Can you solve problems?

January 30th, 2018

Article made possible by site supporters.

Regardless of the size of business or the type of industry you work in, the ability to solve problems and resolve conflicts in today’s business world is an invaluable skill for any executive.  Although it may seem that people with these skills have an innate talent for knowing how to figure things out and how to negotiate relationships, the truth is that this is a learned skill.

The ability to solve problems can help a business mitigate or overcome a crisis and it can also help a business flourish, gaining an unfair advantage over the competition. Similarly, the ability to see things from everyone’s point of view and come up with an agreeable way to resolve differences in opinion can unify a business team.

If you’re interested in having an impact in your organization, then it’s a good idea to learn how to solve problems better and how to improve your people skills to mediate interpersonal conflicts. Although these can sometimes be related, let’s tackle these as separate skill sets.

How to Get Better at Solving Problems

While there are numerous solving problem techniques you can use in business, one that has stood the test of time is Six Sigma. Introduced as far back as 1986 by Bill Smith, an engineer working for Motorola, it still remains popular today. Jack Welch, who is famous for his huge influence on the growth of General Electric, considered it indispensable and it played an instrumental role in GE’s business strategies in 1995.

Today many top business training schools offer Six Sigma Certification, including self-paced online courses that can be taken over a period of 12 months. There are different levels of certification, each one building upon the skills learned at a previous level.

Often Lean and Six Sigma, two distinct problem-solving methodologies, are combined because they complement each other. While both work well individually, using both methodologies together will increase the speed with which problems are solved within an organization. They work in harmony because while Lean minimizes waste, Six Sigma solves problems. The benefits of this synergy include minimizing costs, maximizing profits, building a better team, and providing superior customer service.

Consequently, training and certification are available for Lean Six Sigma White Belt, Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and Lean. While a White Belt would be someone just starting out, a Black Belt would lead and coach projects.

Central to Six Sigma is the DMAIC (duh-may-ik) roadmap. This is a structured process to define, measure, analyze, improve, and control a business process so that it works well and continues to maintain the solution.

How to Resolve Conflicts in the Workplace 

It’s theoretically possible to use problem-solving techniques for resolving conflicts in the workplace, although problems solving techniques usually prove better with streamlining business processes than getting people on the same page.

So, when it comes to resolving interrelationship dynamics, it’s useful to use strategies deployed by mediators. Here is one particular 7-step mediation strategy:

First, find out what the issue is between two parties. What is the source of the disagreement? Identify the problem.

Second, get everyone’s point-of-view. Why do people believe the way they do? What are their reasons for their particular perspective?

Third, make a list of all possible options or solutions to the conflict.

Fourth, discuss with the parties involved the merits and demerits of each possible solution. Where do people agree? On what points do they agree?

Fifth, select the best options, or the best new options that emerge from the discussion. This option should work for everyone, allowing each perspective to be respected.

Sixth, it’s important to document the agreement to prevent fresh new interpretations of the conflict and its resolution.

Seventh, continue to work with the issue if it is not fully resolved, monitoring and evaluating how well the agreements work out.

By using these two skillsets in any type of administrative or executive role, you will be seen as the go-to person when there are business problems to be resolved or conflicts that need to be addressed. It does, however, take time and patience to get good at problem-solving and conflict resolution.


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Winning Video Interviews: Who Are You Talking To?

January 23rd, 2018

Last year I did my first video interview. I used the Hireview video interview software, which is cool because I know the founders, and they are a local company. The irony? I was interviewing for a job at Hireview!  I was using their own software to hire for a job to be on their team.

When I went in for the panel interview (to be followed by an interview with the VP of Product) one of the interviewees (I was in a room full of product managers) said something like:

“Jason, you were the only one who talked to Ricky by name.”

It was the thing that made me stand out. I was the only one who did it.  Nice job Jason!hirevue-logo

Video interviews are not as personal as a face-to-face in-the-same-room interview. It is weird to talk into a camera/mic and get no reaction… the first time you do it you’ll feel weird! It doesn’t help that you get a question and then you have a certain amount of seconds to answer your question, and if you go over you have messed up. Yes, you get to do it again but after the third or fourth time answering (and trying to cram the right answer into a few seconds!) you are mentally taxed.

It’s a crazy experience.

I researched the job and the company, and found out who the hiring manager was: Ricky. It was actually Ricky who presented the questions (in video, of course). So, in my responses I would say “Well, Ricky,…” or “That’s a good question, Ricky….”

Every answer I gave was addressed to Ricky.

The cool thing was that took the impersonal out of my video interview.

And it made me memorable.

What are YOU doing to make yourself memorable?


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Why I’m Writing My 4th Book

January 19th, 2018

“I will never do that again.”

I thought that, and I’m pretty sure I said this to my wife, after I finished I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???

Writing a book is a big, time-consuming process. It taxes you mentally and is challenging. Making the time, week after week, to keep writing is hard. Second-guessing your ideas is common (but good).

When I wrote my LinkedIn book I honestly had no idea what the benefits would be (they were great, both financial and as it relates to my career and marketing of JibberJobber).

I coauthored my second book on Facebook, which was a different kind of hard.  Then my third book (51 Alternatives to a Real Job) was self-published… and I needed to write it but haven’t marketed it. It was THE book that most people asked about at the end of my presentations, though. Everyone was interested in alternatives to a traditional job.

I’ve really enjoyed the time off, but there has been another book that’s been nagging me. It started, I think, when Susan Joyce (owner of was with me during some presentations in the Boston area. She said “I know what the title of your next book should be!”

“My next book?! I was a retired author,” I thought.

But once you get the author bug, it’s hard to shake it. Like mono, you have it for life. Many times over the years I have thought “man, I could write a book about this.” Worse, sometimes I have thought “I should write a book about this!”

This fourth book is different from the rest. It is a collection of ideas, thoughts, observations, and suggestions that I’ve accumulated over the last twelve years. It includes brilliant ideas I’ve had (I figure I have a brilliant idea every 18 months), tactics and tips for job seekers I’ve come across, and strategy and thoughts for professionals interested in career management (that is, taking a bigger role in managing their own careers).

As I’ve been working on this book it’s one that I have thought my future generations might read and think “huh… great-great-great-grandpa was kind of cool.” Or at least “really interesting.” Unlike my first three books (which are too technical and will be irrelevant in a hundred years, the third is money making ideas that are good now but probably won’t be in a hundred years) this book is more principal-based… and principals can last for centuries. This book would be, as they say, evergreen.

So, why am I writing this book, and what does it have to do with you? Think about the “why” below, and realize that while I’m doing this as owner of JibberJobber, you are the owner of Me, Inc. (and should consider your own big project, whether it’s a book or not):

It’s a brand and marketing play. This book keeps me relevant as an expert in this space. It gives me something to talk about (self-promotion) and it gives others a reason to talk about me (and JibberJobber). I’ve learned that if I stop making things, people stop having reasons to think and talk about me. A key principal in marketing is to create new things and stay relevant. How can YOU, as a job seeker, apply this principal to your marketing strategy?

It’s to monetize: No secret here, I hope to sell a lot of these. I’ll market this book mostly through JibberJobber, to people who sign up for the system. This is a perfect book for them. I hope that somehow it gets bigger than just my immediate audience though. I think it’s a super relevant book for the whole world. I could write pages and pages on this topic, but the idea is to create another passive revenue stream (passive because once I write the book and get the right systems in place for marketing and delivering it, I don’t plan on spending hardly any time on it, but I do expect it to create a revenue stream worth hundreds of dollars per month for a long time).

It’s to help me rethink and challenge my expertise: I sit at my home office and interact with a handful of people every day. I am not on stage nearly as much as I was a few years ago. I’ve found that when I was on stage I got challenged regularly… either by myself or by others. I had ideas and I put them out there to audiences that would help me refine my thoughts. But sitting alone in an office doesn’t force you to challenge and refine your thoughts. Writing a book does, though. As you write you think and rethink and second-guess. This is an excellent way to really figure out where you are at and what you think and what you champion. I learned it’s even better (for this purpose) than writing a blog. You see, I can edit a blog post any time… but once your book is printed, the idea is out there. It’s way more permanent, and so you are more careful as you write down what will be definitive statements and positions.

It’s the right thing to do. The ideas in this book have been building over the twelve years I’ve been doing JibberJobber. And, for a few years before that, as I immersed myself into corporate America. The thoughts have been nagging at me. I just feel like it’s what I’m supposed to do. Apparently writing is what I do, and authoring books is what I do (it’s taken years to be at peace with this).

As you think about my journey, and my decision, I hope you will implement some of this in your own journey. Whether you do “that thing” (might not be writing a book) because it’s nagging at you, or it will refine you, or it will be a new revenue stream for you, one thing I know is that you have to START, and consistently follow through. I want you to be a FINISHER, and finish your projects.

Can you do that?

Here’s a relevant quote I saw on my friend Wendy Terwelp’s Facebook feed:



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The Job Search Is Uncomfortable. Get Used To It.

January 18th, 2018

Job seekers have to do a lot of things that are uncomfortable. From getting up early for an interview (after not sleeping well because of, well, the interview!) to dressing really nice (for an interview or a networking event), from parading yourself as someone who is unemployed to investing in new clothes when you don’t have the money…

There’s always something that will be out of your comfort zone.

And that, my friend, is the new normal.

Be comfortable being uncomfortable.

That will help you in your job search, as you onboard, and it will help you for the rest of your career.

Uncomfortable is okay.

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Book Recommendation: Learn How The Experts Do It

January 17th, 2018

There are a few reasons I am recommending this book, none of which have to do with the fact that I know the author Steve Thomas and his awesome wife Kris. I want to share this book because Steve has built a really cool company and is helping a lot of people. He is also a brilliant communicator, and if you have anything to do with fundraising, or non-profits, or marketing, you should learn from him.  If you are a job seeker, you can learn from his email (below) as far as formatting and message, and from his book on how to communicate with people and ask for things when you are uncomfortable.

The regular price is not a big deal (ten bucks), but for the next few days you can get this kindle book for only 99 cents.  What are you waiting for?  Here’s Steve’s email… go get this book!

Hi Jason,

My name’s Steve Thomas.

You and I are connected through Linked In. Our connection might not be any deeper than that. But I suspect you do understand the opportunities that come from some of these connections.jibberjobber_donoricity_book

If you are a nonprofit professional or fundraiser or know someone who focuses on communicating with donors, you might find my 99 cent Kindle book promotion interesting. (On Monday, Amazon will reset the price back to $9.99).

About 4 years ago, I set out to write a book telling the secret to raising more dollars from donors. It took much longer than I expected. Candidly, it was really challenging to write what I know.

I own two advertising agencies that create powerful fundraising day in and day out for nonprofit clients, year after year. These strategies were born in the trenches of that fundraising work.

What’s very cool, is that not only do these strategies raise more money, donors will love what you’re doing.

I’m not a professor or ivory tower PhD who teaches the theory.  I raise money for a variety of nonprofit clients. And using these strategies we’ve been successfully raising money for years.

The book is:

Donoricity: Raise More Money for Your Nonprofit with Strategies Your Donors Crave

That’s right Donoricity.

You pronounce it like electricity, simplicity or felicity.

I’m pretty pleased with it, and I think you’ll love it if you live in the fundraising or donor development world.

Donoricity will help you if:

  • You’re feeling that your communications aren’t connecting with your donors.
  • You’re sick of fundraising that’s embarrassing.
  • You’re weary of programs and systems that don’t really fit you.
  • You’re wondering if there was something missing from your fundraising efforts.
  • You’re thinking that there just had to be a better way.

Donoricity was born in the trenches of fundraising and marketing. It’s real-world tested. It works.

The solutions you’ll find in Donoricity will help organizations from start-up to huge.

You can get the first chapter on audio, see my video and find out more at

As I mentioned, beginning today, I’m offering the Kindle version of Donoricity for just 99 centsMonday, January 22nd, the price goes up to $9.99.

So for 99 cents you can see for yourself and improve your donor relationships. It’s a good value. And I think you’ll find it refreshing.

Thanks for checking it out. Let me know what you think.


Did you get the book yet?



The Scary Truth About Marketing Yourself

January 16th, 2018

Before I got laid off in 2006 I was kind of a heads-down guy with my work. I didn’t network, didn’t know many people locally, was totally unknown… I went to work, did my job, and came home and did my family.  It was a peaceful existence. I had all the stress I needed with my work situation (we had a gargantuan task of turning a company around).

Then, I got laid off.

I soon learned what a grand disservice I had done to myself, my career, and my family by being heads-down. When you are laid off, relatively new to where you live, no one knows you, and you know no one, you are in a bad situation. What’s worse, I was not prepared for this layoff and I didn’t really know what I was doing. So I did the wrong things.

Fast forward twelve years and things are different. I network. I work on my brand. And, I market myself.


Most people I come across do not like the idea of personal marketing. It’s too much like bragging and self-aggrandizing. People can be comfortable talking about their company, and their projects, and their products, but generally we find it weird to talk about ourselves (in a good and appropriate way).

That should change. We should figure this out. I love recommending the book BRAG! (Peggy Klaus) as a way to help us rethink how we talk about ourselves.

But the reality is, we have to do it. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Even if we’re not perfect at it.

When you connect with my on LinkedIn my admin will accept the invitation and respond back with a two paragraph intro to me. It’s really more of a call to action than an intro… it has suggestions of things to do (like watch my Pluralsight videos and get on JibberJobber).

It is definitely marketing my stuff. It is talking about my stuff. Some people hate it… some people are fine with it, and some people think it’s cool. But I can’t let the haters tell me how to run my career. It’s like people saying “you shouldn’t go to a networking event… it’s like cheating on your boss.” Oh really?  I tell you what, you pay for the rest of my life, needs and wants, and then you can tell me how to manage my career. Otherwise, I have to do what I have to do. Even if it is hard or uncomfortable.

And that’s the scary truth: you… we… have to do this. We simply have to.

Don’t put yourself in a position where you are unknown and know no one. Instead, consistently work hard at helping people know who you are and what you have to offer.

It will be scary. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll second-guess yourself and your messaging. But you’ll get better over time. And it will pay off during the multiple career changes you experience throughout your career.

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Awesome Google Tips and Tricks Hacks from Job-Hunt!

January 15th, 2018

Susan Joyce loves to share ideas on how to optimize LinkedIn… she has a really good article on her site, Job-Hunt:


That post is really a reference page… don’t try to consume it all at once, but it would be good to bookmark it and come back to it.

Thanks Susan!

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New Icons for JibberJobber!

January 12th, 2018

We have been working on a massive project that touched almost every page in JibberJobber… I know we missed a few, but we got most of them! I’m talking about the icons… which were perhaps 8 to 11 years old. We’ve updated almost all of them.  Remember, you should be able to mouse over every icon to see what it does.  Here are some screen snippets:

On the right of the Contacts List Panel:


In order:

  • Search for this Contact on Google
  • Search for this Contact on LinkedIn
  • Picture of this Contact (there are no pics on these 4)
  • Download to a vCard
  • Add a Log Entry
  • View this Record (I hardly use this, I normally click the Contact’s name)
  • Edit this Contact
  • Delete this Contact
  • See Tree View around this Contact

At the bottom of the Contacts List Panel:


These are what I call multi-action icons because they perform a function to multiple records:

  • Add a Log Entry to multiple Contacts
  • Add/Manage Tags for selected Contacts
  • Get email addresses of selected Contacts
  • Download selected Contacts
  • Merge duplicates
  • Get a report with selected Contacts
  • Get another type of report with selected Contacts
  • Share these Contacts with another JibberJobber user
  • Delete selected Contacts
  • Play a video to show how these work

You should see new icons like these almost everywhere. If you find an old icon let us know… we’re making a list of places we missed.

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How To Start Over In JibberJobber (bulk delete, delete by import)

January 11th, 2018

Recently I’ve gotten a few emails asking how to delete all of your records and just start over. This might be because you did a job search five years ago and you just want a clean slate (there’s value in keeping the records from five years ago), or because you did an import from LinkedIn or Google Contacts and didn’t realize how dirty your data was.

Whatever the reason, there are two easy ways to delete all of your records:

Bulk Delete from List Panels

This is my favorite because you have more control over individual records.  You can do this from almost any List Panel in JibberJobber. Here are the basic steps:

  1. From the List Panel you want to clean up (say, Contacts), choose the Manage Columns icon and then show 255 records at a time.
  2. Check the checkboxes on the left (the very top one selects/unselects all of them) – note you can be selective down to each record
  3. At the bottom of the List Panel you’ll see a DELETE icon. Click that and you are on your way to cleaner data!

Check out this post with step-by-step pictures.

Bulk Delete by an Import

Let’s say you have imported a few thousands records from a csv file. You can delete every one of those records in one fell swoop.

  1. Mouse over Contacts, Companies, or Jobs, and click the Import/Export option.
  2. On the bottom-right there is a link: My Imports
  3. On the next page you’ll see imports you have done… you can either delete the imports one at a time, or use the List Panel bulk delete action, as per the steps above :)

Here’s a post with step-by-step pictures for deleting by import.

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Signup for Job Search and Career Management Newsletters!

January 10th, 2018

This is a newsletter for active job seekers. We’ll send you short, actionable, motivational emails three times a week:

This is a newsletter for anyone who cares about career management. We’ll send these once a week. They will include tactics, tips, and info about career management. This is a great way to keep career management a priority.


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