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!

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?

Career Trend Shifts

I talk often about the importance of paying attention to the trends.   Over the last decade we have experienced huge changes in trends of all kinds, not just the obvious of the day, “What’s trending on Twitter.”  I’m talking trends in careers and how that impacts new majors at universities, degrees and technical program certifications.

When television programs like Law and Order, CSI and a host of other crime shows hit it big, universities responded to the increased interest and demand by offering more programs in Forensic Science and Criminal Justice. When the market collapsed and millions of people went back to school, what new major was hot on the scene, Entrepreneurship!  People needed to reinvent themselves and find new opportunities.  While it hasn’t been for everyone, it does feed a niche market.

So what’s hot in Business schools now? Analytics!  Yep, the study of business data and there is lots of it!  Click here for an article in The Wall Street Journal, “Big Data Gets Master Treatment at B-Schools”. 

Paying attention to the trends allows you to make informed decisions.  After all, when you choose a college or a major you are making decisions that impact your earning potential, potential satisfaction and quality of life.  Doing your homework can pay big dividends in ways far greater than a paycheck!  It may be a great new trend, but is it right for you?

Got a question about what else is trending in career fields and what is the best fit for you?  Contact me.

Finding Job Satisfaction

Have you ever felt you were going down the wrong path, maybe weren’t sure where the path was to start with, or maybe you got to the end of the path and said, “Is that all there is?” Life is way too short to not enjoy what you do in your chosen career.  It scares me when I read articles or research that reflect numbers of 50-65% of the population reporting they are disappointed in their career choice or feel that their work is not utilizing their talents.

Finding jobs over the last several years has posed a challenge, but jobs are out there and they run the gambit of requiring technical school training, certification programs, college or advanced degrees. There truly is something for everyone, but not everyone does their homework to figure out their best path.

Finding job satisfaction requires a bit of work. You have to pay attention to what you like and don’t like to do both in your class time or work hours as well as in those hours when you can spend your time doing anything you want. What makes you tick?  What turns you off?  Are you passionate about something and want to incorporate it in your work or do you want to keep it separate?  What are your Natural Abilities?  Did you know they are measureable?

Job satisfaction includes doing what you are good at, being valued by those you work with and for.  It includes doing what you enjoy and feeling that compensation is in line with the job and others in similar jobs.  Satisfaction includes lots of things including your quality of life.  Does your job satisfaction measure up?

Need help figuring it out? Click here to Contact Me.

Making Good College and Career Decisions

Have you ever noticed how much time, focused energy, and money goes in to preparing to take the SAT, ACT or a re-test to get a better score?  So much of it is driven by the desire to have qualifying scores for a specific university or college of choice.  Imagine the hours invested in AP or IB courses for the purpose of positioning one’s self for that perfect college.  In making the selection to take a prep course for these tests, students and parents use their network of other students and parents to get recommendations for individual tutors or organizations.  They go on-line and search options.  So much effort and resource is spent on this one piece of preparing for college and the bigger picture of a career direction becomes a second priority or maybe third or fourth.

With the national average being six years to get a four year degree, the indicators point to students not being prepared to make a decision about their career direction and therefore the result is greater use of personal resources or student loans and lost earning potential.  That’s not to say that students can’t change their mind about a career major, once they are in college, but they can make informed decisions that use both their time and their resources wisely and reduce the potential of increased time to get a bachelors degree and increase the likelihood that they will be happy with their career choice.

Making informed decisions means collecting the best possible information in multiple directions.  In order to do that with a career decision, the information needs to include personal interests, an assessment of values, an inventory of skills and a quantified measure of natural abilities.  If there are influencing factors like family legacies or expectations, those need to be addressed as well.

Don’t be paralyzed by indecision.  Collect the information, assess your situation and goals, and if you need assistance, contact me.  I can help you determine your best direction!

Pro-Active vs. Pro-long Debt

Once again, the issue of student loan debt is in the news.  The angle this time, universities suing students over unpaid loan debt.  But what continually goes unaddressed is the fact that nationally, students change their majors 3-5 times and each “change of the mind” results in approximately one semester of extended time for degree completion.  Multiply that times 3-5 and you have gone from a 4 year graduation plan to 6 years spent on a 4 year degree.

Determining a career path and choosing a “good fit” college require tremendous effort and diligence.  I am continually baffled by human nature.  We spend hours searching for the perfect car or house, but typically far less time picking a career or college.  Often we are simply influenced by where our friends go, what our parents do for a living, or the latest craze on TV and in the media.  So it is no surprise that 60-85% of Americans dislike their chosen field of work.

But there is a far better method.

  1. Read the linked article – click here
  2. Determine if you will be proactive or risk being a National statistic
  3. Contact me for a proactive approach for a great college fit and career direction

Part of the problem with student loan debt is the fact that university costs are rising.  But you don’t have to fall into the trap of the 6 year graduation group and go broke in the doing.  And you don’t have to fall into the 60-85 % of disillusioned American workers.  Love what you do!

  1. Go with a purpose
  2. Get a great experience in college
  3. Make a career out of something you love and are Naturally inclined to be successful

What action will you take today?

Your Natural Abilities – Part II

“In this increasingly talent-driven society, we need to know and develop our strengths to figure out where we fit in.” – Tom Rath, author, Strength Finder 2.0

The more we understand about our natural abilities, the better we can make effective choices that lead us toward satisfying and rewarding careers and lives in general.  Since abilities can be measured, it only makes sense that once we know what those numbers look like, that we are able to apply them to our daily lives both on the job and in our personal time.   As a life-long educator, I have been trained in the use of many instruments, but I don’t think any of them have impressed me or shown such clear benefit for individuals as does the Highlands Ability Battery.  When natural abilities are measured using the Highlands Ability Battery, a series of 19 tasks yields results that measure 21 separate areas and address Personal Style, Driving Abilities, and Specialized Abilities.

These key elements; Personal Style, Driving Abilities, and Specialized Abilities are so important in identifying how we best learn, work with others and use our problem solving abilities that they have been used extensively by large corporations and organizations.  They are also a critical factor in helping to identify major areas of study or compare programs of study at institutions so that a 4 year degree doesn’t turn in to a six-year graduation date.  Knowing your “best fit” helps to provide a vehicle for success.

Want to learn more about yourself, Natural Abilities and your career path?    Contact me.

Your Natural Abilities – Part I

“Most people think they know what they are good at.  They are usually wrong…And yet, a person can perform only from strength.” – Peter Drucker (1909-2005) Business guru

Through a well-documented process and years of research, it is possible to measure Natural Abilities like measuring intelligence.  However, unlike an IQ score that defines a level of intelligence, measures of Natural Abilities can assist in defining career paths that would lend themselves to an individual’s most satisfying outcome based on strengths and compatibilities of varied abilities.  Understanding your abilities can mean the difference between loving what you do in your chosen career path, and wondering why you ever chose that path.  It can also mean the difference between a 4 year degree that takes 6 years or an “on-time” graduation.

When abilities are measured we can learn more about the environment that would be most satisfying for work, the type of problem solver an individual is and the occupations that lend themselves well in that capacity.  We also uncover the type of learning channels that allow us to take in information most effectively and how to capitalize on that knowledge.  Finally, we learn our most effective communication style and the career paths that fit most comfortably and provide for maximum productivity and performance.

While no single assessment should ever be used to definitively tell you what to do in your life’s endeavors, there are key indicators that can make the journey a lot more fun, effective and satisfying.  Trying to decide on a college major or define what direction to take next? Want to have your abilities measured?  Contact me.

Time Management – Putting You Ahead of the Game

Time management is one of the most critical issues facing college students, so you can’t wait to get there to get it under control.  It is also an imperative for being an effective employee.  If time management is a challenge for you, get a planner/day timer and start using it.  Begin with the end in mind!

College students who are seniors and facing graduation and the workforce in the next 2-3 months, you should be in “full pursuit” of that 1st full time job.  Attending college job fairs on campus or in your local area are good options and are all well underway.  Don’t forget those career-finder websites, but remember that if you use a headhunter service, ask about the fees!

College juniors, you may not be ready to secure that first post-graduation job, but attending job fairs is quite beneficial from the experience perspective.  Get out there and see who is hiring, who might have internships for senior year, and the projections for hiring next year.  Get business cards from those whom you are interested in maintaining contact.  It’s a great way to build a relationship!

High school juniors, do you need to register for the SAT or ACT?  The opportunities are diminishing for this year, so manage your time effectively.  Seniors, many of you are in wait mode and anxious for acceptance letters.  But that doesn’t mean you are on cruise control.  Grades need to stay strong, and if you are undecided about those colleges, be sure to do your homework evaluating the programs at each and making note of potential scholarships once accepted.  Need to connect your natural abilities to a major area of study?  Contact me.

Managing your time can put you ahead of the game, not just in the game.  The competition is steep out there, so begin with the end in mind!  Eye on the prize!

Ownership

As a teenager, we all dream about the moment we take ownership of our first vehicle.  We spend hours calculating how we can make it happen; the jobs we’ll do, counting the change or dollars, making those deposits and monitoring the savings account until the day we finally make that first purchase.

Then we reach our twenties and begin dreaming about that first house or townhouse.  We spend hours calculating how we can make it happen: the jobs we’ll do, making those deposits, establishing credit lines and finally making that first purchase.

For both of these big investments we take “Ownership.”  When it comes time to make the big investment in a college or vocational education, we need to be just as diligent and committed.  We need to take Ownership.

There are so many articles about the rising cost of college tuition, the affordability issues and the decreasing funding for financial aid or even performance incentives through state programs.  But what is not being addressed is that fact that you can avoid some of the pitfalls by taking Ownership early.

If the National average is to change majors 3-5 times, and changing majors equals increased numbers of semesters and dollars spent, then it seems reasonable that having a more defined idea about one’s future career endeavors would increase the probability of an on-time graduation and diminished need for additional education expenses.  Taking Ownership means you take action.

The Highlands Ability Battery is a wonderful tool to help chart a course, to take action.  Did you know that by the time you are approximately 14 years old, your Natural Abilities are defined and measurable?  Imagine if you knew what they are, how they match with identified professions and combined that with a methodology to assist in learning about those professions so that you are prepared to choose a major.   You take Ownership – you take action.  That way, when you go to college you don’t waste semesters, exceed your budget, and you graduate with a meaningful degree in something you enjoy and it’s marketable.

Ownership is powerful.