Why Reinvention is a Virtual Necessity.


I recently wrote a blog called Out of the Game which outlined the importance of staying current and connected on your career path and personal development.

There used to be an expression I would hear quite often.  “They are a dinosaur.”  It was really a description of a person or a company who was not current on emerging trends.  For instance, agencies that were slow to adopt digital solutions versus traditional advertising.

The iPhone is about five years old and more than 75 million have been sold.  Kodak is going into bankruptcy protection.  The Olympics are coming up soon and not too many people will be capturing magic moments using Kodachrome.  A decade ago, Kodak may have been sponsoring the Olympics.

I know a friend who was recently in transition.  They shared with me that the last job they found was in the newspaper ten years ago.  If you told somebody today that you were job hunting in the newspaper they would think that you were pretty much out of touch.

I started blogging two years ago after I heard Tony Heish from Zappos speak at a combined Harvard/USC event in May.  During his presentation he said “Follow Your Dream and the Money Will Come.” That May wasn’t a particularly robust time and I thought to myself that is easy for you to say because you made $100 million on your first deal.

After two years of blogging I have had thousands of people read my blog.  In fact more people read my blog some days than visit my site in a month.

Things change and we need to reinvent and change.  Today your Linkedin profile is more important than your resume.  Your first impression is not created by your Elevator Speech but by your Google presence.

There are two catalysts for reinvention based on my personal experience.  Networking and Youth.

Today’s youth surrounds technology.  You want to be immersed in technology.  Surround yourself with youth.  Ten years ago I started using college students or recent graduates as paid interns to help me with tasks.  They can’t write a blog but they can certainly find places to repurpose it in discussion groups.

I love it when some approach me and ask,” Have you ever thought of doing it this way?”  We generally start doing it that way.

Currently the look of my Word Press blog is being updated by Dalip Jaggi who is 22 year old. He recently developed a couple of mobile apps.  My YouTube videos are shot by SparkHouse in Costa Mesa.  Their CEO, Torrey Tayenaka is 25.  I make a call on my iPhone with a local 949 number.  One of my creative partners Dante Fiorini answers it.  He is in Argentina.

How did I meet Dalip and Torrey?  By networking.  Your network is your engine of reinvention.  The more diverse it is, the more opportunities for growth it can provide.  A constant pattern of networking regenerates you and puts you on new roads of discovery.

The dinosaurs that emerged from the Ice Age weren’t the ones that were the biggest or the strongest.  They were the ones that were the quickest to adapt.  Nothing’s changed.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin


Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch his video on YouTube on How to Rise Above the Crowd.


Lessons from the Great Recession.


I learned a lot from the Great Recession. A lot. It was a very difficult time for many people and continues to be for many that haven’t emerged.

I have spoken to many transition groups multiple times and have met with countless people during those years. It is not difficult to feel and see despair and frustration.  In those days nobody would even dare ask at the beginning or end of the meetings if there were any good news stories about people landing because there weren’t any. Everybody was running for cover when the world was melting and we were losing 500,000 jobs a month.  Today some people are able to raise their hands and say they have landed or secured a consulting gig.  There is more hope in the air.  Guarded hope.

You don’t find out about the economy in the paper; you learn the true economic reports on the streets and during the great recession many people including me felt at times that we were licking the sidewalks of life.

I learned many things being one of the founders of Laguna Niguel Connectors a group that grew from 4 people to over 3200 currently on Linkedin.  I learned about the power of people, the blessings of serendipity and the engine called Linkedin. When you had over 100 people meeting for endless months on the third Friday of the month in Laguna Niguel who were in transition it wasn’t too difficult to see that the recession had touched every community and every street. The miracle of Laguna Niguel connectors was the quality of the people that attend and the pay it forward helpful attitude of the vast majority of its attendees.

I learned that there are Angels of the recession. People like Cindy Pickens who founded Café Net and has helped thousands of people in transition without ever asking for a dime.  Many people who volunteered their time to speak on Linkedin at various venues to help those in transition master its power in the job search. People like Sven Johnston, Ted Robison and Tim Tyrell-Smith. And there are many more.

Although the recession was very painful for many I think it provided great lessons for today’s youth.  Prior to the great recession many were the enabled generation with high levels of expectations of entitlement.  Today I believe that the Millenials are a very responsible and industrious group who has learned through the pain of many of their parents that many institutions can’t be trusted any longer and that hype is just that.  Hype. They also understand that the employer-employee relationship is much different these days and for the future.

I have learned that business had changed forever.  That you need many more irons in the fire than before if you are hunting for a job or a project.  Decision making and approvals can take much longer. Budgets are tighter and every dollar must have a return.

I have also learned that the benefit of social currency that you get from networking can be even more powerful than that of financial currency because your network of people is what truly enriches you life.

So what have you learned?

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin


Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch his video on YouTube on How to Rise Above the Crowd.


First Impressions.


So what creates your first impression?  In the Old Normal it may have been your appearance.  That is why we had expressions like “Dress for Success,” and we all spent lots of money on nice suits and ties or business suits for women.

Today in the New Normal your first impression is created by the results that surface when people search for you on Google.

Today we have ads for Reputation Management Firms offering to improve your online reputation.

A derogatory posting on Google is much more of a liability than poor word of mouth because it is accessible to everyone and no longer to only a few.

I have always believed that your online presence is much more important than your elevator speech as your chances of getting on an elevator with a decision maker are slim but the chances of people checking you out on Google are very high.

That is why I have been speaking on How to Rise Above the Crowd for a few years now.

So how do you rise above the crowd?  Well being active on social media platforms like Linkedin can certainly accomplish that.

Today the base level of acceptable presence is owning all the postings on the first page of Google.  All the postings.

The base level of acceptable is having 500 Linkedin connections.

But appearance is not everything in apparel or the internet.

You online presence needs to be one of significance to create a favorable impression of who you are both in work and in life.

Having a definitive social media strategy can help you accomplish that.  It is even stronger if that is the way you live your life because that can appear in your search results.  For instance if you mentor and speak to school groups and they post your presentation on YouTube.  When that comes up in a search it says something about you without you talking.

You see your online reputation is more than just your presence.  It should also reflect your substance and your social media strategy should plan for how to achieve that.  That way you can be sure that your first impression will count today as it did in the past.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin


Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch his video on YouTube on How to Rise Above the Crowd.


The Currencies of Networking.


I listened to a webinar today put on by Keith Ferrazi a master networker.  He wrote a book published in 2005 called Never Eat Alone. I think I bought it at Borders. That was before the world melted and we moved to the New Normal except for Borders.  That was a very long and short time ago.

On his Webinar he had Reid Hoffman the Founder of Linkedin.  I enjoy using Linkedin.  It is my primary social media channel.  When Social Media was getting launched my peers embraced Facebook but I loved Linkedin.  Anyway it became my preferred social media channel although I engage with many others.

During the webinar Ferrazi and Hoffman defined the various currencies of networking. They talked about professional currency for instance. I related to that because I talk about the various benefits of networking in my networking presentations.

Networking provides a variety of currencies. One of the primary benefits of networking is financial Currency. It is the most obvious and what most people really want.   Over the course of time I have read about other definitions of financial currency.  One is that your network equals your net worth.

The oldest one I know is that it is not what you know but who you know.  That’s the top down theory and it works.

The problem with reaping the benefits of financial currency is that it takes time and we all want the quick fix.   Financial currency will come if you plant the seeds and wait for the bounty to come.  You have to realize that one event is a stepping stone to other people, other events and future opportunities.

Somebody long ago or about 3 or 4 years ago sent me a quote saying that “The Opposite of Networking Is Not Working.”  They must have been a prophet.

I also learned very quickly that one of the primary benefits of networking is Social Currency.

What the heck is social currency? Well it starts with understanding that money isn’t meaning

Success is not significance. The Great Recession has equally taught everyone no matter how rich or poor that financial currency can be fleeting.  Even millionaires clip coupons these days.

People with a lot of social currency realize you are not defined by how much money you have or where you work. A key of a person’s success and overall value is their relationships.  You are defined by your character and who you help in life in the New Normal.  That currency is deposited in a different way but it has a high level of return immediately upon deposit.

Often social currency and financial currency go hand in hand.  People who have a lot of social currency are often involved in mentoring, philanthropy and similar activities.  Often I find that they appear to also be very financially successful.

If you have strong relationships people become your apostles and advocates and become your business development people.

Social currency becomes most valuable when financial currency is a little weak and we may be surrounded by the worries inherent in the New Normal. That is when its value truly comes to the forefront.

What kind of networking currency are you depositing today?

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin


Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch his video on the Power of Networking.


Hot and Cold Networking Doesn’t Work.


Hot and Cold Networking Doesn’t Work.

The new Jobs Report came out yesterday and the report wasn’t too cheerful.  Very tepid job growth.  That’s life in the New Normal.  We live in a world with an unemployment rate of 8.2% in the U.S. My friend Lynn Marie Hammond reminded me that the Euro Zone’s stagnant economy has left 17.4 million people out of an active population of around 156 million people without a job.

I read in this month’s issue of OC Metro that even the well educated and diverse Orange County the land of desperate and over indulged housewives only added 12,600 jobs from January 2010 to January 11.  Not much growth for a county of three million people.

The same issue had another survey among OC Executives.  The percentage of respondents who expect business activity to improve or stay the same today was 84%, an increase from 78% in 2010.  You see today in the New Normal progress is when things stay the same.  We have all seen the job market free fall and we have learned that staying the same is an acceptable platform.  It is survival.

In this world many people still believe that the Old Normal will return and they network that way.

I call it hot and cold networking.  When they are looking for a job it is all about the networking.  “Let’s catch up at Starbucks.”  “Let’s get together to see how I can help you.”  “Would love to catch up.”  When they land they revert to their old habits. You never see them or hear from them.

You reach out to them after they have been with their employer for a few months to check in.  They are too busy for Starbucks or lunch.  They have no time.  They have a job and don’t need your network anymore.

These are the hot and cold networkers of today.

Then in today’s world of the New Normal they are on the street again.  They are not ready to be fired.  They reach out again and want to network. They try to atone for their past behavior.  They promise change.

After years of seeing this from many I have lost layers of compassion.

I am sure we have all met hot and cold networkers.

What they don’t understand is that today you have to be networking all the time.  Just like sharks you have to be constantly out there expanding your resources and learning about opportunities.  Opportunities and jobs are being created but they are often spread through word of mouth because nobody wants to deal with a deluge of submissions from unqualified people.

Truth be told, hot and cold networkers don’t come to mind first when I hear about jobs.

What is your networking temperature?

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin


Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch his video called How to Rise Above the Crowd.