The Thing You Need to Get Right as You Progress

As you progress in your career, and master certain key skills…what you need to be successful in the future changes. Yes, you’ll always have your attention to detail, problem solving and analytical skills….but you won’t find yourself using those in the same capacity as you become responsible for other people, head up departments, divisions. So what have I found to be helpful that no one tells you?

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Doing the Right Thing

So for those of you who have seen my lessons learned list, you know that this is my number one lesson learned. Because it doesn’t matter what else you do, if you don’t get this right…you’re going to run into problems. So why do so many people get this one wrong? [Read more…]

Rocks vs. Logs

I am one of those people who like to divide the world into two groups. One analogy I find helpful (which I attribute to Sun Tzu in the Art of War) is the rock vs log designation. What does that mean?

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You’ve probably heard in terms of leadership, all it takes is one “questionable” action for people to lose faith. It could be an ill timed comment ” I just want my life back” (BP CEO during the worst spill in history), a company’s reaction (Equifax’s small print where you give up your right to sue if you want to know whether or you were hacked)…there are all sorts of behaviors that can put you in the penalty box. [Read more…]

My Hero

Dad passed away last week after a long fight with Parkinson’s disease. I will be forever grateful I was there holding his hand when he passed. When I think about it, he was really the person who taught me the most important lessons in life.

  1. Figure out your priorities
  2. Work hard and be humble
  3. Be kind to everyone

There are no words to do justice to what he meant to me. Here’s how I tried. [Read more…]

A Nudge

Someone gently reminded me that it’s been awhile. I don’t know how I blogged when I technically am working less now!

I still get to hold a session now and then, and meet up with people to talk about careers and how they are navigating their way through the organizations. So what can I share?

  1. You are who you are. I am always going to be impatient, have a sense of urgency, want to move quickly….it doesn’t matter whether I am full time employee or a part time consultant…who you are and how you work doesn’t really change.
  2. The same people who bug you before will bug you now. I might have more insight into their character (e.g. being a debbie downer is an example of a person’s insecurity) but it’s still super annoying. And very visible to evveryone else.
  3. People still don’t say thank you enough. I don’t really understand it…I don’t know if it’s habit, or culture, or what…but saying thank you still has as much power no matter where I go.
  4. People size you up pretty quickly. You might come with a reputation, but people will still come to their own conclusion about you.
  5. You reap what you sow. It’s amazing to me how many people cross my path from years ago, working at different companies. I had someone recognize me in the elevator based off a Lessons Learned session she had attended!

What I can tell you is this, at the risk of sounding corny. You will get to a point in your career where more money doesn’t materially change your life.  You have what you need. The best thing to motivate you is what authentically pushes you, excites you, wakes you up in the middle of the night, or is the brilliant idea in the shower. You can’t fake it, but once you find it, it’s hard to ignore. Our journey is finding that thing. Having the presence of mind and the instincts to recognize it. To have the courage to take a leap and do it. To know in your heart of hearts that it’s the right thing for you.  And that right thing has nothing to do with money or personal prestige, though both may come with it. It has to do with what you want your contribution in life to be.

The Power of the Narrative

People remember stories. One of the best ways for people to relate to you is to tell a story. My favorite stories tend to be of situations where everything goes wrong, but it all comes out right in the end because of the team. Yes, business is about facts and figures, but people get bored with presentations of data and information. But what does bring them together is the narrative. [Read more…]