New Years Resolutions

Business Insider came out with an article last week about the most popular resolutions your coworkers are making in 2017. In it, they discussed a survey CareerBuilder’s did, which states that 35% employees’ resolutions for 2017 is to leave their current job (out of 3,400+ surveyed). If you’re not happy in your current role, what’s new-year-articleholding you back? Why did you stay so long? This year, make it a goal to follow your PASSION. I know the interview process is overwhelming sometimes, but won’t the end result be worth it? I love my job, and at this point in my career, I know it is exactly where I’m meant to be. But I wouldn’t have gotten here if I didn’t have my counselors help, the support of my parents, and doing A LOT of research on what kind of career I wanted to have and what goals I wanted to accomplish. These articles from Business Insider should help you create your New Years resolutions:
  • Save more money
    • Almost half (49%) of respondents plan to put more of their paycheck into savings this year.
  • Be less stressed
    • About a third (38%) want to decrease their stress levels in 2017.
  • Get a raise or promotion
    • Another third (30%) would like to move a step up on the ladder over the next 12 months.
  • Eat healthier at work
    • More than a quarter (28%) plan to consume less junk food at the office.
  • Learn something new
    • Just over a half (26%) resolve to take more courses, training, or seminars in 2017.
How about for your New Years Resolution you make yourself, your work, and your year better than ever? Here are some ideas to help improve all of the above…
  • Do your best, every single day. I think we’re all guilty of coming to work some days, exhausted, and just not giving it our all. This year, let’s change that. If you’re not putting your skills to use at work, maybe it’s time to find a new job opportunity. Do you know what’s expected of you at work? If not, find out. 
  • Give yourself more credit. People who receive praise for their work are more happy and productive, so give compliments at work, and you’ll get them back. Give yourself a pat on the back when you deserve it. Stop and assess your success after each project you complete. 
  • Do something for YOU every day. On your lunch break, go for a walk, get yourself some Starbucks, leave work a little early to do something you’re passionate about. 
  • Network. Make professional contacts and network; even if you’re shy! Try to find professional groups or meetings to go to monthly or quarterly. I joined the American Marketing Association when I moved to a new town, and met my now very best friends, as well as meeting great contacts for the future. You’ll definitely benefit from branching out and meeting new people too.
  • Take yourself a little less seriously. Everyone loves a good laugh right? Especially when you’re having a tiring work day, don’t sweat the small stuff. Smile when employees are telling stories, enjoy their little quirks, take time to laugh – believe me, it will make the work day fly by. 
To read “How to Set and Achieve Goals” click here.

Why does your company need a consultant?


Why do YOU need a business consultant? To provide solutions to specific challenges, to constructively criticize, to facilitate new systems, to implement new business ideas, or to bring in an experienced outsiders evaluation and point of view? Maybe your company is working on a challenging problem or project and needs an unbiased opinion. Our consultants will not let you down.

A company normally comes to consultants because they are great at these 5 things:

  • Separating people from the problems
  • Focusing on interests, not positions
  • Generating a variety of possibilities
  • Creating evaluation criteria
  • Solving problems

Consultants generate options before deciding. Sometimes clients jump to conclusions because they have been in the industry for many, many years, or because “it has always been done that way”. Consultants are more willing to start with a blank white sheet of paper and begin brainstorming.

Consultants are really good at generating options because they spend the time getting the data and really thinking through the problems at hand. At the beginning of a project, consultants look at all potential scenarios, and look for hypotheses everywhere.

▪  They brainstorm new ideas; at this stage no ideas are ruled out

▪  They interview people up & down the org chart

▪  They keep asking “why” until they get to the core reason

▪  They dig until they get to the root causes and find out what the real drivers are

▪  They reach out to industry experts who know the larger trends

It’s very common for consultants to structure multiple options for the client to choose from. This acknowledges that there are multiple potential solutions, but there are trade-offs.  It really depends on the clients’ time frame, appetite for risk, budget, and opinion. There is often 1 primary recommendation, but multiple implementation options.

There are many different types of consultants, whether you’re a small or big company, there is someone out there who will help you get to where you want to be. Here at Fidelis Companies, we specialize in Engineering, BioPharma, and IT. SiteSuite came out with 4 main types of consultants:

  1. Specialist – world class capabilities in selected area
  2. Game changer – game changing answers that no one else can provide
  3. Vendor – adequate performance + low cost + no hassle
  4. Total solution provider – total package from a reliable supplier

Creativity in the Workplace

 “If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.” –John Cleese



In our world today, the demand for creativity in employees is rising with the crazy technological advances daily. Some people think creativity is a trait we’re born with, but I think it can be learned and developed. If employers want those working for them to think outside the box, they should start rewarding creativity. Ask employees for suggestions, set goals, or give recognition. Employees are scared to take risks because they don’t know how their boss will support creativity. Be open-minded and less judgmental.

There are companies which encourage creativity in their employees, like Google, but it is very rare to give your employees this freedom. Google set up a “20% policy” where developers get to spend 20% of their working hours on side projects of their choosing. This has made Google a top place to work, with hundreds of thousands of people applying everyday. Many millennials looking at jobs research “culture” before an interview, to see if the opportunity will lead to innovative and exciting ideas. Zappos is another company known for their wonderful, laid back culture. All you have to do is type in a company on and you’ll get lots of results on how employers treat their employees.

What are the benefits of a strong culture? A strong culture helps companies attract and keep committed employees, it strengthens the company’s brand, and it can be leveraged to execute strategy. According to this article, Culture: Why it’s the Hottest Topic in Business Today, “culture” was the most popular word of the year in 2014. Creativity is rapidly changing from a “nice to have” to a “must have” quality for successful organizations. 


Read: 4 Ways to Stop Worrying and Embrace Creative Risks


Megan Butz

Phone Interviewing

Phone interviewing

Are you nailing it? In this undated publicity photo released by NBC, actor Steve Carell appears in this scene from the television series "The Office." Carell was nominated for lead actor in a comedy series, Thursday, July 6, 2006, when the nominations for the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/NBC, Justin Lubin)

In the national consulting market, phone interviewing is a commonplace; hiring managers make decisions based on your resume and your ability to interview over the phone. How do your interview skills measure up?

Over the course of my career, I have sat in on hundreds of phone interviews; some ok, some awful, and some just amazing. After years of seeing the best interviewer land job after job (many times when they were NOT the most qualified) I started to figure out what sells.

Here are a few of my observations:

  1. Know your audience. Who are you speaking with, what is their role in the organization?  By knowing where they fit in the puzzle you can gear your answers to what is important to them.
    1. For example, if you are speaking to the executive management, you know they are interested in the bottom line. How can you solve their problem and save them money?  In this scenario, talk about your projects and the ROI the client saved by hiring you.
    2. If you are interviewing with a team member, put them at ease by discussing how well you worked with your past clients internal team and supported them on the project. Show them you will not be coming in to take their job but to be their partner in the project.
  1. Do your research. You know who you are speaking with, what do you know about them personally? Use Linkedin, Facebook and other social media outlets to find out who the person is you are speaking with. Find out who they are as a human and pepper in a few similarities during the interview. If you discover they are passionate about the Cowboys, find a way to mention them in the conversion. For example, if they just lost a game, when they ask how you are, come back with: “I’m great, but still trying to recover from the Cowboy loss last night.”
  1. Speak to the document they have. Have the consulting company (If you are going through one) send you a copy of the resume they sent to the client. You want to have the exact same copy in front of you the interviewer does. Many consulting firms change resumes, re-format them or remove what they deem irrelevant from your resume. It is important to have the exact copy in front of you when interviewing.
  1. Listen Carefully.  Listen to the actual question that is being asked. Before going into detail of how you have certain experience or related experience, actually answer the question.   Many times this is what makes or breaks the interview.  It is very easy to go into a long detailed explanation and forget to actually answer the question.  For example:  “Where have you had experience with managing remote resources?”   Once the questions is answered, then go into detail about the number of resources managed, where they were located, the overcome challenges, the established communication plan you put in place and any other relevant supporting examples and successes. 
  1. Be Honest. Clients often try to fill multiple resource needs with one resource if possible.  Often I hear questions get asked around skills that are outside of the original requirement.  If you do not have experience with that skill, let them know and follow up by asking for clarification on why it was not in the original scope of work. Is the experience critical for this role? Do you have related experience that could be a trade off? If so, answer the question honestly, and let them know you do have related experience.  Briefly explain what it is and how it is related.  Briefly is the KEY word here.
  1. Be Flexible. When the client is asking HOW you would do something OR how you did something, you want to answer the question, but also make it clear (If applicable) you have also gotten the results doing it XYZ way. Explain after you answer why you (Or your prior client) decided to go that direction. You want to show you are flexible and have multiple ways of coming to a result depending on what is best for your client and their business needs.
  1. Be likeable. People hire qualified people they like. As a consultant, you are coming into their existing work family. They may have a great working relationship OR they may be experiencing “challenges” internally. Either way, they want someone who will be able to work with their people. It is important you investigate the team dynamics and so interest in their “Work Family” dynamics. At the Q&A portion of the interview is a good time to showcase this. A few sample questions would be:
    1. “What advice do you have for me on the best approach in building rapport with your team?”
    2. “Does your internal client (or team) have a particular type of consultant they work best with?”
    3. “What is the best communication approach with both your internal clients and project team?” 
  2. Provide detailed answers briefly. When asked about your experience, provide the experience that is related to what they are looking for.  Nobody wants to listen to a long-winded answer that is NOT applicable to what his or her needs are. For example:  If you are asked “Tell us about your background?” It is not necessary to talk about outdated experience or go through your live story. Discuss what is relevant to them only.
  3. Thank you and next steps. Always thank everyone for their time and let them know you are interested, excited and have the experience to accomplish the tasks. Let them know you are available for any additional calls or questions they may have. Ask them where they are in the process, their timeline for a decisions and what to expect regarding next steps.  

Women in Tech

Works+Women+Leaders+Technology+Hosted+SELF+L6ixBGgz1-zlI recently read an article, “The Myth Women in Tech Need to Stop Believing,” on Even though we think we’ve gotten rid of the glass ceiling, it is still very much there. Only 1 in 4 women hold STEM jobs, despite making up half of the population. If we want to have determined, hard-working employees in the future, we must empower women and make them believe they can do anything men can do.

Gender inequality is still in the workforce, no matter what field you’re in, even though it has improved over the years. Research from the Clinton Foundation: No Ceilings, shows that women earn the majority of all undergraduate degrees in America, but earn only 18% of computer science degrees. Women in Tech face multiple barriers, including a limit in women’s leadership opportunities. Too many people focus on socio-economic factors, such as sex, race, etc. instead of the talent.


SELF Magazine partnered up with the Clinton Foundation for an event called “What Works for Women Leaders in Technology”. Some of the key themes included:

  • Closing the Imagination Gap
    • Women are vastly underrepresented in STEM education and careers.
    • “We know that for so many, the image that comes to mind when we think of technology is someone who looks more like Mark Zuckerberg than looks like most of you sitting in the audience today.” -Chelsea Clinton
  • Defining what is means to be in “Tech”
    • “Five of our best-performing portfolio companies, our investments as venture capitalists, were founded or run by women…and none of those women are what you would consider ‘technical.’ -Andrew Siegel
  • Identifying & Embracing Multiple Identities
    • “I am not just a woman. I am not just a person of color. I have all of these identities. That gets messy for people who are used to looking at a person who looks different from me who’s running a different type of company.”  -Kiah Williams
  • Forging Partnerships with Men
    • “Some of the mentors I have in life are men. And my two cofounders are men. And I think bringing allies into the space, making them feel comfortable being uncomfortable, is important.” -Kiah Williams
  • Creating a Culture of Equality (which I enjoyed the most)
    • Women leaders can change societal perceptions at large by making their own corporate cultures family-friendly. It not only fosters greater happiness in the workplace; it closes the divide of family responsibilities and “the second shift” so often shouldered by women.

It is up to all of us to build a future where men and women can be equally seen in the tech world.


Megan Butz

Keeping Promises & Sustaining Trust

As a leader, you make many promises. Are you known for keeping your word or making empty promises? As a seller you may promise high-quality products or experiences to customers. As a manager you may offer opportunities to your employees and results to executives. Yes, the pressure of deadlines can get to you and derail your goals, but don’t experience thecommitment drift where crucial promises are forgotten, or broken. This drift demolishes trust from those around you, and undermines those important relationships. As priorities change, or timelines get moved forward, leaders must balance the promises previously made, adjusting them to accommodate one another.

To avoid being known as the leader who can’t keep promises follow these 7 steps:

  • Make fewer, better commitments.
    • Many times leaders make promises that miss the mark for stakeholders, losing credibility.  When you take the time to understand your stakeholders’ needs, you make more meaningful commitments.
  • Track your primary commitment.
    • The volume of commitments leaders are asked to make can result in promises they can’t keep, or forgetting promises they’ve made, as newer ones grab their attention. Tracking your promises doesn’t have to be time consuming; many software tools are available to make and update your lists.
  • Ask for others to commit.
    • Leaders are often shocked by the lack of execution after major initiatives have been launched. Yet these same leaders have not articulated exactly what commitments they’re asking others to make. Clearly state what you’re asking of others, with your end goal in mind.
  • Connect the dots between departments.
    • When leaders are solely focused on what they need to do, they focus less on connecting the dots between other groups. These important connections could have the greatest overall impact on company results. Companies can improve immensely by ensuring that teams understand how they can help each other, by motivating them to focus on the firm’s goals.
  • Focus on the process.
    • Leaders frequently rely on the heroic efforts of committed employees as a substitute for effective processes, ultimately wearing out their employees’ good will. When companies invest in developing repeatable processes, they make it easy for employees to deliver on promises and free up their creativity for the next big idea.
  • Know what was promised in your role in the past.
    • If new leaders jump into action without knowing what was promised in the past, they can violate prior commitments, undermine trust, and increase resistance. Ask, “What promises have been made?” when you start a new role to ensure the important ones are kept—or are adjusted with respect and consideration.
  • Continually check for contradictions.
    • Your consistency—or lack thereof—lets people know whether you can be trusted. When employees find leaders speaking out of both sides of their mouth, they assume the worst. Yet this kind of contradiction happens all too easily. Make sure you are acting with integrity to avoid contradictions that ruin trust.