Thursday, May 29, 2014

If I were 22 …

College graduation season is here so I thought I would reflect on my past to see what I would recommend to my 22 year old self.

1.      Build relationships and network your ass off.  Join key organizations in your area/profession and build relationships with influential people.   --- it took me ~6 years to realize I needed to build “My Brand” to get noticed by others (and building a brand doesn’t happen overnight and you need to continue to do it your entire career).

2.      It is okay to fail --- when you fail and it will happen, re-group and move on.  Reliving the failure over and over in your head will just stress you out.

3.      Create a repository of your learnings as you move forward.  --- as the years pass you will attend conferences, classes, learn things from others and  you need a place to save those learning like a blog, a folder on your desktop or in the cloud.

4.      If you see an issue, make it your problem --- doing this will get you noticed in your organization.

5.      Losing your job is not the end of the world --- when that company you work for is sold and you and the rest of your co-workers are out of a job … enjoy life!  Spend some me time because you have built your brand and you have a great network.

6.      Determine what it will really take to retire --- you can create a spreadsheet right?  The earlier you realize you need to save more than 5% of your salary to better off you will be.

7.      Know your profession --- if your profession is moving towards having a certain type of certification, go out and get it!

8.      Treat your job as a vocation not an occupation --- it is a learning process … your job is really a class room to learn and teach.

9.      Knowing when to sever all ties --- know when the ship is sinking and be ready to jump!
1  Exercise! --- you thought the freshmen 15 was bad … just wait … join some sport teams … play … have fun … and network your ass off!


Monday, March 03, 2014

Creating WOW moments and building HEROes

Many years ago (back in the 90’s) my boss taught me about WOWing your project teams, staff and clients.  What is a WOW?  A WOW moment is an unexpected act of courtesy and kindness.  Most often, they happen with spur of the moment ideas.   These can be as simple as a hand written note, helping a teammate move into their new house, seeing someone is having a hard day and picking them up a starbucks coffee or even seeing a newspaper or magazine article your teammate was featured in and getting it laminated.

A personal one that I had happen to me was the CEO of my organization took me out on the track and let me drive his Austin Martin (this still makes me smile, since I’m a car guy).

A recent WOW I gave to a person on my staff was tickets to a Badger’s Men Basketball game.  A few weeks before this the person mentioned to me that they graduated from UW Madison but had never been to a Men’s basketball game (and they had been putting in a ton of extra time at work too).  A few weeks later a friend called and told me he was dropping off some tickets for a game and I knew the perfect person to pass them on to.  I wrote a card up and drop it at their desk.  The feedback from the rest of my staff was that they opened the card, saw the tickets and just stared at them with an open mouth for 2 minutes.  I think I got my WOW!

What is a HEROes?

Another element that I like to use on my teams is a bottom up flow of ideas.  Some people really embrace these and I call them HEROes (Highly Empowered Resourceful Operatives; I read about this in the book titled "Empowered" by authors Josh Bernoff and Ted Shadler).  The HEROes are driven by a desire to create improvements on their own initiative rather than living with the status quo.  Once you identify a person as a HEROes you need to embrace them and make sure they are leading your key organizational changes and your key clients.