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Showing posts with label careers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label careers. Show all posts

Thursday, July 30, 2020

More Automation is Coming! Bulletproof Your Career


Guest post from Edward D. Hess:

Everyone knows that jobs have been automated over the last 20 years. But the number of those automated jobs will be a small number compared to what is coming over the next 10 years. The continuing advancement and convergence of artificial intelligence, bio-technology, nanotechnology, virtual and augmented reality, quantum computing, and Big Data will automate millions of jobs in the United States. Not just manufacturing jobs but also service jobs, knowledge-worker jobs and professionals.

McKinsey predicts that by 2030, over 25 million jobs in the United States will be automated. Research from Oxford University predicted that within 15 years there is a high probability that 47% of U.S. jobs including professional jobs will be automated. How will you stay relevant in the workplace? What can you do to become bulletproof?

I believe we humans will need to excel at doing something valuable that the technology itself will not be able to do well. There are four uniquely human skills that currently meet that criteria:

1. Emotional Excellence: Being able to emotionally connect, relate, and collaborate with others in positive ways that can result in caring-trusting relationships that enable you to have high-quality making meaning conversations with others that create or deliver value will be a key human differentiator. Being able to manage one’s emotions; generate positive emotions; and be highly sensitive to the emotional state of others will be important human skills.

2. Thinking Excellence: Being adept at being able to think differently than the technology with the agility to move back and forth between those different ways of thinking: exploring the unknown and seeking novelty by being creative, imaginative, and innovative; engaging in higher-level critical thinking; making decisions in environments with lots of uncertainty and little data; and excelling at sense-making and emergent thinking.

3. Exploration Excellence: Excelling at having the courage to go into new areas – the unknown - and to explore and discover the new and the different by using low-risk iterative learning processes is the third key human skill. It requires overcoming the fear of making mistakes and in most cases effective collaboration with others and overcoming our reflexive habitual ways of thinking.

The science of adult learning shows that our brains and minds are generally wired to be efficient. We reflexively seek confirmation of what we expect to see, feel, or think; to protect our egos; and to strive for cohesiveness of our personal stories of how our world works. We are creatures of habit and operate much of the time on autopilot. All of that inhibits Exploration Excellence.

To stay relevant in the workplace we will need to “rewire” our brains in order to:

·        -  Seek out novelty not primarily confirmation, affirmation, and cohesiveness:
·         - Actively seek out disconfirming information that challenges our beliefs;
·        -  Ask questions that lead to exploration and discovery (e.g., Why? What if? Why not?);
·         - Defer judgments in order to further explore and discover;
·         - Embrace differences and to make meaning of differences;
·         - Embrace ambiguity by not rushing to the safety of making comfortable, speedy decisions; and
·        -  Excel at “not knowing” and Hyper-Learning: continuous learning, unlearning and relearning.


Those three skills are all enabled by the fourth skill:

4. Self Excellence: Excelling at managing how you think, how you listen, how you handle emotional stress and the challenge of needing to continuously adapt at the pace of change requires managing your ego, your mind and your emotions. The desired result is “Inner Peace”approaching others and the world with an internal quietness or stillness, which I define as being fully present in the moment with an open and non-judgmental mind and a lack of self-absorption with limited stress and fear. That helps you remove internal noise and distraction and helps you align your inner world—your mind, body, brain, and heart—so you can better engage with the outer world in the pursuit of excelling at the above three skills. That state of being enables Emotional Excellence, Thinking Excellence and Exploration Excellence.

We human beings will be in a continuous race in the workplace to stay ahead of the advancing technology.

Are you “Bulletproof?”


Edward D. Hess is Professor of Business Administration, Batten Fellow and Batten Executive-in -Residence at the Darden Graduate School of Business and the author of Hyper-Learning: How to Adapt to the Speed of Change, which will be published by Berrett-Koehler in August, 2020.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

5 Ways to Deal with a Job that Sucks


Guest post from Steve Farber:

A buddy of mine has a step-daughter who works three or four 12-hour shifts each week as a
clerk in a hospital emergency room. She’s a single mom with three kids, all still at home, all still outgrowing their shoes every other week, and all seemingly capable of eating Walmart’s entire grocery section in a single sitting. She took the job in part because it paid a couple of bucks an hour more than her previous job and because she liked the idea of helping people who were sick or hurting.

Everything started off great. She was energetic about her work and enjoyed serving the patients and the hospital staff. A month or so into it, though, her supervisor called her in and said they had made a mistake on her pay scale. She was going to have to take a cut, but, thanks to the administration’s amazing benevolence, she wouldn’t have to pay back anything from the checks she’d already cashed.

She thought about fighting the decision, but she really needed the job. She felt trapped: stay quiet and take less money or speak out, risk getting fired and possibly end up with nothing. She couldn’t afford nothing so she stayed quiet. Now she hates her job, doesn’t trust her supervisor, and dreads going to work.

The hard, cold reality is that hundreds of thousands of people don’t love what they do. They might be clerks in an emergency room, CEOs in a corporate office, or managers on a factory line, but they find no joy or fulfillment in the efforts that produce their paychecks. For them, work sucks.

What to do?

I don’t have a can’t-miss, silver-bullet solution. But I do believe that everyone can and should do what they love in the service of people who love what they do. It’s highly aspirational, I know, but why settle for less? If, however, you find yourself in a my-work-sucks situation—or if you are counseling someone in that situation—here are a few tips for dealing with the dilemma.

Don’t give up. We’re told from an early age that we should do what makes us happy, but happiness is circumstantial. Sometimes work is hard, even if you love what you do, and sometimes we simply have to adult our way through the tough times. Typically, we learn from those tough times, grow from them, and emerge better in almost every respect. So don’t start with the assumption that you’re in the wrong place and have to leave. That could be true, but don’t operate with that assumption or it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Remember how you got there. What were the events, jobs, projects, and other experiences that led you to your current role? I recommend that people literally draw a map on a piece of paper with “I Am Here” in the middle of the page. Above that, write down the milestone events of your career, good and not so good, and then connect those dots with a line. Now answer these questions: Why did I take this job/start this company/enlist in this program? Are the ideals that I started with still in place today? If not, how can I bring them back to life?

Inventory your work/job/career. The bottom of the page represents today. Use it to write a list of everything you can think of that’s related to your work—every task, project, role, responsibility, colleague, supervisor, employee, customer, client, underlying value, etc. Then circle the aspects you enjoy and draw a square around the ones you don’t.

Plant a gratitude tree. What are the things on that list that truly resonate with you? What do you love doing? What people do you really care about? What values do you see that you strive to live by? What things make coming to work worthwhile? Use a highlighter to mark those things on your list. Find anything and everything about your work that you do love, or even just like, and make note of it.

Spend time in that tree. Review those highlights daily, ideally in the morning or before your work begins, and allow yourself to feel genuine gratitude. That one simple, reflective practice can help stoke or re-kindle a love for the work you do.

In some cases, things will change and you’ll realize you actually love what you do and where you work more than you thought you did. In fact, your change in attitude and commitment will likely be part of the reason things improve, not just for you but for everyone around you.

In some cases, of course, the job or the culture or both simply aren’t worth the stress and anxiety that come with them. You can do your part, but you can’t fake a love for the work and you can’t force other people to change. You can love them and influence them, but you can’t force them to change. The tips might provide a stop-gap solution to help you survive a few weeks or months with more joy and satisfaction, but the ultimate solution might be to leave. That takes courage, because the next place you land won’t be perfect, either. The goal isn’t to find a job with no problems or challenges, but to do something you love so much that you are willing to sacrifice and even suffer when necessary. That job is out there. Find it and fill it with love.


Steve Farber is president of Extreme Leadership Inc., an acclaimed speaker, bestselling
author, and consultant. His new book LOVE IS JUST DAMN GOOD BUSINESS (McGraw-Hill, Sept. 6, 2019) follows The Radical Leap, a bestseller cited among The 100 Best Business Books of All Time by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten; The Radical Edge and Greater Than Yourself. He and his family live in San Diego.

Monday, August 27, 2018

How to Propel Your Career in 10 Minutes

Guest post by Dr. Dawn Graham:

Spring cleaning, New Year’s resolutions, summer vacations, back to school—these days, everything has a season. But what about career management? One would think that something we spend more than half our waking hours investing in, which sustains our families and lifestyle, and which for many is an integral part of our identities, would get more regular attention. Other than when we need a new job, that is.

There’s a well-publicized notion that professionals spend more time planning a vacation than planning for their careers. That’s an unfortunate truth for many of us, even though a successful career is much more important to our happiness—a research-backed fact. Towers Watson’s global talent survey found that career advancement opportunities ranked higher than base salary on a list of top reasons employees join their companies, yet less than 50 percent of these same employers said they effectively provide these advancement opportunities.

It’s no secret that today’s professionals need to take charge of their own growth and development. However, many haven’t stepped up to take the reins. We often dedicate time to challenges requiring immediate attention—we wait until a layoff, merger, or burnout before we dust off the resume, only to find that the market and required skills have shifted since we last interviewed.

Don’t let this be you. Whether time, know-how, or some other excuse has gotten in your way, NOW is the time to be proactive. The best way to remain marketable and achieve your professional goals is to practice consistency and discipline in managing your career.

Here are nine simple strategies to actively manage your career in less than ten minutes a day:

  1. Stay active on LinkedIn. As technology advances, social media is becoming increasingly critical to careers across all industries. In minutes each day, you can stay in touch with your contacts and build new ones by posting (or sharing) insightful articles, joining online discussions, inviting people to connect, or endorsing others. Maintaining a consistent online brand will ensure you stay top of mind with your network and keep you “in the know” about what’s happening in your field.
  2. Subscribe to an industry blog. New information and ideas are constantly generated and shared in all professions. These bite-size articles take only a few minutes to read on the train or over lunch and will sustain your marketability, which is critical to both your present role and potential future positions.
  3. Walk the halls. With a packed work calendar, it’s tempting to interact with the same few people, eat lunch at your desk, and skip the monthly birthday celebrations. But small interactions with colleagues go a long way in building trust and deepening relationships, which will ultimately facilitate future interactions. If you work in a large organization, strive to meet colleagues outside your department, to learn what they do. If you’re remote, travel to the main office for town halls, special events, or occasional staff meetings.
  4. Ask for feedback. Plain and simple, feedback is a gift. Welcome it with open arms. Since many shy away from providing constructive criticism, proactively seek it out and be specific as to how others can assist you. For example, before your next presentation, ask a colleague to note at least one thing you can improve, such as a bad habit (e.g., swaying, reading slides verbatim, talking too softly).
  5. Meet people outside the office. We’re typically drawn to familiar faces at networking events, children’s team practices, and/or weekly worship services. Going forward, introduce yourself to at least one person you don’t know. Be curious, and aim to find commonalities. You’ll instantly broaden your contacts, and you never know who you might meet. Everyone has something to teach you. Everyone.
  6. Read your local biz journal or daily newspaper. Okay, print media has gone the way of the fax machine. However, spending a few minutes each weekday familiarizing yourself with current events expands your perspective and makes you more conversant and interesting. If it’s more convenient, subscribe to an online news channel to receive a daily roundup of the latest headlines. For many, the hardest part of networking is finding something to talk about, so the more you know, the more topics you’ll have to choose from.
  7. Peruse job openings. Even if you aren’t currently searching, remaining informed about what skills, experiences, and knowledge employers are looking for in your role/industry. Periodically evaluate how you measure up to current job requirements, and update your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect your latest accomplishments at least once a year (or more often). Sometimes the best opportunities in life come along when we’re not looking. Make sure you can be found.
  8. Help others. Building goodwill with your network will be invaluable in your career, and these opportunities are everywhere. Assisting someone could be as simple as providing an introduction, offering a word of advice, or sharing a resource. Take a few minutes to slow down and notice When you can serve someone else.
  9. Pay attention. In most cases, it’s rare to be completely blindsided. Usually, red flags precede a layoff, major leadership change, merger/acquisition, or other career upset. When we keep our heads down, we miss the signs. Tune in to watercooler talk, recognize any increase in closed-door meetings, understand potential implications of a hiring freeze or budget decreases, and pay attention to project delays. While none of these may indicate a major shake-up on the horizon, taken together, these signs may indicate you need to start sharpening your interviewing skills.

For better or worse, career management is your responsibility. Make the time to invest in yourself.

Happy hunting!
  
Dr. Dawn Graham is one of the nation’s leading career coaches. She is the career management director of the MBA Program for Executives at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she counsels business leaders on making strategic career choices. A licensed psychologist and former corporate recruiter, she hosts SiriusXM Radio’s popular weekly call-in show Career Talk on Business Radio 111 and is a regular contributor to Forbes.com. Her new book, Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers and Seize Success, gives professionals tools to draw a new roadmap for success—and happiness. Learn more about the book and get free bonus content at https://www.drdawnoncareers.com/switchers-the-book/.
 




 





 



 









Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The 9 (or 99?) Ps of Leadership

Guest post from Sander Flaum:


Back in 2001, when I was asked to lead a forum in leadership at what is now the Fordham Gabelli Graduate School of Business, the concept was to bring noted leaders (business and otherwise) into a classroom where they could share their experiences and insights with MBA students. I believed that if students could meet successful leaders in a setting that encouraged open dialogue, we could transcend rote instruction and create life-learning experiences.

However, as a succession of leaders, including William Toppeta, CEO of MetLife, Myrtle Potter, COO at Genentech, Howard Safir, New York City Police Commissioner, and many others spoke at the Forum, it became clear that the concepts we were uncovering were in need of an organizing tool.

Then, as now, business writing was replete with alliterative formulas. A little Internet research will turn up “the 7 Ps of Marketing,” “the 7 Cs of Success,” “the 4 Ls of Retirement Planning,” and so on. To anyone who thinks these lists are a bit corny, consider that Jack Welch swore by his 3 Es: energy, energize, and edge. If an alliterative list was good enough for Welch, it’s good enough for me.

At the Forum, we decided to structure our insights about Leadership into Ps – and we didn’t stop with 7 – we eventually agreed upon 9! Were we the first to propose Leadership Ps? All I can say is that I haven’t found any Leadership list that antedates ours.

1. People – One of our early guest speakers, William Toppeta, put it this way: “Focus on the people and the numbers will come. Focus on the numbers and the people will go.”

2. Purpose – Obviously, you shouldn’t be leading if you don’t know where you’re going.

3. Passion – It’s not enough to be passionate about the job yourself, it’s also your responsibility to cultivate passion within the organization – not to rain on anyone’s parade.

4. Performance – Be as obsessed with your own performance as the performance of those who report to you.

5. Persistence – Jeff Rich, former CEO of Affiliated Computer Systems, told the Forum: “Persistence is about loving something so much that you refuse to ever abandon it.”

6. Perspective – Remember the role you and your organization are in the big picture.

7. Paranoia – It’s not worrying about oneself, but fear that your organization may be in jeopardy or missing opportunities. “Hypervigilance” is probably more accurate, but it doesn’t begin with P and it doesn’t have the same punch.

8. Principles – Christine Poon, a top executive at Johnson & Johnson, put it this way to the Forum: “A company’s values can provide a powerful inspiration and ultimately shape everything about the company.”

9. Practice – It’s essential to keep working at being a leader constantly – once you accept the responsibility of leading, there’s no holding back.

But wait, there’s more!

In the course of teaching these 9 Ps, I’ve noticed something peculiar. Most students carefully record each “P” in their notebooks (classroom habits are hard to break) and ask if they will be on the final. But a few more curious souls will grasp the process behind the 9 Ps and use them a springboard to inspire their own thinking about leadership. These people typically accost me outside the classroom, perhaps in an elevator or hallway, and after a moment, say something like: “Sander, I had an idea for a 10th P.”

Remembering P3 – Passion (and not raining on parades), I’ll say: “Great, tell me about it!”

And then I hear the suggestions: Probity, Process, Progressive, Poise, Productivity, Pursuit, Perfection – and more.

Do any – or all -- belong in our list? Who knows how many Ps could be used to describe Leadership? For me, I’m satisfied with the 9 we developed at the Forum. But if someone wants to explore further, I’ll never try to hold them back.

As a leader, when you teach people in your organization, you’re not bestowing a gift. You’re planting a seed. A list like the 9 Ps is a trellis that can help their own ideas grow.


Sander Flaum, M.B.A., co-author of Boost Your Career: How To Make An Impact, Get

Recognized, and Build The Career You Want, is CEO of Flaum Navigators, a consulting firm that helps companies accelerate business growth through transformational ideas that galvanize leadership, brand building, and innovation. He is chair of the Fordham Leadership Forum at the Fordham University Gabelli Graduate School of Business, Executive-in-Residence at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, and is the author of several books including The 100-Mile Walk: A Father and Son on a Quest to Find The Essence of Leadership.
For more information, please visit: www.BoostYourCareerBook.com.


Monday, October 26, 2015

7 Signs that it May be Time to Step Down as a Manager


How do you know when it’s time to step aside, or down from being a manager? Read my latest post over at About.com Management and Leadership to find out more:


 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

So You Want to Be a Leader? You Better Find a Mentor


Guest post by Nigel Dessau:

I have never met anyone who was successful in life who did not have at least one mentor. Having good mentors indicates that you have a great network—something every 21st century executive and leader should have. However, finding the right mentor can be a challenge.

A few years ago, I worked for a company that was acquired by Sun Microsystems. I was undecided about whether to stay with Sun after the acquisition, so I consulted with one of my mentors.

My mentor was very supportive of the move to Sun. He noted correctly that, as a Silicon Valley company, Sun offered a very different organization compared to the companies I had worked for. He emphasized Sun’s speed and innovation and the fact that having Sun Microsystems on my resume would be a very good thing.

Ultimately, I considered his input and the overall impact of taking on the role on my own personal portfolio. I accepted the job at Sun. Today, I believe that the skills and experience the job provided were instrumental in rounding out my character and helping my career growth. My experience with Sun helped significantly in my getting my next job.

Do you need a(nother) mentor?

While searching for the right mentor, you need to consider why you want to develop that relationship. What do you hope to get out of it? Your answers will help you identify potential mentors who can meet your needs.

Most people seek a mentor because they know they need help in certain areas of their work or personal lives. If you want someone to help you improve in your current role, then you need to look for someone who has a background similar to yours, but with more depth and experience. Sometimes, you want someone to be your mentor simply because you respect her as an individual, considering what she has accomplished and what you think you can learn from her.

What to Look for in a Mentor

Finding the right mentor is similar to dating. You need to meet a lot of people and not everyone will be the right fit. Before starting a mentor relationship, talk a few times about both parties’ expectations for the relationship.

In these conversations you determine if you both can find the common ground that is the foundation of any good mentoring relationship. In other words, don’t get married until you have dated for a while.

When deciding to ask someone to be your mentor, you should consider three questions:

  1. Is this someone I can relate to and does this person have what I need? Sometimes, we expect a mentor to be a parental figure. At other times, the mentor serves as confessor. There are a variety of mentor relationships. The core of any positive mentor relationship should be some commonality of experience and viewpoint.

  1. Does this mentor have a background that is different enough from mine? Although relating to your mentor is important, an effective mentor cannot be your mirror image. You need someone whose experience is not exactly the same as yours. Look for someone who has worked in a different function, role, department, country, company or some combination of these.

  1. Will this person push me? There is no point to having a mentor who agrees with everything you say and reinforces your own perceptions. Intentionally find someone who will push you and take you to the next level in your career and development.
Building the relationship

A mentor relationship is a sharing relationship. If you want to avoid ‘Muddle Management,’ you also want to avoid ‘Muddle Mentoring.’ Your mentor is not your psychiatrist. He or she is more of a management consultant. Here are some steps to building a stronger mentor relationship:

  1. Think about this relationship not just in terms of what you can get out of it, but what you can and are willing to put into it.

  1. Build a relationship based on trust and honesty. If you don’t think you can do that, you may have the wrong mentor.

  1. Think through how you will manage the mentor relationship. Too many people make the mistake of assuming their mentors will drive the whole experience forward.

  1. Respect your mentor’s time and make sure you use it wisely.

  1. If the mentor relationship is not working out, you need to consider your part in the problem and take whatever steps necessary to make things right or end the relationship

  1. Consider whether your expectations for the mentor relationship are reasonable. You cannot expect a mentor to do your job for you or to give you all the answers.

  1. Don’t limit yourself to one mentor. Different people bring different perspectives to your life. Having multiple mentor relationships can provide you with a strong sounding board before you make decisions or take action on something.
In the end, each of us has different careers and different needs to mentors. Moreover, we all know people who could benefit from what we have learned from our mentors. As much as you will get from talking and spending time with your mentors, you will get more from mentoring yourself. It really is the best was to ‘pay it forward,’ which in itself, is the sign that you are a 21st Century Executive.

Nigel Dessau is the author of Become a 21st Century Executive: Breaking Away from the Pack. As a nationally award-winning marketing professional with over 25 years of experience leading corporate marketing and communications for several multi-million and billion dollar companies, he is also the creator and driving force behind the 3 Minute Mentor website, which provides significant career guidance in three-minute videos.
Learn more about the 3 Minute Mentor and Become a 21st Century Executive at www.the3minutementor.com or www.nigeldessau.com and connect with him on Twitter at @3minutementor and @nigeldessau.

Monday, July 20, 2015

10 Ways to Make a Good Impression with Your New Boss


When your boss leaves, it’s important to get off to a good start with your new boss.

Read my latest post over at About.com for 10 ways to make sure you and your boss start off on the right foot, and 5 ways to ensure you’ll be looking for a new job soon.

 

Monday, April 6, 2015

3 Questions you MUST Answer Before Becoming a Manager

The decision to become a manager is an important one and should not be taken lightly. It’s important to do some self-reflection, and examine your values and true motivations.  

See my latest post at About.com Management and Leadership for the  3 Questions you MUST Answer before Becoming a Manager.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Leading For Good


Guest post from Christoph Lueneburger:

Every leader who has ever wondered what kind of difference they could truly make in the world should hear the story of Mark Tercek, a hotshot Goldman Sachs banker who decided to become “a force for good.” Today Mark serves as President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, a non-governmental organization that has more than a million members and works in over 35 countries to protect ecologically important lands and waters.

Mark was always bold. After earning an MBA at Harvard, he saw most of his classmates gravitating to Wall Street and other corporate training grounds. Mark went to Japan. “Going to Japan seemed like a really good idea,” he recalls. “How could it be a bad idea?” He took a job as an English teacher and began serious study of martial arts.

After a time, he found himself traveling back and forth between Japan and New York in the employ of Goldman Sachs. One New York assignment was as head of the transportation practice. “I was going to decline that job; it sounded so boring. My friends were all doing sexier things like technology, communications, or financial services.” But he took the assignment and it worked for him in large part because he saw opportunity where others did not. “I concluded I could be successful by aggressively sharing credit with others on any success I had. And I discovered there was no penalty for sharing credit.” In fact, the rewards were substantial. “We had a tiny transportation team – just a few people. Yet at one point, we had a very big business because we had all these products specialists and regional people wanting to work on our deals.”

When Mark became a Goldman Sachs partner, he considered what might be next for him. “The transportation orange didn’t have much more juice. I was getting bored.” On Thanksgiving 1996, Mark’s bosses asked if he would consider leading the firm’s real estate effort. “I almost fell out of my chair. The opportunity was big: supervise eighty people, a $100 million business, with a much higher profile than transportation. I didn’t even bother asking for advice. I just took it. I was pumped. I was really a leader and would learn more stuff! It was fantastic.”

Mark thrived in the new role. But while he was off with his wife and kids on what he calls “geeky” vacations exploring nature, Mark began to wonder if he had tapped out his trajectory as a banker. A new idea edged into his thought process. “I had an interest in the environment. And I was interested in business being a force for good.” He decided to move in that direction. Assuming he could not pursue this new course at Goldman, Mark prepared to leave. But Hank Paulson, then the CEO of Goldman Sachs (and soon to be US Secretary of the Treasury), had another idea. “He said, ‘Don’t quit. We need leaders like you.’ It was really Hank who had the idea that I lead the firm’s environmental effort. I thought it was kind of a weird idea, but he talked me into it.”

Mark stayed on, developing strategies that made both business and environmental sense – a new concept in the halls of Goldman. “I was fearless, which was the most important ingredient. I had nothing to lose because I was otherwise going to quit. And I realized that my clout in that job came from people remembering I had been a pretty successful commercial guy. It was fun for me, and of course, I got a world-class introduction to the environmental space.”

Mark learned a lot, fast. One day a headhunter called asking if he could suggest any candidates to lead The Nature Conservancy. Mark said: “Yeah. Me.” Not everyone felt the same. Mark heard that while his desire to make a difference was admirable, a banker leading TNC was never going to happen. Clearly, the onus would be on him to win the role. “So I prepared, like you would expect a diligent banker to prepare. I mean, I prepared like crazy.” In the interview, Mark made a compelling case that understanding deals, companies, and markets would be vital to the success of NGOs in the 21st century. It was a long, hard slog to convince TNC. But it was something Mark wanted badly. When the call finally came with the job offer, Mark was so excited, he backed his car into a tree (it lived).

Just months after he joined the Conservancy in 2008, the financial crisis hit. Mark had been through downturns on Wall Street and he applied all that he had learned at TNC. “We were by far the first environmental NGO to move. We became a highly prioritized, more focused, leaner organization. Then we grew. It was tough, but I think it turned out to be a great entry for me because it validated my leadership at a difficult time.”

Mark Tercek’s story offers a lens to help all leaders see their own potential in a new light. Mark had the courage to ask heretical questions and make irreverent choices that sidestepped commonly held assumptions. Just as important, he was insightful, distilling patterns from their complexity across his breadth of experience. Finally, Mark took time to think big, then persevered until he had scaled his big idea into a job fully worthy of his heart as well as his mind.  
 

About the author:
In his new book A Culture of Purpose: How to Choose the Right People and Make the Right People Choose You author Christoph Lueneburger tells the stories of great leaders who view sustainability not as a challenge but as a solution, capable of inspiring people and forging winning cultures. Sharing his exclusive, in-depth dialogues with chief sustainability officers, CEOs, and board chairmen, Lueneburger reveals what leaders actually do to make sustainability work at the places where it works best, including Chrysler, Unilever, TNT, Walmart, and Bloomberg. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What Your Boss Really Wants From You

Guest post from Steve Arneson:

As an executive coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of people in all types of organizations. Each person has their own story, of course – a unique narrative that includes their skills, experience, strengths, weaknesses, and relationships.  While every engagement is different, these people all have one thing in common; their boss always plays a central role in the story.  That’s why my first coaching question is “what does your boss really want from you?” 

Now, some of my clients have great bosses, so we discuss the relationship briefly and move on.  However, a lot of my clients don’t work for a great boss.  They’re not clear about his views, or don’t understand what she really wants… and all of this is impacting their engagement, performance, and happiness.  

The Unexpected Solution

I’m talking about the unknown expectations; those hidden motives that may drive your boss’s behavior - the real reasons behind her agenda.  If you don’t understand what the boss wants from you, you’ll likely be worried, frustrated, and disengaged; you certainly won’t be delivering your best work. 

I wish there was an easy solution to this problem. The first thing my clients want to know is: “how do I change my boss?”  Do you know what I tell them?  Forget about changing him.  That’s right, the hard truth is that all of your efforts to improve, fix, or convert your boss won’t work.  The solution is changing your own approach to interacting with the boss; the transformation has to be one you undergo… in your awareness, attitude, and behaviors.

The Power of Insight

I believe the secret ingredient to improving your boss relationship is insight.  Insight allows you to understand what makes your boss tick – his underlying motives.  To help you recognize his motives, I’ve developed 10 questions that will give you the insight you need to figure out where your boss is coming from; I call this first step in the process “study your boss”.  The resulting insights will help you explain his work style, behaviors and motives.

Next, you must look objectively at the relationship from the boss’s vantage point; I call this step “consider the boss’s perspective”.  In this step, I’ve created five questions for you to answer… does the boss view you as an asset or a liability?  Finally, you have to turn all of this insight into self-awareness and behavior change.  In short, you have to take responsibility for the relationship.  If the first two steps are about gaining awareness, this step is about turning those insights into action.  In this final step, you have to adjust your attitude, commit to modifying your boss story, and adopt new behaviors designed to improve your relationship with the boss.  

Your Most Important Work Relationship

Look, your relationship with your boss matters – a lot.  It’s the most critical factor in your engagement and enjoyment of the job.  If you have a great boss, he’s motivating you to work hard, develop your skills, and thrive in the role.  However, if you have a bad boss, he’s likely the cause of your frustration, disengagement and stress, and he probably isn’t getting the best out of you.   

I believe you need to be the catalyst for improving this relationship. You don’t have to be a victim – you can proactively change your attitude and behaviors.  Start by studying your boss to really understand his motives. Next, take an honest look at how she sees you, and be prepared to incorporate that perspective into your plans for change.  Then, armed with these reflections, rewrite your story and adjust your attitude.  Try new behaviors, and stop destructive ones. The point is to figure out what your boss really wants from you, and try harder to make it all work.  
 
You can do this; you can change your relationship with your boss.  But you have to make it happen.  I know you want the boss to change, but I wouldn’t sit around waiting for that miracle.  He’s not going to change or adapt to your style; you need to adjust to his.  You must look at this relationship differently, and take responsibility for improving it.  You can make a more enjoyable work experience for yourself, one where you’re working more productively with the boss.  But you have to put in the work, and really take ownership of the relationship.  If you follow this simple process, I’m confident you can a build a better relationship with your boss!


About the author:

In What Your Boss Really Wants From You, author Steve Arneson shows readers how to find the answers to fifteen essential questions that will help to understand their boss’s motives. The first part, “Study Your Boss,” features ten questions that will help readers figure out their boss’s leadership style, goals, work relationships, and other factors that drive his or her behavior. Given that understanding, readers move on to five questions that reveal “How Your Boss Sees You.” Finally, readers bring it all together and develop a plan to “Take Responsibility for the Relationship.” Vivid real-world examples demonstrate Arneson’s advice in action and show clearly how this process can help readers to gain a more meaningful, productive, and enjoyable work life.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

10 Things Your Employees May Not be Telling You

Remember the movie "What Women Want", with Mel Gibson as the title character (Nick Marshall) who suddenly acquires the ability to hear the inner thoughts of all of the women in his life? It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least, and it ended up improving Nick's relationships with his employees, daughter, and the woman he ended up loving.

What if as a manager, you could read the thoughts of each of your employees? While that may be a scary thought, there are some things they may be thinking that you really DO want to know.

Read my new post over at About.com Management & Leadership to find out more:

10 Things Your Employees May Not be Telling You

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

25 Career Options in Leadership Development

Interested in a career in leadership development? There are a lot of ways you can make a decent living and have some fun developing leaders. Here are 25 that come to mind, in no particular order:

1. Mid-level or Senior Manager: managers developing the managers below them.
2. Leadership Trainer or Training Manager: conducting or managing leadership and management training programs.

3. Executive coach: helping to unlock the potential within managers through assessment, feedback, questions, etc…
4. Leadership Author: writing books about leadership.

5. Leadership Blogger: writing online posts about leadership.
6. Leadership Development Consultant: helping companies design leadership development systems, processes, programs, etc…

7. College Professor or Adjunct Instructor: teaching leadership and management courses in degree or executive development programs.

8. Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychologist: these are the PhDs that are often involved in leadership assessments and assessment centers.
9. HR Generalist: coaching, succession planning, and training are often part of the generalist role.

10. Pastor, Minister: teaching their congregations, youth groups, etc… about leadership.
11. Sales or Marketing Manager: selling leadership programs and services.

12. Program Coordinator: managing the logistics for leadership programs and services.
13. Instructional Designer: designing and developing leadership courses (classroom and online).

14. Leadership Guru: those that are quoted about leadership and can command $10,000 and up for a keynote speech.
15. Leadership Researcher: conducts research about leadership models, best practices, etc…

16. Leadership Speaker: giving keynotes, speeches about leadership. Road warriers.
17. Youth Leadership Development Coordinator: coordinates high school or college leadership programs.
18. Talent Development Manager: a role that often combines leadership development, recruitment, and succession planning.
19. Succession Planning Manager: manages the identification and development of potential replacements for key roles in a company.

20. Organizational Development (OD) Manager or Consultant: no one can agree exactly what OD really means, but they sometimes do leadership development.
21. Chief Learning Officer (CLO): “C” level training manager job – often directly responsible for leadership development.

22. Human Resource Executive: high level HR role, often directly involved in executive development and succession planning.
23. Assessment Administrator: administers 360 and behavioral assessments.
24. Project Manager: manages large, complex organizational leadership development programs and systems. Not always subject matter expert, but gets things done.

25. Executive Recruiter: somethimes gets involved in leadership assessment, onboarding, and coaching leaders.

Many of these roles are only available in mid-large size companies, and many can be done independently. Many independents will combine 4-5 of them, e.g., writer, blogger, speaker, trainer, and coach. A few require advanced degrees and/or certifications (professors, I/O Psychologists), and some are entry level (Program Coordinators, Bloggers).

Did I miss any?

What leadership development roles could there be in 10 years that don’t exist today?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It’s Time to View Leadership as a Profession

Guest post from DDI's Richard S. Wellins, Ph.D. (reprinted with permission from DDI's Directions newsletter):

Leadership is a craft. So why do so few see it that way?

The 2011 documentary film Jiro Dreams of Sushi tells the story of an 85-year-old sushi chef and his small restaurant in a Tokyo subway station—the only sushi restaurant in the world to be awarded a three-star Michelin Guide rating. Jiro, the sushi chef, has been making sushi for most of his life, but still, well into old age, he strives for perfection.

I recommend you watch this film yourself (it’s now available on DVD). Better yet: watch it with a group of leaders! As you will see in this film, Jiro is a professional in the truest sense. I challenge you, upon watching the film and seeing how passionate Jiro is about sushi, to imagine what it would be like if the leaders in your organization were as passionate about leadership.

Of course, people who take their craft seriously—people who leaders can learn from—aren’t found only in movies.
There is a local jewelry repair kiosk in the mall near where I live. My family has been customers there for over a decade, and I have always respected the owner’s passion for what he does. He has told me he considers his work a real craft, and that he has invested 18 years in constantly trying to improve.

For the past three decades I have spent about 20 percent of my time traveling. When on an airplane, I always make an effort to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to me. What we talk about always tends to follow the same course. We exchange names, tell where we are from, and, of course, explain what we do. I have met many interesting people this way, including the COO of McDonald’s, the prime minister of agriculture for Thailand, and Patch Adams, the physician who sought to humanize medicine and was portrayed by Robin Williams in a 1998 theatrical film about him.

I have met engineers, pilots, sales managers, marketers, teachers, and bankers. But I cannot recall one single person—not one—who has ever told me that he or she was a leader.
Why is this? I believe it’s because no one really sees leadership as a profession. In spite of the fact that there are some 10 million-plus leaders in the U.S. alone, few identify themselves as leadership professionals. This is, in many respects, incredible.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons leadership quality is considered by many to be mediocre, at best. Dozens of survey reports continue to decry the sad state of leadership. DDI’s own Global Leadership Forecast 2011 reported that only about 38 percent of leaders rate their organization’s leadership quality as high.

So, how can we begin to change the way we think about leadership? I believe it boils down to these four things:
 
1. Look at leadership as a chosen specialty. One of the defining traits of professionalism is specialization—choosing to devote tremendous time and effort to attaining a high level of proficiency in a single field, such as music, surgery, or law. As a result, professionals will describe their profession not only in terms of what they do, but also in terms of what they have devoted their time and effort to master.

The same should be true for leaders. Leadership is a craft that is perfected over time through the focused dedication of time, attention, and self-awareness. When you become a leader, whatever your level or industry, it becomes your profession and you have an obligation to invest the time and effort to become the best leader you can be. Most leaders simply do not look at it this way, however. It’s time for that perception to change!

2. Use standards. Professions usually have standards for performance, knowledge, and skills. Some require degrees, certifications, accreditation, and exams. Due to the evolving nature of professional standards in some fields, continuing education is also required. For example, in the human resources profession, both the American Society for Training and Development and the Society for Human Resource Managers have established standards and certification processes. But if you do a Google search on “general leadership standards” you will come up with very little (my search only generated about 1,700 results).

There is no one examining body for leadership and no continuing education credits are required. Yet, each year countless job analyses, academic studies, and books attempt to distill the essence of good leadership. While the outputs of these efforts vary in form, there tends to be little variance in the skills, behaviors, and personality components identified as being essential to extraordinary leadership. 

In their own way, these components amount to a set of commonly accepted leadership standards. And while we are unlikely to see a leadership standards board with national or global certification processes (though that isn’t a bad idea), there are a handful of valid tests and assessments that can accurately predict leadership performance. Still, only one in three organizations uses these tools.

3. Pursue your Passion. Just because you are part of a profession doesn’t mean you are a professional. Many people find themselves in professions from which they derive little if any satisfaction. On the other hand, most professionals are highly motivated to do what they do and do it well. I would argue that many leaders consider what they are doing—leadership—a “job” as opposed to a lifelong passion. 
 
On the other hand, extraordinary leaders (the true professionals) love being in leadership for the right reasons: helping people grow, mobilizing the organization in a new direction, and building engaged and high performing teams. Motivations such as these should be what really matter to leaders.

4Practice. Practice. Practice. Much like Jiro the sushi chef, the late Pablo Casals, the great cellist, practiced into his eighties. When asked why, he said, “I can always get better.” The same attitude should apply to leadership. Doug Conant, the highly respected former CEO of Campbell Soup Company, put it this way: “To me, leadership is my craft and I have to work at it, and I’ve got to have the same continuous improvement mindset about my job that I challenge my associates to have about theirs.” 

True professionals like Conant are never complacent. Hours of practice are what make them stand out—and what keeps them on top of their game. Leadership skills can be learned and they can and should be practiced. When leaders commit to continuous improvement in their craft, there’s no limit to how good and how effective they can become.

The time is at hand for us to start viewing leadership as the honorable profession that it is. If you are leader, commit yourself to your profession, and strive to develop the right leadership skills, especially the Interaction Essentials required for the successful conversations that are the foundation of leadership effectiveness.
Work hard to improve, and be proud of the important work that you do. After all, your ability to be a great leader really matters to your organization. Make the most of the opportunity.

Rich Wellins, Ph.D. is senior vice president of Development Dimensions International (DDI), and is an expert on leadership development, employee engagement and talent management. He is responsible for launching DDI’s new products and services, leading DDI’s Center for Applied Behavioral Research (CABER) and its major research projects and developing and executing DDI’s global marketing strategy.

 
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