In This Issue

Amelia Tess Thornton, who held executive positions at Hyperion Software, Oracle and was a partner at Ernst & Young, discusses how companies need to be Smart AND Healthy to keep their employees engaged and working toward a common goal.   full article
This quarter The STRe Solutions team discusses how LinkedIn (and other social networking sites) can be used effectively by both candidates and hiring managers.
Candidate Tip #111  Hiring Manager Tip #111  full article
Sue Salvesen, a long standing member of Silicon Valley FEI (Financial Executives International), has been appointed co-chair of the Career Services Committee.   full article
Planning a summer vacation? We have a few tips on where to find great travel deals.   full article


Keeping the Right People on the Bus
By: Amelia Tess Thornton, President of The Thornton Group, Inc.

In the classic business book, Good to Great, Jim Collins states that to be effective, organizations need to first get "the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figure out where to drive." In essence, who you have on your team, is more important for organization success than where you are headed and how you get there.

While I agree that getting the right people on the bus is as critical today as it was back in 2001 when Good to Great was first published, today's leaders are faced with more complicated challenges.

Most companies have done a good job hiring highly talented, super-smart people. Especially in today's economy, finding the who is not the problem. Where they struggle, is keeping them engaged and focused on the where and the how. To say it another way, you can have strong individual players, but unless there is an overarching purpose that requires them to become a team, little will be accomplished.

For this to happen, organizations need to be two things. First, they need to be smart. Smart organizations have the basics: Sales, Finance, HR, R&D, Product Development, IT, Services, Support, etc... -- all the bits and pieces that keep a company running. The truth is most companies are plenty smart. In today's world, though, that's not enough. Organizations have to be more than smart -- they have to be healthy as well.

Healthy organizations have low politics (not no politics -- but politics that don't get in the way). They have high morale, engaged employees, and no surprise, high productivity. Another thing you see in a healthy organization is a lack of confusion about where the company is going and how what every employee is doing fits. I saw this time and time again in my 13 years with Federal Express where employees would regularly do amazing things to ensure that our customers were getting the service they expected -- delivering critical payroll checks in a blizzard and completing customer pick-ups during the Loma Prieta earthquake are just two of many examples.

The trap that many companies fall into is that you can't do one without the other and you can't think about them separately. For organizations to be effective, you must imbed the smart stuff with the healthy stuff, keeping the right people engaged and productive.

Employee engagement happens when four things occur:

  1. The Leadership Team is aligned and cohesive.
  2. There is absolute clarity about organization direction (strategy).
  3. Every person in the organization understands how what they do fits with the strategy.
  4. Organization policies and practices support the above (this does not happen nearly enough).

One of my favorite quotes is from General Norman Schwarzkopf, who I heard speak not long after Desert Storm. He said: "Great leaders never tell people how to do their jobs. They set the goals and establish the framework. Lousy leaders think they know it all, and all the while, their organizations sit there, aquiver with potential."

About the author: Amelia began her career at Federal Express. She was a Partner at Ernst & Young and the Chief Administrative Officer of Hyperion Solutions prior to founding The Thornton Group, a management consulting company specializing in all aspects of organizational health. Additional information can be found on her website:
Candidates and Hiring Managers: Maximize Your Experience with Recruiters

Our highest priority at STRe Solutions is building long-term relationships with both jobseekers and hiring managers. The Recruiter Relations section of our newsletter offers ongoing tips to help you maximize your experience with a recruiter, regardless of whether you're seeking top talent to seamlessly join your team or searching for your next ideal position.

This quarter's focus is on LinkedIn and how both candidates and hiring managers can effectively use this professional network. LinkedIn (and other social networking sites) have become a major part of the recruiting industry. One great source of information about using LinkedIn can be found at

Candidate Tip #111
LinkedIn: A resume in disguise?
LinkedIn has become the Internet job board for candidates, whether you are passive or active in your job search. Most importantly, remember that LinkedIn is a public website and anyone can view what you put in your profile. Recruiters, both in-house and external recruiting agencies, actively search LinkedIn to identify candidates and to do backdoor references.

As a candidate, your LinkedIn profile serves as a condensed resume. Be sure that you are accurate and that your summary is compelling enough for someone to want to contact you. Include key words in your profile that can be searched by recruiters. LinkedIn can also help you identify connections who have worked at or are currently working at a company that you may have an interest in to either help you network to get a job, or to provide insight into the company culture or hiring manager.

Joining groups is a great way to make new connections and keep abreast of things happening in a particular segment, such as the alumni group of your former employer. A little known fact is that as a group member you can directly contact anyone who is in that group.

Hiring Manager Tip #111
LinkedIn: A data base of potential employees and customers.
In addition to searching for potential candidates for a job search, LinkedIn can be useful in other ways. For example, if you just received an unsolicited resume from a potential candidate you can check them out on LinkedIn; see what their references are saying about them. You will now know a little more than what their cover letter and resume indicated. And perhaps you have a common connection you can call to get a reference.

If you are looking for an introduction for a sales call, bring up the company on LinkedIn and you can see if you know someone at the company, or if one of your associates knows someone there.

The possibilities are endless. And remember that your own LinkedIn profile should reflect positively on you and your company as the candidates will be checking you out.

STRe News
Sue Salvesen, a long standing member of Silicon Valley FEI (Financial Executives International), has been appointed co-chair of the Career Services Committee. Sue shares this responsibility with Jake Balling, CPA.

Career Services is just one of the many benefits of joining FEI. If you would like more information about Career Services or membership, please contact Sue at Additional information about FEI is also available at

STRe Fun --- Where to Find Summer Travel Deals

It's time to plan that summer vacation and now that the economy has picked up you are feeling a little more comfortable venturing away from home. But still interested in getting the best deal? Here are a couple of places to find great travel deals:

  1. New York Times Great Getaways (sign up for a daily email of specials):
  2. Luxury Link, up to 65% discounts:
  3. FareCompare -- Reports that 3pm Tuesday is when the cheapest seats are available:
  4. Hotwire, lets you search multiple sites (Kayak, Expedia, etc) for the best deal:
  5. Check out to keep an eye on changing airfares. They will also send an alert if the fare you are tracking changes.
  6. Southwest -- bags fly free, no charge for changing your tickets when plans change:
  7. For those of you who want to get on the green tech bandwagon, check out
  8. And if you are up for adventure and want to take the hotel room with you, then go to