One of my career-long challenges has been to remove Professional Hiding Spots. Call them excuses for not taking the initiative… reasons for avoiding personal responsibility… or issues that limit someone in a professional role from being an effective, example-setting leader.
This month I hope you enjoy my discussion of my TOP 10 Professional Hiding Spots. Chances are you will recognize most of them… hopefully from observation and not personal practice!
Let me know your thoughts.
We have covered a ton of fun, serious and not-so-serious topics since we began the TRIPLE III TIME blog messages in 2014. So when I was challenged this last week and asked why I have never shared my thoughts about “Failure”… I did my own research and they were right! Failure has never been a special TRIPLE III TIME topic.
So here we go.
First I will admit that I typically do not think much about failure when I am pursuing a new idea/action. Mostly my mind is totally dedicated to building, creating, partnershiping, financing and starting-up the initiative. My long-time colleague and co-leader (JHL) for many years always believed that if our new idea was the right thing to do… then we just “went-for-it!”
Second with this “right thing to do” motivation… I don’t think we ever failed. Sometimes we didn’t get to where I hoped we would or as fast as I dreamed, but most often we blazed a pretty good innovation, progress trail. Failure is just a regular piece of calculated risk-taking. And if you think extra hard about risk-taking, if you don’t do it and always just stay the same… you are accepting that falling behind personally and professionally is OK?!
Finally what are my TRIPLE III TIME advice points regarding a “Half-Full-Glass” approach to Failure concerns:
A. Failure should NOT be part of any new concept planning.
B. Remember even partial success is strategic continuous improvement.
C. Colleagues want to always partner with “Tryers” and not “Samers”
D. Think of all the new computer “Apps” that show up each day… do these creators prioritize Failure?
E. Ask yourself why are SHARK TANK shows/events so popular? Because trying is the beginning part of succeeding.
So simply: If you don’t… for sure you won’t.
While in the workforce development career area all my adult life, I would like to go back and add up the number of times I have heard that statement. Young or old… high schooler or degreed people… those from a rural area or big cities the “I don’t need no more trainin” was not uncommon when jobs were my job!
On a personal level, I didn’t want to go to college, but my Ma and Dad thought it was the right thing. I didn’t want to drive 200 miles twice a week for two years to get my Master’s degree, but my Boss told me it would make me better. Finally, many thought it was a waste of time and money going after a Ph.D. (especially when much of it would require a lot of computer time… which I still dislike), but I wanted to be a life long learning example for my sons and my co-workers.
Well, today I am privileged to be able to teach college classes… and that would NEVER have been possible if I had followed the “I don’t need no more trainin” strategy. And as I think more deeply about it… every additional learning step I have taken has truly helped me be more to everyone around me… EVERYONE!
So, this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is to never fall into the “I don’t need no more trainin” mindset. Every learning, training opportunity is high value… and a lifelong value no matter how big or small the experience. Relaxing back into a comfort zone that numbs your interest in learning more… can quickly make it difficult to reignite the need to learn more fire. Making it a habit to enter into a new learning/training opportunity every chance you get can only increase your “SPECIAL”.
Thanks Ma and Dad.
Recently a colleague asked me how often I revise my approach to teaching my class. She indicated that it had been a couple years for her… but somehow, she was feeling that the students just weren’t “into-it” as much as they used to be. Well as you can guess this caused me to look in the mirror and conduct a quick self-evaluation. Was I in the “same-old-routine” category and not following my “Always A Better Way” philosophy??
First, let me reassure you that I seem to revise my approach not just once a year… but the students would say “he changes the game every week!” But the more important message I want to stress in this week’s TRIPLE III TIME is for everyone to recognize and appreciate: The Luxury of Upgrading.
Do you understand my point?
Self-improvement and making positive changes in the way YOU do the work that you do… is a true luxury. I would be shocked if your supervisor/BOSS told you to:
- Quit smiling so much
- Don’t dress so good
- Limit the number of quality items you produce
- Please don’t improve… just stay the same
- Don’t come in 15 minutes early and stay 15 minutes late
- Stop volunteering to serve on work teams
The Luxury of Upgrading yourself, your workspace and the product or service you provide is a special freedom rarely appreciated.
Maybe re-read this message a couple times and smile about it with friends. But don’t waste this luxury opportunity.
This TRIPLE III TIME message has been a long time coming. No… not that I haven’t had ongoing thoughts about discussing this topic. But instead, I have struggled with how to explain and appropriately share my position on a very special skill-set area traditionally referred to as “Soft Skills”.
I believe everyone has their own definition and specific list of what “Soft Skills” are. But before we even start down that road… how about a new label like: BLENDED LIFE/WORK/RELATIONSHIP/PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS GENERATING Skills. Does this label of appropriate, necessary, survival skills in any way sound “Soft”? And isn’t it true that most believe that this grouping of skills is something you historically learned at home? And finally, when was the last time you saw an advertisement that was offering: PREMIUM SOFT SKILLS TRAINING (FOR 99.99?)
OK… enough of the non-positive attitude! It is time to modernize the “Soft Skills” challenge. And maybe we simply start with a TOP 10 LIST OF BLENDED LIFE/WORK/RELATIONSHIP/PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS GENERATING Skills:
- Communicate with class
- Respect people and their opinions
- Show appreciation
- Don’t assume… just ask
- Be timely
- Apologize when you are wrong
- Offer quality suggestions
- Be a great team-member
- Accept responsibility
- Listen with full attention
Now I will agree that my recommended new label is a lot harder to memorize than “Soft Skills” … but the TOP 10 that define the BLENDED LIFE/WORK/RELATIONSHIP/PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS GENERATING Skills is much easier to place in your personnel policy handbook?!
“Job Comfort” … these two words are rarely put together… but for this month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast they are a perfect fit. I believe being comfortable in your job is critical and often builds extra productivity! However, becoming too comfortable and taking job expectations and responsibilities for granted… goes against everything you promised when you applied for and were given the job. Also, employers need to strategically encourage job creativity to curb the negative side of “Job Comfort”.
I hope you enjoy the message.
This week I had the wonderful experience of attending a State-level professional conference and presenting a progressive workshop with a good friend and solid colleague. As a presenter, you always hope to deliver your session topic in a way that provides attendees with a good set of Learning “TAKE AWAYS!” You know what I mean? Ideas and concepts…and maybe even handouts that better explain your message and encourages those in attendance to go back to their day job and possibly replicate the innovation.
But as I took my long drive back home… I couldn’t help but think: Why are Learning “TAKE AWAYS!” only prioritized when you go to a conference or attend a special training? Why can’t it be a priority practice to identify and record your KEY-3 TAKE AWAYS! at the end of every workday?
I believe capturing TAKE AWAYS from every workday that are positive, satisfying and worth sharing are critical for self professional development. I also believe personal growth TAKE AWAYS are under-rated, under-valued and under-recognized by leadership in every organization. Encouraging everyone to write down and share their KEY-3 TAKE AWAYS from every workday… costs the organization nothing. But that action would drive forth a strong message to dwell on the positives (not the day-to-day negatives) that truly is priceless.
BOTTOMELINE: Today… yes, I said TODAY… begin the practice of writing down the KEY-3 TAKE AWAYS from your workday. Then tomorrow do it again. And after one week of looking back at your assembly of KEY-3 TAKE AWAY learnings… decide if it is worth your time.
Recently in my multiple roles of helping individuals, groups and organizations address developmental growing pains, the challenge of displaying PROFESSIONALISM… even during challenging times has become a major area of discussion. Whether the issue was a personnel concern, trying to deal with the general public or addressing the problems that evolve via a change in leadership… “help me with my PROFESSIONALISM” was/is everyone’s greatest request.
So, before I offer a few ideas about the art of Learning PROFESSIONALISM… did you ever ask yourself: “Where Do I Learn Professionalism?” Did you:
- Take a class
- Get instructions online
- Read a book
- Participate in a workshop
- Watch a YouTube video??
Well, it may be possible that you could do all the above… but still fall way short in terms of actively Learning PROFESSIONALISM!
Let me explain.
I believe that Learning PROFESSIONALISM is only achieved when watching or participating in real-life examples. Observing professionalism “in action” via a mentor, colleague, co-worker, and/or boss… is the very best (or worst) way of assessing the handling of difficult/diverse situations. No two professionalism events are or will be the same… so remember observational learning is key.
Additionally, it is VERY IMPORTANT to continually exercise your Learning PROFESSIONALISM “muscles”. Remaining a student of quality professionalism actions is a daily responsibility. However, practicing great professionalism in your workplace… EVERYDAY and EVERYWHERE will keep your professionalism muscles strong and at full capacity.
First, I want everyone to know that I owe this excellent and timely TRIPLE III TIME message topic to a wonderful private industry leader and super friend. Second, I will leave out his specific position business-related examples… but his leadership points are the key. Finally, as you read this message be sure to stop at certain times and apply the key ideas to your world of work. You will understand why as you do it!
When you are Leading by Influence you assume the role of THE example… not just an example of great leadership. This action includes everything from knowing everyone’s time and role but also maintaining a product/service approach that says, “Let’s see if we can do something even better!” everyday… EVERYDAY!
Next, as issues, problems and concerns arise… Assume Total Accountability and Responsibility. Ducking away from or diverting responsibility as a leader often has a negative ripple-effect among staff and co-workers. Think about it. Will they feel like they can count on you and that you will “have their back” when questions arise? Or will they believe that we are a “team” only when things are good? Or will you have a leader-ish reputation for always “taking the glory” when praise comes around?
Finally, Communication is key to success! As a quality leader never assume you know all the facts about any issue. Allow for open input, ideas, and challenges. And Remember LISTENING is often the greater part of effective communication.
Thank you, R.W. for your Leading by Influence concepts. I know it will help many!
How many times after you offer directions to someone… do they NOT do what or the way you instructed them to? The unfortunate and uncomfortable reaction is: “I thought you said” … or “That’s not what I heard!” And there are always multiple excuses for “not hearing” correctly like: “People were talking in the background” … or “I listened but I thought we were just doing it the way we have always done it!” … or “I just have been getting so many messages I can’t keep them straight.”
Well as simple or common sense-ish as it may be, this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is all about masterfully Offering Directions.
First, make no assumptions. Even if you are pretty sure someone has heard part or all the directions before… repetition is a good thing.
Second, finish with a request for direction interpretation. Sometimes you will be amazed by the response and incorrectness that is returned.
Third, sharing a hand-out or requiring the listener to take notes is not inappropriate. Taking steps to ensure completeness and accuracy… is just responsibility building.
Finally, don’t be too confident in your verbal skills… and write down your directions and maybe even rehearse your discussion plan. Take a look in the mirror when you practice, and you may learn something about your Offering Directions effectiveness.
(NOTE: I know I have!)