Joanne Cini Solutions

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Kingmaker Reviews!
“Joanne has used her extensive business world experiences to put together a very informative primer for those involved in today’s workforce. A necessary read.”

-Dennis Swanson EVP and COO Viacom Television Stations Group

“Cini’s game is strong: High energy, high personal values, a focus and passion for her work. If your career is worth saving or worth upgrading, then Cini’s book is a must read. Written with candor and knowledge, Kingmaker is a blueprint on what to expect and how to achieve in a fast paced environment without losing yourself.”

- Frank Novak, Special Teams Consultant, Green Bay Packers

“I intend to buy this book for each of our staff members. It’s a clear, concise guide to how employees can achieve excellence, contribute to corporate goals AND satisfy their personal and professional objectives. In this insightful book, Ms. Cini tells you how to demand more of yourself, your company and your managers and come out a winner.”

-Christine Watkins, President and CEO, INVISION Inc.

“Finally, a mentor for each of us. This is a wonderful guided tour of life in corporate America, written in complete, sometimes painful, honesty. Joanne [Cini] is a career counselor without an agenda or conflict of interest. She gives the reader an up close and personal look at the workworld, while insisting on a close and honest look in the mirror. Ultimately, Kingmaker, is a very personal journey on the road to self-reliance and personal responsibility."

- Lisa G. Churchville, President and General Manager, NBC 10 Providence

“Kingmaker is a new twist on an old adage: to thine own self be true. Cini’s contention, that you must take control of your own life and career in order to define your value potential in the competitive market of big business, is an important lesson for anyone looking to succeed in today’s business world.”

- Ray Heacox, CEO, MediaOcean a DDS Company

"For most of us, empowerment is still a buzz word. Cini, like the mentor you always wanted, guides you to its full meaning in your career -- to purposeful, wide-eyed analysis and decisions about what's right for you."

-Wendy Tynan, General Manger, Rogen International.

"The journey Joanne takes us through is based on her own personal odyssey. That said, anyone who has spent a day in the life of Corporate America will relate to her observations. This is an astute chronicle of pitfalls to avoid, road bumps to maneuver and challenges to aspire to. ENJOY THE RIDE!

- Bill Cella, Chairman, MAGNA Global USA.

“Honesty is pure oxygen in a world dominated by cynics. Joanne Cini’s efforts to instruct others based on her experiences—honest lessons learned in one of the world’s pressure cookers, New York City broadcasting—is worth taking note of.”

—Louis Columbus, Senior Analyst, AMR Research

What's in Kingmaker for you?

The mission of Kingmaker is to guide the reader on three levels. First, a real understanding of the objectives in today's business climate. Second, to find a personal way to thrive while holding on to your values, and finally, to keep your whole life goals and dreams alive through awareness and planning.

Questions at the end of each chapter serve as a brain-storming tool so that you can come up with your own answers to important career and life questions. You'll solve problems, create a plan and maybe even get to know yourself a bit better too.

One of the hardest things in business is to learn to not take things personally by taking a broader view on a pricklish issue. Kingmaker will show you how.

You might think your boss is a bully, but maybe he or she just has a lot of stress on their own plate. A little empathy goes a long way to understanding pressure's all around. With that understanding you can pave a way to higher value for yourself within the organization.

Just knowing that you're not alone in your questions, care, trepidation and passion will sometimes help to sooth stress. Believe me, you're not alone.

Maybe you will discover that one little trick or new process idea that takes you out of fear mode and moves you into thrive mode.

You might find Kingmaker a valuable tool for the members of your team to read. It can open discussion that might lead to greater understanding, collaboration and productivity in your own work unit.

......what have you got to lose?

Who else should read Kingmaker?

Anyone who wants to feel as if their hard work is honorable and dignified and that it leads to a better place for themselves, their families and their contribution to the world.

Kingmaker will prove to be a good resource for Human Resources and hiring managers as a succinct guide for the new employee.

Non-Business professionals who want a better understanding of how to navigate corporations will benefit from the read.

The recent college graduate who wants and needs to know the day-to-day insights you don't hear about in business school.

The preoccupied spouse who works too many hours, is too tied to email, cell, pager and blackberry.

Anyone who is pondering a new job or a different career track.

Anyone who wonders if they can make it to retirement from their current path.

Anyone who has a hard time with office politics.

Anyone who has felt excluded or is just really tired of elbows in the face.

Anyone who obsesses about a bad boss, headcount reductions and their personal life-dreams that aren't seeing the light of day.

Anyone who could use a few real-life tips on Interview techniques, getting along with a boss who's your opposite, preparing for the annual review, or struggling with whether to sign a contract or not.

Anyone who wants a value match with the company they work for.

Anyone who could use some help with time and process management.

Anyone who is overly engaged in ego, fear and competition.

Anyone who feels hidden, invisible, or taken advantage of.

Anyone who doesn't have a champion in the workplace.

Anyone who has suffered silent indignities and doesn't like the "victim" role...turn this around!

Anyone who can't turn off a negative reel in their mind.

Anyone who wants to get on the high-level radar screen.

Anyone who has ever gone for a promotion and didnt win it...and didn't learn from it.

Anyone who feels their creativity is thwarted in the workplace.

Anyone who wants to get a handle on financial planning so they will be ready for any eventuality.

Anyone who wants a tactile plan for gaining bankable branding and free agency.

Anyone who loves their work but hates politics.

Anyone who needs help deciding if it's time to leave their current post.

Any manager who wants the people who report to them to be accountable, efficient, smart,and trustworthy.

Anyone who understands that they have the power, through excellent work and planning, to make the choice on who get's their talent.

Table of Contents

Part One: People, Profit, Politics,
and Process.

Intro: You're Outta Here kid!
Why would I want to leave the career that I'd loved?

Chapter 1: Who’s a Kingmaker?
See Home page to read this chapter.

Chapter 2: The Seismic Shift
Wall Street jitters, integrity issues, headcount reductions and technology all play a role in our new worklife realities.

Chapter 3: A Word about Profit…
Busines is for profit. Understand this concept and find your own way to make peace with it. More than that, learn ways to impact the profit picture and create value for yourself within the organization.

Chapter 4: Politics at Large
The real deal about what makes the "big-guys" tick and everyone around them crumble or soar.

Chapter 5: Politics in the Day to Day
Be yourself and still give them what they want.

Chapter 6: Lose like a Winner
Hold yourself high and smart in the face of any aversion. The way you act when you lose might be more important when you "win".

Chapter 7: Ego, Fear and Competition
Three two sided engines that propel us to action...some healthy, some not. What is your guage?

Chapter 8: The Responsibility of Leadership
How leadership impacts a whole life.

Chapter 9: The Champion
It is more efficient and comfortable to have someone advocate for you than to do it for yourself.

Chapter 10: Embrace Diversity
Diversity can be a tool to widen input, opportunity and new levels of excellence. Where are you on this important issue?

Part Two: Excel, Execute, Enjoy!

Chapter 11: Value Yourself if You Intend to be Valuable
Know what you bring to the party so that you can make your input matter and raise your security level.

Chapter 12: How Can You Affect the Company Margin?
Become a profit contributor from any level and raise your value to the corporation.

Chapter 13: Become Your Manager’s Go-To Person
Be the person your boss can count on in a pinch, no matter the issue at hand.

Chapter 14: Getting a Handle on Obsession and Defensive Action
We all do it. Business isn't personal. Find ways to quiet your mind and move forward positively.

Chapter 15: When is it OK to Break Rank?
Sometimes you have to let your stomach be your guide.

Chapter 16: Interview Discovery
Interview's are a two way street. Be your own detective every step of the way.

Chapter 17: How to Pick (and Get Along With) Your Boss
There will be times you choose your boss. Pick with great care; your future and happiness could depend upon it.

Chapter 18: Management by Type
Who's your boss (really) and how can you become more compatable with this person, even if you know you're not a match.

Chapter 19: Preparing for Your Annual Review: Managing Your Value Perception
The annual meeting that should never be taken lightly.

Chapter 20: Keeping Clear on What you Think You Want
Knowing yourself, and your whole life goals, enough to guide you to making the best decisions possible.

Part Three: Planning for Passion
and Prosperity.

Chapter 21: Branding Yourself, The Art of Free Agency
Gain security in your company and industry.

Chapter 22: Achieving Fulfillment Through Great Work
Make "the work" bigger than any current issue or nemises.

Chapter 23: Letting go and having a Life
First understand why you can't let go...then pick up techniques that might lead to better whole life balance.

Chapter 24: The Freedom Plan
Never be stuck anywhere because of money. Plan early to have the financial wherewithal to make the calls in your life as you need to.

Chapter 25: When Leaving Is the Only Answer
Steps to bring you to some heavy decisions.

Chapter 26: Your Personal Value Kingdom
Making your work a beautiful effort worth your heart and soul....while always remembering your whole life kingdom. Build your riches in every life area.

Chapter One "Who's A Kingmaker"

Who or what is a kingmaker? You might remember this FedEx commercial that aired in the winter of 2001: A group of a dozen or so people is huddled around a conference room table. All the workers in the room are in open shirts and ties, but the person at the head of the table, the boss, is in a suit. We join the meeting as the manager says, “We’ve got to save money, people. Ideas.”

One member of the group contributes the idea that they open an online account with FedEx and save 10 percent on Express shipping. Silence follows for a few beats, then the fellow at the head of the table looks straight ahead and repeats the exact words in authoritative tone with emphatic hand gestures to match.

The group loudly concurs as the camera moves to the face of the worker who proposed the idea in the first place. Perplexed, he declares, “You just said what I just said only you did this,” as he mimics his boss’s hand motions.

The boss looks not at him, but straight ahead, and says, “No, I did this,” as he repeats his hand motion. The group of sycophants proclaims, “Bingo, Got it, Great.” The camera captures the contributor, who has a sour grimace on his face.

This is a perfect example: The perplexed guy is a kingmaker who doesn’t yet realize his own power.

Anyone in corporate America up to the CEO level is a kingmaker. Actually even the CEO has to make kings of the company shareholders. This also holds true whether you are in education, a not-for-profit organization, film, real estate, small business, or any sort of work in which there is more than one person involved. Everyone reports to someone who reports to someone else, and we each have a stake, whether we realize it or not, in our boss’s growth to king status. King status is achieved through popularity via leadership or politics, and through results, which ultimately lead to growth and profit for the division, the company, and the shareholders. The awareness of the unspoken roles of kingmaker and profit contributor, subtly folded into our careers, is vitally important to our own success. Your great work helps your manager reach his or her corporate and career goals, and as a result you are more likely to reach your own. The issue is to become an aware kingmaker by creating and understanding your value to this person and to the company while remaining true to yourself. Your agenda is to become a vital contributor, leader, motivator, and innovative thinker in whatever post you hold at whatever level. Become known as a results-oriented person who gets things done well. It is smart to take every action to identify a well-connected king-in-waiting to work for who can ultimately become your champion. Ideally, you will learn a great deal from this person, who will ultimately advocate for you (becoming your kingmaker) along the way.

Some of my friends and colleagues have a hard time with the notion of the worker as kingmaker, feeling that it is a subservient role. The reality is that not everyone can be a king outright; there simply aren’t enough positions, and nobody can lead alone. Every leader needs people to rely on to bring objectives to life. The kingmaker station can make you very valuable and it is not an inferior role, but an important one. You know that you want to stretch in your career because you love challenge, change, and growth. You already understand that your job is to do your part to reach company objectives. You can move up in the organization and feel very strong about your own security when at least two things happen with regularity.

First, competency is the baseline and excellence is the goal. For the record, competency means “average” in many companies today. On a performance appraisal-rating scale of 1 to 5, a competent label will yield a 3 rating. Who wants to be an average 3? Being competent is not enough to ensure security in a wobbly economy and tough job market. Because your work will speak for you, be conscious of the message you want to send with consistency. Second, it is imperative that you are recognized as a person who makes things happen, who is comfortable to be around, and who is ultimately trustworthy. When you are seen this way, the powers that be will want you on their team because it ensures their success. You will help them reach the company objectives and, as a result, their own personal career goals; the great good news is that you will also be part of the team that makes things happen. You will grow to be your boss’s probable successor, which is a necessary identification to make for either of you to be promoted. It is not subservient to be a kingmaker. It is a reality and it could be your ticket to becoming an insider with a strong career path in front of you. Being a kingmaker does not mean being sycophantic or without original thought, vision, or personal motivation. Being a kingmaker is not even the same as managing up. It is creating a trademark for yourself that is highly desirable to executives who have two goals: the company objectives and their own career growth. How is this different from your own goals? You want to meet or exceed the company objectives and you want a great career track, too. Being a kingmaker also helps you identify the competencies of the people you want to hire to work for you so that you can be better prepared for the rise to king, if that is your goal.

Being a kingmaker means that you must excel in your day-to-day responsibilities while being aware of the overriding style and ambitions enveloped in the actions of the person to whom you report. The relationship between you and your manager is most fluent when your objectives and values are in sync. Achievement of your own goals is easier when you gain your king’s support on the road to achievement.

Often personalities, politics, energy, and longevity in a position or place determine the kingmaker’s success, measured in large part by his or her own sense of fulfillment and achievement gained on the job and in life overall. Being a kingmaker isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t have a great boss, if you get a new manager every six months, or if the prevailing mood is survival (fear) rather than moving forward (optimistic productivity). It can be especially difficult when you see your ideas credited to someone else, as in the FedEx commercial, and this happens with unfortunate frequency. The ethic of attribution does not apply the same way in business as it does in journalism, for example.

In my experience, it only felt bad to be a kingmaker when the king wasn’t generous or inclusive, and when he or she was a narcissistic taker (or hoarder) of information, knowledge, and credit. There were many situations when I felt hidden or in the crossfire of territorial politics that I did not want to be a part of. So many egos with so little time! I should have done more to protect my position and contributions, and I see now that meant, in part, having a champion in a high place. It is more comfortable, credible, and efficient to have someone with clout advocate for you than to do it for yourself. The fact is that leaders get to present wins and losses the way they want to. The king gets the overall credit or blame for work in his or her department and attribution isn’t always part of the leader’s lexicon. You get paid to do a great job; a great boss is a real bonus.

The purpose of this book is to shine a light on this kingmaker role and to be a resource for your own career as you navigate your way in today’s very tough working environment. I did very well, but maybe you can do even better.

Through the awareness of your role as kingmaker and profit contributor, you will excel in your work, your creativity and productivity will improve, you will be more secure, and you will enjoy a secret sense of purpose that does not have to conflict with your own core values. You will be free to be the best at what you do, become invaluable to your leader, and become one of the people that your company wants to keep and other companies want to steal away. You will thrive in your current company with the confidence of a free agent who has the security of employment within your industry because of your strong work ethic and your good name.
It is time to take the driver’s seat in your career and in your whole life and the earlier the better.

Schedule of Appearances
Media Interviews based on Kingmaker

GOOD DAY NEW YORK, WNYW, FOX-TV New York, New York "Keep Your Job!"

CHANNEL 7 ACTION NOON NEWS, WXYZ-TV, Detroit Mi "Become the Standout at your workplace"

CBS2 MORNING NEWS, WCBS TV New York, New York "Raise Your Value in the Workplace"

THE JOAN HAMBURG SHOW, WOR Radio, 107AM, 10-11AM, New York. Listener call-in and discussion on how to raise your value.

Channel 7 Eyewitness News, WABC-TV New York. 7:30-8AM "Strategies for Building Confidence"

The Alan Strikes Show, WTRC Radio, Elkhardt, Ind. 2:15-2:45 "Who's a Kingmaker?"

The Warren Pearce Show, WJR Radio, Detroit, Mi. 6:40AM Discussion of Kingmaker concepts in light of the TV show "The Apprentice". Discussion of Kingmaker concepts with Don Lancer of KWY Radio. Go to Home Page link on left under photo to hear the interview!

WCAU-TV Philadelphia,
Program: 10! 10-11AM Discussion on Value Matching

WJAR-TV, Channel 10, Rhode Island. Business Interview with Frank Coletta.

The Keith Rush Show, WASO Radio New Orleans. 11-12AM, Discussion of Kingmaker and work related challenges facing today's force.

The Business of Success hosted by Alan Rothman of the Business Radio Network.

The Joe Franklin Show WOR radio, New York

WMAQ NBC5 Chicago Weekend Morning News

KVVU FOX 5 Good Day Las Vegas! with Brad Davis
Topic: Successful People (archived on HH site)

The New York Times
HR Magazine

The New York Times
June 26, 2005
The Reviews Are In. And Yours Isn't Pretty.
By Matt Villano

Q. During your annual performance review, your boss gives you bad marks. You feel that the evaluation was unfair, but you're afraid of being branded a complainer. How do you speak your piece without sounding like a sore loser?

A. The last thing you want to do after receiving a bad review is keep quiet, said Dr. Dennis Garritan, an associate professor of human resources management at New York University. "If you think your review is unfair, there's no point suffering it in silence," Dr. Garritan said. "You don't want a negative review in your file, and the only way to do something about it is to speak up."

Q. What's the most appropriate way to respond?

A. Before you do anything, take a deep breath. Nobody likes being criticized, and it is important to maintain composure when responding to the bad news. "Especially when you're delving into sensitive subjects, you want to be at your best," Dr. Garritan said. "If you are so worked up that you don't feel you can talk then and there, excuse yourself and schedule a second meeting for another time."

When you're ready to talk, start by asking your boss to repeat the criticisms one by one, to make sure you understand them. It is also wise to request specific examples of how and where the boss feels that you came up short, Dr. Garritan said. If you were docked for tardiness, for example, ask for the dates on which you were late. If your leadership skills are criticized, ask about the reason for this judgment.

Q. How do you show that you've been misjudged?
A. Disputing hard facts is difficult. Joanne Cini, author of "Kingmaker: Be the One Your Company Wants to Keep ... on Your Terms" (Prentice Hall, 2004), says the best way to rebut a negative performance appraisal is to be prepared with a one-page summary listing your contributions since the previous review. The summary should demonstrate how you have helped the company achieve its goals. Ms. Cini says that it also is a good place to share positive comments you have received from colleagues.

Q. If you're invited to respond in writing, should you do so?

A. Even if you are not invited to respond, you should. A written response captures your arguments and preserves them for anyone who may read the review down the line. "You need a written record of your dissent," said Bill O'Brien, a partner at Miller-O'Brien, an employment law firm in Minneapolis. "Without it, if the situation advances to the point of litigation, you've essentially got no ground to stand on."
Initially, share a written rebuttal only with your boss. If your boss dismisses the concerns, Mr. O'Brien said, it may be time to forward a copy to the human resources department or to explore your company's grievance mechanisms.

Either way, be careful what you write. Carole Martin, a former human resources manager at a biotechnology company, recalled a scientist who responded to a negative review with a six-page manifesto lambasting his boss, his boss's boss and a number of high-level executives in the organization. Ms. Martin, now president of the Interview Coach, a counseling firm in San Francisco, said the scientist's response outlined a number of demands, including requests for follow-up meetings, apologies and a raise. "This letter became a company joke," she said. "It alienated so many executives that they refused to hear him out at all."
Six months after the initial review, she said, the scientist resigned.

Q. Would a boss ever reverse a negative review?

A. A well-written response may persuade your boss to reconsider or ameliorate harsh judgment in a review.
Ms. Cini, who worked in executive-level sales and marketing positions at the ABC, NBC and Fox television networks, changed a handful of reviews after employees presented her with proof of positive contributions to her team. In these cases, Ms. Cini included employee rebuttals in her reassessments and sometimes reversed her conclusions, but she also restated her misgivings, so that employees would still be aware of how she perceived their actions. This way, she said, "People would still think about the conversation."

Mr. O'Brien, the lawyer, added that even if your written response doesn't inspire your boss to change a review, a rebuttal may sensitize management to some of your concerns and make the boss think twice about grading so harshly the next time.

Q. Do you have to sign a review you don't like?

A. Most companies require employees to sign reviews after receiving them. By signing the review, Mr. O'Brien said, you are not necessarily agreeing with it but are simply stating that you understand your boss's comments. You are free to submit a written rebuttal at any point thereafter.

Q. What types of performance criticisms are worth disputing?
A. Constructive criticism is one thing. An unfounded attack is quite another, Ms. Cini says, and it warrants response. "If you are an overachiever who disputes every average grade, your boss understandably might grow tired of the constant struggle," she said.
If your manager is paying attention, every performance review should highlight both strengths and weaknesses. After all, nobody is perfect. It's up to you to pick your battles.

HR Magazine
December 2004

By Joanne Cini, Prentice Hall, 2004, 245 pages
List price: $22.95, ISBN: 0-13-184030-4

Who's a kingmaker? Anyone whose great work helps his manager reach the manager's goals can be a kingmaker--the go-to person, the consistent worker whom everyone wants on the team.

The challenge, Joanne Cini says, is to become "an aware kingmaker," one who knows his own value to the company but remains true to himself. Kingmakers aren't subservient or sycophantic, Cini adds; they're known for meeting the company's objectives as well as focusing on their careers.

Cini wants readers at all levels to see where they fit into their companies' office politics, how they personally affect the bottom line and what they should know about their bosses.

She advocates having a "freedom plan," which enables you to leave a toxic workplace with confidence that you have the financial cushion to survive without having to tolerate a bad boss or 24/7 hours any longer. She backs her idea with self-assessment tools to help readers determine where they are financially and in their careers.

Cini, a veteran of 24 years in the television industry's management and executive ranks, opens with chapters asking readers to consider how they truly feel about working for corporate profit, dealing with office politics, handling lost promotions and dealing with workplace competition. She urges readers to learn about finance and think about whether their jobs feed their interests and passions, not just their personal income.

Understanding managers' stresses and styles helps you know how to approach them. Learn whether your boss is a detail lover or a big-picture thinker, social or analytical. If you have a "trickster" boss--a slacker who gets by and takes credit for others' work--you can draw on Cini's discussion of whether to deal with it, confront it or get out from under it.

Cini emphasizes the career importance of losing with dignity. How do you handle it when that promotion goes to someone else? What if you feel you need to leave your job after being passed over; will things really be different elsewhere?

Finding a champion with real clout in the organization is key, Cini says. This likely is someone over your direct manager's head, and Cini addresses how to get your manager to help you approach your champion (and how to get to this mentor if your manager doesn't like the idea). She gives tips for finding champions and sharing your work with them.

Kingmakers must value themselves if they want to be valuable to their employers. Cini recommends examining whether the company's values match your own. Do a daily personal review to take stock of what went well and what could have been done better. Staying abreast of management trends and technology and volunteering for new initiatives help increase your value.

Individual employees can affect a company's profit, Cini says. Her steps for increasing your contribution to the bottom line include hiring well and working to keep key people; ferreting out redundancy; asking customers what works; and understanding the firm's business plans.

Kingmakers should be consistent employees who anticipate tasks in advance, own up when they err and never act territorial.

Cini recognizes that while you're impressing the boss you may be dealing with feelings that rankle. How do you handle caustic remarks, embarrassments or intentional attempts to cut you out of customer meetings or social functions important to your career? She outlines steps from dealing with people directly to approaching HR formally.

"Your value as a contributor gives you the right to be careful and selective about the people you give your talent to," she writes. She gives tips on how to assess a potential boss during a job interview and how to check out a company's background and commitment to career planning.

Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement by SHRM or HR Magazine.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Society for Human Resource Management

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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