Career Briefs: Great Renegotiation – Tracking Productivity – CEO Succession Plan

In this issue: The Great Resignation vs The Great Renegotiation, tips for leveling up, a look at time management differences between managers and makers, the importance of a CEO succession plan, Serena’s retirement, my new book club pick and more…

Dear Reader:

How are you today? 

This is a simple question that can mean so much to someone. A way for you to show someone that you care. An employee. A friend. A spouse. A child. A colleague. The list goes on. 

I recently saw a study conducted by McKinsey and Company that looked for the drivers behind “the Great Resignation”. 34% of the 13,000+ people questioned stated they left their job because of uncaring and uninspiring leadership. Other reasons included unsupportive colleagues and lack of support for employees’ well-being. 

As leaders, it is important to set an example. How can you show your employees and colleagues that you care? It can be as simple as a genuine question – “how are you today?” It can be a simple act of servant leadership – ask someone if you can grab them a coffee when you go to get yours. Notice and comment on a job well done, on a show of effort from your employees or team. 

I’d be willing to guess a small act of kindness will not only improve your colleague’s day, it will improve yours too. 

Rooting for you,


Ps. This newsletter is a large file, and many email providers will clip part of the message to save space in your inbox. Be sure to click “view entire message” to read all of the articles. There is a giveaway at the bottom you won’t want to miss!

“The Great Renegotiation”

The Great Resignation looks more like The Great Renegotiation
The Great Resignation looks more like The Great

NPR Planet Money’s Greg Rosalsky looks at the possibility that what has been dubbed as The Great Resignation may actually be “The Great Resignation” as many workers are negotiating with for a better deal.

5 Unspoken Rules of Getting Promoted That No One Tells You About
5 Unspoken Rules of Getting Promoted That No One Tells You

Managers are extremely worried that their best people are about to bolt, as finding replacements for these people is harder than it’s ever been. As the workforce shuffles, this could be a great time to seek out a promotion. Executive coach, Roberta Matuson gives five tactics to help position yourself to successfully level up.

The Confusing Job Market: CEOs and CHROs Seem Baffled – JOSH BERSIN
The Confusing Job Market: CEOs and CHROs Seem Baffled – JOSH

Josh Bersin‘s latest article nicely sums up what I am seeing as well as I work with executives who are in the middle of the “great reshuffle.” Companies hiring and laying off at the same time. This is not a recession: the economy is transforming at a rate we’ve never seen before.

Hiring & Recruiting

For Senior Leaders, Fit Matters More than Skill
For Senior Leaders, Fit Matters More than

This is an older article that still holds a lot of lessons to be learned about recruiting senior leaders. Jean Martin explains in this HBR article why company executives look internally when hiring new senior leaders and how it’s proven more successful in the long term.

To Make Better Hires, Learn What Predicts Success
To Make Better Hires, Learn What Predicts

In this HBR article, Atta Tarki, founder and chairman of the staffing firm ECA Partners, along with Wharton School Practice Professor, Cade Massey draw the connection between successful recruiting and future success. They suggest employers borrow an approach from baseball, in which top teams track the performance of new hires and then search for the one or two skills that predicted their future success. To do this, companies must better connect hiring with performance management.

Workplace Productivity

Original image showing differences in managers and makers time blocks shared by PJ Pereira on LinkedIn.

PJ Pereira, advertising and entertainment pioneer, and Ken Wheaton, VP of Global Thought Leadership and Editorial for Essence both shared this article by Paul Graham on the time management differences between a manager and a maker. PJ added his thoughts on his LinkedIn post:

That isn’t meant as a criticism, just a way to help everyone understand the implications of how they schedule meetings in this zoom world.

Managers operate on check-ins and conversations that can jump from subject to subject in blocks of 30min or one hour. While for makers (writers, designers, programmers…) the day is often broken into blocks of half day, cause they operate in flow mode – and for that, the brain needs time to warm up and then can’t be interrupted.

Simple, kind of obvious thought, but not that easy to consider unless you’re exposed to it. Because, like everything in life, everyone tends to believe their reality is everyone else’s reality. Which never is.

An issue here is managers often have more organizational power than makers and can impose their own schedules, unaware of the damage they cause. Hopefully, this perspective will help. Go ahead now, read the article. It’s good.

Workplace Productivity: Are You Being Tracked?
Workplace Productivity: Are You Being Tracked?

Across industries and incomes, more employees are being tracked, recorded and ranked. What is gained, companies say, is efficiency and accountability. In this NYT article, Jodi Kantor and Arya Sundaram explore the question – What is lost?

CEO Succession

How Boards Can Assess the Potential and Readiness of Future CEOs
How Boards Can Assess the Potential and Readiness of Future

The health of a company’s future can be determined by its CEO succession plan. Executive search and leadership advisory firm, Russell Reynolds believes this type of succession planning works best when it’s a continuous process that constantly replenishes the pipeline of future leaders.


6 Reasons to Rethink Early Retirement
6 Reasons to Rethink Early

Is it a good idea to retire in your 50s? Next Avenue’s Jennifer Nelson explains why if you’re thinking about early retirement, you may want to consider how you plan to stem the boredom.

Serena Williams Says Farewell to Tennis On Her Own Terms—And In Her Own Words
Serena Williams Says Farewell to Tennis On Her Own Terms—And In Her Own

As a tennis fan, and general sports fan, I am sad to see Serena leave professional tennis but glad to see her chase new dreams. She has successfully paved the way for other female athletes to follow in her footsteps, but there will never be another Serena. In this Vogue cover story, Serena gives a personal account of the legacy she hopes to leave both on and off the court. It’s a real lesson in what really matters in life.

Know Your (Interview) Audience

World Series Game 4 in Atlanta

If you have been a subscriber to my newsletter or a follower on LinkedIn for a while, you know I am a HUGE sports fan. I am not a fair weather fan, I am a true, hometown fan with deep roots and strong rivalries. I will sit on a cold bleacher in the winter or in a blistering hot plastic seat in the summer with the best of them – cheering my teams to victory.

In the summer, it’s a rare night that you will not find Atlanta Braves baseball on our family room TV. This season, coming off a World Series win has been extra exciting and hard to turn away from as the Braves chase down another NL East title.

One thing I’ve realized as I’ve been binging baseball is that my husband and I watch sports on TV very differently.

I want to know every player’s backstory.

In between plays, I’m reading about how Charlie Morton didn’t peak until he was 33 years old after the Astros plucked him out of mediocrity.

….that Dansby Swanson’s fiance is Mallory Pugh, one of the best soccer players in the world…. and that Austin Riley and his family live in the off-season in Coldwater, Mississippi (population: 1,677). My guess is that his 10-year, $212 million deal makes him the richest person to ever live in Coldwater.

Meanwhile, my husband focuses on the stats.

Like the fact that Matt Olsen has had 452 career RBIs.

Or that Braves rookie pitcher, Spencer Strider, broke MLB records with the fastest strike thrown by a starting pitcher at 102.4 mph.


In a job interview, it’s essential to know that your audience (the recruiter or hiring manager) in an interview may resonate more with STORIES OR STATS.

It’s an oversimplification and unwise to assume that women want stories and men want numbers or even that a finance person would only care about the data. We are all wired differently.

When I work one-on-one with job seekers to prepare them for an upcoming interview, we practice the art of storytelling and back with quantifiable results.

One common mistake that I’ve noticed with leaders is that when practicing behavioral interview questions (STAR), many people get in the weeds on the ACTION (situation-action-result) and give lots of details around the steps they took…. but forget to set the stage with a hook/story and close out the story with the RESULT.

Hot off the Press: Career Briefs Book Club

I am excited about the newest addition to the Career Briefs newsletter: a book club. Each newsletter will include a book that I have recently read that I think you would enjoy and find value in reading.

Joe Jacobi uses his experience as an Olympic gold medalist kayaker in his work as a successful and sought-after leadership coach, leading teams and leaders to reach their goals without sacrificing a healthy work-life balance. In his new debut book, Slalom, he weaves six lessons on overcoming obstacles and persevering in the face of challenges.

What I love about this book is how Joe is able to provide actionable advice that can be easily applied both in work and personal life. He uses his expert coaching skills and makes the reader feel like he’s right beside you, motivating and guiding with wisdom and experience. 

Want to win a copy? I will mail a copy to the 1st person to send me an email with Slalom in the subject line. Must reside in North America.

Can you do me a favor?

I’m on a mission to help job seekers land amazing jobs. Would you consider doing one of the following:

  • Forward this newsletter to your job-searching friends or post about it on social media. This small act really helps!
  • Consider sharing my company name with your HR leadership. We are a great “white-glove” boutique option for executive outplacement
  • Recommend me as a paid speaker for your company events on networking, job searching, or leveraging LinkedIn
  • Recommend my services to high performers wanting to work one-on-one with an executive resume writer / or experienced interview coach

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  • Sarah Johnston

    I’m a former corporate recruiter and industry “insider” who got tired of seeing talented high-achievers get passed over for opportunities because they did not have the right marketing documents or know how to position themselves in interviews. I have relocated multiple times across the country as a “trailing spouse” and have had to execute job searches in completely cold markets (where I literally knew no one!) I have been named a LinkedIn Top Voice in the career space in 2019, HR Weekly’s Top 100 Most Influential People in HR, named the owner of the “best resume writing firm for experienced executives” by Balance Careers and a “top follow” by JobScan in 2019 and 2020.

Sarah Johnston

Sarah Johnston is a former corporate recruiter and industry "insider" with a passion for empowering high-achievers in their career journeys. Frustrated by talented individuals being overlooked due to ineffective marketing documents and interview strategies, Sarah made it her mission to equip professionals with the tools and knowledge to succeed. As a seasoned "trailing spouse" who relocated multiple times, she understands the challenges of executing job searches in unfamiliar markets. Sarah's expertise and impact have earned her recognition as a LinkedIn Top Voice in 2019 and a spot on HR Weekly's Top 100 Most Influential People in HR. Her resume writing firm has been acclaimed as the best for experienced executives by Balance Careers, while JobScan listed her as a top follow in 2019 and 2020.

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