Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Poor Judgement all Around - City Council and the Library

In Windsor we have yet another crisis, yet another avoidable crisis at the public library.  An elected official has used the corporate credit card for at least $9,000 in personal charges, which he claims to have repaid.  The amount grows daily with each revelation.

The councillor's lapsed judgement not withstanding, this is not entirely the issue.  The issue is that the politicians have staged a successful takeover of the Library Board.  The root of the issue is in a council with an obstinate fixation on not raising taxes without regard for the implications of such a sweeping generalization - the first being the false presumption that only the elected council has any wisdom and stake in the outcome of any monetary discussions; not so.  At issue is the failure to separate, very necessarily separate, access to information from those who have most to gain by controlling it - the government.  This issue concerns a growing sense of entitlement pervading Windsor's city council, manifested in a disregard for even the most basic rules of corporate responsibility by one of its junior members, who would have been in high school when this "council knows best" juggernaut first began.

The library must be completely free of political influence in all ways, at all times.  This includes everything from library locations to hours of operation to the books on the shelf.  It is not an overstatement to suggest that along with the health and welfare and the policing of the citizenry,  controlling access to information is the third leg in creating the perfect dictatorship.  No one is suggesting an impending dictatorship in Windsor, however we cannot predict the behaviour of politicians not yet elected.  Not coincidentally, these three areas - Police, Public Health and the Library are protected by law from political influence under the Municipal Act.  Look it up.

In practice, it is quite another story.  Look around.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Boss, my best Customer

I had a great chat with a friend who is currently between positions.  We talked about what he is looking for.  We approached it the typical way - what can he bring to the table, what does he want, etcetera, et boring cetera.

It wasn't until I sat in on a sales webinar yesterday that the answer to his, and my career satisfaction fell into my lap.  The moderator asked the question, "who is your ideal, perfect customer?"  I wonder if most salespeople ever take the time to ask themselves that question, or are we just scrambling to find anyone who'll buy our product?

Sometimes, especially during times of unemployment or under-employment it feels like we're using the same shotgun approach.  Who will hire us (buy our wares)?  But what if we asked the question, "who is my perfect customer?" (the employer is essentially a customer who "buys" our time and talent).

And so my friend is making up his wishlist of traits he is looking to find in a future employer.  He has no plans to sell out to the lowest bidder, to those who don't qualify, or to the first one to come along.  On his list, so far:
  • a company with a clear sense of purpose, direction and raison d'etre
  • integrity at the top, uncompromising integrity expected throughout the organization
  • a growing company, not one that is just hanging on to the status quo, or managing a downward slide
  • a product or service he can be proud of
  • etc.  (it's a work in progress)
No mention of what he brings to the table, yet.  That's a different discussion and a different sales job altogether, one not to be wasted on people and companies that don't qualify as his "ideal customer".