Author Archives: Inspiring Innovations, Inc.
The process for identifying a career area to pursue has followed a similar pattern for a number of years. Research, observation, career consulting and networking have all been contributors to career development. Additionally, with the new era opportunities offered via online access the availability of job information has widened to a level never dreamed of! However, I believe the challenge of deciding what career track to follow has actually become more difficult. The information overload, the speed of job creation, job changes and yes even job eliminations have enabled some who have tremendous world-of-work potential…to become Career Runaways.
Career Runaways are those who often enter a workplace due to convenience or fiscal necessity. And even though you might think I’m talking about todays young adults, let me assure you that Career Runaways are found at every age level. No don’t misunderstand my position! Many Career Runaways are very successful in the jobs or work areas that they are involved in. They have a great work ethic and an excellent company/organization supporting mindset. But are they able to make the professional development impacts that they might with just a little more education, training, opportunity exposures and/or just plain encouragement?
Today more than ever before…I feel that FULL (i.e. FULL TIME + CAPACITY) employment is in some way everyone’s job. Whether it is job coaching a young person, encouraging a friend to just take one class, admitting to co-worker’s failure moments that helped you try harder and/or not being afraid to build a network of colleagues that have professional expectations of your true potential.
Bottomline: Help who and whenever you can. Consider it an opportunity of a lifetime…because you may never know the extended good that you may do.
Today jobs are so different. When you see a job title…you get a basic idea of the job and what is involved with the position. But reality lets you know very quickly that there is always much more behind every job title.
So, for this month’s LEARNING MOMENTS podcast, I would like you to think about the enormous value of ADULT Job Shadowing! I will try to explain why job shadowing isn’t just for young people anymore and how it can help meet the “behind the job title” challenges!
I hope you enjoy the discussion.
Many years ago, I was fortunate to partner with Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Economic Innovation (MSU-REI). Not only did we have a couple of cool, unique community development projects…but we also “shared the stage” from time to time to present on the importance of supporting Community/Business/Education/Entrepreneurship economic innovation initiatives!
Well linked to this message is a special video that the MSU-REI produced to allow “Innovationists” from all over Michigan to share a few thoughts and ideas on why promoting ENTREPRENEURSHIP is critical everyday…EVERYDAY!
I hope you enjoy it and take the time to visit the MSU-REI website to read about the wide variety of innovative projects that they have sponsored over the years.
People on different occasions have asked me where I draw the INSPIRATION to draft weekly III blog messages and/or the monthly LEARNING MOMENTS podcasts. And I have to admit that although it seems real basic…I really do find ideas on the spur of the moment…in any location…and at any time. But as I considered the question a little deeper…I thought it might be helpful to find a better answer for: “INSPIRATION…Where?”
First, how about writing down the greatest INSPIRATION sources you can quickly identify:
- Historical Moments
- Great Leaders
- Recognition Actions
- Successful People
Everyone’s list can and should be different but truly there is no wrong answer in your list.
Second, ask yourself the question: How often do I “consider” one or more of these INSPIRATION sources when I am challenged in my life or work areas. Do I take the time to ask, “What would he or she do?” or “Is the return on investment great enough to take a chance based on past positive impactful moments/actions?”
I believe that taking the time to allow INSPIRATION to play a vital role in making quality decisions is absolutely correct. Also, when confused, lost, or unsure on an issue, it is more than OK to look back and draw confidence from your sources of INSPIRATION. Similar to other influences like our parents, religion and where you call home, INSPIRATION sources helped build who you are!
“INSPIRATION…Where?” …don’t forget to look behind, in front and all around you.
This week I am happy to report that I experienced lessons in having patience but also receiving immediate gratification regarding one of my favorite career topics/passions: Public Sector Entrepreneurship! Building public sector entrepreneurship in all fields of public service is not only professionally valuable…but necessary as government and politics evolve. Whenever I receive a message from those who strongly or quietly share my passion…it is always a great experience. So for this week, I thought it would be insightful to share my recent Entrepreneurship: Patience & Immediate Gratification moments!
First I received a message from a MBA student, (1) from another country, (2) who is an entrepreneur and (3) had just read my ASPA article: “Is Public Sector Entrepreneurship the Way to the Future?” …from over four (4) years ago! His message was one of excitement, support and “fascination” concerning my thoughts and promotion of Public Sector Entrepreneurship. Well as you can guess my reaction was one of appreciation for the recognition…but even more a reminder that patience is a very necessary professional requirement when promoting entrepreneurial advancement.
Then almost at the same time, I began to receive emails from a group of public service professionals I have been working with over the last few months. I challenged them to produce “Just 1 Thing” that would improve their world-of-work and their IDEAS were/are great. They all contain a high element of Public Sector Entrepreneurship and independent thought on how to raise their service “bar”. These responses were an excellent form of Immediate Gratification and return-on-investment for the time I spent preaching continuous improvement.
Bottomline: You will never know the value of encouraging Public Sector (or Private Sector) Entrepreneurship. Patience and Immediate Gratification are both impactors for those who chase the innovation and creativity of entrepreneurship everyday…EVERYDAY! But regardless of when you receive positive feedback…Don’t take it for granted…: Don’t waste it…Learn from it…and Be sure to smile inside and outside knowing you made a difference.
One of my regular targets for “change-action” is applying imagination to the traditional standards of measuring success and considering a Return-On-Investment. It is always easier to take out the OLD performance standards and/or fiscal “cost-per” measurements and declare a program, service or product a success or failure. But what about measuring a continuous improvement action/training? Is it a standard business procedure to re-gather affected staff to determine the minimum or maximum effectiveness of a continuous improvement initiative? Or is just offering the initiative and having everyone attend the measure of success?
Well because change, innovation and dollars all deserve “equal time” as progress and quality factors, consider these TOP 10 “What Aren’t We Seeing?” EVAL-CULATIONS! (Yes it’s a new word!) as you consider the value of your continuous improvement efforts:
- Did organizational leadership revisit the trainees and ask them “What’s the 1 THING you learned?”
- How many other colleagues did you share your positive learning experience with?
- Did the organization’s action/training prompt you to meet one-on-one with co-workers to consider a more progressive change?
- How many attendees expressed a “Something To Look Forward To!” attitude following the continuous improvement action/training?
- Was it possible to calculate the number of “spin-off” ideas that resulted?
- In follow-up discussions…did attendees appear to improve their ability to prioritize?
- Did the organization’s action/training generate increased/quality internal/external communication?
- How many attendees “stepped-up” to be more involved in future actions?
- Is it possible to witness personnel re-looking at past evaluation approaches and considering new, innovation-based designs?
- If our goal is to be better and special…as organizations, businesses, and workers…shouldn’t we try to use unique 21st Century EVAL-CULATIONS as new criteria?
Don’t ever be afraid of or limit the way you look at the value of initiatives. Better and Special deserve an always changing, always innovative measuring stick…plus it often causes FUN to be infused into your daily work.
My Grandpa Nick was an excellent carpenter. It was always a fun and learning moment to be “assigned” to help him build or repair some wooden project. And just like so many great woodworkers…one of the regular sayings/words of advice were: “Measure Twice…Then Cut Once.” This meant that before you cut a valuable piece of lumber, it was more than appropriate to take extra time and measure at least a couple of times before you grabbed the saw and cut. Why? Accuracy, no waste, efficient use of time and quality were all of the points that answer the WHY question.
Well, I think this approach to quality is an excellent way to ensure your COMMUNICATION practices are the very best they could be. Think about it. If you make it a professional habit to: “Listen or Read Twice…Then Speak/Email/Text ONCE!”, how clear, accurate, efficient and effective your messaging would be. I do not believe it would take a great deal of more time and effort. Instead by practicing to: “Listen or Read Twice…Then Speak/Email/Text ONCE!” you may find that you have avoided confusion, controversy and having to put together a ton of “re-do” messages to fix a poor piece of communication.
The “Listen or Read Twice…Then Speak/Email/Text ONCE!” strategy seems like an easy habit to employ. But can we really do it?
Creating an entrepreneurial spirit in yourself and in your workplace is a challenge for everyone. This month’s Inspiring Innovations – LEARNING MOMENTS podcast tries to get to the core of how, what, when, where and why an entrepreneurial spirit can become real. Take a close listen and tell me what you think.
During my American Government & Politics course, there is always a time when we discuss the “goods” or “bads” of the US adopting an “Isolationist Foreign Policy” with regard to working progressively with other countries. And as a good Instructor, we check our textbook and note that Isolationist Foreign Policy is defined as: “A policy of abstaining from an active role in international affairs or alliance.” Then it is always interesting to hear and debate the multiple views taken by students who are influenced by their age, rural or urbane upbringing, religion, etc. But wait…how does a discussion of an Isolationist Foreign Policy contribute to the writing of a cool TRIPLE III TIME message?
Well as this weeks title: Does An Isolationist Policy At Work…Work? indicates…I believe everyone needs to check their level of involvement in all facets of workplace productivity everyday…EVERYDAY! This means that it is vital for you as a professional and company/agency development contributor to NOT take an “it’s not my job” (Isolationist Policy) position. Too often workers shy away from making suggestions or adding to the discussion on workplace actions and/or products. This Isolationist Policy approach may not only weaken the resulting action/product decisions, but also lessen support for actions that may need to be taken. Sitting back in an Isolationist Policy workplace position also may cause one to be viewed as part of an existing problem…rather than a participant in the decision-making future solution.
Bottomeline: Don’t be an Isolationist. Working with others is a privilege that should never be ignored or taken for granted.
By the time you read this all New Year celebrations will have taken place and the task of getting back into a regular life/work routine is patiently waiting for you. So as promised, I am ready to share my “Something To Look Forward To!” TOP 10 for 2019.
Here we go:
- Keep a weekly “GOOD STUFF” Journal. Each week try to write down maybe 3 short, mini-sentences that recall only 3 good things that occurred during the week. (In December you will enjoy going back!)
- Teach someone…something unique…from you. You will smile every time you realize that it helped them.
- Pick a time or times where you take a stand against “hi-tech-ness”. Read a real book, write a real letter or just go and visit someone.
- Rekindle your internal sense of creativity and imagination. Paint, build, plant, write, sing, play a musical instrument…you know what I mean.
- Draft a simple but relevant new IDEA for your workplace…and share it.
- Ask an older person: “What was the coolest thing you did during your lifetime?” (What would you say?)
- Don’t wait to be assigned a new or different task/responsibility at work…STEP UP.
- Take time to help someone who is struggling to “recycle” themselves in the world-of-work.
- Look forward to the time when friends/colleagues come to you to talk about an issue…because they know you are a good listener.
- During the year take the time to look in the mirror and ask: “WHAT DO I WANT?” (It often is the toughest question to answer.)
I hope this special TOP 10 generates “Something To Look Forward To!’ thoughts…and hopefully many 2019 more.