Are You a Designated or Silent Leader?

Remember the Zamboni driving goalie?  He saved the day by rising to the occasion and became a silent leader. He wasn’t the designated goalie that would lead the team to victory.  But he stepped up to the challenge and with each save he brought each member of his team and the fans along with him on an amazing experience.

Silent leaders step up from the ranks.  They bring others along through voice and actions, they listen to what the team is saying, they keep their eyes and ears engaged with learning and tap into that knowledge when the need is evident.  Along the way they continually build trust and appreciation with their teammates.

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, addresses the power of Level 5 Leadership.  Tapping into humility and will.  The power of Silent Leadership capitalizes on opportunity and maximizing that humility and will.  The Zamboni driver upped his own game and others followed.  His ego stayed in check and the high of his will drove him forward.

Designated leaders carry the position identifier or title, coach, owner, CEO, president, manager, captain, you get the idea.  Silent leaders emerge from within the group and often are the catalyst in critical times.  Our interest and desire impact our decision to take on one or the other role, but our humility and will can be the game changers.

We have all been a leader at some point.  If you ever played Follow the Leader as a kid you’ve been a leader.  Maybe you lead a group in school,  served as captain of a team, perhaps you lead a department at work or even own your own company and carry the title CEO.  All of these carry this common denominator, everyone else was following.  Some leaders are designated while others are silent.  So, what leadership characteristics are natural to you?  What skill set do you need to build?

Are you wanting to take the next steps in your career?  Want to up your game?  Let’s figure it out…..let’s connect!

What Will They Remember

I’m usually writing about careers, education, workforce, but on my run yesterday I was reflecting on several conversations with clients and parents as well as family members. Coronavirus has pushed everyone’s buttons. And in a time when so many are out of work or in limbo, a common stress I heard were conversations surrounding the feelings of falling short as the educator in the family in lieu of regular school for their kids. Tears had been shed over maintaining “school hours”, who had or hadn’t logged on or violated someone’s assigned time, and the worst…assignments that were confusing or misunderstood leading to frustration and incomplete lessons.  Has it happened at your house?

The word “CAN’T” permeated lessons, balancing work and family at home and for some the end of the rope loomed way to close. My past life as a principal came rushing back. What would I have done? It hit me….treat it like travel. Yes, being on time, having lessons complete, checking all the boxes for the grade book is important.  But, when a family would ask if they could be excused for an unusual family travel experience, my answer was always emphatically “YES”!  Nothing educates like travel. Learning new geography, currency, customs. They are all genuine life learning experiences that make connections in our brains unlike learning in a book or even catching it on an electronic device.

COVID 19 has put us all in unusual family/work experiences, and we can choose to make our memories of this around the word “CAN’T” or we can frame it around the words “WE DID”. So how bad would it be if a tearful lesson in math got put away until later and a cooking experience commenced. Or how about a distance challenge calculating steps through the house if one was to suddenly become blind…. the possibilities are endless. The point is to use the imagination, take the pressure off of each other. I’m not advocating throwing in the towel on curriculum, but I absolutely advocate that in a time when everyone is navigating this virus as best they can, we need to feel empowered to make decisions that move everyone forward. Learning goes well beyond the walls of a classroom. It goes beyond the walls of our perceived imagination.

So, what will you DO to ensure that when your children look back and talk about their memories during the quarantine of COVID 19, they remember what “WE DID” and not what they “couldn’t”.

Scary Times II

In October 2011 I posted a Blog titled Scary Times.  It was a play on Halloween and the issues facing seniors in high school as they navigated the world of changes ahead…college, work, sports.  Issues that were relevant. Perhaps scary, but also exciting.  Fast forward to today, Scary Times II.

Scary Times II is certainly not aligned with Halloween this time, and it is not targeting seniors in high school.  It targets everyone.  Those in high school as a sophomore or older, college students, and those in the work world already.  COVID-19 has made our world a very different place.  As a result, it has caused all of us to rethink how we interact with each other,  how we address learning, and how we continue in the world of work.  Yes, it is scary.

But, Scary Times can encourage us to spend time reflecting, to engage, educate and empower ourselves to move beyond where we were and into something more.  Who    are    YOU?  Are you an Extrovert?  Do you need diversity in your work, interactions with others, and a common goal?  Are you an Introvert? Need more time to yourself for reflection and recharging?  Are you diagnostic, analytic, experiential or consultative in your Problem Solving style?  How does that fit in your world of work?  If you are not sure, maybe it’s time to find out the answers to these and lots more questions that can guide you in your next steps.

The world of work is changing more rapidly that anyone expected.  Will you be ready?  Now is the time to take a Highlands Ability Battery and find out your Best Fit opportunities.

 

Networking is for Everyone – Including Students!

Social media is changing the way we network for career opportunities.  But we can’t forget to develop our in-person networks as well.  This is especially true for high school and college students.  As you think about career directions, this is the time to do some explorations and especially if you are not working during the summer.

Tap into those networks that are closest to you.  Parents and their employers, extended family members and their employers are all great places to begin.  Find out if positions exist within their organizations that you may interest you.  If so, a quick phone call or introduction followed by a couple of questions could well set the stage for an opportunity to spend a few hours or even a week exploring the career options related to the career you shadowed.  By shadowing, you have also extended your own network for future opportunities.  Career shadowing experiences help you to determine if there is more you want to know about a career or if it was just a whim.

In years past we only heard about networking as a business tool.  No longer!  It is a tool for everyone and students are no exception.  Whether you are building a network of coaches, admissions contacts or career professionals, networking is powerful.  While Facebook, LinkedIn and Yelp are all proven social media networking tools, don’t overlook the obvious.  Check out your own family network and the network of businesses and professionals used by your family.  It’s all part of promoting yourself, building experiences, eliminating the potential of stumbling into a profession you later wish you had gone another direction, and creating a path of satisfaction and success for yourself.

Contact me if you need more information or have questions.  Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours!

Your Social Image…Everything Counts

I spoke just last night to a group of high school students and their parents regarding choosing college majors and careers.  As part of that presentation, I talked about the importance of preparing now and part of the preparation needed to be addressing their “social image.”  I defined their social image as anything from email address to social networks and chat rooms.  We talked about the impact on college admissions as well as employment.  This is a message I have carried and delivered for the last several years.  In fact, one of my blog posts May 2012 was titled Your Image to Others.

Today I opened my iPad, went to CNN to start a little light reading while I ate my lunch and was horrified to read one of the headlines, Sexting Scandals: How They Will Affect Students’ FuturesMy heart sank, but it just affirmed that my message was spot on and I hoped that those students and parents last night took the message to heart and answered my Call to Action.  You can click the link to read the entire article.

Everything Counts!  You can’t go through the technologically driven lives we are faced with afraid to act, respond, and click, but you must “click responsibly.”  Clicking includes taking photos, sending messages via email, text or any other social media mode.  That little voice of right and wrong or maybe even an “Oooops” needs to be awakened and put on full alert.  There is too much at stake.

 

Student “To Do” List

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the day to day demands that we lose sight of the where we are in the big picture. For high school and college students that location can be critical.  So in an effort to re-focus and clearly identify where you are, let’s look at the resources.

As a high school student with college on the horizon, you need to assess your grades. On-line access through district portals makes that possible.  Do you use it?  Are there patterns in your grades like low tests, or quizzes, missing assignments?  This is a good time to evaluate where you are so that there is a good outcome for the semester.  After all, many of you are nearing midterm and you have time to correct problem areas.

College students, you are in a similar position. You have on-line access to grades, you can see patterns of performance and you have time to address problem areas.  Time management has a direct impact on your grades and a vast majority of college students face dropping out because of poor time management that manifests itself in low grades or even probation and loss of scholarships.

However, for you, there are some resources and practices that are different from high school. If you need assistance, check your professor’s office hours and make an appointment.  It will help your status in class as they will see you as an individual who is interested and one who cares about their class performance.  You can also check out math or writing labs that provide student-to-student tutorial services free.  There are lots of services available, but you have to take action and take advantage of them.  Contact me if you need help navigating the system.

Know where you are so that there are no surprises.  Assess your situation and make a “To Do” list to ensure action and accomplishment.

Are You the Best You Can Be?

Whether you follow football or not it is hard to escape the hype of the Super Bowl.  I happen to love it.  Who’s the best quarterback, the best rookie, the best commercial, the best Super Bowl party food, the best over the top fan attire….I love it all.  It expresses a passion.  And whether it is a hobby, an ethnic food, team logo wear or the work you do, passion adds to the enjoyment of life and helps us to be the best we can be.  It helps us connect with others that have similar interests.

High school students, if you don’t know what your passion is, explore more and find it!  Colleges and universities want to know what moves you and why their institution will be a good fit for you.

College students, whether you are applying for an internship or getting ready to graduate and applying for that first “just out of college” job, that potential employer wants to know that you have passion too.  Happy employees make for more productive employees.  Demonstrate your passion for the company you are looking to embrace.

Even you guys in the workforce, are you demonstrating a passion for your work?  If not, why not?  Sometimes we still enjoy our work but the balance of life brings us to a place that seems to have diminished that passion.  What do you need to do to rekindle it?

Life is a balance.  Being the best we can be includes enjoying the work we do, balancing it with spending time with family, friends or activities we enjoy and paying attention to the passions that make us better people.  Are you the best you can be?

So Incredibly Awesome

Have you ever been to a party, restaurant or buffet where you felt so overwhelmed by all of the incredible choices you simply had no idea where to begin? Do you have a favorite store like Bass Pro, Apple, Nordstrom or Barnes and Noble filled with those things you love to browse?  Do you usually begin your meandering through that place with a plan that includes some random wandering coupled with a distinct methodology so you don’t miss anything?

That’s how I feel about the new Highlands Ability Battery Career Exploration tool. It is so incredibly awesome!  When you take the assessment, your data gets linked to careers that are a good match for your natural abilities and provides an amazing array of opportunities to be explored. That array includes everything from careers right out of high school to careers requiring a PhD.  Perhaps you want a career with hands-on experiences but you don’t want 4 years of college, what’s available and a good match?

In my career as an educator I have watched the educational pendulum swing from promoting vocational education to dismantling vocational programs and promoting college for everyone. Now we hear STEM, STEAM and all the hype of the pendulum swinging yet again.  The reality is that neither vocational training nor college education is for everyone, but everyone has a place and everyone needs to be prepared to take the next step.  But it requires purposeful thinking and purposeful actions.

Having a career or multiple careers that you truly enjoy is so incredibly awesome. Are you ready to take the next step?  Contact me.

Owning Your Future

It’s back to school for high school and college students.  But they are not the only group that need to think about “back to school”.  All career professionals should be thinking about increasing their own value in the work place.  Generally speaking, there are sectors of the work world that refer to continuing your education or training for licensing as Professional Development or Continuing Education Units (CEU).

  • Physicians and nurses
  • Attorneys
  • Massage Therapists
  • Teachers and Administrators
  • Realtors and CPA’s

This list is certainly not complete, but you get the idea.  Some professions require that within a determined number of years, you are required to participate in classes or conferences in an effort to keep current in your field.  Some industries pay for their employees to attend these conferences or courses while others leave it up to the individual.  The important point here is WHY would you leave it up to someone else?

In a changing economic market it makes it more challenging for individuals to quantify their value to a company, but it pays dividends if you invest in yourself.  Firms, companies and organizations have scaled back their resources to cover the costs associated with on-going training for employees, but the value of you investing in you is enormous!  It not only increases your own intellectual value, but it elevates the employer’s perception of you as an individual and your willingness to increase your own potential.

Making decisions about college and career is never easy.  But there are things you can do to make it an easier process and a fun journey.

High school students….find a way to career shadow or volunteer!

College students….you too can volunteer, shadow or intern in an unpaid experience!

Returning to the workforce….take a class, shadow a friend, volunteer, FIND YOUR PASSION!

Most important, Own Your Future!

Need help figuring it out, click here to contact me!

Finding the Balance

 

As a child or even teen, our parents help us define the balance in our lives.  But once we head off to school or out into the world of work, that balance becomes our responsibility. 

 

Once upon a time our balance was structured around our need to eat, sleep and get our daily dose of exercise, but……notice that word came up again, life got a little more demanding and the balance included homework.  On we went into the world of high school, college and eventually work.  At every step along the way, life brought new opportunities, more challenges and greater need for balance.  But, those increased responsibilities, opportunities and challenges undermined our attempts at balance and in some cases, they may even remove balance from our radar.

 

What are the “buts” impeding your balance?  After all, having balance in our lives helps influence our sense of satisfaction and success.  For some, balance includes a calm and blissful state brought on by organization and rhythm in life.  For others it is a constant stream of thoughts, actions and involvements that keep one in motion.  What is balance for you?  What is getting in the way?  What “but” can you address in your daily routine and use to assist in finding your balance?