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May 17, 2011

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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From the desk of Bob Meyer... 05/17/2011

NATE Convention Coming June 2 Thru 5

Trade exchange owners and others involved in the commercial barter industry will be gathering June 2-5 at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa Hotel for the National Association of Trade Exchanges annual convention.

To register, e-mail Lauren@natebarter.com or go to www.NATEBarter.com.

Small Business Owners Fearful & Defensive

Small business owners won’t start spending again until they’re more certain of a payoff. Today, rather than spending to expand (as the economy improves) they are saving cash and biding their time, just in case the economy turns south again.

College Grads Treading Water Too

According to job placement firm Adecco, about 60% of recent college graduates have not been able to find a full-time job in their chosen profession. Last year the unemployment rate for college graduates age 24 and younger rose to 9.4%, the highest since the labor department began keeping records in 1985.

Barter For Perks Suggests CEO

Avidian Technologies of Redmond (WA) trades its software through trade exchanges for employee perks, says CEO James Wong. An example was getting 4 tickets to the Seattle Symphony for each of Avidian’s 35 employees. (The company also traded directly with a local restaurant for a Christmas party that would have set them back $5,000.)

All back issues of "From the Desk...” can be accessed by clicking here.

(Please feel free to forward our newsletter to your friends and colleagues. We have a “box” at the end of the newsletter for your convenience. See you next week. . .)

Remembering David Wallach

By Bob Meyer

In last week’s issue we reprinted IRTA’s announcement on David Wallach’s passing. Wallach was 72 and had put forth a relentless, unwavering five-year battle against inoperable lung cancer. I remember our first conversation after he had been told the dire news that he had six months to live.

He didn’t accept the 6-month prognosis, choosing instead to immediately fly to the renowned cancer clinic, M.D. Anderson in Houston, for a second opinion and various options. Those initial months turned to years as he determinedly squeezed as much living out of them as possible. 

We often talked over the intervening years, comparing notes and suggestions, as well as reminiscing about our love of the barter business, our earlier years, our travels and experiences. (When battling cancer one tends to become introspective.)

I looked forward to our chats as Wallach was consistently upbeat, interesting and very focused on being productive in his remaining time here, even while undergoing his debilitating chemotherapy treatments. After his initial prognosis, he served almost two terms (4 years) as President of the International Reciprocal Trade Association.

He reiterated time and again that “these days are some of the happiest and fulfilling times in my life.” He was very grateful for his many friends and the great support system around him that he lovingly embraced. Wallach never took his friends or his condition for granted. And, in helping others, his life was significant.


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Artist Using Barter To Start Over

Celebrated Montana landscape artist, publisher and restaurateur Russell Chatham told the San Francisco Chronicle that he's left Montana and returned to his home in West Marin in hopes of painting his way out of financial ruin.

“My sole possessions in this universe are 10 gray T-shirts and three pairs of overalls,” says Chatham, according to reporter Sam Whiting, who adds that barter has become Chatham's favored means of commerce.

In short, Chatham made some bad investments in Livingston real estate. His artwork is still in high demand, but he hasn't painted in years and has no inventory to sell. It's not the first time Chatham’s hit a rough patch, but this blow is enough to have him leave Montana behind.

“I’m probably going to end up with foreclosures, and there’s nothing I can do about it,” he’s quoted as saying. “I’m probably going to have to reconstruct my life here (in California). 

The most telling example of Montana in his rear view: He’s working on a memoir about fishing. But it’s not about Montana’s treasured waterways — it's about fishing the San Francisco Bay.


Is Your Trade Exchange Missing Out On Valuable New Business?

If your barter company’s listing on BarterNews.com isn’t current, you are definitely missing out on new business. The web site BarterNews.com receives heavy traffic — with over 150,000 page-views every month. Entrepreneurs and corporate executives check the thousands of articles, the weekly “Tuesday Report,” and the “Contacts Section” of our site. They use the latter to find barter companies with which to do business.

Is your barter company’s listing up-to-date?

To keep your listing current is very easy. See the links below to (A) update any changes to your company’s listing, such as new location, phone number, web site or other information, and (B) if your company has not been listed.

Here’s how to get on board:

To make changes to your listing click here.

For new listings click here.


Trade-Dollar Personal Use Can Enhance Your Lifestyle

Once trade dollars have been transferred to an account for personal use and accounted for properly, the enjoyment of spending them to enhance your personal lifestyle begins. Many use trade dollars for travel and entertainment, restaurants, home and auto repairs, furniture, day care, remodeling, health and medical services, dry cleaning, haircuts, or gift buying.  The best part of all is being able to make purchases without the need to spend cash.


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25 Years Of BarterNews Issues Now In Digital Format

Welcome to the largest repository of barter contacts, strategies, and barter techniques in the world. All 64 issues of BarterNews now available in digital format at http://www.barternews-ezine.com.


The FIT FACTOR

By Jim Beqaj

Like a sports team, your organization is only as good as the weakest link: Sport focuses on talent that fits because winning depends on it.

Organizations need to connect what success looks like from the point of view of the CEO and board on the one hand, to what success looks like at every level, in every job, of the organization on the other. They need to thoroughly assess what each job must do for the company to succeed and ask whether the person in the job can deliver.

If this isn’t done at every level and for every position, then the level of success defaults to the weakest fit in the structure. And like a sports team, your business will be left behind the competition.

I often ask CEOs if they’re prepared to get rid of the people who don’t fit and don’t buy into the requirements for success. Interestingly, they often say they’re afraid if they do they won’t be able to find enough of the right people. That is unfounded. From my experience as an executive recruiter, there is no lack of talent out there. The problem stems from not properly defining fit, and from not knowing what to look for.

A couple of years ago I met with a senior executive who had recently become head of a business unit in a large company. Stephen was concerned about major changes he needed to make in his unit. During the recent market downturn, it had become clear that the unit wasn’t contributing to the company’s bottom line.

As his recruitment advisor, I asked for more details and he filled me in on how he was planning to get his employees behind him to support and execute a major change in strategy. “How’s the depth of talent in your organization?” I asked. “Do you have the people you need to successfully execute your strategy?”

We went through his company’s organizational structure. I asked more questions about the people in each position. By the time we were finished, Stephen let out a sigh.

“Wow. I’ve got a bigger mess than I thought,” he said. “I’ve been looking at the business and the people, but I’ve never looked closely at what is needed in each job to succeed. Obviously I’m going to have to review many positions and change some people if I expect to achieve real change.”

Stephen’s problem is all too common in organizations today — he had been ignoring fit. He had not defined success, position by position. He had not determined whether the person in each position fit his unit’s requirements for success

Some companies get it right. General Electric under Jack Welch’s leadership, for example. Also Isadore Sharp’s Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, where employee retention — an average of fifteen years for employees and twenty-two years for management — tells the tale.

But the majority of organizations have much work to do. Most are filled with capable people with plenty of talent, but who are in the wrong jobs within the organization. Sustained success is not possible for a company with too many wrong fits.

Putting people in the right positions is an ongoing process in business. Companies aren’t ever going to reach perfection, but it’s important for them to try. CEOs need to understand that getting the right fit — the right people in the right positions in the right parts of the company — is good for everyone.

The first question for management relates to the job, not the person. Before you ask questions about any particular person in any particular job — or a new person being recruited — you have to decide what success looks like in the position, given the goals of the CEO, board, and senior leadership.

I’m not talking about a standard job description here; I’m talking about a description of success. It’s not, primarily, about what a person will do (“lead,” “head up,” “be responsible for”) but what the outcomes must be (“one million in sales,” “10% growth,” “10% increase in throughput”).

I always ask, “What are the skills and personality type of the person that is needed to generate the outcomes in this particular job?” This is part of a broader examination of growth strategy and human capital and how they mesh in a corporation.

After management has defined what success looks like in different positions, it should examine the profiles of the people in those positions, evaluating them on the basis of the skills, characteristics, and experience required.

These profiles must be done independently of the people who currently fill them. Knowledge of and feelings for an incumbent will create an inherent bias. Jobs too often get defined according to the incumbent’s skills and personality, rather than as a result of objective analysis.

Step back and ask the next critical questions: “What does the ideal person look like in this job? What would they need to be good at? What skills would they have? What specific traits would they have? What type of people would they need to work well with?”

You won’t always find the ideal fit, but knowing what’s needed for success will help you determine what the organization can do to supplement and support the person who is the best available fit.

More often than not you’ll see that people have been “moved up” to fill positions with little or no evaluation of their fit. They may have been good in the previous job. However, as we all know, success in one position doesn’t automatically mean success in the next position. And yet, this type of move is made over and over. Why?

Because it’s easier.

As a manager, you have to be prepared to put fit before almost anything else. If you don’t, you’ll get yourself leveraged into a boatload of dysfunction, negativity, and underperformance.

Start with a clear description of success for the position and then create the ideal description of the person who can meet the requirements for success. That defines the best fit. Go out and find the right person 

[Jim Beqaj began his career in investment banking in 1977 with the investment banking firm Wood Gundy, and at age 37 ended up president of CIBC Wood Gundy after WG was purchased by CIBC. He subsequently worked as vice-chairman of the Bank of Montreal and co-founded the Internet-based IPO company Baystreetdirect.com. In 2002 he founded Beqaj International, Inc., providing recruiting, coaching, and business consulting services. Beqaj’s book How to Hire the Perfect Employer is available for purchase at all major online bookselling outlets.]

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The Growth and Use of Secondary Capital (New Money) Creates Unprecedented Wealth In Today’s New Age Of Possibility

There are many forms of secondary capital—which can be defined as any financial instrument that measures and communicates value in a common language. Would you like to see and learn more about the many forms of secondary capital?

 We have 70 free, informative and inspiring, articles for you in our “Secondary Capital Section.”

Check it out... www.barternews.com/secondary_capital.htm.


Get New Money-Making Ideas And Valuable Contacts!

You can obtain useful, informative ideas and contacts in every available back-issue of BarterNews.


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