Quotable Leadership philosophy!

FAU Leadership quote August 2019

“A leader is a dealer of hope”.

(Napoleon Bonaparte)

Always wonder if my leadership and mentor quotes travel well.

Received the image above a couple weeks ago from a Career Center friend in South Florida.  The Career Center had Graduate Assistants (GAs) present to leadership how they would incorporate National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) competencies into daily interactions with students and alumni.

One of their GAs researched the NACE site and found an Authentic Leadership article done with me and leveraged my words to make her point on how a leader truly inspires an organization.  I was happy to see my words helping the next generation of college students and future leaders.

You can find the full NACE article here:  https://www.naceweb.org/career-development/organizational-structure/authentic-leadership-hinges-on-listening/

  • So, yes, proud to say people are listening and putting these words into action! 😊

I continue to promote Authentic Leadership as a platform to enhance organizational success. The four variables are easy to understand and apply in daily interactions within the work environment.  True leaders need to be visible and available to engage direct reports to ensure everyone has input in how the organization operates.  Top down leadership may be needed in isolated situations, but your people want to be engaged.  The only way to accomplish this is to engage them—simple concept.

Leverage Napoleon’s words above and become a dealer of hope.

What’s your favorite leadership quote?  How does the quote impact your daily interactions?  I welcome your thoughts, thanks!

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others”.

(Bill Gates)

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Take the meeting—unlimited opportunities are waiting for you

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“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade”.

(Tom Peters)

My current Walk into the Future allows me to constantly look for opportunities to impact others and make a difference in this world.  My why was identified in June 2018 — to impact people in a positive way to leave them better than when I found them.  To stay consistent with my why I make a point to take meetings from everyone who requests a sit down with me.  Taking meetings is a form of reaching back to help someone else and it helps me continue to build tree branches.

Received a request via LinkedIn last week from someone I knew from my former role at FSU–we sat in several meetings together but never engaged much after the meetings were done.  Fast forward a year and a mutual friend suggested we get together because we both are making a difference in the world (different focus areas) and he thought it would be good for two like minded people to sit down.  Opportunities are all around us!

I happily accepted the meeting and let my new tree branch select the date, time and location.  We were able to quickly identify this meeting should have taken place a long time ago.  Sometimes career ambitions AND life get in the way of two people sitting down to talk about life, plans and focus.  Discovered quickly we have similar passions to help others in their walk into the future.  Shared my why with him and several of the projects (blog included) I like to work on and how my why guides my daily interactions.

I was able to listen with intent during our time together.  What I heard from him was a need to generate/identify a why to create the foundational model for his work.  Leveraged how creating my why gave me a renewed focus and helps drive my efforts.

The why concept was well received during our time together and resonated with my new tree branch.  It wasn’t rocket science, but I was able to listen to him and help strategize a way to gain the focus needed to take his operation to the next level.

My takeaways from our meeting:

  • Opportunity to help someone expand their message / focus
  • Opportunity to add another branch to my growing tree
  • Opportunity to share my why and leverage it in real time (application not just a theory)
  • Opportunity for future networking / interactions with a new tree branch
  • Opportunity to watch a branch grow and move towards goals
  • Opportunity for me to learn from someone doing great things in the world
  • Opportunity for me to continue to grow

So, when presented with an opportunity to take a meeting, go ahead and meet.  You may be able to help someone find exactly what they need for success.  You may also make a new friend which is awesome on its own.  Stay available to opportunities around you, they may provide the compass needed for your Walk into the Future!

Note:  I have taken 3 additional meetings since I originally wrote this article.  They have all been beneficial and I’ve added more branches to my tree.  Always looking for continued growth.

How open are you to accepting a meeting request from someone?  What benefits would taking this meeting have on your growth?  Curious, thanks!

“Keep your mind open to opportunities. They are closer than you think”.

(PictureQuotes.com)

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Team communication strategies to build a strong organization

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‘Good teams incorporate teamwork into their culture, creating the building blocks for success.’

(Ted Sundquist)

The 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team was nicknamed the Dream Team because of the collection of NBA superstars who made up the team’s roster.  The roster included Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley to name a few players.  Every member of the Dream Team was considered the top player(s) on their respective NBA team—the best of the best.

So, with a collection of overwhelming talent available on the Dream Team, this roster is considered the greatest basketball talent ever assembled on one team.  With that in mind, do you know what their ‘overall’ record was?  Most people will say the Dream Team was undefeated in their run towards Olympic gold in 1992.  The Dream Team’s overall record was:  8 – 1.  That’s right, the greatest collection of individual basketball talent lost a game in their quest for Olympic gold.

Head coach Chuck Daly assembled a collection of college basketball stars to scrimmage the Dream Team to help prepare for the style of play they would encounter in the Olympics.  College stars Grant Hill, Penny Hardaway, Chris Webber and others were invited to training camp to match up with their basketball idols.  The Dream Team lost to their understudies on June 24, 1992, 62-54 because they assumed, they would roll through the college kids.

The Dream Team hadn’t completely bought into the ‘team’ concept because they were all great individual players and thought they would overwhelm any team put in front of them.  To be fair, coach Chuck Daly limited Michael Jordan’s minutes and didn’t utilize his players to optimize their playing time.  This strategy was taken to get the pros to focus and understand they could be beaten without ideal situations.  The next time the Dream Team played the same collection of college players, they beat them soundly.

The Dream Team provides an excellent example of how team building enhances organizational success.  Simply hiring people and then telling them they are a team does not work.  Understanding team members’ strength, weaknesses and communication styles are a few things needed to build and enhance team dynamics.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The MBTI is a self-report tool that provides and makes psychological types as described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful (MBTI).  Organizations use the MBTI for various in-house needs.  One area I have found useful for the MBTI is for team communication.  I have direct reports complete the MBTI and then create an organizational chart we share with the team, so everyone knows the MBTI for their teammates.  We create desktop placards or MBTI heads to display in individual offices as a quick reminder of everyone’s MBTI.

Examples of MBTI heads:  https://eu.themyersbriggs.com/en/Using%20Type/Head%20Type%20table

I leverage this knowledge when assigning tasks to team members.  There are MBTIs who crave fast-paced and deadline filled assignments and others who view these type things as torture.  The key is balancing assignments to maximize the team and help individuals grow.  So, I’m not saying an introvert never has to do presentations but understanding team members helps with the overall health of an organization.

Understanding MBTIs within a team construct has led team members to appreciate each other more.  My MBTI is ISTJ and if you view the MBTI head associated with me you discover things like analytical, organized, and calm.  This knowledge helps everyone on my team understand why a perceived crisis does not impact me the same way it would someone who is an ENFP.  No MBTI is perfect but understanding other indicators provides a team with a foundation to grow.  This growth is a starting point for open communication and a successful team.

CliftonStrengths

I was introduced to CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthFinders) during my time at the University of Central Florida Career Center.  We were looking for ways to maximize our team and contracted to have someone come in to facilitate a workshop for the organization.  This was an eye-opening experience for staff.  I discovered my Talents were:   Analytical, Relator, Learner, Deliberative and Strategic. 

Domain examples here:  https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/home/en-us/cliftonstrengths-themes-domains

This knowledge will allow leaders and teams to build on current talents in the organization.  I can leverage my identified talents with someone who has more talent in another area to ensure the team can complete a task.  This can only be done ‘if’ talents are identified in advance.

There are other tools available to help leaders build teamwork and communication strategies for an organization.  The MBTI and CliftonStrengths are two I have used and provided multiple organizations with outstanding results.

6 steps to build a strong team:

  • Focus on roles
  • Value each role
  • Communicate
  • Set goals
  • Celebrate successes and failures
  • Know each other
    • (Entrepreneur.com, 2016)
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What strategies do you use to enhance team communication?  What tools have been most effective?  Thanks!

‘Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress.  Working together is success.’

(Henry Ford)

References

Johnson, C. (2016, May 23). 6 Steps to Build a Strong Team. Entrepreneur.

The Myers & Briggs Foundation. (n.d.) Retrieved May 24, 2019, from https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/home.htm?bhcp=1

 

Set the Standard with your Core Truth

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“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive”.

(Audre Lorde)

I was introduced to Audre Lorde’s work through the 1999 movie, The Best Man.  The two characters in the scene were trying to decide how to proceed with their relationship when the quote above was introduced.  It provided a moment of clarity and highlighted commonality the characters unknowingly had with each other—they both used this quote in their daily lives.

The quote has been with me ever since because it resonates a strong sense of self that leads to empowerment.  I leverage the quote to highlight doing things differently than others is okay—everyone has a different path to walk daily.

My presentation and writing styles are uniquely me.  There are times people will ask how I generate presentation materials and then look at me like I’m an alien when I explain it.  Again, I stay true to me and my preferred methods because they work for me.  When I try to generate content in a manner that doesn’t fit me, I struggle, so decided not to go down that road anymore.

Had to explain this process when presented with a potential speaking role that would have taken me out of ‘character’ for who I am.  The opportunity was very appealing from a surface level but would have required me to present in a style that is not really me.  Could I have faked it?  Probably, but I wouldn’t have been happy with me and I’m sure this fact would have bled into the actual presentation of material.  Decided a long time ago to stay true to my core truth to avoid being eaten alive.

“Being the best for yourself is how you can be the best for others”.

(Jennifer Mergen)

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Discovering your core truth can be used in other areas of life.  I recommend once you discover your core truth then stick with it.  I described the BIG GULP phenomenon in an earlier post—this concept is incorporated within my core truth—I never do business or move forward with a project that makes me take a big gulp.  This concept has saved me on multiple occasions and kept me from doing something I would regret.

I’m not saying people cannot evolve over time.  Continued learning and growing are integral parts to personal and professional success.  The core truths you define for yourself provide an actual road map to how you view and deal with others.  Don’t let outside influences ‘eat you alive’.

Had an interesting conversation yesterday about defining a core truth leadership style.  Believe this provides a foundation that will allow a leader to adjust and help direct reports grow.  My leadership core truth is authentic leadership but I’m well-versed in other leadership styles if/when authentic leadership principles are not effective for the current situation.  I’ve never yelled or cursed to prove I’m a leader.  People who do are poor leaders—my opinion.

What things do you consider when defining your core truth?  What areas in your professional life can establishing a core truth enhance your work environment?  Interested in your thoughts—thanks!

“None but ourselves can free our minds”.

(Bob Marley)

 

The search for unicorns: Leverage the first-round interview

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‘Take risks:  if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.’

(Unknown)

Organizations looking to hire the next unicorn to join their team utilize multiple tools to get the desired results.

The first-round interview is an avenue to further screen candidates who meet the baseline qualifications listed in a job description.  Organizations make a concerted effort to attract and hire the best possible candidate for their openings.  The preferred method to conduct a first-round interview will vary by organization and industry.  Some folks will swear by the telephone interview while others leverage technology and bring a video element to the first-round interview process.  Enhancing this process may allow organizations to spot and hire their next unicorn.

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Telephone interviews:

Yes, there still are organizations that leverage this method to screen candidates.  It allows candidates the ‘convenience’ of selecting a location to chat with interviewers.  This method also provides the opportunity to have documents (resume/cover letter/notes) readily available to refer to during the actual interview.  Candidates do not have to dress professionally for this type process, but it is recommended to get them into the right frame of mind.  Some do and some don’t; this may hinder a unicorn’s performance during the interview.  This type interview does not allow the organization seeking talent to get a full ‘view’ of the candidate.  Emotion, passion, desire and professionalism may not translate for everyone via a phone call.

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Video interviews:

Google video interviewing software and you get results for a large amount of available options.  Recommend organizations research the software tools to fit their unique needs.

Two familiar options are:  Skype and HireVue.

Skype:

Skype has been my go-to tool for conducting first-round interviews in previous roles.  The flexibility of Skype interviews allows for scheduling ease when hosting panel interviews.  This process provides a search committee with an opportunity to meet a candidate via a live feed to see their interactions with other committee members.  The candidate can also meet the committee via the live feed and engage them like a face to face meeting.  Facial expressions (good or bad), eye contact, and communication ability can all be ‘viewed’ on both sides of the video feed.  These real interactions can help when deciding if the candidate progresses to the next round in the interview process.  This is also a quick and easy way to gauge a candidate’s ability to utilize technology.  Creating a Skype account and using the software is not a highly complicated process.  This may highlight limited technology skills for the candidate (important if your organization values technology skills).

HireVue:

HireVue is a software package that provides organizations the ability to search a deeper pool of candidates.  Organizations can create the structure needed to ensure each candidate’s interview experience is consistent.  This concept can help to eliminate perceived or real bias in the interview process. Candidates receive a HireVue interview request via email with a link to select with a deadline to complete the video interview.  Instructions on computer, camera and microphone capabilities are provided to test run prior to conducting the interview.

HireVue also enables candidates to try ‘practice questions’ and record themselves with real playback as many times as needed to get comfortable. All candidates are presented with the same written interview questions/situations in exact order.  They are provided time to gather their thoughts and notes with a countdown clock.  Candidates then provide their video recorded response to each question with a scheduled pause between questions.  The recorded responses are compiled at the end and provided directly to the hiring organization (committee) for review and final assessment.  Successful candidates are then provided instructions for the next round of the interview.

HireVue is another quick and easy way to determine a candidate’s technology capabilities.

Again, there are a lot of ways to look for and hire a unicorn.  Recommend organizations find a method that provides multiple ‘touch points’ to ensure they are using a platform to bring out the very best of each candidate.  You don’t want to miss the unicorn and bring in a candidate who had a great ‘phone’ voice but nothing more once you meet them for the first time.

How does your organization find and hire unicorns?  What things can your organization improve in the first-round interview process?  Curious and eager to learn more—thanks!

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