Posts filed under ‘Fun Stuff’
There was a recent article posted on line from the Washington Post titled, “Why extroverts fail, introverts flounder and you probably succeed.” The article was written by Daniel H. Pink; author of “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.”
The gist of the article revolved around the mentality of successful sales people, comparing extroverts to introverts and learning which of those personality traits experienced the most sales success. Specifically noted by the author was a meta-analysis of 35 studies of 4,000 sales people. This analysis revealed limited parallels between extroversion and sales success.
“The conventional view that extroverts make the finest salespeople is so accepted that we’ve overlooked one teensy flaw: There’s almost no evidence it’s actually true”
Of course, the opposite does not hold true either, but no one expected that, right?
The article referenced recent study done by the University of Pennsylvania tha identified the fact that the most successful sales people were actually ambiverts; that is, someone with a personality falls between the stereotypical engineer with taped glasses and a pocket protector crunching calculations behind a computer screen all day and a bull in a china shop.
I have spoke to my fair share of civil engineering executives and leaders that have risen to the top of their organization, and like in most professions, many of the most successful executives are the ones that have a track record of successfully generating strong revenues and growing business. I can honestly tell you that what Pink discussed in this article generally holds true for the civil engineering profession; that is, the most successful civil engineers who have risen to the ranks of executive/principal leadership as a result of their ability to haul in business are more often than not ambiverts.
Here are a few ideas as to why ambiverts in the civil engineering profession achieve great sales success and rise to the top:
A. They don’t get too high on their wins and they don’t beat themselves down when they lose to the competition. As a leader, these traits set a great example for those beneath and keeps the ship afloat. They are for the most part enjoyable to be around and develop a sense of loyalty from their team and are well liked by their clients for their ability to be even keeled.
B. They understand their own organization, as well as clients, and have the wherewithal to understand the extrovert and introvert in everyone. They are capable of appealing to both introverts and extroverts, on both sides of the table, which often leads to win-win scenarios for everyone involved.
C. They are great listeners and are relatively humble. Outspoken professionals who pitch, pitch, pitch their services and why their company is so great without taking the time to sit back and listen to the client do not get very far. Boasting about your past successful projects proves nothing unless you are first willing to listen. So they do share successes with the clients and how they have solved problems in the past, and they are excited to, but they first listen to make sure those past examples actually relate. They are not just well-groomed sales people merely full of glossy marketing materials and power points on their ipads. They actually are capable of talking a good game because they have played on the field. They are then able to take their experiences, along with their ingenuity, and effectively communicate to clients in a manner that shows they understand.
In two words: Humbly Confident.
Based upon your experience in the civil engineering profession, would you agree or disagree that it is the ambivert that achieves the most success? Why? What other ambivert traits do you feel lead a civil engineer down the path of success?
For the 3rd consecutive year the CivilEngineeringCentral.com blog has amassed over 51,000 visitors. Even cooler is that 2012 has been our best year to date with over 55,000 visitors!!! Not too shabby considering that in 2008, the blog’s first year of existence, we had just over 16,000 visitors. That said, we could not have done it without YOU, the wonderful civil engineering community. Thanks to all of our readers for reading, sharing, contributing and commenting. The goal of this blog is to discuss a wide array of topics specifically as they relate to the civil engineering community. Typical topics include project management, civil engineering job search, hiring, civil engineering projects, education, marketing, civil engineering career paths, career advancement, client development, social networking for civil engineers, civil engineering infrastructure, licensure and certification, training and development, among many others. Pretty much anything pertaining to the civil engineering industry. The inspiration for our postings often come directly from YOU, so if you have any topics that pique your interest, or if you are interested in guest blogging yourself, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
Without further ado, the Top 10 Blog Posts of 2012 are as follows:
From all of us, to all of you, we wish you a safe & joyous holiday season and may 2013 be your BEST. YEAR. EVER.
“Age to me means nothing. I can’t get old; I’m working. I was old when I was twenty-one and out of work. As long as you’re working, you stay young. When I’m in front of an audience, all that love and vitality sweeps over me and I forget my age.” – George Burns
So last week I authored a blog titled, “From Civil Engineer to…,” which discussed some of the different careers civil engineering professionals have transitioned into as a result of being laid off in the midst of this recession. We posted this blog on dozens of LinkedIn discussion boards that generated some lively conversation and we learned of a number of folks who are now doing something new. For those that have been able to find an opportunity again within the profession, we uncovered that many of them are making less than they were prior to being laid off. But a reoccurring theme within those discussions came from those engineers with 35+ years of experience; they are frustrated with what they see as age discrimination, and as a result are not being hired…or even considered for hire. I am not here to fight the age discrimination battle as I have no desire to, nor do I have the credentials. But I would like to use this opportunity to challenge those who are 55+ (and those who are on their way) to help them become more marketable so that any thought of age discrimination is thrown out the window. Here is a sampling of some of the comments that I extracted from the elder statesmen of the civil engineering community on the discussion boards:
“It seems like such a waste that the industry has tossed so many engineers and lost a generation of knowledge and mentoring. On a more personal level, I am frustrated, feeling that two educations are not being used and that I have lost some prime earning years. “We” have always been told get a science degree or two and it will be OK, you will always be employed and live the dream. Well, that isn’t true.”
“I haven’t gone anywhere…..I am still here, water and wastewater consulting experience of 30+ years. Trying to sell my services as a sole proprietor to prospective clients, or as an experienced client manager to professional services firms is about as rewarding as selling refrigerators to Eskimos”
“However, as is obtained nowadays employers are increasingly bypassing more experienced civil engineers for younger just out of school candidates and expecting them to do senior /experienced engineer work only because they fear they can’t pay more highly experienced engineers. However they should not fear experience;”
“I am presently working with a group of seasoned professionals that can handle just about any problem with little direction. What a difference in the caliber of design product! The client knows and appreciates that quality and I am confident they will continue to use our service. Managers should be aware of the value of that quality and the little comparative cost difference as a percentage of the entire project, it represents. “
“Companies were happy to have me a few years ago, but the work seems to have dried up now I have turned 60″
“Maybe its time to start a consultancy employing only over 60s…and show the kids we’ve still got it!”
As most of you know, I have made a career out of recruiting civil engineering professionals, and these same frustrations are often conveyed to me by those professionals in the 55+ crowd. That said, I have also been successful in placing professionals who merely based upon their graduation dates or the gray hair on their head may be considered to be “over the hill.” Here are some of the single traits that I have found that makes these “silver-haired” experts look “platinum“ :
PLATINUM: They take good care of themselves physically and still find time exercise on a regular basis. When they arrive for meetings they still wear a suit…with a tie.
SILVER: They have “let themselves go” and believe that their breadth of experience is all that matters.
POINT BEING: Looks and presentation do matter, and first impressions are often, well, first impressions.
PLATINUM: They have somehow found a way to keep that “fire” burning in their belly. They continue to search for creative solutions and opportunities to differentiate themselves, and their companies, from the competition.
SILVER: They are stuck in their old ways and believe if something worked just fine a decade ago it will work fine today. They are looking to ride slowly off into the sunset.
POINT BEING: Companies and clients want innovation; they want someone who is continuously looking for ways to make things even better. They want people who enjoy taking on challenges and have the continued desire to learn and grow.
PLATINUM: They are very active in their local and national associations. That is, they seek out opportunities to present to their professional community, and when given those opportunities they are engaging and memorable. They keep up with their network and with networking…in good times and in bad.
SILVER: They limit their professional interaction to those that surround them in the office and at client meetings.
POINT BEING: You’ve heard of old adage, “location, location, location,” right? Same concept.
PLATINUM: They are flexible. That is, they are open to relocation, travel, or TDY.
SILVER: 9-5, no longer than a 30 minute commute, not willing to travel.
POINT BEING: The more flexible you are, the more opportunities exist.
PLATINUM: They have become experts in niche services (i.e. rail/transit, tunneling, process engineering, long-span bridge, ITS, green infrastructure, etc) that are subsets of a broader industry focus. They have mastered the art of Project Execution Delivery / Program Management / Operations / Business Development.
SILVER: They continue to hold Project Manager roles on bread-and-butter projects.
POINT BEING: Do you know how many Land Development Project Managers there are?
PLATINUM: They are mentors; and memorable and effective ones at that.
SILVER: Focuses purely on themselves.
POINT BEING: People you mentor will remember you when opportunities arise. Business owners will hire you to mentor their younger staff so they can more on driving sales. Companies will hire you to fill the gap between the existing aging leadership and the next generation of leaders. Catch my drift?
PLATINUM: They have found / earned their way into larger and higher profile projects which increase their industry exposure…and they have experienced success.
SILVER: They are constantly content and show no desire to grow or be challenged.
POINT BEING: Are you a tortoise running a marathon, or are you a rabbit looking for the next sprinting race? And if you are the tortoise in the marathon, are you willing to turn on the after-burners from time-to-time?
It’s no secret that there are plenty of companies out there who shy away from hiring those professionals with “too much experience (wink, wink).” And for or many companies, there are valid reasons why they are not willing to hire someone with 35+ years of experience. No matter what the perception or reality may or may not be on this topic, my desire is to share some of my insight that comes from nearly 16 years of experience in recruiting AEC professionals. With all the “platinum” and “silver” in this blog, my hope is that I have provided you with a little nugget of GOLD that may make a difference for you or someone you know.
And in line with the quote at the beginning of this blog, may vitality sweep over YOU and may potential employers forget about YOUR age.
Comments and lively discussion always welcome.
With the recent recession beginning to fade further in the rear view mirror, many civil engineering firms are struggling to find available talent. As the economy improves and we are beginning to conduct searches in regions or specialty areas (i.e. land development) that we have distanced ourself from over the past few years, we have found that many of the civil engineering professionals we used to network with on a regular basis have disappeared into thin air. Not really. But they have left the civil engineering consulting industry in order to make ends meet after being laid off. Rather than scouring the country for available opportunities only to compete with dozens of other candidates who share their same story, they chose to do something different. So without further ado, here are some great examples that we have unearthed from our national network of civil engineering professionals…
…they have gone from civil engineer to:
- Middle School Science Teacher
- Youth Minister
- Leather Apparel / Accessory Manufacturer and Retailer
- Real Estate Agent
- Home Remodeling Contractor / Business Owner
- Microbrewery Owner
- Equipment Manufacturing Sales Rep
- Civil Engineering Software Sales Rep
- Corporate Real Estate Development
Most, if not all of these people were FORCED out of the industry and had no other options. But as a result, they uncovered new skills and a new passion for something completely different that provides food for the family, and for some, food for the soul!
Maybe they had one foot out the door anyway regarding
their level of interest in their civil engineering career, but none-the-less,
these people made lemonade out of lemons.
Please share with our readership any career transitions that you or your civil engineering peers have made as a result of being laid off. Was it worth it? Or was that transition just a stop gap until such a time that a suitable opportunity presents itself back in civil engineering? Please let us know, we would love to hear from you!
Earlier this year I posted a blog regarding the infrastructure boom in Brazil with the anticipation of the World Cup for Soccer and for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The amount of infrastructure engineering and construction required to satisfy the masses is an amazing feat to me.
As you know, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games recently concluded and The Institute of Civil Engineers has produced a video titled, “Engineering the Olympic Park.”
If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, I would highly recommend taking a look at this video; if it does not give you a sense of pride as an engineer, or if you are a future engineer and it does not inspire you, I am not sure what will.
Imagine trying to deliver a project the magnitude of an Olympic Village in a major city with all its day-to-day operations, and imagine delivering the project where pushing back the final deadline is absolutely not an option. On top of it the Olympic Village was built mainly on a post-industrial brownfield site which presents many challenges in-and-of itself. The team that delivered this project did so safely, on time and on budget.
To give you a sense of the magnitude of this project, Howard Shiplee, Director of Construction for the Olympic Delivery Authority says this in the video:
“In order to successfully deliver the Olympics you have to mobilize your nation as if you were going to war.”
Take a look at this video that showcases to the world what engineers are capable of!
Featured Guest Blogger: Anthony Fasano, P.E., LEED AP, ACC
Civil Engineer, Author, Coach and Speaker
Author of Engineer Your Own Success: 7 Key Elements to Creating an Extraordinary Engineering Career
Anthony is also the author of a FREE e-mail service for engineers called A Daily Boost from Your Professional Partner. Click here to read about this service.
This is a guest blog post by Anthony Fasano, P.E. Anthony is a civil engineer, engineering career coach, bestselling author and founder of Powerful Purpose Associates.
Anthony is giving away a special webinar for CivilEngineeringCentral.com readers on his Powerful Purpose Associates website. Read until the end of the post to find out how to get it.
WARNING: You most likely will have to work on more than one project at a time in your civil engineering career, except for maybe the first few years.
I remember when I first graduated from school, I started doing structural engineering because it seemed cool to me at the time and I didn’t even know what site engineering was yet, which would eventually be my chosen discipline. I was designing the footings and abutments for a bridge. The design lasted for months (it felt like years) and I couldn’t wait for the next project. If I had to sketch out one more rebar layout, I was going to jump off a bridge (no pun intended).
Fast-forward about 10 years, I was now an associate partner at a reputable engineering firm, heading up their private/site development engineering department. The department wasn’t too big, maybe 10 people or so, however I found myself managing 15 to 20 projects at one time. 15 to 20 projects meant 15 to 20 clients, 15 to 20 budgets, 15 to 20 bills to be done, 15 to 20 bills that haven’t been paid, oh yeah and my favorite, 15 to 20 Town Planning Board Meetings! I loved what I did and I was good at it, but it was very stressful and took a toll on both my health and my personal life.
A few years ago, I made a bold decision, and left my design-engineering career behind to become an engineering career coach. Since that time I have coached and helped hundreds of engineers to get clear on their goals, increase productivity and improve work-family balance. I have also given seminars to thousands of engineers on the same topics. Through all of this work, I have found that there is 1 HUGE OBSTACLE that engineers face in their efforts to achieve career success (which means something different to everyone).
First let me give you the biggest make-believe obstacle that everyone uses as an excuse – TIME MANAGEMENT. Time management isn’t really the obstacle that most engineers face. The obstacle leads to poor time management, but it is not related to time management. The #1 obstacle that engineers face in their career is LACK OF FOCUS. That’s right LACK OF FOCUS. Sound familiar? Are you able to read through an entire e-mail without getting a phone call? Are you able to finish a design task or report on one project before a client calls with a fire that you have to put out?
The answer to those questions is probably “NO!” How many of you would love to go back in time, just for a day, to when you started your engineering career so that you could work on just one task all day long without interruption? Go ahead and raise your hand – I have mine raised!
So what can we do to try to improve our focus? Here are a few recommendations based on my work with engineers and my study of this topic:
1. Establish some of your most important tasks for the day and do them before you do ANYTHING else. When deciding on these tasks, assume that you would only be able to get those tasks done that day – if that was the case would the day be a success?
2. Try to do less things. I know what you are thinking, if my job is to manage 15 projects, how can I do less. Make a list of everything you do and wherever possible start delegating tasks.
3. Space meetings and phone conferences out. Engineers try to be as efficient as possible and schedule phone calls and meetings one after the other to avoid dead space in their day. Unfortunately this approach often leads to rushed meetings or missed conference calls and keeps you in that “I have to hurry because I have something right after this” mentality.
4. Don’t let other people manage your time (as much as possible). Check e-mail and phone messages periodically (even if it’s every 30 minutes) but not as they come in! This one habit alone can change your life. I know because I made the change.
That leads me to an important word – HABIT. Implementing changes like these listed above would mean creating new habits in your career and life. Easier said than done. Through my studies and work with engineers I have discovered some ways that you can implement powerful new habits like these into your life. There isn’t enough time in this post to explain them, however I have recorded a special brief webinar for Civilengineeringcentral.com readers where I review the key steps to take to implement these or any career and life changing habits. You can download this webinar right now on my Powerful Purpose Associates website.
Whether you are a New York Knicks fan, a basketball fan, a sports fan in general, or not a sports fan at all, I trust you have at least heard the name “Jeremy Lin” over the past couple of weeks.
Jeremy Lin grew up in the United States and led his Palo Alto High School basketball team to the California Division II High School hoops title. There are over 300 Division 1 colleges in the United States and do you know how many basketball scholarships he was offered? Zero. Zilch. Nada. He ended up playing ball at Harvard where he averaged 16.4 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.4 steals his senior season. A star in the Ivy League, he entered the NBA Draft and do you know how many phone calls he got? Zero. Zilch. Nada. He did enter the NBA as an undrafted free agent and prior to his joining the New York Knicks earlier this year he was cut two times in 15 days. Imagine getting hired, getting fired, being lucky enough to find another job quickly, and then being fired again…all within 15 days! The Knicks eventually picked him up, and due to injuries of two of their star players, Lin left the confines of the last seat at the end of the bench with the obscure view and finally got his chance. He came off the bench and scored 25 points, leading his team to victory. Two nights later he got his first career start and tallied 28 points. And then, in his first start on the road he scored a double-double with 23 points and 10 assists. There is so much more to this story, but it’s a great story and he has been the Knicks star player ever since he had the opportunity to get in that first game.
This is a story about opportunity that we can all learn from. Maybe you’ve been hired and fired or laid off by a couple of civil engineering firms; maybe you are being pigeonholed into a task or technical skill set that forces you to maintain a low profile; maybe you are in a corporate culture that is not your cup-of-tea; or maybe there are too many layers or too many other more experienced co-workers insulating you from advancement…maybe you are sitting at the end of the bench at your company. You know your potential, you have great ideas as to how to achieve great success, you know how to make other people successful, you are just waiting in the wings to seize that opportunity. Your opportunity will come – you just have to find it. And if that opportunity does not come to you – then you need to go to IT. Maybe your supervisor is promoted or moves on to another company – use that opportunity for a little self promotion and request that opportunity to take his or her place. Maybe you are contacted by a recruiter for an opportunity that may better position yourself for that next step in your career taking you one step closer to your full potential – return that call! My point is – don’t ever lose site of your goals – keep working hard and doing good work and treating people right; but don’t work so hard with your nose so close to the grindstone that you never look up to see that opportunity. Hone your craft technically; find a mentor; engage in networking events; give presentations. This way, when a path is cleared for you, no matter how tight it may be, you are able to take advantage of it and do great things, just like Jeremy Lin has.
And this is how you can become a Civil “Lin”gineer. Hmmm, I wonder if I can trademark that?
Now, when this does happen, don’t expect to amass over half-a-million Twitter followers in less than two weeks like Jeremy Lin (chances are you are probably not even on twitter). And don’t expect your first set of plans you stamped to sell on eBay for $21 G’s (as did Jeremy Lin’s rookie basketball card). And don’t expect to make the cover of ENR two weeks in row (Jeremy’s face recently graced the cover of Sports Illustrated for two consecutive weeks)…though one day, that just may happen!
For the 2nd consecutive year the CivilEngineeringCentral.com blog has amassed over 51,000 visitors…not too shabby considering that in 2008, the blog’s first year of existence, we had just over 16,000 visitors!
Thanks to all of our readers for reading, sharing, contributing and commenting. The goal of this blog is to discuss a wide array of topics specifically as they relate to the civil engineering community. Typical topics include project management, civil engineering job search, hiring, civil engineering projects, education, marketing, civil engineering career paths, career advancement, client development, social networking for civil engineers, civil engineering infrastructure, licensure and certification, training and development, etc.
Beyond the home page of the blog which receives the most visitors, below is the list of the Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011:
From the bottom of our hearts here at CivilEngineeringCentral.com, we truly thank you for the time you take to visit our blog. May you and yours have a safe and joyous Holiday Season and an amazingly prosperous 2012!
THE BEST LOGOS ARE WORTH MILLIONS OF DOLLARS…OR RECOGNITION FROM CIVILENGINEERINGCENTRAL.COM!
WE ARE EXCITED TO BRING TO YOU THE 3rd ANNUAL
- All nominated logos (tag lines should be included if you have one) must be from civil engineering firms who operate within the United States.
- If the logo has a story behind it, we would like to know about it.
- Logo nominations can be submitted via:
DIRECT TWEET: http://twitter.com/civilengineers
LINKEDIN: By responding directly to our announcements you see on any LinkedIn groups
Logos will be judged on a sliding scale based on the following criteria:
- Does the logo make an immediate impact by grabbing one’s attention right off the bat?
- Is the logo memorable? Is it uniquely applicable to what the firm does – enough so that it will positively embed itself in the memory of clients, employees, peers, etc?
- Is the logo appealing to the eye?
- Does the logo accurately represent the company and its services?
- Does the nominated logo accurately represent the firm’s corporate and employment branding initiatives?
- Ron Worth
Chief Executive Officer
Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS)
- Dusty Burchnall
- Matt Barcus
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com
- Carol Metzner
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com
Contest winner will be notified by CivilEngineeringCentral.com during the week of October 30th, 2011. Winner will receive:
- Corporate logo prominently displayed on CivilEngineeringCentral.com‘s December 2011 e-Newsletter (13,000+ distribution).
- One month as sponsor on ourLinkedIn Groupe-update, “The LinkedIngineer.” This e-update goes out twice a month to all 5,300 (and growing!) members of the Civil Engineering Central Group on LinkedIn.
- 10 free job postings on CivilEngineeringCentral.com + Featured Employer upgrade.
- Bragging rights until next year
All entries must be received by October 31, 2011
Gist, Criteria, Judges, Prizes & Deadline are subject to change without notice as determined by A/E/P Central, LLC, home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com