Posts

The 5 Main Reasons Why People Get Stuck and Stop Growing

This week’s article was adapted from The Self Help Book by Jared Graybeal.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled The Self Help Book: Practical Ways to Never Stop Growing that aired on Tuesday, August 10th.

 

Do you ever feel stuck in your own routine? If the feelings of momentum and growth seem elusive in your current life phase, you may be interested in learning how to get “unstuck.”

However, I firmly believe that there’s a seriously important step before moving into the action phase. We need to look at why you’re feeling stuck in the first place.

Without first acknowledging some of the things that hold us back, we may never have the humility and maturity to approach growth with the right mindset.

To help you identify the source of your stagnation, I’ve compiled a list of the five main reasons why most people get stuck and stop growing. See if any of these resonate with you.

Reason #1: We stop making an effort to learn.

Unless they’re forced to learn things at work in order to keep their job, most people don’t commit to a life of continued education. This could be because of burnout from the education system, or it could simply be because committing to a life of never-ending learning is hard.

There are a lot of easier and more immediately rewarding things to do with our time after we get off work, like watching TV, scrolling on social media, or hanging out with friends.

Reason #2: We stop setting goals.

According to the latest research, less than 3 percent of Americans have written goals, and less than 1 percent review and rewrite their goals on a daily basis.

Why? I believe lack of self-confidence, fear of failure, laziness, and impatience keep us from looking forward to the things we want to achieve.

Unfortunately, the minute we stop setting goals, we become aimless.

Reason #3: When we set goals, we suck at it.

Studies show that less than 25 percent of us actually stick to New Year’s resolutions after thirty days, and only 8 percent accomplish them. Clearly, there’s something wrong with how we are setting goals.

Why? Because most of us just don’t know how. Brian Tracy, self-development author and goal-setting expert, says, “One of the greatest tragedies of our educational system is that you can receive fifteen to eighteen years of education in our schools and never once receive a single hour of instruction on how to set goals.”

Reason #4: We are one-track minded about growth.

Most people think growth is linear, assuming you can only grow in one way at one time. Then they get stuck on it.

For example, if you’re trying to get a promotion, you dial into the lifestyle it takes to get that promotion and forsake everything else. Or if you’re trying to lose weight, you do a mediocre job at work, maybe hang with your friends when it’s convenient, but give your fitness goals 100 percent of your attention.

The problem with this is that we stay there, and even once we’ve reached our goal, we don’t think to diversify until we’ve sunk into the depressive state of being stuck again.

Reason #5: Growth can be painful.

When I was in high school, I was 4’11” until my junior year. I prayed daily to grow, but nothing happened…until eleventh grade. I grew seven inches that year (and about three inches more since then, thankfully), and I can remember how painful that was. Seven inches in one year is an unusual growth spurt, and it caused a lot of pain to my joints, especially my hips.

But as I was going through that pain, I was also very thankful, because I had gotten the growth I had been praying for. Personal growth can be much like that. Both the work required and the change that comes with the results can be painful at times, and some people aren’t cut out for that level of discomfort. Once you accept that pain is a part of growth, you will also be able to enjoy the fruits of it later on and live a life of constant, positive change.

What’s keeping you stuck?

It may not be just one reason. You may identify with several of these reasons, and that’s OK. It’s not that you’re more stuck or hopelessly stuck.

It’s that you’re human and honest and ready to move forward. Now that we’ve covered the bad news and the not-so-fun statistics, here’s the good news: you can change.

Getting unstuck isn’t that hard—I promise. It’s just a few small, simple steps done consistently over time. You can live a life of greatness, fulfill your potential, and be happy doing it. Most importantly, you can start right now.

Not next Monday, next month, or next January.

RIGHT NOW.

For more advice on personal growth, you can find The Self Help Book on Amazon.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Jared Graybeal’s mission is to encourage, educate, and empower others to live happier, healthier lives. I am a NASM-certified personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, behavioral change specialist, CrossFit Level 2 trainer, and corrective exercise specialist with an education in marketing and psychology from the University of North Florida. I own and operate two companies. One is Superfit Foods, a healthy, subscription-based, fully customizable meal prep company. The other is E3, a business consulting and marketing agency. I’ve done a few cool things, like exhibiting Superfit Foods at Forbes Under 30 and giving a TEDx Talk on nutrition and mental health, and every day I get to work hard at doing what I love.

 

Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

Developing Leadership Self-Awareness Using Assessments

Self-Awareness1This blog is a companion to the four-part interview series, “Leaders Building Self-awareness by Stepping Through the Worldview Membrane: Learning to Engage your Organization,” with Christopher and Sheila Cooke on the VoiceAmerica Business Leadership show “Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations,” begins July 12. The first interview is a conversation about personal freedom and flow, and how they used the online LeaderView Self-Assessment to build it. This conversation includes a discussion of how the assessment helps leaders discover their leadership strengths and biases. This blog is a companion to the interview series.

This model and approach are pulled from the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders. Before moving to the assessment, I wanted to provide a post on how we use assessments in the leadership development process. The process shown below suggests that the first part of the development process involves creating a compelling vision for yourself for your future. If you don’t have one, we recommend using the information in this post as the foundation for assessment and analysis.

Metcalf Graphic 07102016

 

To validate your vision, we find that reading futurist publications in specific industries is helpful. The role of the futurist is to evaluate current trends and build possible scenarios for how the future might unfold. By building on your capacities for leadership, you can use these scenarios as part of your planning process to provide insight into overall societal trends, ensure that you are well prepared for the potential impact of ever-changing business conditions, and suggest imminent scenarios that help you navigate those trends effectively.

There are several organizations providing very effective views into the future. One that we regularly reference is The Arlington Institute (TAI), founded in 1989 by futurist John L. Petersen. It is a nonprofit research institute that specializes in thinking about global futures and creating conditions to influence rapid, positive change. They encourage systemic, non-linear approaches to planning and believe that effective thinking about the future is enhanced by applying emerging technology. TAI strives to be an effective agent of advancement by creating intellectual frameworks and toolsets for understanding the transition in which we are living.

Once you develop (or refine) your vision, it is time to examine your strengths and development opportunities. This step will help you refine and clarify those strengths and weaknesses. In the interview series, we will be walking through the assessment process using the LeaderView assessment tool set. Once you take the assessment, you will then decide which areas you would like to improve by building on what you already do well and addressing weaknesses. Your approach to development will depend on the assessment results and what you need to be and do to accomplish your vision while living your values

We recommend using a general guideline that focuses 80 percent of your effort on building your existing strengths and 20 percent on addressing weaker areas. Though this a general approximation, the 80/20 rule is a directional one stemming from the belief that you are already successful and have simply taken the opportunity to further advance and refine your capabilities. If you find serious deficiencies, it will be important to address them quickly.

It is important to combine your vision with a firm understanding of your current performance, abilities, and personality type. The data will help you become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and also clarify how others see you. By looking at your vision in conjunction with your assessment results, you should have the data required (or a solid start) to determine the gap between your current state (based on assessment data) and your vision.

Now to focus on the assessment process. One of the major values of using objective assessments is to uncover unconscious biases—our way of seeing the world that we believe is innate and shared by others is actually unique to each of us. These biases influence all that you do. Research since the late 1970’s has shown that such biases are actually the basis of your leadership strengths. Through a process of assessment and self-discovery, leaders build self-awareness, learn what it means to step through the worldview membrane, and learn how to dramatically increase engagement in their organizations.

So, now to the interview series. This four-part series that will walk you through the process of taking the LeaderView assessment, interpreting it, and getting feedback from others as the foundation to support leadership behavioral change. After explaining the assessment tool and flow of the four-part series, the Cookes introduce two participants, Carla Morelli and Jim Svagerko, both accomplished leaders who took the assessment and share their development process with listeners. This conversation includes their discovery of how “adaptive intelligences,” or how we adapt to challenges we face, influence all that they think, say, and do. Morelli and Svagerko gain insight into the leadership signature they are next naturally growing into as well as appreciating the richness of their natural leadership, learning, emotional, organizational, decision-making, relationship, creative, and motivational biases. This process allows them to “listen in” to discussions with actual leaders discussing their development process.

LeaderView Bundle Assessment

We are very excited to share the step-by-step process of assessment and feedback with you, our readers and listeners. You can now get the value of the expert coaching of Christopher and Sheila and also listen into two very accomplished leaders. To take the LeaderView Assessment, just log onto the site created for the show and purchase the assessment to follow along. In addition, you will get an interpretation and planning manual. The assessment cost, including two participants giving 360 feedback, is $40.80 which is a 20 percent discount off the normal rate. You can also learn more about the show layout at the website.

Maureen Metcalf, founder and CEO of Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, author, speaker, and coach who brings thirty years of business experience to provide high-impact, practical solutions that support her clients’ leadership development and organizational transformations. She is recognized as an innovative, principled thought leader who combines intellectual rigor and discipline with an ability to translate theory into practice. Her operational skills are coupled with the strategic ability to analyze, develop, and implement successful strategies for profitability, growth, and sustainability.

In addition to working as an executive advisor, Maureen designs and teaches MBA classes in Leadership and Organizational Transformation. She is also the host of an international radio show focusing on innovative leadership, and the author of an award-winning book series on Innovative Leadership, including the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, winner of a 2014 International Book Award.

 

Authentic Leadership: Reflecting on Vision and Values

Innovative Leadership - ReflectionThis post ends the January four part blog series focusing on “begin with the end in mind” by defining vision, values, putting vision and values in action and now reflecting on the earlier exercises. These exercises offer a strong set of tools to cultivate a regular practice of aligning who we are with what we do.

The following exercise was pulled from the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders.

To help you develop your action plan, it is time to further clarify your direction using the reflection questions below. “What do I think/believe?” reflects your intentions. “What do I do?” questions reflect your actions. “What do we believe?” reflects the culture of your organization (i.e., work, school, community), and “How do we do this?” questions reflect systems and processes for your organization. This exercise is an opportunity to practice innovative leadership by considering your vision for yourself and how it will play out in the context of your life.  You will define your intentions, actions, culture, and systems in a systematic manner.

The following table contains an exhaustive list of questions to appeal to a broad range of international leaders. You will likely find that a few of these questions best fit your own personal situation. Focus on the questions that seem the most relevant. We recommend you answer one to three questions from each category.

 Questions to Guide the Leader and Organization

·    What do I think/believe?

·    How do I see myself in the future? What trends do I see around me that impact this view? Have I considered how these trends impact the way I want to contribute?

·    How does my view of myself impact me? Am I inspired by my vision? Terrified?

·    How do I see myself within the larger environment? This can range from my family, the organization, to the international environment.

·    How do I gather input from key stakeholders to incorporate into my vision (family, business, self)?

·    After doing the exercises, what is my vision?

·    After doing the exercises, what are my values? What do I stand for? What do I stand against?

·    What are the connections between my business vision and my personal mission, passion, and economic goals?

What do I do?

·      How do I research trends that will impact my industry so I can understand my future placement and how to navigate potential transitions in my industry?

·      How do I synthesize competing goals and commitments to create a vision that works for me in the context of the communities I serve (family, friends, work, and international community)?

·      How do I develop my vision taking the greater economic conditions into account?

·      What do I tell others about my vision?  Do I have an “elevator speech”?  Is it something I think is inspirational?

·      When others observe me living my vision and values, what observable behaviors would they see?

What do we believe?

·    How does my personal vision fit within the larger context of my family, my community, my industry or my job?

·    How do I create a shared belief that my vision will help the organization succeed within the larger community and also help the community succeed?

·    What do we believe we stand for as an international organization? How should we behave to accomplish what we stand for (guiding principles/values)? Do my values align with the organizational values?

·    How do I reconcile differences between my values and those of my organization? How will these differences impact my ability to develop toward my vision and goals?

How do we do this?

·      How do I monitor the organization’s impact on my vision? How do I honor my vision when helping define/refine the organizational vision?

·      What is our process for defining/refining changes to our shared vision for the organization and other systems I function within? What is our process for clarifying and documenting our values? How do I ensure that my values are aligned with our guiding principles?

·      Who gives me feedback on their perspective of my progress? How often? What form would I like this feedback to take?

·      What measures help me determine progress toward my vision and values? How do I track and report progress toward these goals? Is my behavior supporting the organizational goals? Are the organizational goals supporting my goals?

Following are some answers provided by a leader we will call Steve. He tests as a “Level 5 Leader” as discussed in Good to Great. His answers will reflect that level of thinking and perspective taking.

Introduction to Steve

In his late 50’s Steve was promoted to a global management role for Sales Manager, Aluminum Extrusion Coatings for a large global corporation. He was recently promoted to this job so he is doing the workbook to help him identify the leadership changes he needs to make to succeed in his new role.

Vision

My vision is to grow myself personally and professionally by utilizing the scientific education and business experiences and to support the success of others.  I am a committed husband, father, and grandfather and live my values in all areas of my life.

Values

  • Achievement
  • Expertise
  • Work under pressure

Now Steve will answer at reflection questions from each category. He shares these answers with you because reflection is one of the more important skills that all leaders must develop. One important element of this workbook is that you as a developing leader get to read the thought process of a successful global leader. It is rare that many leaders share their inner thoughts and feelings and valuable to see how others approach these questions.

Reflection Questions: What do I think/believe?

How do I see myself in the future?

I see myself as a person who can significantly contribute to this organization thru my extensive technical experience in formulating as well as application dynamics.  While taking on a global role brings significant challenges it is very exciting.  This includes a level of management that is new to me but feel my years of global travel in other roles will serve me well.  Very few people have the opportunity to travel the world and experience many cultures as I have.  Although the time away from home can be difficult the rewards are many.  Even difficulties in logistics, language and simple things like meals can become an adventure and learning experience.

The trends I see around me that impacts this is the globalization of the business community.  We can no longer live as an island in today’s business world and I choose to embrace this new paradigm by taking a leadership role. By doing this I feel I can positively impact my company as well as the industry as a whole.

After doing the exercises, what are my values?  What do I stand for?  What do I stand against?

My top personal values are achievement, expertise, and work under pressure and they are very important to me. I also remain true to the same solid business principles expected in the USA despite tendencies for unethical dealings in some parts of the world.

This is a must to maintain a professional business relationship and keep all dealings legal and ethical.

What I stand for remains constant with good business practices by treating all suppliers, customers, employees and even competitors fairly and as I would like to be treated.  I will always remain loyal to the American standard but must respect all cultures where I travel and do business.

What I stand against is the unethical business practices and most importantly human rights violations.   Understanding different cultures have different beliefs and traditions but these still must meet the basic human rights all people deserve.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Joe DeSousa

 

5 Steps to Building Individual Capacity to Navigate Organizational Change

Become change innovative leadershipMany organizations are undergoing significant change. These changes range from focusing on growth and merging to divesting and shrinking, and are expected to continue to accelerate during the balance of our careers. We’re likely to see multiple concurrent change on an ongoing basis. For this reason, developing the ability to navigate organizational change is critical to individual and organizational success. This post focuses on the key elements to build individual capacity for change.

Wayne is a middle-level manager in a technology company. This company, like most technology companies is positioned for growth. Wayne is highly aware of technology growth trends and how they impact his specific industry. His organization has been on a growth trajectory for several years that is now leveling off. Wayne is aware of their positioning relative to the competition and aware that for his company to remain successful they must accelerate their growth. With this in mind, he has aligned himself with the highest growth segment in the company. He is building skills to ensure he is able to contribute significantly to the growth this segment will produce. Wayne has also taken it upon himself to mentor people within the organization to help them understand the changes and position their work to add maximum value to the company. The good news for Wayne is that he continues to build skills, keeps a positive attitude, adds value to the company, and builds his network. Irrespective of his company’s success, Wayne will thrive professionally because he manages his contribution and also is positioning himself for long-term success within his industry.

The three things successful employees have in common across all organizations are their ability to anticipate change, manage their own reaction, and help others— and the organization—succeed. During times or organizational change, there are five common practices of successful employees practice. They are:

  1. Take responsibility for their own careers and success, and adopt the mindset that they are the drivers of their own career success.
  2. Pay attention to industry and organizational trends and anticipate when and where change will occur. They keep current on trends.
  3. Proactively prepare to manage the change in their lives and careers.
  4. Focus on adding value to the organization with all of their interactions aware that organizations generally reward those focused on contributing to the organization’s success.
  5. Help others succeed. Success is contagious and, as a key part of your strategy, you can help others.

As employees, we may think that a company will take care of us. This thinking can be dangerous. While good companies are dedicated to taking care of their employees, they are also taking care of their owners (for public companies this is stockholders), customers, suppliers/partners, and employees. Even the best companies take actions occasionally that are not be in the best interests of individuals or employee groups because they are making a decision for the benefit of the larger organization. For this reason, it is imperative that employees manage their own careers.

The most successful executives also demonstrate these qualities. It is often these, among other qualities, that have allowed them to rise in the ranks and retain leadership roles.

What are you doing to anticipate the change your organization might be facing in the next year? Do you read industry publications, belong to industry-based associations, read futurist materials in your field? How are you using what you are learning to navigate the organization and ensure you are adding value to support the organization’s success and, thereby, your own personal success?

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

photo credit: www.flickr.com andyadontstop

Take Action to Develop as a Leader – Eric’s Story

Taking actionI’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. In this post we will take the next step in the innovative leadership development process: taking action. In this post we will discuss how to start in an effective way and show you how to mitigate any potential barriers.

Start Effectively

First of all, you must believe that you can accomplish your short-term milestones. If you’ve been closely following the previous posts and participating in the exercises, and you’re really serious about chasing your life goals, then you are more than capable of accomplishing these short-term milestones. You may seem a little intimidated and overwhelmed, but that’s what you want. If you’re not exiting your comfort zone then you’re not growing.

Secondly, this process will not only take you out of your comfort zone, but will require some consistent commitment. If you must, do not start out too extreme. Take it slow in the beginning, familiarize yourself with the routine and gradually push yourself to greater limits.

Overcoming Barriers

Most importantly, you’ll need to allow yourself some flexibility in your plan because you will likely face obstacles that may require you to temporarily modify your routine. Below is a worksheet to help you overcome your barriers. Feel free to refer to my answers to see how to answer each space. The goal I’m referring to is how I want to increase my productivity with work.

Barrier Action Planning Worksheet
Category Barrier Impact of Barrier How to Remove or Work Around Support I Need to Remove or Work Around This Barrier
In my thinking I over-analyze small details, which takes me on tangents about unrelated things. It distracts me, taking my focus away from the actual task, I end up thinking about something completely irrelevant Maintain perspective on the overall goal of certain tasks to better understand the functions behind the smaller details, requiring less thought later on. Personal support to hold me accountable each day.
In my behavior I try to multi-task way too much. This impedes my productivity. Focus on one task at a time, do it right the first time, practice “essentialism”. Personal support, casually reminding each other about essentialism.
In our beliefs We depend on third parties to do their part of a task too often. This slows us down because we wait for them to finish. Rely less on external sources’ work and consider doing their part by ourselves. Professional partnership support to find out what we can do without a third party.
In how we do things We multi-task as a group. It impedes productivity. reminding each other about focusing on the tasks at hand fully. Remember that I also need to focus and ask others to do the same.

Real World Application: Create a Barrier Log

Review your responses for the Barrier Action Planning Worksheet and create a spreadsheet document. Label the first column “Barrier”. Move one column to the right, and label the next five columns, from left to right, “Attempt #1”, “Attempt #2”, and so on. In the column labeled “Attempt #1”, write how you plan to overcome the corresponding barrier, perhaps using the response you put for the Barrier Action Planning Worksheet. If you fail on the first attempt, write a new or refined way to overcome that barrier, plus what you did wrong in the previous attempt, in the Attempt #2 section, and continue this process until you eventually overcome the barrier. On the attempt where you finally succeed, highlight that box in green. As new barriers rise, add them to the log; however, after you complete a barrier, it is critical that you keep it on the log and do not delete it.

This barrier log will be very useful because you will be able to track what did and did not work in order to overcome a barrier. You will likely come across barriers that are similar to previous ones, so knowing what worked (and what didn’t work) in advance, making the barrier easy to overcome. As time goes on, and you begin to see a long list of old barriers with green boxes, signifying success, your confidence in overcoming barriers will increase. It may be grueling to keep adding more attempts because you keep failing, but understand the that only true failure is failure to try.

Feel free to include barriers outside of the leadership development process, such as academic, social and even health barriers. Save this document in a cloud storage service for both safety and convenience. Update it on a regular basis. Also, if one of your mentors from the Build Your Team section is an “equal”, or someone in the same situation as you, have that person make a barrier log and share logs with each other online or during meetings.

In the next post, we will answer reflection questions to strengthen our understanding of how we’ll take action.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo Credit: www.flickr.com Celestine Chua

Build Your Team & Communicate Reflection Questions Reflection Questions Part 2 – Eric’s Story

I’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. In the last post, I answered a series of reflection questions to strengthen my understanding of the development and communication of my support team. I have broken the reflection questions into two posts this one contains the second half of those questions.

Eric Reflection Questions Part 2 support team

This is the end of the Build Your Team & Communicate step. The next step is the second-to-last step in the innovative leadership development process, and perhaps the most exciting step: taking action!

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Plan Your Career Development Journey Part 2 – Eric’s Story

IGoals’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. In the last post we discussed identifying a skill/behavior that you would like to improve in order to help you reach your next career milestone, with the understanding that our long-term life goals are made up of a series of short-term goals. In this post, you’ll clearly identify the skill/behavior you’d like to improve upon, and then create a plan outlining how the current state of that skill, future goal, daily routine/actions, deadline for completion and a way to measure progress.

Your goal should be S.M.A.R.T.

We recommend that your goal be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (S.M.A.R.T.).

  • Specific: clearly defined. When goals are specific, or clearly defined, it is easier to know when they are reached. Specify the goal by clarifying what exactly is expected, why it is important, who is involved and where it will happen.
    • For example: I want to increase my focus/productivity by 200%, independently, each month, during internship/work hours, because I will be able to get twice as much work done and be better prepared for when I enter the workforce upon graduation.
  • Measurable: establish criteria for measuring the progress of each goal. This shows what and how much change we are expecting.
    • Focus/productivity will be measured in how many tasks I accomplish during work hours each day. Let’s say I complete two big tasks each day; I will focus on limiting distractions/overthinking so that I eventually complete four big tasks each day
  • Attainable: identify goals that are truly most important to you, you begin to find ways to make them come true. You develop attitudes, abilities and financial capacity to reach them. You begin to see opportunities you otherwise may not see as you realize the importance of such goals. “Attainable”, in this case, refers to how reasonable the goal is overall, regardless of your personal ability to do it.
    • Doubling daily productivity, or reducing time to accomplish each task, in one month is attainable for many people in my situation. Many interns can do that as they develop knowledge and skill in their work.
  • Realistic: to be realistic, the goal has to be something you are personally willingand able to work toward. You are the one who determines when it is completed, so make sure it is something you can realistically accomplish. “Realistic”, in this case, differs from “attainable” because it specifies whether you have the capacity to accomplish the goal. There may be something unique about you, making you better/worse at accomplishing a task than most people in your situation. If too easy, increase to difficulty or tighten the deadline. If too hard, decrease difficulty or push back the deadline, but only after you’ve actually tried it for a bit – don’t give up too easily!
    • Doubling daily productivity is realistic for me because I am increasing my knowledge and skill of my work at a higher rate than I could have ever anticipated.
  • Timely: goals that lack time frames also lack urgency. When setting the time frame, set an actual number or defined period of time, like “one month” or “one school year”. Don’t just say “soon”, “ASAP”, or “eventually”. Would you rather your professors tell you “You have an exam soon!” or “You have your exam one week from today”?
    • “One month from today” is a defined period of time.

Make sure your goal is written down in a way that meets the S.M.A.R.T. criteria. Next, we will use the Development Planning Worksheet. This chart should be simple enough for you to make in Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheet. Follow my lead:

Eric's development planning worksheet

I highly recommend using a digital calendar with cloud capabilities and managing your time well. This link will help you manage your time during the academic semester: http://howtostudyincollege.com/time/. While the link specifies making time for studying, it is still a great time management strategy and it will help you find time for any goals of yours.

Now you have a great sense of your short-term goals and your strategy to reach them, plus some potentially life-altering time management advice! In the next post, you will be provided reflection questions regarding the entire process of planning your journey. After that, you should have a very firm understanding of how to plan your journey as an innovative leader and outstanding college student.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Plan Your Career Development Journey – Eric’s Story

Journey withinI’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. I just completed the reflection questions associated with identifying my strengths and opportunities. It is now time to move to plan our journeys understanding that our overall life goals will be achieved by accomplishing many short-term goals. This is the third step in becoming an innovative leader while you’re young.

Short-term goals may consist of milestones that move you closer to your overall achievement, such as internships, degrees, jobs, or promotions. Other short-term goals, which are equally important, consist of personal development, such as learning new skills/behaviors, building on current strengths and minimizing weaknesses. The goals of personal development are very important because as you make progress through your academic and professional careers, you’ll have greater responsibilities and bigger challenges. That being said, to plan the short-term steps that will lead you to the long-term life goal, we must identify which career milestones we will need to get us there, and then choose which personal development goals to accomplish to help us reach the nearest milestone. For each milestone in your life, you may need to create new personal development goals. To optimize personal development (for short-term and long-term), one must include in his plan all four parts of the human experience: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual/purpose.

Short-term Goals: Career Milestones

As you’ve done for previous posts, research and list the steps it takes to get that “dream job”, or long-term goal. Then identify the nearest goal. For example:

    • My Goal: Marketing/management consultant and founder of a nonprofit
  • My Milestones:
    • Do marketing/consulting internships
    • Graduate with relevant degree and great GPA
    • Get marketing/consulting job upon graduation
    • Go to graduate school for MBA
    • Get a great job in marketing/consulting
    • After sufficient experience, create a highly successful nonprofit organization
  • Nearest goal: Job upon graduation

Short-term Goals: Personal Development

Look at your nearest goal, and think of everything you can possibly learn, strengthen and/or fix to achieve the nearest milestone. This will help you find which personal development goals to set to reach the next milestone. The human experience consists four parts: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual/purpose abilities. Enhancing all four of these types of abilities, you will optimize overall personal growth. We separate these four parts into two categories:

  • External abilities (physical and mental):
    • Body: exercise, weight lifting, yoga, relaxation, etc.
    • Mind: reading, studying, attending school/class, etc.
    • Professional skills, learned at school, work, internships, etc.; relevant to your career.
  • Internal abilities (emotional and spiritual/purpose) –
    • Emotional Quotient (EQ): meditation, maintaining strong friendships/relationships, etc.
    • Spirit/purpose: define vision, define values, religious practice, etc.
    • Includes intention, world view, purpose, vision, values, cultural norms, emotional stability, resilience, a sense of being grounded, overall personal well-being, intuition, balanced perspective, and attitude, and serves as the foundation for you to accomplish your deepest aspirations.

According to Ken Wilber, a leading philosopher, one can optimize improvement in one of these areas by “cross training”, or working on an external skill at the same time as an internal skill. For example, people who lift weights (external) and meditate (internal) tend to have more success in both areas than those who only do one or the other.

Planning Personal Development Goals

Choose amongst three developmental focuses: learning a brand new skill/behavior, building on a current strength, or minimizing a weakness. After you pick something to develop in one of those three focus areas, identify whether it is an internal or external ability, and then pick an activity that is the opposite ability for the sake of optimization by cross training. Click here to download the worksheet below (which doesn’t have my answers on it) and fill it out like I did. Feel free to view my answers to maybe better understand the question, or just to get more ideas.

behavior change priorities

Over the next few days, choose a skill and think about how great your life can be if you gain/improve it. In the next post, we’ll make a day-to-day plan for developing that skill to help you reach your next career milestone.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Transforming a Public Radio Station – Defining Vision and Creating Urgency

WCBEWe’re very excited to announce a new blog series that will chronicle the transformation of public radio station WCBE – 90.5 FM Columbus, Ohio. We’ll share the journey they are taking as a response to the Columbus City Schools reshaping. The Columbus Board of Education holds the license for the station (that’s why its call letters, WCBE, are an acronym for the board). The station’s journey will be co-written with Dan Mushalko, general manager of the station.

To give context, the Columbus City Schools employees—and perhaps others in schools throughout the state—are accused of falsifying students’ records to improve their schools’ standing on state report cards. The context matters because it helps to explain why WCBE is transforming now, and sets the sense of urgency the station faces. Why our story about WCBE is interesting is that the station is using this crisis as an opportunity to become more efficient, more effective, and a better partner with the school district.

Our series starts with a note Dan Mushalko sent to the radio station staff.

“First, a declaration: WCBE is changing. No matter whether we’re a department in the larger Columbus City Schools, or a standalone broadcaster, our old ways will continue to lose effectiveness as the rest of the world changes. Within the District, changes are coming. Dr. Dan Good is a visionary leader with a hard-driving will dedicated to the CCS (Columbus City Schools) mission. To make this District what it must be to serve the community, he’s instituting changes: some fast, some slow, some specific, some across the District. Some will be easy, some will hurt. Some will no doubt hurt me personally. But I’m behind them 100 percent because, like Dr. Good, I’m dedicated to the District’s mission of serving the greater community. In the final analysis, our mission at WCBE is just a permutation of the District’s own goals.”

WCBE will follow the transformation process illustrated below and described in the award winning book:  Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations.

Leading Organizational Transformation

The first step in the transformation process involves clearly defining the vision for the change, as well as why the change is now urgent. We’re including WCBE’s updated organizational mission so you gain a better understanding of the station and what it’s committed to creating in the community and beyond:

  • Support Columbus and neighboring areas in being a thriving and sustainable community through our operations as a radio station,  and as a responsible community member
  • Offer listeners the opportunity to connect with the broader community through local programming, creating opportunities for local musicians, and promoting local organizations
  • Providing the most reliable source for local, national, and international news—and producing engaging music programming featuring local, national and international talent
  • Create opportunities that promote a vibrant and engaged community by leveraging our role as a radio station, to facilitate bringing together local music talent, local businesses/NPOs, and community members
  • Partner with like-minded organizations to accomplish our vision

In his message, Mushalko clearly states that WCBE is changing—and we’ll continue to hear about the changes on a regular basis. Mushalko posted a change process flow in the hall at the station in the form of a wall chart and asked each staff member for their input on the process which will be incorporated into his final change process plan. He has also created a scorecard to establish clear goals and timelines for the change and is tracking progress with his coach, Maureen Metcalf, every other week.

Return soon to learn how the station overcomes the inevitable complications and obstacles of any change process to transform and forge its future.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Plan Your Journey

Plan Your FutureThis  is the third in a six-part series of “Notes from the Field” in which Holly, an analyst in an HR department at a major university, talks about her experience using the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers to plan her next career step. Last week Holly shared a personal self-assessment of her strength and opportunities.  This week she focuses on defining a development plan that helps connect her vision with her self-assessment results.  (For a more complete case study, please either refer to the workbook or one of the online leadership development programs for emerging leaders or leaders).

In order to create a development plan, it’s important for leaders to have both strong external capacity and internal capacity.  After completing my self-assessment and identifying my strengths and weaknesses, I feel I have a strong balance of both external capacity and internal capacity, but recognize there are areas that can be enhanced and improved.

To accomplish my vision and build further capacity, I have two development targets.  These two foci will help identify behaviors or skills I can enhance through planning and goal setting:

Build on your current strengths – This focuses on enhancing current strengths and helps provide clear indicators of what changes are required for continued growth and success.

I identified one of my greatest strengths as the combination of my ambition to succeed and a trusting nature personality trait. I have a goal to progress further in my career.  To accomplish this I need to enhance my visibility through greater committee involvement and expanded networking activities, in addition to completing my MBA program and surfacing ideas to enhance the organization.  I’d like to accomplish this goal within the next three years and will measure the success by a promotion or new employment opportunity.

Minimize your weaknesses – This focuses on identifying behaviors that may impede further growth, and understanding how a behavior may interfere with future success.

A weakness I identified is the need to put myself and overall well-being first. I have a goal to have improved mental-health (less stress) and physical health.  I plan to accomplish this goal through meditation, exercise, and taking more time for myself.  My goal is to accomplish this over the next six months.  I will be able to measure the success of the goal by lowering my blood pressure, running my first 5K race, and incorporating these action items into my lifestyle.

As a part of the workbook I was able to review additional reflection questions that helped create my development plan and create my action goals.  One of the reflection questions that stood out to me was:

What are my priorities for development?  Are they reflected in the plan I created?

My priorities for development are reflected in the plan I created. My personal values and future vision highlight the importance of maintaining a strong work-life balance.  In order to try to meet these expectations, I made it a priority to complete my education and develop my career at an early age—before planning to start a family with my husband.  After reflecting on these questions and actions, I also recognized that not putting myself and health first will directly interfere with my future vision.  In order to have a successful work-life balance, I need to implement action steps now to improve my health and well-being to help prepare me as I progress in my journey.

Next week I’ll focus on building a team and communication plan to help support the changes in my goals for personal and professional development.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com stargardner