Professional Development – A Recipe for Success

Originally appearing at ForITPros.com. Joe Webb's father-in-law spent most of his adult life as a cardiologist. That's a highly specialized and highly technical area in the field of medicine that deals with the heart. Not every physician can claim to be a cardiologist. It requires rigorous training under the close supervision of an existing cardiologist. That period of training and supervision is called a fellowship. Likewise, many building trades such as electricians, plumbers, and machinists undergo a period of training from someone with more experience. The Apprentice becomes a … [Read more...]

Professional Development – What a Difference 60 Years Makes

Originally appearing at ForITPros.com. In 1957, the Soviet-made Sputnik streaked across the sky in low earth orbit. It was clearly visible to millions of concerned Americans. The Soviet government had leapfrogged America technologically. The dot that traversed the nighttime sky marked a change in international politics and fueled the engine that became America's space program. Another far more subtle shift was happening in America's businesses as well. In the 1950's and 1960's, American employees gave their loyalty to their employer in exchange for a commitment for a career-long job … [Read more...]

Professional Development – Set the Bar High

Originally appearing at ForITPros.com. Henry Ford is reported to have once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t - you’re right.” That’s great insight. Too often people place self-imposed and artificial limitations on themselves. They tell themselves that they cannot accomplish something because they aren’t smart enough or don’t have enough creativity. They close their minds to the idea they can, in fact, succeed. Success, after all, is scary to many people. As a leader, one of your jobs is to inspire your team. Help them to recognize and realize their potential. Don’t … [Read more...]

Professional Development – Interviews are a Two-way Street

(Originally appearing at ForITPros.com). I was recently chatting with a friend who was seeking advice about difficulties in their job. This was a job which, a year ago, she described as her dream job. It quickly became evident to her that it was actually a nightmare job. The company, her coworkers, and her boss were all dysfunctional in one or more ways and it was making her life miserable. One of her big questions was “What sort of questions could I have asked during the interview that would’ve helped me foresee what it’d actually be like to work there?” It’s Not Only About Pleasing the … [Read more...]

Professional Developement – Digging for Gold

Originally appearing at ForITPros.com. Andrew Carnegie, once the wealthiest man on earth, came from humble beginnings. As a young boy, he worked a number of odd jobs. His hard work, industrious nature, and persistence eventually led him to become the largest steel manufacturer in the United States. Once, during an interview, Carnegie was asked how he had hired 43 millionaires. At that time, being a millionaire was very uncommon. It would be similar to a person having $25 to $30 million in today's dollars. Carnegie was quick to correct the reporter. He had hired 43 people who had become … [Read more...]

Professional Development – The Stradivarius of Teams

Originally appearing at ForITPros.com. A world-class violinist was on campus for an artist-in-residence program. While at lunch he was discussing what he perceived to be the similarities between management and great music. Said the violinist, “I have glorious music, a splendid instrument, and an exquisite bow. All I need to do is bring them all together and get out of the way.” I recently read this short story found in The Sower’s Seeds by Brian Cavanaugh. Of course there is a bit more to it than the modest violinist claims. But there’s also a lot a lot of truth in it. As a leader, … [Read more...]

Advice to New Bloggers

PREAMBLE If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I travel and speak quite a lot. A frequent question I'm asked at these events is "I want to start blogging, but don't know where to start. What do you recommend?" This is a such a common and natural question as to be almost existential at it's root. In most every context where we move from the known to the unknown, from taking that first international trip to learning how to swim, we might first begin by saying "I'm uncertain. Where do I start?" Success in any of these situations can be distilled down to a single word - … [Read more...]

Listen to Lead

I've got a question for you. Where did you learn how to listen? Of all the coaching and consulting clients I have asked that question to, not one has had formal training to become a better listener. Some have pointed to the works of Stephen Covey and others like him who advocate, “seek first to understand and then to be understood.” But even those who know that often find it difficult to put the concept into practice. It seems that many people have the same view of listening that they were given in kindergarten: “sit still and be quiet." Read the rest of this article at … [Read more...]

Preventing tl;dr Emails

  A new abbreviation is beginning to take hold. I first heard of it on Seth Godin’s blog. The abbreviation? tl; dr. Too long; didn't read. I like the new abbreviation. It gives voice to something that has been going on for many years. The elephant in the room now has a name. For years, writers of emails have tried to use the medium to provide a comprehensive thesis on a subject. They have drafted elaborate prose in an effort to sway or convince the recipient of their position. All the while, the recipients have, at best, simply skimmed over the email and set it aside. It was … [Read more...]

Feedback is a Gift

  I'm reminded of a demonstration I saw as a kid. San Diego Chargers quarterback, Dan Fouts, had earned a reputation as a prolific passer, breaking record after record. Once during a practice, Fouts donned a blindfold, took the snap from center, dropped back, and fired a perfect strike into the hands of a receiver running down the field. Blindfolded, he was still able to complete the pass. He was able to do that because he had practiced that pass many thousands of times. His muscle memory was such that he knew exactly where to throw the the ball. Read the rest of the article … [Read more...]