Friday, September 16, 2016

Don’t Take No for an Answer

By Bob Sherby
      Financial Consultant

Many years ago when I was CFO for an investment management subsidiary of AIG, I thought I had a very good idea and went to the president of the company and suggested that we start doing securities lending to add incremental income to our investment portfolios. He said “Bob, I don’t want to put $100 million of securities at risk to make $100,000.”

I really had no answer for him at that time so I just said okay. I really thought it was a great idea but I didn’t know anything about how securities lending worked. I had several banks pitching the idea to me so I told them they had to teach me all about securities lending and the risks involved. Then I asked them how those risks could be addressed. When I was comfortable about all of the risks, I prepared a paper that identified the three major risks and how they could be addressed to mitigate any potential losses.

I went back to my boss and asked for some of his time. I explained that I still thought securities lending was a good idea and told him that I had identified the risks involved and how those could be addressed with our securities lending agreement. Eliminating the risks would cut some of the potential income but we could still make some good incremental income. He said, okay, you’ve convinced me. Do it.

I met with the portfolio managers involved and explained how it would work and that it wouldn’t restrict any of their trading as long as the banks got timely notice of the trades. I then met with the investment accounting people and explained the accounting to them.

After starting with one portfolio of assets, we made over $1 million in additional income the following year. After adding other portfolios, we ended up making over $8 million in the first three years of the program with no losses on securities.

If I had accepted no for the original answer, nothing would have been done. The value to me was the satisfaction that came with accomplishing something positive. Oh, and my boss added me to a bonus program that had been set up for portfolio managers.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Interviewing is Like Riding a Bike

Author: John Dix
               Trainer, Facilitator & Strategist

“Four Stages for Learning Any New Skill”, the theory was developed at Gordon Training International:
  • Unconscious Incompetence
  • Conscious Incompetence
  • Conscious Competence
  • Unconscious Competence
Think about when you were a child, never having been on a bike, watching your older sibling riding away, effortlessly.  You said to yourself, “sure I can do that”.  So you jumped right on and off you went, straight to the pavement!  You successfully demonstrated the first stage of learning a new skill- unconscious incompetence.  You were completely unaware that you lacked the skills necessary to successfully ride a bike.

Now think about your first interview for that job you were confident you were qualified.  It wasn’t until you were in the interview that you became aware that you lacked the skills necessary to be successful- unconscious incompetence.

Now back to riding the bike.  After you picked yourself off the pavement, attended to your injuries, you sought the advice of that older sibling who shared with you the basic skills necessary to successfully ride that bike.  Keep peddling, maintain balance and move forward.  With that advice you realized your own incompetence- the next stage of learning a new skill- conscious incompetence.
After the interview, you take notice of your failures, of the lack of skills to be successful and what you could do better to leave your interviewer with a better impression.  Perhaps you sought advice from a trusted friend or coach.

And you took those observations for riding the bike and doing the interview, the next time you attempted either activity and you consciously demonstrate them- conscious competence.
And you practice, practice and more practice- until it becomes second nature- unconscious competence.  Achieving an unconscious level of competence may be a far-fetched goal, but one that must nonetheless be sought.  And it will only come through practice, preparation and persistence.

For an interview:
  • Unconscious Incompetence - you are not aware that you lack the skills to succeed in creating a value statement
  • Conscious Incompetence - you recognize the gaps and seek advice and assistance in bridging the gaps
  • Conscious Competence - your next interview goes much better as you concentrate on your improvement opportunities
  • Unconscious Competence - after many interview, these newly learned skills are innate, effortless and really portray the value you bring to that organization.
Practice, preparation and learn from your mistakes.  You’ll land in no time!