Skills

Eight Strategies To Boost Your Company’s Creativity

Eight Strategies To Boost Your Company’s Creativity

Last week, I wrote about strategies to increase creativity in your workspace by manipulating the environment. This week, I am going to write about creativity and idea creation, switching the focus from your workspace to your peers and company as a whole. These tips are great for managers or for those who want to take a more active role in their careers. Let’s begin.

Finding a Role Model

Finding a Role Model

I’ve suggested before that you need to identify a role model to help you further your skills and career. You identify an area inside of yourself you want to change and find someone that you think represents the embodiment of that change. You consider why you think they are ideal, what they do differently, and how they do it. Then, you start practicing doing things the way they do. As you practice, you learn and grow your abilities in that area and before you know it, you have adapted their approach and tweaked it to make it your own. Find another area to grow and repeat. There are quite a few good things about this approach, however, there is a risk. You may get into the routine of only doing what others do and let your ability to experiment, innovate, and have original thoughts atrophy. Here’s how I have tried to balance the two approaches.

The Iasa Architecture Competition – Entry #2

The Iasa Architecture Competition – Entry #2

As you may (or may not) have read, I am involved in the local (Seattle) chapter of Iasa first ever IT architecture competition. In my last entry, I was guessing about how prepared the team would be and how the meeting would progress. I met the team last Friday and better understand the landscape now. There is so much I can show them that will accelerate their growth and career, and because there is so much, I may overload them.

The Iasa Architecture Competition

The Iasa Architecture Competition

Our organization supports and works closely with the local (Seattle) chapter of Iasa, and when we get the chance, with the chapter in Ireland. This week the Seattle local chapter is kicking off an architectural competition and I am honored to be a mentor for one of the teams. The competition will end in January with scheduled milestones in November and December. The website for the competition is http://www.iitarch.org. I plan to blog about the competition throughout, so stay tuned if you are interested.  

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Being busy is not a synonym for productivity.

The thought in the old paradigm was: A busy person will find a way for it to get done. Nowadays, the saying is: A busy person will find a way for it to get done… until they burn out.

The question people should be asking is “How should I manage my energy?” not “How should I manage my time?” 

Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) Part 2: What We Talk About When We Talk About Goals

Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) Part 2: What We Talk About When We Talk About Goals

In Neuro-linguistic(NLP) Part 1, I wrote about how NLP is based on the theory that we experience the world through an internal map of reality we have created, not reality itself. This sounds more complex than it really is. What it means is we emotionally respond to language and other signs and symbols. How and why we respond the way we do comes from our past experiences and present sensory interpretation. 

Do You Lead or Follow?

Do You Lead or Follow?

I had a great discussion this week with my mates and the topic of titans came up. Not the Greek ones, but the current ones that drive technology and business forward. Names that came to mind included: Jobs, Gates, Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Musk. You get the picture. We started musing whether there will be a next generation of titans and who might fit that profile. It got me thinking about the types there are, and which I am. One isn’t any better than the other, it is just what we are each most comfortable with. Well, maybe the titan or celebrity would be more fun but…

Motivational Interviewing As a Change-Management Strategy

Motivational Interviewing As a Change-Management Strategy

While I was a student at Grand Valley State University, I had the amazing opportunity to start and manage an alternative newspaper/zine fully funded by the university. We were an outlet for some really creative ideas, and a home for artists and writers that lead the way for counter-culture thinking at a relatively conservative college. 

You Use Dollars to Budget? That’s Crazy!

You Use Dollars to Budget? That’s Crazy!

Most of us don’t figure out what an hour of our time is worth to employers or what an hour’s time will pay for. When I mentor I typically talk about long term and short term goals along with career management. As part of that I always bring up personal finance and budgeting. While budgeting may seem out of scope for goal setting, it is directly tied to career aspirations and goals. Most people don’t work to work, rather they work to pay the bills and support the lifestyle they want to lead. They want time to pursue their passions but don’t have a clue what an hour of their time buys.

Growing EI – Step 4: Relationship Management

Growing EI – Step 4: Relationship Management

The road to growing strong emotional intelligence (EI) is a lifelong journey, but a journey well worth the effort. The most effect way to grow your emotional skills is to practice with an organized approach, just like you do any other skill you are trying to master. For relationship management, I will offer a description of each key area and some approaches to being more successful.

Goals Gone Wild

 Goals Gone Wild

If we are wired to be active, engaged, curious, and self-directed, why is our current management structure not reflecting this? Unless you work for a progressive company who is constantly exploring new research in motivation, goal setting, and work ethic (eh-hmm—Sustainable Evolution Inc.—cough-cough), you probably have to jump through some hoops to get into your “sweet spot” for maximum productivity. 

Coaching and Mentoring – Your Legacy

Coaching and Mentoring – Your Legacy

For me, life is somewhat of a relay race. Growing through the stages of childhood, through adulthood, and finally to leading others I have always thought about succession plans and making sure there was someone in place to replace me. I’ve also always tried to have one or many mentors and one or many mentees and the rewards for both are tremendous. While living in a small town I was the computer guy, so as I became more known and busier I found a mentee to grow as a replacement for me. Like a relay race, I passed the baton to my mentee and tried to make that person better than I had been, or at least make it easier for them to travel a path I had been down. 

What the @#$% is a Mentor and Why Do I Need One?

What the @#$% is a Mentor and Why Do I Need One?

When Odysseus (King of Ithaca in Homer’s Odyssey) goes to fight in the Trojan War, he leaves the care of his household and instruction of his son Telemachus in the hands of the wise-old man, Mentor. Over the years in the English language, we have given this name to a person who imparts wisdom and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague. This is the what, keep reading for the why.

Growing EI – Step 3: Social Awareness

Growing EI – Step 3: Social Awareness

Growing your social awareness is the third step in growing your emotional intelligence. There are three key parts to growing your social awareness. First, there is growing empathy, then organizational awareness, and finally taking on a service orientation. 

Not Another Time Management System

Not Another Time Management System

Time is not money, time is life. Unlike money, we can’t get more of it by working harder, we can only learn how to better manage the time we have.

My grandfather, like most grandfathers, has about three favorite stories he manages to work into every conversation we have. In his story about working in the corporate world in the 1960s he ends it by saying this: if you don’t plan your day, someone will do it for you. 

Growing EI Step 1: Knowing Yourself

Knowing yourself means that you have self-awareness. This requires you to be able to assess yourself accurately and with minimal bias. You also have to have emotional awareness, which means knowing when feelings are present in you and in others. The last piece is growing your self-confidence, which requires you to believe in your abilities, your judgment, and your personal power to act and interact in a way you are comfortable with.

Growing Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Growing Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Do you ever imagine being a boss or having and raising children? Both require growing your emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional Quotient (EQ) and learning to manage yourself and others. The two terms are used interchangeably and you will typically see this skill referred to as EQ so it aligns better with IQ. To enter the workforce and successfully manage and grow your career, you must be able to manage yourself and manage your relationship with others.