With all good intentions, I posted about 4 months ago. The next thing I know it’s practically March. Since that last post I have joined Sanford Rose Associates in Franklin TN as a Senior Partner?Practice Leader focusing on Product Management & Marketing roles in Biotech, Medical Devices and Pharma.

That said, the aim here is to still focus on PEOPLE WITH A CLUE (for those uninitiated, that is what PWAC stands for). I am convinced that the notions I developed in the 2009 book are happening at an even faster rate than I predicted just 3 years ago.

The global recession and the recalibration of people’s (and employers) expectations have reinforced the idea that in order to succeed you must not only HAVE a CLUE, but work hard to maintain it.

I’m working on the 2nd Edition of the PWAC Manifesto now. IF anyone has some feedback or a story to tell related to building a “culture of competence” and maintaining their own “intellectual capital” I’d love to hear about it. Please post HERE or contact me at gsparzo (at) sanfordrose.com.


Long Time No “See”

October 28, 2011

It’s been a long time since I posted here, but I’ve thought about it a number of times. Right now, the “Great Recession” is still raging, in peoples minds and lives, if not in the actual data. I recall the first’ “recession” I lived through post-college (1991) I was very worried and didn’t know what to expect.

I have lived through Jimmy Carter’s “stagflation recession” in the late 1970s, but I was “safely” isolated in college.

As this one came on us in late 2008, it seemed different, Equally scarey as the last one…maybe worse as I now had kids approaching college age.

I remember my grandmother, born in 1905, who told stories of the Great Depression and lived and saved in preparation for the next one until her dying day.

My question to you is this: How has this Recession changed YOU? Do you spend the same way? Do you invest the same way? How have you modified your thinking? Your career?

New Years Resolutions?

February 10, 2010


I have been looking at my ever-aging blog posts every time I logged on to LinkedIn.  I kept telling myself it was time to write something new. So, in the spirit of the new year, I will work to be more reliable in my posting.

It seems that the economy is improving slightly, although both sides are so politicized and polarized it’s hard to know what to believe.  Whether the economy is technically improving or not, the anecdotal evidence suggests that employment is still lagging and it looks like it will for the rest of the year.

Think of this time as an opportunity. If you are an employer, it’s an opportunity to get your company ready when the economy does improve. By ready, I mean ready to attract and retain more than your share of smart, effective and motivated people–the PWACs I wrote about last year in the book.

If you are a PWAC, decide if the company you’re at is the company you’ll be staying with, and if you are unemployed, seize this opportunity to ASSESS what you love, what you hate and what you want to do next. RESIST the temptation to just replace your JOB. PS…when I say “hate” I mean do not compromise yourself and do something you don’t enjoy just because it pays the bills. Remember: the abolished debtors prison long long ago.  Take a moment, envision your better future and take MASSIVE ACTION.

More Later. GMS

Take a breath…

August 4, 2009

Hope summer is going well for you. As we enter the final weeks of summer 09 I strongly recommend you take a little time to recharge your batteries for the coming race to the end of the year. The recession has been tough on all, but on the positive side, it has slowed down the war for talent and the impact of the skills gap. After you rest up a bit, be ready to resume that race. Now is the time to think about your talent retention and acquisition strategies. What are you doing now to assure that you will remain competitive when the economy heats up again? GMS

Employment Opportunities

June 29, 2009

It sounds counter-intuitive while in a recession, but we are on the verge of a period of strong employment for anyone with a clue. Here’s why: This recession is just a bit of a breather before the hunt for talented people resumes. I should point out, that during the last recession when aggregate unemployment was round 8%, it never got past 3% for those with a college degree.

Spend this period before the recovery to hone your skills, take a course, and give deep thought to what you want to be doing when the headhunters start calling again.

Interview Notes

June 25, 2009

The interview went pretty well. It was actually kind of cool. I thought I might run out of things to say (yeah, right…) but actually I could have talked for an hour. That’s not really the point of a radio interview, of course.

I received a number of emails from friends and colleagues.

All that said, I’m excited that The PWAC Manifesto is starting to get some traction. I believe it is important for us to understand the issues facing our society, our economy, your company and your career.

This recession has been painful and while it might not seem like it, is only a respite before the demand for talent resumes its upward climb.

Take this time to refresh your skills and take a few minutes out of your day and start thinking about how you want to live and work when things start to improve, which I believe will be later this year.

Remember, all those Gen Y’s started graduating from college in 2007 and in about 3-4 years will be starting to buy houses and fill them with all the stuff we already have in our houses. Then the market and the general economy will rush to supply those new households with goods and services.

So, spend some time thinking about the future. Which one do you want?


June 24, 2009

My first radio interview for the book will be on the Brad Davis Show on WDRC AM1360 in Hartford on Thursday, 7:20am-7:30am. Tune in if you are in the area. I will try to get a recording of it posted as as MP3 on this site as soon as I can.

An interesting book about Gen Y, “Not Everyone Gets a Trophy” by Bruce Tulgan talks about the challenges of managing that generation. Full of anecdotes about how managing them is like herding cats and often more like parenting than managing.

Will this recessionary time recalibrate Gen Y expectations? Simple economics suggests so, especially as the enormous size of that cohort increases competition for the “good jobs’ as economic strength returns.

A recent Harris Interactive survey of Gen Y employees found that three out of five respondents said that their first employer did not provide a clear path for advancement. Of course, the reality is that few employers provide a clear path to anything, much less to the corner office.

Other key findings:
Describing how their first job made them feel, 13% said they couldn’t wait for Friday to arrive, 10% wanted to quit every day and 8% felt it was a waste of their time

19% of 18-34 year olds wanted to quit their first job every day, compared to 3% of those 55 years old and over

So, does this represent unrealistic expectations by Gen Y or the typical angst of first time employees? Based on the research in the PWAC Manifesto, I suspect that we are seeing a continuation of the trend that started when they were kids. After years of being told by their parents and teachers that they were “special” many really believe that a few months or years into a job they should already have a clear path to the top. Did we all think that way when we were that young? I don’t recall feeling that way.

Here’s the paradox: there is a shortage of PWACs of all ages. So on one hand you do want to retain them even if they might need to recalibrate their expectations.

On the other, the Gen Y generation is huge so you might be time to consider letting the most unrealistic ones go and cast your net back into the pool.

How do you manage Gen Ys or UNREALISTIC expectations regardless of the age of your employee?

A case for national innovation incentives
Priming the pump of American innovation is going to mean getting the government involved, Derek Thompson argues. With Wall Street luring away the nation’s geniuses, Thompson argues that the government should be looking for ways to make science and technology careers hugely profitable so that the best minds will be lured back to technical professions. He suggest offering government innovation incentives, cutting taxes, creating a secretary of innovation and boosting education standards to bring the U.S. back to the forefront. TheAtlantic.com (6/5)