so I’d wear a tie.

And make sure your clothes are clean and look great and your shoes–men and women–are shined, etc.

Wearing too much aftershave or perfume can be a huge turn-off in office situations. So use these moderately.

I have always said that listening is the key to good communication, so listen before speaking.  And don’t dominate any situation. Make sure everyone is participating in any conversation. Ask questions to get others involved if they are reluctant. Remember that when you are talking, you are not learning anything.

Keeping in shape for you means just that. No one expects everyone to be a triathlete or marathon runner. However, being in good shape and looking that way just might mean to the other person that you have the energy to do the job.

It is hard for me to say what a woman should or should not wear in any situation. So talk to other women about what is appropriate and make a decision based on that input. Still, the general concepts mentioned here apply to both men and women. This is true if you are going to an event or making a presentation in the board room.

If you are presenting, rehearse. Know what you want to say and say it. Speak with a polite voice and with confidence. This will most likely help you create a great first impression.

So, in summary, dress appropriately, stay in shape, and listen before you speak. And, have fun.

John J. Bailey is a veteran public-relations professional, former agency owner and author of The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business. Learn more about John, hear what others are saying about his book, and purchase your own copy in hardcover and for Kindle.

Avoid being laid off or downsized. Make an entrepreneurial decision today

Tired of what you see and hear at work? Maybe it's time to make your own call.

Tired of what you see and hear at work? Maybe it’s time to make your own call.

A friend of mine told me recently that he had turned down a good job to keep his own business going. “Excellent!” I said, especially since this is Detroit Entrepreneur Week 2014. This made me think of W. Edwards Deming, the father of Total Quality Management, who said: “Put a good person in a bad system and the bad system wins. No contest.”

You all know that I was laid off or downsized four times early in my career, which totally irked (insert stronger word) me. In all those situations, my termination was because some person above me had either made a bad decision to add my function to the company, or they made many bad decisions that led to cutting staff and me.

After the fourth termination, I vowed to never let it happen again. I began an unrelenting quest for more knowledge, I built my network to the point where I had more contacts than my bosses, and I committed myself to always doing the best possible job in my volunteer work as well as my professional work. These steps helped me become the best professional I could be, while establishing and always growing my network, and building my reputation as a person who gets things done.

Still I was about to be laid off or downsized a fifth time because of an acquisition (and some incompetent person above me in the org chart). So, I started my own firm, finally realizing that the only way I can be sure not to be cut from a payroll is to maintain the payroll.

It is not easy for sure. But, you have control of you. You “own yourself and your career” when you own your own business. My friend told me that he knew he made the correct decision to keep his business but, “it is scary,” he said. I told him that fear is a great motivator.

So, keep this in mind as you build your career and future. If you are in charge of you, you make the decisions, not someone else.

Make an entrepreneurial decision today.

Will technology terminate your job? Save your career with new skills and a second language

Technology, education, training, language, skillHundreds, perhaps thousands of kinds jobs have been eliminated by advancing technology and changing times. This will continue into the future and forever. Will yours be one of the jobs to be eliminated in the near future? If so, what are you doing now, or will do in the future, to prepare yourself for a changing career landscape?

To illustrate, here are but a few of the jobs that are already gone or have changed dramatically in recent years:

  • Almost anything to do with typewriters and paper
  • Radio and newspaper reporters
  • Video (store employees and owners, videographers, distributors, manufacturers, movie studios)
  • Cashiers and bank tellers
  • Call center staffs
  • Receptionists, secretaries and administrative professionals
  • Draftsmen, “desktop publishers” and typesetters
  • Postal employees
  • Travel agents
  • Fighter pilots

We can all add names to this list. Even top executives and corporate or organizational leaders face uncertainty, as companies buy and sell each other, sacrificing one CEO’s or president’s position for efficiency’s sake as there is almost never a need for two. So what are we supposed to do as we move through our careers trying to make a good living for ourselves and our families?

Ongoing education, new language skills are essential

One thing is certain. The last class we attended, whether it was in trade school or for our doctorate, should not be the final. We must all continue to learn to keep up with the demands of society. In the United States, we need to take this very seriously as the rest of the world is ahead of us in the important subjects, such as math, science and technology, writing and reading. This is true with our students of all ages, including adults.

Can Americans keep up? Absolutely. But, we will need to refocus on the important subjects within our own professions. I know we can learn new things. Take fantasy sports, for example, which js a serious, multi-million dollar business. We are likely the global leader of the fantasy sports industry, especially football. But what if one day, out of nowhere, the rabid sports fans of some foreign geopolitical power came along and began to beat us at our own game. Would we take it? Certainly, we’d work harder to draft better players, make smarter trades, and reclaim our championship position. At least I’d like to think we would. We have yet to reclaim the world’s lead in science and engineering…

The passion many of us have for fantasy sports is exact kind of fervor we need to face global competition for future jobs. What if we were told we could only compete in fantasy sports in another language, like Hindi, Japanese or Mandarin? Would we stop playing? Again, I’d like to think we’d pick up a second or third language. Think of all the computer programmers in the world that learned English so that they could code. Most all PC code is English, yet there are millions of programmers all over the world. For them, learning English was a matter of career survival.

So let’s master those languages now. (Especially Spanish! After all, approximately 40 million people in the United States speak Spanish today, and that number is projected to grow.) Also, we must recognize the urgency to first “get equal” with the rest of the world and then reclaim the passion to “get ahead.”

The jobs of the future will be occupied by those with the best educations and command of the most relevant languages. Make technology a mark of empowerment, not a measure of excuse. 

Who will be cut in your company’s next layoff?

Being downsized is frustrating for anyone at any ageA 2012 Gallup study says that 70 percent of American workers are not reaching their full potential causing the U.S. to lose $450 to $550 billion (with a “b”) each year in lost productivity.

If you are in the 70 percent, you are working for a company not reaching its profit potential. This company will very likely look at downsizing or layoffs to lower expenses and therefore enhance profit. And when this happens, they will look at the 70 percent of their workers who are not reaching their full potential to cut.

So what can you do about this to enhance your position and move into the top 30 percent?  Here are a few steps to follow that will help you stand out in a positive way:

  • Understand your strengths and/or talents. If you need to, get professional input to be sure you know exactly what they are. Talk to your boss about them to be sure he/she knows.
  • Work with your boss so that he/she knows your strengths and/or talents and gives you responsibilities that allows you to do your best work.
  • Continue to learn more about your company and what it is trying to accomplish so you can add your part.
  • Also, continue to learn more about your job and your strengths and talents so you can do even better work.
  • Network well within your profession to enable yourself to be aware of the latest thinking and technology in your field.
  • Keep yourself in good physical shape for you to maximize the potential to have the energy to do your best.
  • Support what your company is trying to do at all times, be committed to its goals and communicate them to others.
  • Commit yourself to an unrelenting quest to make yourself better at what you do.

If you do these things you make yourself better at what you do and therefore better at contributing to the company’s success. And, you will own yourself and your future.

But if you are stuck, or your immediate boss does not want to help, or sees you as a threat, keep on doing the things that will make you better anyway. This may not guard you from being downsized or laid off, but it does guarantee you will be better at what you do for your next position whether at your current company, another one, or your own.

Note: The Gallup study is entitled “State of The American WorkPlace; Employee Engagement Insights For U.S. Business Leaders.”