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Social media is part of the job search process. You should use social media to help you find job openings and target specific companies. Once you score that interview, you shouldn’t forget the power of social media.

12 Most Indispensable Things to do on Social Media Before Your Job Interview

1. Check the business’s social media profiles

Do your research: it’s importantto walk into a job interview informed. Start with their website and move to their social media sites. It’s easiest to find their social media sites through their official webpage.

2. Do a search on Twitter

Check to see what other people are saying about the company. See how the company uses Twitter. Do they have a sense of humor, are they active or have they failed to tweet for over two months.

3. Look up the individual(s) interviewing you

Check out the interviewer’s personal and professional social media sites to get a better understanding of who they are and what they are looking for. Learn about how they use social media and their specific role at the company.

4. Look at their Pinterest boards

Pinterest often gives a unique window into a company. It can display company culture in photos. The fact that they have Pinterest boards in the first place says a lot about the company.

5. Get social

Consider retweeting or liking individual posts on the company’s social media sites. This shows that you have done your homework. This is a fine line, so use your previous research to help you decide what’s a good fit.

6. Be on top your game

Search social media for general industry terms to be on top of what is happening. Nothing is worse than walking into an interview without the latest information in your field.

7. Focus on your social media profiles

Make sure to update your profiles to show them that you’re on the cutting edge of your field and on top of social media. Post industry news on your social sites.

8. Check out other employees

See who works at the company. Check out what they do and who they are. This can help you understand the company culture better and give you an idea of whom the company hires.

9. Look at the company profile on LinkedIn

Take a look at the company overview, careers and employee insights. See how big the company is and if any of your connections connect you to the company. If this is one of your target companies be sure to follow them on LinkedIn.

10. Beef up security

Clean up your social media. You know the photo of you dancing on the bar last weekend? Take it down. If you can’t guarantee that everything on your Facebook is appropriate for an employer and your grandma make it private.

11. Google yourself

Know what is going to come up when your name is typed into Google. It’s best to be aware of this because most, if not all employers will Google you.

12. Read the company blog

Be aware of what the company is currently working on and talking about. Take it a step further and formulate an opinion on the topic. Craft questions to ask during the interview related to the current happenings at the company and how your potential role will fit into the scheme of things.

With the recovering economy, the job search can be a tough place to be. Using these tips on social media combined with normal interview preparation can propel you to the top of the candidate pile and even land you the job.

What things do you do on social media before you go to an interview?

Featured image courtesy of AMagill licensed via Creative Commons
Source: 12most.com
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Dying technologies aren’t the only unnecessary drain on our wallets

 

1. Cable TV

Cable television’s heyday is over. Subscribers have been declining since 2004, and analysts say there’s no end in sight. Roughly 54.8 million households currently pay for cable TV, down 3.3% from 2012 and down 17.6% from a decade prior, according to research firm IHS. Cable companies are expected to shed roughly 1.3 million subscribers in 2014.

The decline is due in part to so-called cord-cutters: consumers who are canceling cable and transitioning to lower-cost services, such as Hulu and Netflix NFLX -0.45%  , which provide much of the same programming at a fraction of the price. Using an Internet connection, consumers can stream many cable shows, news programs and sports games, as well as movies, directly to their TVs. Some channels’ websites also provide viewers access to their shows.

These services are mostly beneficial for people who do not mind watching shows after they’ve aired and are willing to part with most live programming.

 

2. Landline service

Fewer households are holding on to their landlines. Two in every five U.S. homes had wireless phones only during the first half of the year, up slightly from the first half of 2012, according to data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number has been rising over the past decade: Roughly 90 million adults, or 38% of the population, are now wireless-only, versus 21% during the first half of 2009 — and fewer than 3% during the first half of 2003.

Ditching the landline allows households to shed a monthly bill — but it doesn’t mean they’re restricted to their cellphones. There’s also Skype, which is free and allows video chatting via smartphones and other devices with friends and family anywhere in the world at no cost. FaceTime video can also be free with a Wi-Fi connection. Separately, magicJack Plus provides phone service when it’s connected to a USB port, computer, or regular phone router; it costs $49.95 in total for the device and for the first six months, after which service costs range from about $1.67 to $2.50 per month. (In contrast, most traditional telephone providers charge at least $10 a month.)

To be sure, these services require an Internet connection. Consumers who want the security of a landline — many Americans were without phone service after Hurricane Sandy disrupted cellphone and Internet service in some areas — may want to consider holding on to their home phone.

 

3. GPS devices

Up until a few years ago, personal navigation systems were considered a must-have for most drivers since they drastically reduced the chances of getting lost. But the tides have turned and demand for these gadgets is plummeting: 7.5 million personal navigation devices sold in 2012 in North America, down from a peak of 18 million in 2009, according to the latest data from Berg Insight, a Swedish research company.

The need for this service still exists, but consumers can get it for a lot cheaper. Rather than paying $70 to $300 for a new GPS device, drivers can use map apps to get around. They’re available on most smartphones or free to download.

Separately, many new cars come with built-in navigation systems: 49% of 2013 model-year vehicles have a standard navigation system (in at least one of their styles), up from 33% of 2010 models, according to Edmunds.com.

 

4. DVD and Blu-ray players

DVD sales and rentals are down, so it’s not a surprise that fewer consumers are buying DVD players. Sales of DVD and Blu-ray players totaled 21.3 million in 2012, down 20.1% from a year prior and down 24.8% from 2010, according to research firm SNL Kagan.

Instead, experts say, consumers are increasingly streaming movies from Internet-based subscription services like Hulu and Netflix. Gamers can also use their consoles, such as the Xbox One and PlayStation4, to watch DVDs.

 

5. Hotel rooms

As more travelers book vacations, demand for hotels is rising and so are room rates. The daily rate at U.S. hotels averages $110.59 this year, up 4.1% from 2012 and up 12.6% from 2010, according to professional-services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The average price is expected to rise to $115.68 in 2014.

There’s another, cheaper alternative: Travelers can reserve apartments or homes in their destinations at a lower price with more space to boot. Several services, such as Airbnb and Vacation Rentals by Owner, allow consumers to choose from an assortment of homes to stay in. Some owners also offer free airport pickups and drop-offs.

It can also be more helpful and cost-effective for large groups that are traveling together (you can book a large home with many bedrooms) or families with young children who require privacy and can cook in the home rather than paying to eat out. The downside, however, is less security than what hotels offer.

 

6. Two-year phone contracts

Consumers are encountering more setbacks than benefits with two-year cellphone contracts. There’s no way to change phones within this period of time without incurring a fee. And there’s the fine print many of these plans come with that result in consumers paying more than the starting monthly price they’re quoted in the store.

Mobile users have several alternatives. They can opt for no-contract providers that sell the phones at full price (that’s more than the upfront price they’ll pay for a phone with a contract) but monthly payments are much lower (often half). They’re available through MetroPCS as well as big-box retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Most regular wireless providers also offer this option.

 

7. Desktop and laptop computers

There’s little reason to buy a desktop or laptop computer anymore. Tablets perform the same functions — playing music, sharing photos, Web surfing — that most consumers use PCs for and they’re made to use while on the go. They can also be a lot cheaper. For instance, Apple’s iMac’s start at $1,299 and MacBook laptops start at $999 while iPads start at $299.

Of course, ditching desktop PCs isn’t for everyone: Graphic designers and traders, for instance, who require large screens will find it hard to part with traditional computers.

But data shows that PCs are starting to fall out of favor: Worldwide shipments fell 4% in 2012 from a year prior — to the lowest level since 2009, according to the latest data from IDC, an information-technology research firm.

 

8. Extra legroom in economy

Over the past few years it’s become common practice for airlines, including American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, to charge many passengers extra — up to an additional $180 — for roomier seats (read: extra three to six inches of legroom) in coach. These seats are often in the exit rows or first row in economy.

But for a similar payment of $100 to $200, travelers can get upgraded to business class where the seats are much more comfortable and the service is of a higher caliber. These upgrades used to be reserved for airlines’ frequent fliers, but many now give them out to passengers who are willing to pay a bit more when they check in or at the gate.

 

9. Credit cards with points or miles programs

Card issuers have been ramping up some of their rewards programs in the past few years, but consumers should steer clear of one common promotion: credit cards with rewards programs that are comprised of points or miles.

Many card issuers are devaluing their rewards programs by requiring cardholders to spend more in order to get the same “free award” they could have gotten previously with fewer points. What’s more, many of these cards come with annual fees, ranging from $30 to $75.

Instead, consider a credit card with a “cash-back” program — a rewards program that’s a lot more straightforward: consumers get 1% to 5% cash back per a certain number of dollars they swipe on their card.

 

10. Digital cameras

Their small size and sleek look made digital “point and shoot” cameras all the rage for years. Now, demand is sunsetting. Roughly 11.5 million are estimated to have sold this year in the U.S., down 44% from 2012, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, which represents consumer technology companies. Sales are expected to drop to just under 8 million next year.

The cameras are suffering from an identity crisis. Consumers who want high-quality photos are opting for the larger, DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras. Others prefer to stick with just one gadget — their smartphone — which takes pictures.

And there’s new competition from cameras intended for the outdoor thrill-seeker, like the GoPro, for people who want photos capturing action (the camera attaches to your body while white water rafting or scuba diving, for instance) rather than stopping to pose for a pic.

 

11. Extra thing – In 2014 not to buy…

… nothing that was created more than 5 years ago… Everyday we have new and better things.

Source: marketwatch.com

 

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twitter-preferenciaA medida que se extiende el microblogging en plataformas como Twitter, se vuelve más habitual usar ciertos acrónimos y abreviaturas que facilitan transmitir mensajes e información en tan solo 140 caracteres. Aquí reunimos algunos que deberías conocer.

 

B/C: abreviatura en inglés de “Porque…” (Because)

BFN: acrónimo en inglés de “Hasta luego” (Bye for now).

DM: acrónimo de “Mensaje directo” (Direct Message).

EM: abreviatura de “E-mail”.?

FTF: abreviatura en inglés de “Cara a cara” (Face to face).

ICYMI: acrónimo en inglés de “Por si lo has olvidado” (In case you missed it), usado cuando se reenvia un tuit antiguo.

IMHO: acrónimo de “En mi humilde opinión”.

IRL: acrónimo en inglés de “En la vida real” (In real life).

LMLT: acrónimo en inglés de “Mira mi último tuit” (Look my last tweet).

NP: acrónimo de “Ningún problema”.

OH: abreviatura de “Escuchado como rumor” (OverHead).

PLZ: abreviatura de “Por favor” (Please).

QOTD: acrónimo en inglés de “Frase del día” (Quote of the day).

RT: abreviatura de retuit, es decir, reenvío de un tuit.

PRT: abreviatura en inglés de “retuit parcial” (parcial retweet). Se usa cuando el tuit que se envía es otro acortado por el usuario.

RTRL: acrónimo en inglés de “Retuiteado de la vida real” (Retweet real life), que transcribe información escuchada en una conversación off-line.

TMI: acrónimo en inglés de “Demasiada información” (Too much information).

TY: acrónimo en inglés de “Gracias” (Thank you).

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As you might expect, Twitter’s list of the most retweeted tweets of all time is dominated by celebrities.

And it changes a lot. Currently, Twitter’s retweet champion is President Barack Obama, with his November 7 re-election victory tweet racking up more than half a million shares, good enough to keep previous title-holder Justin Bieber very much in his taillights.

Here are Twitter’s ten most retweeted tweets of all time.*

1. Barack Obama (500K+)

2. Justin Bieber (200K+)

3. T.J. Lang (98K+)

4. Floyd Mayweather (89K+)

5. Kim Kardashian (68K+)

6. Lady Gaga (34K+)

7. Katy Perry (33K+)

8. Selena Gomez (32K+)

9. Rihanna (29K+)

10. Taylor Swift (25K+)

* For the purposes of this article I’ve included only the most-retweeted tweet from any given celebrity. Otherwise, Bieber would probably have most of the top ten. And nobody wants that. Not here, and certainly not in the charts.

Source: Twitsprout

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The problem with buying gadgets is that they’re bound to be obsolete at some point. But, as Laptop Mag’s Avram Piltch explains, that point is way sooner for some things than others. Here are 10 gadgets you should avoid like the plague right now, however tempting they might seem:

They say patience is a virtue, but like temperance and chastity, it’s not much fun. Unfortunately, if you want to reach a state of true techstasy, you may need to repress your desire to buy a new gadget today and wait for the next version to come out.

To be fair, sometimes now is the best time to buy a particular device and sometimes you drop your phone into a public toilet and have to replace it right away. But when you buy that 3G phone a month before its hot new 4G replacement comes out, you might as well buy an “I’m with stupid” t-shirt for your friends to wear when you go out together.

Here are 10 products you’d be a fool to buy today.


The iPhone

If you have your heart set on purchasing a new iPhone, don’t do it yet. Every rumor points to the arrival of a much-improved product arriving by fall. We don’t know what exact specs the iPhone 5 will have. We don’t even know if it’ll be called the iPhone 5(my money’s on “the Brand Spanking New iPhone”), but we can be pretty certain it will have 4G LTE, a faster processor, a better camera, and a larger and sharper screen.

While four or five months may seem like a long time to wait, most iPhone owners are on two year phone contracts that usually won’t allow them to upgrade until after 20 months. Do you really want to spend 2013 being known as the loser who has to “take a grenade” with Siri’s older, slower moving sister while your friends cozy up to the new model?


Windows Tablets

Let’s face the facts. If you want to buy a Windows 7 tablet, you’re either a multitouch masochist or a sadistic CTO, looking to pinch-zoom in on employee suffering. Though Windows 7 runs all the applications you could ever want, its touch-unfriendly interface makes it really difficult to use with adult-sized fingers. Ever try tapping the X widget to close a window? You’ll need to stick your index finger in a pencil sharpener first, so you can make sure it’s thin enough.

Coming this fall, Windows 8 offers a very touch-friendly Metro UI and a host of touch-friendly apps on top of it. Even better, Windows 8 will run on ARM-based tablets, allowing for thinner, lighter and longer-lasting designs. A slew of new convertible notebooks that run Windows 8 will arrive in fall too. I can’t wait for the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, which bends its hinge back 180 degrees to become a slate. Even Kanye West would sit in his seat long enough to wait for Windows 8.

 


Ultrabooks

The first generation of Ultrabooks — a new category of uberthin, fast-booting notebooks — arrived last fall with prominent entries from all the PC vendors. However, though notebooks like the ASUS Zenbook UX31 and Toshiba Portege Z835 have a lot going for them, a new generation of much-improved Ultrabookswill arrive this summer. These notebooks will sport Intel’s faster, more efficient 3rd generation Core Series processors (aka Ivy Bridge), and many will offer higher-resolution displays.

A couple of models stand out to us. The ASUS ZenBook Prime will offer a generous 1920 x 1080 screen that will let you watch HD movies at their native resolution, while viewing more of your favorite web pages and documents without scrolling. Meanwhile, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon could be the ultimate productivity notebook when it launches this summer. It will pack a gorgeous 14-inch, 1600 x 900 matte display into a .75-inch thick chassis that weighs just 3 pounds. Plus, you’ll get the industry’s best keyboard.

 


Sprint Phones

Sprint likes to call itself “the Now Network,” but it really should be named “the Promise Network,” because right now all it is selling is the promise of 4G LTE at some point in the future. The carrier recently announced that it is dumping its mediocre 4G WiMAX networkin favor of LTE on new handsets. That’s the right move long-term, but it leaves current Sprint customers in a bind.

The company is selling 4G LTE phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and LG Viper 4G LTE, but they’ll only get a 3G signal until Sprint launches its new network. The carrier plans to roll out LTE this summer to just six cities — Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio — with no ETA for other cities apart from 123 million people covered by the end of the year. Even if you live in one of the designated six markets, there’s no guarantee that Sprint’s implementation of LTE will be as fast as AT&T and Verizon’s; we just don’t know.

Whether you are already a Sprint customer or are just thinking of becoming one, you should wait to see how quickly the company’s version of LTE is coming to your area and whether it actually lives up to the hype. You don’t want to buy that Evo 4G LTE today, only to be stuck with 2007-era 3G speeds while your friends on Verizon and AT&T are cruising along at 4G.

 


MacBook Pros

If you have your heart set on an Apple MacBook Pro, tell your heart to go on without one for just a little longer. Everyone expects Apple to announce a new lineup of MacBook Pros in June and these new notebooks will reportedly weigh less, feature high-resolution “Retina” displays and provide USB 3.0 ports in addition to running Ivy Bridge CPUs. These notebooks will also be running Apple’s new OS X Mountain Lionsoftware, which brings more iPad-like functionality to Macs along with stronger security.

Unless a pack of rabid Windows fanboys breaks into your house and smashes your current MacBook Pro with a Metro-UI styled hammer, you can hold on for another few weeks. The Retina display, which should show more content on the screen at once, is reason enough to wait.

 


Android Tablets

Apple enthusiasts don’t have anything to wait for when it comes to tablets. The “new” iPad just came out in March and has an incredible, high-res screen paired with a powerful processor. However, if you want to consider an Android tablet, now is not the time to buy.

Though we’ve seen some speedy quad-core tablets like the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, we’re still waiting for Android tablet makers to come out with screens that have higher than 1280 x 800 resolution. Both ASUS and Acer have announced 1920 x 1200 tablets, but neither one has hit the market yet. If you plunk down $500 on a tablet now, you’ll feel silly when the new HD models arrive within the next couple of months.

 


Smart TVs

Apple can play coy all it wants, but many industry insiders believe that the Cupertino company plans to launch its own TV later this year. There’s no question that the Apple TV will have deep iTunes integration, a gorgeous screen (Apple is known for that) and some kind of Siri-based voice control.

When it comes to launching new Smart TVs, Apple won’t be alone. LG recently showed off its G2 Smart TV, which uses the Google TV 2.0 interface, supports voice commands and comes with a gesture-controlled “Magic” remote. Lenovo just began shipping its Android 4.0- powered K55 Smart TV in China and it may come here at some point as well. If you wait, the additional competition from these new products will force down prices on existing Smart TVs as well.

 


Windows Phones

The Nokia Lumia 900 has a gorgeous design and the HTC Titan II has an awesome 16-MP camera. However, when it comes to specs, apps and basic multitasking, Windows Phones still lag behind their Android and iPhone counterparts.

With Windows Phone 8 due out this fall, Microsoft could finally start to close the feature gap with Apple and Google. According to some reports, the new mobile operating system will support higher resolution screens, dual-core CPUs, NFC payments and apps that can control other apps, a necessity for true multitasking.

Microsoft has issued some conflicting statements about whether current Windows Phones would get an OS upgrade so I wouldn’t count on the Lumia you buy today running Windows 8 tomorrow. If you’re attracted to Windows Phone, delay your purchase until fall. Otherwise, you’ll be living with a single-core, low-res handset for two years.

 


eReaders

There are several great eReader optionson the market right now, from the tablet-like Amazon Kindle Fire to the E Ink-powered Nook Simple Touch. However, as strong as the eReader offerings are today, they’re about to get much better. Barnes & Noble just released its Simple Touch with GlowLight and rumor has it that Amazon is set to release its own backlit E Ink-based Kindle this summer.

However, backlit E Ink is just the tip of this innovative ice berg. Expect Amazon to launch the second-generation Kindle Fire 2 this fall, complete with higher-res screen options and possibly larger form factors like 8.9 inches. Flush with investment money from Microsoft and not content to stand still, Barnes & Noble is sure to release a new Nook Tablet sometime later this year as well. We’d expect the next Nook to also have a higher resolution than 1024 x 600.

There’s also a persistent rumor that Amazon will release Kindles using color E Ink later this year. We just reviewed the color E Ink-powered Ectaco Jetbook Color so the technology is already out there. How bad would you feel if you bought an old-school grayscale Kindle today, only to see one with a backlight or a color screen come out within a few months?

 


BlackBerrys

Research in Motion, the company that makes Blackberry phones, seems to be stuck in a time warp, offering phones that have the best specs of 2009, including single-core 800-MHz CPUs, tiny 2.4-inch screens and an outmoded BlackBerry 7 OS. Fortunately, most people aren’t foolish enough to buy phones that you’d expect to find in the bargain bin at a garage sale rather than the shelf at a Verizon store.

RIM seems to understand the problem too as it plans to release an entirely new line of phones running its new BlackBerry 10 OS later this year. The new touch-friendly BlackBerry London phone, complete with a bigger screen and faster processor than we’ve seen on a BlackBerry before, should arrive by fall. If you must have a BlackBerry, this is the one to wait for.

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Microsoft lanzará su suite de ofimática Office el próximo mes de noviembre para el iPad. Sin embargo, Office no estará exclusivamente disponible para el ‘tablet’ iOS sino también para los ‘tablets’ con sistema operativo Android. Los de Redmond lanzarán la suite de ofimática al mismo tiempo para las dos plataformas, que se esperan para el mes de noviembre.

Desde el pasado mes de noviembre, una serie de rumores apuntaban hacia la existencia de Office para iPad y su inminente lanzamiento. Estas informaciones aseguraban que el gigante Microsoft podría estar desarrollando una adaptación de la versión actual de Office en forma de aplicación para iPad y, además, también lanzaría una nueva versión de Office para el OS X Lion de Mac a finales del 2012.

Ya en febrero, nuevas informaciones apuntaban que en ese mismo mes la aplicación de Office para iPad llegaría a la App Store, ya que solo faltaba la aprobación de Apple. Sin embargo, por el momento nada relacionado con Office ha aparecido en la tienda de aplicaciones de Apple.

Ahora, según ha confirmado una “fuente confiable” de Microsoft al portal BGR la aplicación de Microsoft Office para iPad llegará el próximo mes de noviembre, pero no lo hará solo para esta plataforma. La misma fuente asegura que los ‘tablets’ con sistema operativo Android también disfrutarán de esta aplicación, y serán lanzadas a la vez en ambas tiendas de aplicaciones.

Microsoft ya cuenta con algunas aplicaciones disponibles para el iPad como Bing, MSN y ONIT OnPoint MSN. Hay incluso más aplicaciones disponibles para el iPhone, donde se incluyen Microsoft Tag, Windows Live Messenger y Wonderwall. Por su parte, Office es el software más vendido de Microsoft, sólo superado por Windows. En 2011, la suite de software supuso 11.139 millones de euros (15.000 millones de dólares) para Microsoft.

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Captain James T. Kirk is one of the most famous Captains in the history of Starfleet. There’s a good reason for that. He saved the planet Earth several times, stopped the Doomsday Machine, helped negotiate peace with the Klingon Empire, kept the balance of power between the Federation and the Romulan Empire, and even managed to fight Nazis. On his five-year mission commanding the U.S.S. Enterprise, as well as subsequent commands, James T. Kirk was a quintessential leader, who led his crew into the unknown and continued to succeed time and time again.

William Shatner as Kirk in a promotional photo...

Kirk’s success was no fluke, either. His style of command demonstrates a keen understanding of leadership and how to maintain a team that succeeds time and time again, regardless of the dangers faced.  Here are five of the key leadership lessons that you can take away from Captain Kirk as you pilot your own organization into unknown futures.

1. Never Stop Learning

“You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But there’s no such thing as the unknown– only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.”

If you think about it, there’s no need for a 23rd Century Starship Captain to know how to mix and prepare gunpowder if the occasion called for it. After all, Starfleet officers fight with phasers and photon torpedoes. To them, gunpowder is obsolete. But the same drive for knowledge that drove Kirk to the stars also caused him to learn that bit of information, and it paid off several years later.

In the same way, no matter what your organization does, it helps to never stop learning. The more knowledge you have, the more creative you can be. The more you’re able to do, the more solutions you have for problems at your disposal. Sure, you might never have to face down a reptilian alien on a desert planet, but you never know what the future holds. Knowledge is your best key to overcoming whatever obstacles are in your way.

2. Have Advisors With Different Worldviews

“One of the advantages of being a captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.”

Kirk’s closest two advisors are Commander Spock, a Vulcan committed to a philosophy of logic, and Dr. Leonard McCoy, a human driven by compassion and scientific curiosity. Both Spock and McCoy are frequently at odds with each other, recommended different courses of action and bringing very different types of arguments to bear in defense of those points of view. Kirk sometimes goes with one, or the other, or sometimes takes their advice as a springboard to developing an entirely different course of action.

However, the very fact that Kirk has advisors who have a different worldview not only from each other, but also from himself, is a clear demonstration of Kirk’s confidence in himself as a leader. Weak leaders surround themselves with yes men who are afraid to argue with them. That fosters an organizational culture that stifles creativity and innovation, and leaves members of the organization afraid to speak up. That can leave the organization unable to solve problems or change course. Historically, this has led to some serious disasters, such as Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Organizations that allow for differences of opinion are better at developing innovation, better at solving problems, and better at avoiding groupthink. We all need a McCoy and a Spock in our lives and organizations.

3. Be Part Of The Away Team

“Risk is our business. That’s what this starship is all about. That’s why we’re aboard her.”

Whenever an interesting or challenging mission came up, Kirk was always willing to put himself in harm’s way by joining the Away Team. With his boots on the ground, he was always able to make quick assessments of the situation, leading to superior results. At least, superior for everyone with a name and not wearing a red shirt. Kirk was very much a hands-on leader, leading the vanguard of his crew as they explored interesting and dangerous situations.

When you’re in a leadership role, it’s sometimes easy to let yourself get away from leading Away Team missions. After all, with leadership comes perks, right? You get the nice office on the higher floor. You finally get an assistant to help you with day to day activities, and your days are filled with meetings and decisions to be made, And many of these things are absolutely necessary. But it’s sometimes easy to trap yourself in the corner office and forget what life is like on the front lines. When you lose that perspective, it’s that much harder to understand what your team is doing, and the best way to get out of the problem. What’s more, when you’re not involved with your team, it’s easy to lose their trust and have them gripe about how they don’t understand what the job is like.

This is a lesson that was actually imprinted on me in one of my first jobs, making pizzas for a franchise that doesn’t exist anymore. Our general manager spent a lot of time in his office, focused on the paperwork and making sure that we could stay afloat on the razor-thin margins we were running. But one thing he made sure to do, every day, was to come out during peak times and help make pizza. He didn’t have to do that, but he did. The fact that he did so made me like him a lot more. It also meant that I trusted his decisions a lot more. In much the same way, I’m sure, as Kirk’s crew trusted his decisions, because he knew the risks of command personally.

 

4. Play Poker, Not Chess

“Not chess, Mr. Spock. Poker. Do you know the game?”

In one of my all-time favorite Star Trek episodes, Kirk and his crew face down an unknown vessel from a group calling themselves the “First Federation.”  Threats from the vessel escalate until it seems that the destruction of the Enterprise is imminent. Kirk asks Spock for options, who replies that the Enterprise has been playing a game of chess, and now there are no winning moves left. Kirk counters that they shouldn’t play chess – they should play poker. He then bluffs the ship by telling them that the Enterprise has a substance in its hull called “corbomite” which will reflect the energy of any weapon back against an attacker. This begins a series of actions that enables the Enterprise crew to establish peaceful relations with the First Federation.

I love chess as much as the next geek, but chess is often taken too seriously as a metaphor for leadership strategy. For all of its intricacies, chess is a game of defined rules that can be mathematically determined. It’s ultimately a game of boxes and limitations. A far better analogy to strategy is poker, not chess. Life is a game of probabilities, not defined rules. And often understanding your opponents is a much greater advantage than the cards you have in your hand. It was knowledge of his opponent that allowed Kirk to defeat Khan in Star Trek II by exploiting Khan’s two-dimensional thinking. Bluffs, tells, and bets are all a big part of real-life strategy. Playing that strategy with an eye to the psychology of our competitors, not just the rules and circumstances of the game  can often lead to better outcomes than following the rigid lines of chess.

5. Blow up the Enterprise

“‘All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.’ You could feel the wind at your back in those days. The sounds of the sea beneath you, and even if you take away the wind and the water it’s still the same. The ship is yours. You can feel her. And the stars are still there, Bones.”

One recurring theme in the original Star Trek series is that Kirk’s first love is the Enterprise. That love kept him from succumbing to the mind-controlling spores in “This Side of Paradise,” and it’s hinted that his love for the ship kept him from forming any real relationships or starting a family. Despite that love, though, there came a point in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, where Captain Kirk made a decision that must have pained him enormously – in order to defeat the Klingons attacking him and save his crew, James Kirk destroyed the Enterprise. The occasion, in the film, was treated with the solemnity of a funeral, which no doubt matched Kirk’s mood. The film ends with the crew returning to Vulcan on a stolen Klingon vessel, rather than the Enterprise. But they returned victorious.

We are often, in our roles as leaders, driven by a passion. It might be a product or service, it might be a way of doing things. But no matter how much that passion burns within us, the reality is that times change. Different products are created. Different ways of doing things are developed. And there will come times in your life when that passion isn’t viable anymore. A time when it no longer makes sense to pursue your passion. When that happens, no matter how painful it is, you need to blow up the Enterprise. That is, change what isn’t working and embark on a new path, even if that means having to live in a Klingon ship for awhile.

Final Takeaway:

In his many years of service to the Federation, James Kirk embodied several leadership lessons that we can use in our own lives. We need to keep exploring and learning. We need to ensure that we encourage creativity and innovation by listening to the advice of people with vastly different opinions. We need to occasionally get down in the trenches with the members of our teams so we understand their needs and earn their trust and loyalty. We need to understand the psychology of our competitors and also learn to radically change course when circumstances dictate. By following these lessons, we can lead our organizations into places where none have gone before.

Source: Alex Knapp, ForbesStaff

 

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