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Riversand Hires York Richards as Chief Financial Officer

Riversand Technologies, a worldwide provider of Master Data Management (MDM), Product Information Management (PIM) and Data Quality solutions, today announced the hiring of York Richards as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Richards joins Riversand’s Executive team with over 15 years of experience in the field of software accounting and finance. Having served in similar roles at several technology companies, Mr. Richards will be responsible for overall financial operations and reporting for Riversand.


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Five Stupid Rules That Drive Great Employees Away

“by Liz Ryan,”

It is hard to unlearn the messages that we have heard repeated since we were children. One of them is “Business is a stiff and formal place. To be human and spontaneous is fun, but it isn’t professional!”

Some organizations understand the connection between passion and performance, but a lot of them missed that memo completely. They run their organizations like prison camps.

I know, because my inbox fills up every day with mail from folks who could get a demerit for coming back three minutes late from lunch — and I’m talking about Knowledge Workers!

Some CEOs are out of touch. Their HR leaders might try to get them to wake up and smell the new-millennium talent market coffee, but self-delusion is a powerful drug.

Sometimes it takes a shock — a wave of top employees hitting the bricks and going to work for your competitors, for instance — to deliver the message “The only way you can keep great employees in the company is by treating them like great employees.”

If you are the person delivering this person, try not to add an extra “Duh!” at the end.

Here are five truly idiotic HR policies that will keep your best employees racing for the exits the minute they get the chance — and keep you re-filling the same positions over and over until somebody pulls the needle out of your chief executive’s arm.

Industrial Revolution-Era Attendance Policies

You can’t hire Knowledge Workers, give them meaty problems to solve and then watch their comings and goings as though they were kids being dropped off at daycare. They are adults, for starters, and beyond that you hired them.

You could have hired anybody. Presumably your hiring process is thorough. Why would you hire people you don’t trust? Don’t you trust yourself enough to hire great people?

If somebody works after hours in the evening you should expect to see them arriving late the next morning. You don’t have to track those hours. If you’re tracking hours for salaried employees, you are unclear on the concept of a salary.

Insulting Performance Review Processes

It’s high time we got rid of all individual performance reviews. They are pointless and a huge waste of time, but some review processes are more insulting than others.

If you give your managers a bell curve and tell them that only a certain percentage of employees can be rated top performers, another percentage average performers and so on, then you are literally designing mediocrity into your team. Is that what you want?

Stack ranking is an abomination and the opposite of a leadership practice, since it pits employees against one another instead of encouraging collaboration.

You don’t need any of this nonsense to run your business. Talk about goals and progress whenever you want. Talk about learning from mistakes whenever it makes sense. Annual reviews have long outlived any utility they ever had as a leadership tool.

Manager’s-Choice Transfer And Promotion Policies

Painfully slowly leaders at large and small organizations are learning that you can legislate almost anything, but that doesn’t mean you control it.

Most large and many medium-sized organizations still have policies in place that require an employee who wants to apply for a different job in the company to get his or her manager’s approval first.

Any person with three functioning brain cells can instantly think of plenty of good reasons why a manager might prevent a qualified and eager employee from moving into another job.

It’s a pain in the neck to replace a key employee. You might want to keep a great person on your team to boost your own chances at getting promoted.

If you’re a great employee and you want to leave your department, your manager might block your transfer or promotion.

Why would anybody give managers total control over their team members’ career advancement?

All a frustrated employee has to do is say “Oh, well – thanks for considering it, anyway” to the boss who refused to sign his transfer application and immediately get his resume out on the street.

Now the company will lose the great employee altogether. Is that smart?

HR people working together with your employees should arrange transfer and promotion interviews. If an employee doesn’t get the job he applied for, his or her manager never even needs to know about it. If s/he gets the job, the manager can be brought into the loop at that point.

Click to read more ...


8 Ways to Effectively Communicate With Clients

“by Jennifer Lonoff Schiff,”

It used to be (back before the Internet, smartphones and social media) that if you wanted or needed to speak to a client, you picked up the phone – or you sent her a letter. Today, however, there are many ways to communicate with clients. However, not every method is right for every situation or for every client. Indeed, choose the wrong communication strategy and you could wind up alienating valuable clients.

To help you navigate the various options, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular, and effective, communication methods (listed alphabetically) and included advice from client communication experts regarding when and how to use each one.

Top 8 client communication methods

1. Email. Email allows you to “communicate in a way that respects the client’s time and attention, as both are scarce resources,” says Anne Janzer, an author and marketing consultant. “That means sending short email messages, with the most important content in the first sentence and a clear subject line [as] some people never read past the first line of any email.”

Email is particularly good “where multiple parties need to be kept in the loop on something,” adds Adam Weissman, account supervisor, Max Borges Agency, a communications and digital strategy firm. “Plus, with email, there is always a record that is easily searchable.”

2. Newsletters. “It seems rather counterintuitive but we actually send a paper copy of a newsletter to our clients,” says Nick Espinosa, CIO, BSSi2, an IT services company. “I thought this was a bad move when we first tried it, but I was amazed at how many responded asking questions about articles. And I have actually spotted our newsletter on the desks of our clients!”

3. Phone. “When one needs to work with a client in detail and manage the nuances of the conversation, a phone call is still the best communication channel,” says John Kinskey, founder and president, AccessDirect, which provides virtual PBX phone systems. “At times a staff member will forward to me an email chain from a client and ask me how to respond. I say ‘pick up the phone!’”

Indeed, while good for certain types of communication, “email responses at certain points can become counterproductive,” he says, and can lead to misunderstandings. “With a phone call (using a VoIP desk phone) we have a chance to show that we care about solving a client issue quickly, along with apologizing for any misunderstanding,” he explains.

“We use email to keep a recorded history of client requests, but all of our client follow-up and engagement is done by phone,” says Espinosa. “As an IT service corporation we are following up with clients roughly 24 to 48 hours after work is completed. Our phone communication is constant and we consistently receive excellent reviews from clients,” he reports. “I personally use between 3,000 to 4,000 minutes a month on the phone, and it really pays off.”

4. Skype (or Google Hangouts). “For regular communications, we try to maintain a weekly or bi-weekly Skype call with clients, with or without video (based on need and bandwidth

Click to read more ...


8 Ways Emotionally Intelligent People Deal With Toxic People

“by Drew Hendricks,”

Life is stressful enough for most of us. Allowing a toxic individual to ravage your immediate environment can cause havoc in your mental well-being, which can lead to physical challenges.

A bad state of mind not only affects your physical well-being but makes it difficult for you to respond calmly under pressure. Ninety percent of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions, so your ability to perform effectively can be affected if you do not adopt strategies that will allow you to deal with toxic people.

1. Successful People Establish Boundaries

There is a fine line between being friendly and allowing somebody to lead you down a path that jeopardizes your ability to remain effective. Successful people understand this and do not allow the toxic among them to take charge, but rather choose to set effective boundaries.

2. No One Limits Their Joy

How much do the words of those around you affect your state of mind? Successful people have mastered the ability to ensure that the negative remarks of others do not affect their strong sense of accomplishment. Toxic people like to break you down with rude, hurtful comments, and gain satisfaction from watching you fall apart.

Learn to react less to the opinions of others, especially those you know do not have your well-being at heart.

3. They Have Mastered the Art of Rising Above

I learned this from John Rampton from Due when he was on stage at TC Disrupt. “By mastering the act of rising above, successful people are able to remain rational and calm in the presence of the irrational and chaotic. They master rising above the rest, no matter what the circumstance,” Rampton said.

4. They Are Solution Focused

Click to read more ...


9 Of The Worst Mistakes You Can Ever Make At Work

“By Travis Bradberry,”

We’ve all heard of (or seen firsthand) people doing some pretty crazy things at work.

Truth is, you don’t have to throw a chair through a window or quit in the middle of a presentation to cause irreparable damage to your career.

No matter how talented you are or what you’ve accomplished, there are certain behaviors that instantly change the way people see you (and forever cast you in a negative light).

The following list contains nine of the most notorious behaviors that you should avoid at all costs.

1. Telling Lies

So many lies begin with good intentions—people want to protect themselves or someone else—but lies have a tendency to grow and spread until they’re discovered, and once everyone knows that you’ve lied, there’s no taking it back.

Getting caught up in a lie, no matter how small, is exhausting and hard on your self-esteem. You have to be authentic if you want to be happy with who you are.

2. Gossiping

People make themselves look terrible when they get carried away with gossiping about other people. Wallowing in talk of other people’s misdeeds or misfortunes may end up hurting their feelings if the gossip finds its way to them, but gossiping will make you look negative and spiteful every time, guaranteed.

3. Announcing That You Hate Your Job

The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person and brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.

4. Having an Emotional Hijacking

My company provides 360° feedback and executive coaching, and we come across far too many instances of people throwing things, screaming, making people cry, and other telltale signs of an emotional hijacking.

An emotional hijacking demonstrates low emotional intelligence, and it’s

Click to read more ...


Leadership Lesson From a Seven Year Old

“by Rick Houcek,”

If we’re paying close attention, a powerful leadership lesson can jump out at us at any moment, often from an unlikely source.  

Got one the other day — by surprise — out of the blue — from our 7-yr. old granddaughter.  

To set the stage…  

My wife and I — we’re Papa and Nana — are having dinner with my daughter, son-in-law, and their 2 adorable girls… Abby 7, and Alana, 3.  

Alana is acting up throughout dinner.  It starts out being cute, gets louder, more raucous.  Before long it gets old, won’t stop, becomes annoying.  You know, typical kid stuff.  Begging for attention.  Nothing unusual.  

Finally, her dad says, “Alana, that’s enough, time to stop.”  No change.  

Dad:  “Alana, don’t make me come over there.”  She continues.  

“Alana, if I have to come over there, you won’t like it.”  She’s a bit wary now, but still, she continues.  This back-and-forth tug-of-war goes on for a minute or two.  

Dad continues to threaten:  “I’m coming over there!”  To no avail.  Alana watches his eyes, but still pushes his buttons.  

My wife and I sit in silence, watching, listening.  We’re on the sidelines of this duel

Click to read more ...


Hit the Pause Button Before it Hits You

“by Lolly Daskal,”

 As a coach I meet a lot of impressive leaders. Many of them work hard and put in very long hours, always pushing themselves to the limit. At some point they fall into risk of serious health issues or find themselves not making the smartest choices. And when that happens, leadership becomes challenging. Leaders push themselves because they believe the more they give the better their leadership. They don’t want to seem nonproductive. In time it becomes a vicious cycle, a never-ending worry that they’re not doing enough. But a big part of leading is learning the balance between doing and being.

 The secret is knowing when to hit the pause button. It may seem counterintuitive, but the more pauses you take the more productive you become—and the more effective you can be as a leader. So when should you hit the pause button? When your standards of excellence are slipping. If you find yourself not meeting your usual standards, it’s time to pause and reevaluate what is going wrong so you can get your performance back on track. When you’re seriously angry. The right words are good, but nothing has ever been more effective than a well-timed pause. When you feel like a keg of dynamite just about to go off, slow down and take a short pause—count ten breaths, maybe—instead of responding immediately. When you want to be more productive.

 The best way to be more productive is to take time to reassess what you are doing

Click to read more ...


5 Job Interview Deal Breakers

“by, Neil Amato,”

A new survey reveals what should be obvious to job-seekers but apparently isn’t: The most likely way to bungle your chance with a potential employer is by checking your smartphone during an interview.

Seventy-seven per cent of advertising and marketing executives said it was likely they’d remove a person from consideration if the person used his or her phone during an interview, according to a survey by Robert Half affiliate The Creative Group.

Showing up late and not acknowledging the tardiness was chosen as a deal-breaker by 70% of the executives. The other top ways for your job interview to have an unhappy ending: not bringing requested items, such as a CV or references (also chosen by 70%); wearing improper attire (69%); and speaking poorly of a past employer (62%).

Technology is a hurdle not only for job-seekers but also for those who already have a job. Nearly two-thirds of chief information officers in a 2013 survey said increased use of mobile devices had led to more breaches in workplace etiquette at their organisations.

Click to read more ...


4 Better Ways to Answer "Why Are You Leaving Your Job?"

“by Lily Zhang,”

Hiring managers are just people, and people are naturally curious. That means at some point during the interview, you’re going to get the question, “So, why are you leaving your current job?”

Obviously, you want to be honest in an interview. You’re leaving your job for a reason. But you should really try your best to refrain from being negative. Focus on what you have to look forward to, not what you’re leaving behind. To give you an idea of what I mean, here are four fairly blunt reasons why you might be job searching, and how to translate them into tactful responses.

1. You Want to Make More Money

Who doesn’t wish they were paid more? It’s a completely normal thing, but perhaps not the best to bring up during an interview —at least not until the hiring manager is more invested in you.

Here’s what to say instead:

During my three years at LBD, I had the opportunity to really develop a strong skill set in data analysis, quantitative reasoning, and programming. And, while it was a great learning experience and I enjoyed contributing to the team, I’m ready to join a company that values my skills and allows me to use them more fully.

2. Your Boss Is a Jerk

There’s no other way to put it: You have a terrible boss. Mention briefly and neutrally that you two are on separate tracks and move on. Wrap it up with something positive about the company.

Here’s how to phrase it:

I realized the leadership of my team was going in a different direction, and I’m interested in working in a more collaborative environment. It was a hard decision to make because I love the mission of the company, but I ultimately think this is the right choice.

3. You Want to Get Promoted

This is probably the tamest reason to be job searching. In fact, even the blunt version is more or less fine. But, if you want to go into a bit more detail, you can definitely put a positive spin on the answer.

Here’s how to say it:

I’m ready for the next challenge in my career. I loved the people I worked with and the projects I worked on, but at some point I realized I wasn’t being challenged the way I used to be. Rather than let myself get too comfortable, I decided to pursue a position where I can continue to grow.

4. Your Job Is Just Generally Crappy

Sugarcoat a turd, and it’s still a turd. Rather than try to make your job sound less awful than it is, focus instead on the one or two things that drew you to that position, how it was ultimately a bad fit, and what you look forward to in a new role.

Here’s how to put it politely:

I was really excited to start in a role that worked so closely with local wildlife and contributed to such a meaningful cause. I think, because of that, I neglected to learn more about the actual ins and outs of the company. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t a good cultural fit. Since then I’ve been seeking a role in a company that values transparency, one where I can continue to make an impact.

Notice how all of these responses have at least one thing that’s positive about the interviewee’s previous role? You don’t get any points for recounting each and every flaw of your last supervisor. Your best bet is to take the high road and look to the future.



Integrity: The Cornerstone of Great Leadership

“by John Manning,”

Turn on your TV. Tap your news app. Scan the paper’s stories of the day. It seems that everywhere you turn, a lot of the news points to leaders who are either struggling with or striving to prove their integrity.

No doubt, you may feel like integrity is at stake nowadays. Just think of what’s at the heart of the banter taking place among the 2016 presidential hopefuls. Or, consider how the resignation of high-profile executives due to integrity-related issues almost seems like an everyday affair. While integrity may seem like a virtue of the past, for truly Disciplined Leaders, it’s a value of the present and a guiding principle for the future of their organizations, their communities and even the world.

What exactly is “integrity”? It’s about being honest in all you say and do. In the realm of business and leadership, honesty is a strategy for achieving success, or a way to do things in a moral, ethical manner. It’s also a characteristic of Disciplined Leaders, or those who consistently excel at using the right mindset and actions to inspire transformation and drive results.

Many modern leaders assess their values, usually in an exercise that’s

Click to read more ...


7 Tips For A Winning Job Interview

“by Jorg Stegemann,”

Congratulations! With the invitation to your first job interview, you have taken the first step in finding a new job.

Based on the skills in your resume, your potential new Manager has decided that you should be able to do the job. Good news: it is now “only” about the personal impression you will make.

Here are 7 tips for a winning job interview:

  1. You only get one chance to make a first impression: be on time, dress accordingly to your industry codes. Be likable, dynamic and positive. Show 120% of your personality and not only 80%. Apply a firm handshake (as if you hold a tennis racket) and maintain straight eye contact. Be authentic and show your utmost best. You are the only one suitable for this position!
  2. Go into the meeting with a pen and a writing pad (I am often asked “can I take notes?”). You would do that for any other important meeting with your boss too, right? Take notes during the interview (rule of thumb: write down all figures and data). Not taking notes will be interpreted as a lack of interest in 9 out of 10 cases.
  3. Read the homepage carefully and maybe print out some pages. Everyone will recognize the logo of his/ her company and notice you have come prepared. Google the firm. You should have every accessible information before going into the interview (market, history, number of employees, revenues). One of the first questions may be “what do you know about us?” and you have to be able to give a qualified response. Also investigate the people you will meet with. Do they have a profile on LinkedIn or even Facebook? Print it and put it to the other print-outs and you will impress your opposite.
  4. Your meeting will usually take 60 minutes and has 3 parts: 1) your opposite will present his/ her company, department and values, 2) You present yourself, 3) You both go into the job specifics and define the next steps. Be very attentive in the first part! You will get a lot of valuable information which you should focus on when it’s your turn. Focus on similarities as this is all about similarities (tasks and values). Confirm when you agree, listen actively (such as “that matters to me too”, “I know this from…”, “Yes, when I was at ABC, we had a similiar challenge and I did this and that”).
  5. Never say “what are my tasks” but “what would the tasks be”? Use “would” instead of “will”.
  6. You will prove your competence with the questions you ask – or your incompetence! Ask the exact tasks, the status quo of the department, the biggest challenges, what they are looking for in a candidate or simply what kind of person is successful in this company. Do NOT ask for salary, benefits, canteen or else (in almost 15 years in this industry, I have heard all of this). What is the purpose of this first meeting? To define if you want to see each other again. Don’t use all your questions today and let them ask you about salary etc. (however, DON’T ask for the canteen unless you apply as a chef…).
  7. Positive ending: give positive feedback at the end of the interview if you would like to have the job. Choose your own words and something like “Thanks for the pleasant meeting. I like what I heard and saw and I am confident I could fill the role. I am very interested in this job and would be pleased to meet you again soon. What is the next step?”


Be natural and honest. There should be no surprise on the technical side if your resume is written properly. Be yourself and the the result will be a good one – whatever it will be.


The first step in getting a new job is taken. You should now pay attention at:

  • The first impression: a firm hand-shake, steady eye contact, professional outfit and manners as well as a good preparation
  • The second impression: clever questions, notes, active listening, soft skills
  • The third impression: a conclusion with your commitment to take this job as well as your confidence to be successful


Good luck!

PS: when choosing a job, match the art and the science. The science will tell you if you can do the job, if the salary is OK etc. The art will tell you if you like the culture and the people you met. And my experience is: we can discuss the science but never the art! Trust your guts as they will never cheat you: if your guts tell you “yes”, it is yes, “no” is no and “I have to think about it” – is no as well!