Tony Vlajos shares about ExecuNet


Adam:

Welcome to another edition of the franchise consultant podcast. I’m so excited to have here, Tony Vlajos from the Executive net. Tony, how you doing this morning?

Tony:
Adam? I’m doing well. What about you?

Adam:
Doing great, doing great doing great. Well, for our listeners that aren’t familiar with the Executive net, could you please tell them a little bit more about Execunet yourself?

Tony:
Yeah, Execunet had has been the leading destination for senior-level people who are facing job search and career changes for well over 30 years. And I am technically their chief marketing officer, which is a funny title to me because of the scope of what I do. So that includes being the head of the brand. And because we are a place for learning how to make changes happen to make them happen. I’ve taken on the role of VP of learning as well. It’s a big part of what we’re about.

Adam:
How many members of executives are there?

Tony:
Well, We have 100,000 people in our sphere. And we have a large LinkedIn group known as the executive suite. I count them among our members because of how we treat them. We invite them to learn as well as we do our members in many cases. And so they’re part of the family,

Adam:
How does someone grow a group from zero to 100,000 plus?

Tony:
With some vision and hard work, and word of mouth, I think is a term that I would use. We did start with zero. I remember coming to the company and we’re spending some money on LinkedIn. And I thought, well, there’s a sinkhole group happening, why don’t we build a group and it just evolved from there. This is where the hard work part comes in. It is a matter of how you treat the group. And if you treat them with respect and respect who they are, what level they are, and What they want to learn not just from us, but from each other, you build experience and experience of value that helps people want to tell others that this is a place to be. And that’s how we grow.

Adam:
So why, who is the person that should join Execunet? And if they do join, what kind of benefits will they get out of joining the group?

Tony:
Yeah, great question. So, we are a place for the senior-level executive, Vice President and up mostly lots of chief executives, and certainly a lot of people in the C suite. It’s someone who is at a crossroads. They have lost their job, or they fear changes coming or they know will be coming. That’s mostly who we talked to. Many of our members are enroll and don’t have a need today to change. But they’re thinking ahead. They’re thinking about how long they’ve been doing what they’re doing. In many cases, 30,40 years, which is mind-blowing, and they know that they don’t want to keep doing what they’re doing for much longer. That’s another audience camp. And so they come to us in confidence and with confidence to privately figure things out. At that level, you don’t want to turn to your shareholders and say, I think I’m done. Or necessarily to your peers or your reports and say, I’ve got a problem, or I’ve got an issue, I’m not so sure about something. You’re expected to know a whole lot at that level. And so you’re not eager to betray that you don’t know how to make a change, especially a job search. The people we work with Adam are masters at something, usually more than a couple of somethings. They’re not masters at making a change like that. That’s our department. And so they work with us to learn how to make the changes they want.

Adam:
That’s great. That’s great. And how did you get into this?

Tony:
By accident? Like many things happen. I had no idea about Execunet when I was ready to make my change, what, 12 years ago, and I’ll tell you a funny story. I had a call from a recruiter who was a recovering lawyer. And he knew me from my days at LexisNexis and said, there’s this little company in Westchester, New York, which wasn’t true executives based in Connecticut, but he knew that if he told me Connecticut, I would never leave New York to work in Connecticut. So he used effective storytelling to get me to think about executives, and I thought, well, the role seems exciting. I’d love to be the head of something. And so I made the leap and through a series of grueling interviews with With some lovely people, the transformation happens, I didn’t look back and I haven’t because of the culture we’ve created and the people I work with, and most importantly, the people we help, the mission of the brand hasn’t changed. We’ve evolved as a brand, with services and a story that is far more far-reaching than where we were when I started. But that’s the most exciting part to be able to reach people in large numbers in new ways.

Adam:
So tell me about what you see in the career landscape right now because this is unprecedented what we’re seeing.

Tony:
Yeah. Well, I see a great opportunity. I see people struggling which saddens me, but I know that with the right mindset, or a different mindset, a lot of great change can happen with a lot of hard work, not necessarily longer hours. Search, great things can happen. I see a lot of job surging a lot of sectors, the obvious places, including healthcare and home entertainment. But that’s a myopic view of the market, I think the way to look at it is the companies that are now facing so much uncertainty, and with so much up in the air, they’re going to be looking for someone different when this is done. And as we emerge from this situation, they’re going to be more open to leaders who have fresh ideas. And so that creates a lot of opportunity for people who have felt stuck in their world organizations. So that’s what I see. And I believe the executives who are making changes for themselves, the ones who see it that way, and the ones who are stepping forward are the ones who are being considered if you don’t step forward in any condition, boom or bust cycle. No one ever receives you. So with that mindset, you can make a lot of things happen for yourself. And that’s what we tell our audience, our members.

Adam:
So what practical things can someone do throughout this time to make themselves more marketable for the world after what we’re doing dealing with right now?

Tony:
Well, it starts with defining what you want. And that means, where do I want to work? Right now, many of us don’t have the luxury of choosing the geographic location. But in ideal times, that’s a great place to start. And then starting with the companies where you feel you want to work, where you could make a difference, where on the surface, it looks like a great fit for you based on their culture, their vision, their values, all those things. And then identifying ways that you can make a difference there. Whether there is an open position, public open position, or not. Doesn’t matter as much. What matters more is Where do you see yourself fitting in And making great things happen for that company. And then you look at yourself and say, well, what’s my story? What’s the value that I can create for that organization? How do I help them see that about myself? Once you’ve identified your superpower, the value you can create the difference you’ll make. You can go to the market and target the companies where you can make that difference felt. And then through a series of touches, including your network, and all the marketing collateral around you, which includes your resume your LinkedIn profile, other places people will experience you where you can demonstrate your impact and your reputation. That’s how you go to the market and help the right people see you for the different spanker surely are

Adam:
So, you must be an amazing LinkedIn expert. What things do people need to do with their LinkedIn profile to let them stand out

Adam:
Several things, it has very much to do with your story with the value story that we just talked about, where you’re using your headline, your profile summary, to paint a picture of yourself. And when you can back that up with data, as in your resume, and help people see that the story you’re telling is proven. That’s powerful when people can look to your network of strong and weak ties, and be able to experience you through them as well. That’s powerful. So I’m beginning to describe is a LinkedIn presence beyond the profile where people can see you and the difference you make, they can see it in the value you’re sharing with others. Where you’re sharing your thought leadership, your expertise is being felt in different communities be that groups or others. That’s how your presence becomes more than just a brand statement, it becomes a fulfillment of a promise. And that’s a very important part of being known for something is being felt. It’s a demonstration of value. It’s not just a statement of value.

Adam:
So looking forward, you mentioned that people are going to be looking for people with different skill sets. How do you think that the office landscape will change in 10 or 20 years from now?

Tony:
10 or 20 years? I don’t know we could be working on a planet, I have no idea. But I would say in the near term, at the very least, companies are getting creative. We all reacted to the pandemic. We are all reacting to a depressed market. The companies that are going to thrive are the ones that have a response to it that is going to come Creative as a result of it and are using this moment in time to carve out a fresh frontier for their brand and their community of followers. So remote work is going to be something that many of us embrace as the new normal. It doesn’t mean we won’t have satellite offices mean people can meet in Starbucks, does it mean that we shouldn’t we must because we’re human we have to connect in as many ways as we possibly can. So companies will take that and make something of it that works for them. I don’t believe there’s any going back to exactly the way things were not because we can’t but because we probably shouldn’t. There are a lot of things about the way things work. They probably weren’t so wonderful. Anyway, the point is, how do we seize this and take it and make something great from it?

Adam:
Yes. You mentioned about this potential change in the workplace that you see. So tell me what so many executives leaving their organizations, what options do they have when they need help?

Tony:
Yeah, great question. So many organizations are ill-equipped to help people the senior levels. There is, of course, something known as outplacement, which many companies not all but many offer to all employees. And they work with outplacement firms to provide things that many of us who’ve been through that are familiar with, they include desk somewhere at some location, group training, and services that are more or less generic. designed to help to exit employees, leave the organization, and in some way, shape or form find something new for themselves. Let’s compare and contrast that with what executives need. They don’t need generic. They don’t need a desk somewhere. They need one to one attention because at that level, it’s very different. So there are options, but they’re not great options. What an executive need is something that’s not a cookie-cutter. The executive course provides services that are not cookie-cutter, they’re tailored to the individual need of a senior-level person, have everything to do with first helping them understand their value story, and shape it in a way that reaches the right companies and the right people, those organizations that can make all the difference in their search and many instances shortening dramatically. So that is what is, in my mind, the best opportunity for that exiting executive as well as for the organization you’re leaving behind because of course, that organization has a brand to protect. They want people to know that it was a place that cared about other people, even those who are exiting. If you don’t take those steps, you have someone influential, leaving your company, but feeling not so good about you. That’s not someone you want out there telling your story.
Because of course, that’s what the brand is. It’s a tummy test that people around you can take and say that’s how I feel about that place or that brand. And you want people out there who care about the place even the one they left behind because they showed they cared about them. So I encourage companies that don’t have outplacement services. For people at that level, to consider working with an organization where those people will be taken care of in a very personal way, and most importantly, be helped to get to their next destination in the shortest time possible.

Adam:
Thank you for that. So before you mentioned about companies that have been doing a really good job of weathering this and it’s changed in general, do you have any specific examples of companies that have done a good job with this change of pivoting per se?

Tony:
I won’t share specific examples, but I will say that the companies that have walked this very fine line between swift decision making and respecting culture, those are the ones that have succeeded the best here. So what am I talking about? Let’s look at culture in a bra. context, Adam, the world we live in, that’s a culture, while our nature is to congregate to get together, to shake hands, to not wear masks to hang out in all kinds of places and be in touch with each other physically.
That’s our culture. But leadership has needed to make some choices on behalf of culture on behalf of people and tell them things like quarantine or stay in place. That’s hard. And it’s hard for the leaders in place to make those choices but they were necessary for a greater good. So we look at that on a micro-scale. And we look at organizations. I’m saying that there are times when leaders have needed to do with remote work and, and even distance learning for our children and make choices that require us to go a certain way that are hard But they’re the right thing to do. I think companies that have struck that balance so that people remain in touch can work together, be effective, be engaged with the work and with each other while respecting that something larger than us at the moment is in the hands of our leaders to make decisions around those of the organizations that I believe have been the best places still to work.

Adam:
Right. So you mentioned on your LinkedIn profile, I have to say this as someone that came from New Jersey that now lives in Texas, you said you’re avid footwear? Yeah. What expands about the amount of Texas boots, it’s one variety, motorcycle boots, cowboy boots,any other kind of boots? I like to wear it, not the pointy ones though.

Adam:
Well, Tony, thank you so much for being on our podcast today. If someone is interested In Execunet, how do they find Execunet in general? How do you lead them to that?

Tony:
Yeah, first, it’s a pleasure to be on your podcast. And I look forward to doing that again in the future. So thanks for having me. Execunet can be found at www.Execunet.com. And you can find me on LinkedIn. And that’s the best route.

Adam:
Thank you so much for your insight and your wisdom today, Tony.

Tony:
Well, you’re very kind. Thank you, Adam.

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