be ready to walk alone

August 14, 2008 at 7:33 am | Posted in Business, Professional Development | 2 Comments
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Having friends and a support network is great. The benefits are too many to list in simple blog post. But today I was thinking about the opposite situation. The times when you simply need to be prepared to walk alone.

I’ve often heard folks get very disappointed when nobody “has their back” during a controversial decision or discussion. Just recently, I sent out an email in response to something from our CEO. He initially sent it to about 20 people. I responded to the entire list with my thoughts, and five people supported me. Privately. That is, they responded to me directly with things like, “Way to go, big man!” or “I couldn’t agree more” but nobody posted that to the group. Within a day, I had the exact same thing happen to me again.

My first thoughts on them not backing me publicly were probably pretty typical, but then I realized, hey, it’s OK. In fact, it’s an opportunity. Along with the 1,304,102 other cliche’s coaches use is the one that says “Great accomplishments never come without great adversity.” It is risky to walk alone sometimes, but like most things, that risk can bring great reward — or great failure. Either way, if your convictions are strong, sometimes you can’t worry about who’s willing to do step out there with you.

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it’s that time of year again

July 4, 2008 at 12:05 am | Posted in Professional Development | Leave a comment
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Hot dogs, barbecue, and resume updating.  Every six months I like to stop and do a career check. Obviously, the New Year is a great time to take an introspective look at your career, but I find a mid-year check to be helpful as well.

These are some things I look for in comparison to where I was six months ago:

1) Am I making any progress on career goals?

2) Reflect on some of the valuable experiences I had (good and bad).

3) What new stuff did I learn?

4) Am I more, less, or the same value in today’s job market?

5) Do others view me as more, less, or equally favorable?

Then I update my resume accordingly.  If I don’t have any updates to the actual resume, but am making good progress toward something, then I’m OK with that and will drive to getting it added in the January revision.  But if I haven’t made progress, I’m not more valuable, and I haven’t learned anything… well, might be time to do some serious introspection between burgers during the holiday cookout.

you too can be a successful, fit, bazillionaire

June 25, 2008 at 11:11 pm | Posted in Professional Development | Leave a comment
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Guess I’m in a cynical mood tonight. Just read Seth Godin’s post on the five easy pieces of marketing.  The other day I was looking at the pragmatic marketing framework, which they have successfully made into their corporate logo.  And while at the gym I saw that they were interviewing Richard Kiyosaki to get his “expert” advice on the mortgage situation.  Seems we’re just swimming in folks who have it all figured out.

What is an “expert” anyway?  How many successes do you need to make you one?  And what credentials are required before you can start amassing a following?  Every Saturday morning during college football season, I watch college game day.  And every Saturday night I laugh at how they know no more than anyone else as to what would happen that day.  There are just way too many variables to calculate and you’re dealing with those pesky humans who tend to screw up the best “predictive models” with their emotions, passions, prejudices, etc.  Seems some folks are just experts and being experts. For my money, the best “experts” are the ones who make you think.  And work.  And enable you to solve problems and create you OWN methodology to fit a problem you encounter.

So how ’bout it?  What do you get out of “experts?”  How much do you really retain over time?  How much do you implement?  Can they really lead to success by copying their formulas?  Or does success much more depend on that crazy chemistry thing I talked about yesterday?

15 min of fame … or infamy

June 15, 2008 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Professional Development | 2 Comments
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In a recent comment, the scrappy email marketer was summarizing an “email insider” panel discussion and said:

Specifically, they [panel members] don’t want their boss and others in the professional world seeing their personal profile on Facebook.

Nice wish, but thus far anyway, it’s proving to be difficult to attain in reality. First, as noted here, the “old timers” are moving into the realm of the “younglings” when it comes to college admissions. Moreover, once in college, some students have been punished or expelled due to their social networking activities. Yet even though it’s been going on for a while (here’s a case over two years old), some folks still don’t think about just how public their social networks can become. Last year I talked to two college coaches who said they passed on kids for full athletic scholarships because they saw severe attitude problems on their social networks.

Adults find themselves in the same boat sometimes. Remember this story of the mayor who was asked to resign because of her pictures she posted on MySpace? So it’s not limited to kids.

I can remember when my players would ask me about getting a tattoo, or gold tooth, or something that might carry a negative image to some. I would tell them that they need to be true to themselves, but also needed to understand that people’s perceptions are hard to control and they may have to deal with some negative ones. I wasn’t telling them not to; rather, I was just trying to prepare them for reality.

So, the controversy continues. Stay out of my space (or my facebook!) when it comes to personal online activity? … or … Don’t post stupid things on your pages that you don’t want your employer (or fellow workers) to see? I imagine there’s a wide spectrum of passionate feelings on this one. Wherever one lands on the issue, I at least think it’s very important to think about as social networking becomes more and more mainstream.

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