Who are you in your career? And — more importantly — where are you going?
Would it surprise you to learn that most career paths are fixed? And that, to create any sort of change, you might need to cultivate entirely different skillsets than the ones usually prescribed?
It doesn’t matter if you are a professor, architect, manager, nurse, engineer, marketer, or computer programmer: the path you were set on in school is linear. You go from apprentice to expert through an established timeline.
Becoming an expert at what you do is a very worthwhile goal. The bad news is…
What if complaining about Zoom fatigue is missing the point? What if there is a window of opportunity for creating engagement in Zoom meetings that is going to close if we don’t jump through it?
Here’s the scenario:
Our annual meeting switched from in-person to Zoom to accommodate the quarantine. The group included leaders from a variety of industries — people at the top of their fields with impressive accomplishments.
But I was in for a shock.
The ones I expected to lead — who normally have a commanding presence at the in-person meetings — failed to connect at all.
Remember that strategic plan you invested in? The one that was supposed to last you for 3 years?
Yeah, well that’s out the window now.
For professional service firms, recessions and global pandemics can kill your business. And you will need to move with incredible speed to change that.
As a leader you have to make decisions quickly, in an ecosystem that is continually changing. But how do you know what to choose? How do you make wise decisions?
(Because I’ve got to tell you going through a SWOT exercise feels pretty lame about now.)
You still need to plan…
In the midst of crisis management, our instinct is to control anything we can control.
I find myself majoring in the minor details. My strategic brain shifts to focus to what’s small and actionable.
I’m not the only one. I’ve spoken with a wide range of leaders this week. Their emotional response to the current crisis is all over the map — much more than they thought it would be. (Not that everyone reveals this outside of close relationships.)
It’s like we are all working through the stages of grief.
After all, the loss is real.
The market is down.
Do you feel the pressure of being a leader? Ever lose sleep?
Get a migraine?
Yeah, me too.
After all, a lot of people are depending on us to get this right. The decisions we make have a tangible impact on people’s lives — like how much they enjoy their careers, whether or not they have the resources to be successful, not to mention the salaries needed to support families.
When you lead a team, there’s a keen sense of responsibility that goes along with it.
Leading well matters.
Which is why we spend so much time seeking…
Want to improve your company culture? Why don’t you put in a basketball hoop?
Institute a no door policy.
Upgrade the snacks in the break room.
Close at noon on Friday.
Create a culture handbook.
Appoint a culture director.
Put your mission statement up in the lobby.
Fill a conference room with puppies.
What? That isn’t working?
The list of advice given to leaders to improve company culture ranges from platitudes to the inane.
And while we all want to lead organizations that have great culture, sometimes we inherit a negative one. …
My colleague Jeff and I had just shown the numbers to the group sitting in front of us. The graphs on the screen were undeniable.
If our client built what they were planning, they would suffer negative cash flow in year three that they could never recover from.
Our scenario mapping was straightforward and clearly presented.
Every way we parsed the data, the results were the same. And the message to the client was clear:
Build smaller? Your organization grows and thrives.
Build the big thing you are planning? …
You have the title. The experience. The authority.
But no one is following you.
You are supposed to have influence, but instead you find yourself relying on carrots and sticks to make things happen. Why is that?
Why do others lead effortlessly while you battle? After all, you’ve done well. Risen to a level of success. What’s keeping you from having a larger role in leadership?
Chances are, it’s because you are relying on the talents that got you where you are now, rather than focusing on what will take you to the next level as a leader.
How connected are you as a leader?
Are you confident your followers are supporting you, or does a niggling feeling in your stomach remind you the connection may not be solid as you hope?
Have you ever been blindsided when a connection you thought was strong turned out not to be?
For leaders, the relationship with the people we lead isn’t always straightforward. After all, sometimes leaders have to make unpopular calls. Or share hard truths. There’s no litmus test from the hardware store to reveal if you have supportive followers.
There was a time when a title was enough…
People often talk about how technology is changing education, but they don’t always have a clear framework for why or how technology is changing education.
A number of shifts have happened concurrently, but here are three things that have modified the game:
Social media facilitates digital connection without hierarchical separation. Geography, age, time zones, income, and social stature no longer matter when it comes to messaging.
By nature, social media is visual, making what everyone is thinking visible to the world. We can see what was previously hidden whether profound or mundane. …