Our sixteenth president is known for many great quotes and lead our country through one of the most challenging and difficult times in our history.
Recently, I read a quote that has had me thinking about it for the last several weeks.
Abraham Lincoln said: “I don’t know that man, I must get to know him better.”
Several weeks later this quote still has me thinking about it. Why?
In our current culture I think there are a few things that have gone to the wayside. I am just as guilty of it as anyone else.
First off, we think we know someone based of their social media profiles. We see that they post memes we disagree with. Or they post things that are political and if we disagree with them, we assume that the person must be this or that, without us really knowing who they are.
Think about it for a minute. I have yet to unfollow, defriend, etc. anyone that I disagree with that I actually know. Why would I? I know who and what they are. We may disagree with each other, but I know that they are still a good hang, or share other interests that I throughly enjoy about them.
Unfortunately, if we just assume we know someone based on their social media posts or likes, we really don’t know that person.
Now, I know we aren’t going to actively seek out every person we are connected with and spend time with them. However, if we take the approach Lincoln says. We can give that person the benefit of the doubt that they have some qualities and beliefs that you would agree with.
I can think of many times I have made a blanket decision about someone or something because of what someone else said, something I assumed, or some other kind of signals I used to predetermine my opinion. As much as I hope to prevent myself from doing this, I still do it.
In this day and age, I think we could all learn from our sixteenth president Lincoln, and seek to understand people, especially the ones we think we dislike. Lincoln spent his entire life fighting and pushing his agenda. Through all of his experience doing that, it prepared him for the biggest challenge our country, and young country at that point, had ever faced, and most likely will ever face. Because of his lessons and demeanor, his style allowed us to get through it and become a better country in the process.
Lincoln used the approach of getting to know people better, especially the ones he disliked, to navigate through one of the greatest feats in the history of our nation.
How can you use this approach? It is a way of life. It is decision.
To your success and your future.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
I’m not sure who originally said this, but I think Wayne Gretzky is credited it for it the most. Whether he did or did not. The statement is true in the game of hockey, which Gretzky is considered to be one of the best at, or the best. And it also pertains to life.
I think there is another version of the quote that says “You will regret that of which you did not pursue, more than the things you did pursue.” For me this is the more relevant statement when it has come to my life.
I am not sure when it started, but I know as an adult I have always had this willingness to be willing to take a risk, even when it wasn’t the best risk to take. I know there are people saying as they read this, that you have to take calculated risks and not be dumb about it. But I am not sure where that line is drawn.
I believe most of us spend too much of our lives questioning, thinking, discussing, instead of doing. Look around at the meeting you are in today. How many times have you and your colleagues talked about this same issue? This same person who is an issue?
My guess is a lot, and you will continue to do this until someone says “I’ve had it.” “We can no longer allow this person control the culture of our organization.” “We can no longer be paralyzed by our indecisions and fear of the worst.” Until someone steps up and says this, you will continue to do what you have always done and you will continue to get what you have always gotten.
Two times in my life now, I gave up a very substantial six figure salary to go out on a limb and bet on myself. The first time, the risk was a little premature. The lessons I learned were priceless though.
The second time I did this, it was a success. When I say success, I mean in general it was successful, but it had a lot of bumps in the road. And the road continues to be bumpy. But that is just the reality of life if you are going to play in an uncertain game and you put all of your chips on the table.
The best lessons I have learned by going to zero dollars twice are lessons I couldn’t learn playing it safe. We all know how it ends. When I get to the end, I want to be able to say, you did it all. You have nothing left to try.
Where is it in your life you need to take a risk and prove to yourself you can do it? If for nothing else, to learn.
I am not saying you have to go to zero dollars to learn what you are capable of or to take a risk. I am saying you have to be willing to go to zero though. If you aren’t willing, the chances are you will never do anything that is too far out of you comfort zone to know.
Jim Rohn one of my first mentors said it this way. He said “The pain of discipline weighs ounces, and the pain of regrets weighs tons.” I don’t mind the discipline, but I don’t want the regrets.
To your success and your future.
I look around today’s culture it is quite sad to see how many people could have done better, if they were just told the truth. Now more than ever, in an effort to prevent someone from having their feelings hurt, or even worse, possibly making them feel bad about what it is they are doing. People are willing to skirt around the truth instead of being direct and honest about what it is the person needs to hear.
For the last ten years, I have taught and trained on the methodologies and principles of the Dale Carnegie Training company. If you aren’t familiar with Dale Carnegie Training. Mr. Carnegie wrote a book titled “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” This book has been in publication since 1936. There is not a top 10 book list that doesn’t include this book on it. It is a must read for anybody who must work with other people to get things done. Which is all of us.
In his studies of people, and in his book, Mr. Carnegie provides thirty Human Relations principles that his readers can use to persuade and influence other people. These principles are often known by all of us. I recently had a participant in one of my courses of the Dale Carnegie Course summarize the principles, and the actual course that uses the principles as the centerpiece of the training like this:
He said this course and these principles are really just a reminder to forget about ourself and to put others first. I agree with him. The course and the principles really do just that.
After spending 1000’s of hours in the classroom, and just as many, studying the material and creating engaging exercises and applications of the material. I am reminded that Mr. Carnegie in all of his infinite wisdom, never said “Don’t tell someone the truth.” He instead said, tell them the truth, but to do it in a manner that keeps the other persons desires, emotions, and needs at the top of your mind.
As I think about our culture and society today, many people think that hearing the truth is some kind of attack against them personally and they take it as such. Because everyone is looking for a reason to be offended or to feel attacked, that when they hear or see something that confirms that belief or need in many cases, they immediately assume that is what is happening.
I am proposing a different side to this equation. What if instead of looking at the truth, or even if you disagree with whatever the opinion is. To look at it as if someone is actually attempting to help you in some way, not hurt you. Wouldn’t that be a better way to handle the situation, instead of assuming the worst.
In my years of studying people through various leadership roles, 1000’s of participants, and 1000’s of hours in a training environment making people uncomfortable sharing stories about themselves and engaging in exercises that get people to share the truth about their feelings and desires. I have learned that most people assume the worst. Yes. They assume the worst when they hear something from someone else, that this person didn’t have their best intentions in mind.
In today’s social media culture often times we don’t have the luxury of explaining ourselves fully in detail. Who would actually read that. I am suggesting regardless of what it is someone says to you in person, or on their facebook wall, twitter, or something similar. Instead of assuming the worst take a different approach and assume that whoever said it thinks that this may be beneficial to you. Who knows it actually might be.
To your success and your future.
Most of us know the definition of insanity. If you don’t, look it up, Most often Albert Einstein is credited for the statement. Or you will even see Mark Twain credited it for it. But it says that insanity is “doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.”
It’s very clear what it means. If you want to get a different result than you have been getting than you must be willing to something that you haven’t done. Seems simple in theory, but in practice it is the hardest thing to actually do.
I have worked in higher education and training and development for the majority of my professional career. Both of these fields live in a space that I like to call “Important, but Not Urgent.” To steal a concept from Stephen Covey.
Everybody knows that continuing education is important. Whether it is formal education through colleges and universities. Or through on going classes, courses, seminars, training, and coaching. Although we all know it is important, we all don’t think it is that urgent, until it is.
Urgency is usually only created by a significant change in our conditions. Most people and most companies, and especially in higher education. They all get caught up in the moment and it is hard for them to think about the future. When you are not thinking about the future, all you do is what is necessary today to survive another day. Meanwhile you are neglecting the future, being so focused on the present. It is real and it is a challenge, but great leaders and institutions realize that for them to have a better future, they must make time to prepare for it.
That is why training and development and further education both fall into this concept “Important, but not urgent.” As I have already stated, everybody believes both of them are important. But todays work, todays challenges, todays problems, are more important to think about than the skills we will need to tackle tomorrows problems.
Its kind of funny that institutions of higher education that provide knowledge, information, education, degrees, certificates, etc. Are some of the same places that don’t provide the training, education, information, and skill development that their employees need to be more successful.
I can remember meeting with a Chief Academic Officer (Dean of the entire university), and asking them about providing some training to their faculty and staff. And it was almost like I insulted the individual. The training I proposed was skill development training. They put their nose up in the air as if it was beneath them to even talk about such a thing in a college or university.
The longer I am in and around higher education I see this a being the reality for many of the institutions. Why would places of higher learning neglect the one thing that they promote?
One reason, is they never find the time. The second reason is because of their ego. There is a condition most human beings have. It is called “everybody but me condition.” Meaning, everybody but me has these problems, or deal with these things, but I don’t. It has been proven through study after study that human beings think of themselves as better than they actually are.
Two psychologists Justin Kruger and David Dunning, Dunning-Kruger effect. Studied this very thing. Here is their analysis.
People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities. Dunning and Kruger, Cornell University.
So this fallacy is part of the problem in most higher education institutions, they don’t see the need for ongoing development. This problem starts at the top with leadership. They have to find value in it first.
The truth of the matter is that the people responsible for generating the revenue, ie. tuition for these colleges and universities are getting younger and younger. I hate to say that age is part of it, but I am saying this. A recent college grad usually doesn’t have the experience or knowledge to discuss the issues and concerns most prospective students have, and especially the ones their parents have. Secondly, the admissions representatives are not skilled enough to have the necessary conversations with the non-traditional students.
To get the admissions personnel better skilled and more effective, initial training and ongoing training and development is necessary and required. This training provides processes, techniques, and language they can use to be more successful, but more importantly, it creates self-confidence in the people who participate in the training. That is worth the training by itself. Self-confidence is one of the major lacking behaviors that I see when working with teams.
Does your team need some self-confidence? By learning skills, processes, and techniques to do their job better, people will have the self-confidence that is necessary to be successful.
To your success and your future.
Brian Willett is the owner and creator of the Admissions Advantage Training program. This live and online training program provides anybody who is responsible for recruiting prospective students to a college, university, or any other institution, skills and techniques to be more effective in their positions. More importantly, the self-confidence required to meet the demands of their positions.
Recently, I was speaking with a leader that runs a very successful department inside a very large company. This leader is like most leaders that I work with. They put in the hours. Working hard is who they are. In speaking with them they have very brash and direct opinions on any topic related to people, business processes, politics, leadership, their company, etc.
This leader has made it to their level in the organization through years of hard work and a commitment to the organization. Through all of their successes and self-confidence in themselves, the one area they struggle with is holding people accountable quickly and efficiently when they have to.
In this leaders case, they are around and constantly crossing paths with the person on their team who they need to address some performance or behavioral issues with. I have even seen in some organizations I have worked with, that a leader will go to lunch everyday with the person who they need to have a conversation with, and still wont do it.
I see this play out over and over in organizations everywhere that I work with. Leaders who won’t have direct conversations with employees who are struggling in delivering results or have some behavioral issue that is causing problems in the workplace.
Having spent many years in higher education, I see this condition even more so there with leaders.
Why is that? I think there could be several reasons. But here are a few.
Who really likes conflict? Nobody does. We spend most of our life trying to avoid conflict. If you want to be an effective leader, you have to embrace the conflict. You have to be willing to address the conflict head on and know that it is better to address the conflict than to avoid it. Most leaders have never learned this in their life. So by the time they get in to leadership, they have spent years avoiding conflict and they try to keep doing it.
If you agree, that most of us avoid conflict, which means by the time we get in to leadership positions we are really programmed to avoid it. Then there is only one way to fix this issue.
We must get training on how to handle conflict. Training starts with concepts and processes on how to address conflict. After learning, we must practice these processes and concepts of having conversations with people about behavioral and performance issues. This training and practice is essential because it provides you more self-confidence. By learning and practicing, self-confidence is developed.
Once you learn a process and practice it, you can now actually use it in a “real world” situation. And once you start practicing it in “real world” situations, you will be come better at it.
I tell people who I coach and train this: You should never have a conversation with an employee regarding performance or behavioral issues, until you have had the conversation with someone else. Which means you should practice your conversation before you do it live. Practice with your boss, practice with a peer, practice with your spouse, or someone else. The key is to practice it.
You should never have the conversation until you have had the conversation. If you don’t have the conversation before the conversation, then you should never have the conversation.
Repeat that over and over.
Practicing that conversation will provide a leader the confidence they need. Additionally, they can get some feedback from who ever they practiced it with about how it sounded.
If you are in leadership and you have some leaders on your team that are struggling with doing this, or if it is even you who are struggling with it. What is preventing you from doing it? Is is that you don’t have the self-confidence? What else could it be?
When you don’t address these issues, you are sending a message that everything is okay. This message is being heard by the employee and by everyone else in the organization. You have to take control of the message.
If you are interested learning how to do this more effectively reach out to me. Lets have a conversation.
To your success and your future.
This morning I was reading a book titled The CEO Next Door. I am only two chapters in to the book, but I already have a couple of pages of notes. This book includes research from over 17,000 assessments and over 2,600 real interviews of CEO candidates that were ultimately placed in to CEO positions. This book provides what they call the CEO Genome, the characteristics of successful CEO’s.
One of the key characteristics of successful CEO’s that they shared already in the book, that I think is more important today than ever before. Great CEO’s and great CEO candidates have the ability to make complex things seem simple. They communicate complex things in terms that people can understand and buy in to. They do this by making sure all stakeholders understand how something applies to them and then uses simple terms that are easily understood.
The ability to make things simple and communicate it in a way that is easily understood is really an art and is necessary for all areas of life. Everything seems more complex than ever before. So anyone who can communicate and make things seem simple is someone who can carve out a niche for themselves.
A few areas that I believe that too many people over complicate, that aren’t really that complicated. Losing weight and becoming more financially healthy. My mentor told me that there are about a half of dozen things that we can all do to have success in whatever it is that we seek to have success in.
Becoming healthier and losing weight: What are the things you can do that lead could lead you to success when applied.
- Exercise for 30 minutes a day
- Eat less
- Eat better foods
- drink more water
- Cut out the bad thing you know you need to cut out. (alcohol, sweets, etc.)
What if you want to become better financially? What would you need to do?
- Make more money
- Cut out unnecessary expenses
- Get rid of your debt.
- Dont buy things you can’t afford.
What if you want to be a better employee?
- Show up early
- Be willing to put in extra hours as needed.
- Be coachable
- Get a long with others.
- Learn how your position contributes to profitability and then do whatever that is repeatedly.
The blueprint is easy. It isn’t complicated. Quit over complicating things in your life and boil it down to the simplest of terms and the simplest of activities. Because the more simple the better. I understand the hard part is the execution of each of these things. But too many people get ahead of themselves and start over thinking the execution way before they even know what it is they need to do.
Make a calendar. Put on the calendar the 15 times this month you will exercise for 30 minutes a day. Secondly, figure out how you can cut out some of the bad foods you are eating and what you could replace them with.
If it is better financial health you want. The first question I ask is always, “How can you make more money?” That is easy. You can figure that out. The second question is “Are there things I should cut out? What are they?
And if you want to be a better employee. Ask yourself or others in your organization: “Where could I be better team-mate?” “Where else could I contribute to help our company or department be more successful?”
I know some of this seems like common sense. And guess what? It is. Common sense is common knowledge, but unfortunately it is not common practice. Where do you need to implement more practice and less talk?
Remember you are the CEO of your life. You have to take control of it. By making things simple for yourself, it will give you the motivation and path to make it happen.
To your success and your future.
Growing up in a little suburb outside the city of Louisville in Valley Station, Kentucky in the 1980’s and 90’s was probably the ideal situation a kid could have. It was your typical working class area of town and it seemed to me that there were a lot other kids around the same age as me.
We did what all kids did then. We played outside and spent a lot of times riding bikes and getting in to this or that. Both of my parents worked very hard and didn’t miss a day of work, unless something really bad was wrong with them or my brothers and I. Which was never.
Outside of spending time with the kids in the neighborhood, taking the occasional vacation, usually camping somewhere, and visiting our family that all pretty much lived in the city. We lived a pretty sheltered life.
I just think that is how life was. Then if you fast forward to when I graduated high school and I didn’t have a clue of what I wanted to do. I ended up in two-year degree program in electronics.
After I finished that degree, I started working in a maintenance shop. Once again, in this position we were pretty isolated in our dealings with other people. We had to support the facility and the managers of the place where I worked, but we didn’t have a whole lot of interactions with them unless we had to.
From that position, my next position was with a company where I was part of a union. I worked there for a few years. Again this position was very insular. Myself and the other three hundred or so union employees were really focused on the work we did and doing life.
From there, I made a brief stop back to a previous company as a manager where I was leading a team of people to get things done.
But it wasnt until I landed at a university working in admissions until I really started getting a different perspective on life and the life that I had lived compared to others.
First of all, who in the world, would have thought I would have landed in a position where I would be responsible for recruiting students to attend a university? Not me. And my guess is not anybody else I know. I was a C student coming out of high school. I received a two-year degree in electronics, and for the most part my job was working on things to fix them. Usually with a small team.
So here I am in college admissions and it is now my job to work with people, lots of different people. Throughout my education I had been surrounded by diversity and people who were different from me. But I had never been responsible for working with them and supporting them in a way that I was now required to do in working in admissions.
It was now my job to call students who I knew very little about. Early on in my career in admissions, I was responsible to call the parents and guardians of these prospective students and tell them how they should be approaching higher education. It was now my job to speak with employers about their employees professional development and ongoing education. It was now my job to ensure the university that I was working for continued to thrive, because it had enough tuition dollars coming in to support the institution and its initiatives.
Up until this point in my career, everything was just a job. I had a task to perform. I fixed things and prevented downtime. Sure it was an important task, it required me to work with others. But at the end of the day we all wanted the same thing. I didn’t technically have to get those people to support what I was doing and influence them to see my way of thinking.
In college admissions I had to learn skills and techniques to persuade and influence other people. I had to create urgency with the words I used when speaking over the phone. I had to set down with parents who were divorced and tell them why they need to come together to support their children’s education. I had to speak with adults who were going back to college and help them develop a plan so they could see how they could afford their education financially as well as fit it in their already busy schedule.
I had to do all of this with a heart of encouragement and teaching, and at the same time create urgency to get them to act now. The skills that were required in college admissions were different from the ones I had been using up until this point in my life.
The biggest thing that I learned was just dealing with the public and dealing with people and their personal lives. As I shared, I grew up pretty sheltered. My mom and dad were still together. All of my aunts and uncles were still married. Most of my close friends parents were still together. I don’t remember having any friends that were ward of the states, or their grandparents were raising them.
Working in college admissions, I was being exposed to all of this. I learned that for the most part, my life situation wasn’t as typical as I thought it was. In many cases, it was really rare, and becoming increasingly more rare.
Here I am some fifteen years removed from starting my job in college admissions and I am thankful that I had the career that I had, because it taught me things that I would have never learned otherwise. Most importantly it taught me perspective that I didn’t have.
Sure, I learned a lot of skills that have served me well in all facets of my life. I learned business, sales, leadership, persuasion, how to coach people, how to manage conflict, etc. But learning perspective was probably one of the most important things.
And most of us never get that perspective, because we grow up in situations where we are sheltered. We go to school and we hang out with people who are just like us. We then take jobs and careers, and we work with people just like us, at least spend most of our time with people like us.
While working in college admissions and higher education I was forced to work with lots of people and lots of situations that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. And for that I am thankful, because the skills I have now you can never take away from me. These skills are very very valuable to the marketplace, because most businesses don’t require the diverse skills that are required in college admissions and they definitely don’t require you to get in to the personal lives of your customers the way college admissions makes you.
What I learned was most important, but equally important are the opportunities that I have had to grow my career, and the additional opportunities that have spun off from higher education because of the skills I have acquired and learned.
What are your thoughts? What was your most impactful job? If you are in college admissions, do you agree? Or have anything to add to my thoughts?
To your success and your future.
I know for a fact that I am not the only person that has that little inner voice that talks to me. Someday that inner voice is amazing and is really positive. Somedays, that little voice makes me feel like I am the best of the best at everything I do and any thing I am thinking about doing.
But then there are other times when that little inner voice tells you that you aren’t that great, and that you better be thinking twice before you pursue what you are thinking about.
That little voice pops up at different times and is pretty consistent.
I can remember when I was thinking about leaving a six figure plus job and go to zero dollars. Right before I was about to let my current employer know, I can remember that little voice saying:
“Are you sure you want to do this.” “Things are going so well.”
I can remember that time, well, I don’t want to lie about it. The little voice pops up more frequently than I would like to admit when it comes to this. It says:
“Are you sure you want to get up?” “This bed is so warm!”, “You worked out yesterday, take the day off.”
Yes. It doesn’t matter, as a person who has been focused on health and fitness since my late teens, I still have to fight that little voice at times.
When I was purchasing my first rental property. I can remember that voice telling me.
“Tenants will call you in the middle of the night.” “Are you sure you can afford this!” “You have never done this before, what makes you think you can do it?” “You don’t have enough money to do this.”
You and I are just a like, we have this little voice that starts to talk to us whenever we are about to do something that we don’t want to do or, something we have never done before. This voice starts talking. I am not sure where it comes from, although there have been countless numbers of books written about it and I have read a lot of them.
Here is what I know. All you can do is tell that little voice to shut up. That is what I did in each of the cases above, and they all worked out. That is what I do on a daily basis, when that little voice starts to tell me that I have earned the right to sleep in.
No matter who you are and where you are in your life, this little voice will be chatting with you. At times, it can save you from yourself. But there are many times it will actually work to the negative and prevent you from achieving everything you are capable of achieving. You know what needs to be done. Just go and do it and tell the little voice to shut up.
To your success and your future.
This week I attended one of the bigger conferences that serves the proprietary education sector. Although many of the attendees are saying that the numbers are still down from years past, there was a dose of optimism that was in the air as more people have started to come back to the conference now that we are two years removed from the last election.
Under the previous administration, the proprietary education sector was faced with increased rules and regulations that burdened the staff and caused institutions to invest money in areas that weren’t serving the student and their educational pursuits.
During this time schools also faced daily bad press that provoked prospective students to be cautious of where they decided to pursue higher education. Couple this with the ongoing national discussion around the student loan debt crisis and it was a recipe for tighter budgets, less staff, and schools seeking ways to maintain viability because there were fewer people interested in their institutions.
Under the current presidential administration there is optimism in the air as some of the rules and regulations are put on hold or funding is cut off. Resources are also being allocated to help the same schools get back to operating on an even playing field in the higher education sector.
With record low unemployment and employers looking for skilled labor due to a growing economy. All higher education institutions providing students with skills, certifications, diplomas, and degrees, are in demand and necessary to provide the marketplace with a skilled labor force.
Unfortunately, because the previous administration was focused on limiting higher education options, the skills gap that exists in the marketplace has been increased over the past several years.
These schools have a tall task to help meet the current demands of the marketplace, while also developing and investing into programs of study to meet the skills that will be required in the marketplace in the future.
With any decision I have ever made during my lifetime, I have always made better ones when presented with more information and several options. Additionally, when presented with a problem where I have had different solutions to choose from, I have typically made the right decision for me at the time when I was able to look at several available options.
So options and choices have allowed me to make the best decisions for me. Without a few options I may have made the decision to pursue one thing, because that is all I knew at the time. It may have not been the best fit, but if I didn’t have many choices I had no choice but to pick something.
The value of multiple options, especially in higher education, is that a prospective students learns more than they need to know when they are looking at the different options to choose from. This process is the learning process that helps them make the best decision for themselves.
It is like several years ago when I was looking for a gym to go to. I had two options originally. I had a gym that I really liked that would open up at 7 am. They had great equipment, a pool, and sauna. Another gym that I was interested in opened up at 5 am, but it did not have a sauna. But it also had a great equipment. At that time, I chose to go to the gym that opened at 5 am because that fit my schedule better. Luckily I had the two options.
Then you fast forward a few years forward and I ended up becoming a member of a gym that I could go to 24/7. At that time, I was getting up earlier and I wanted the flexibility on the weekends to go whenever I wanted. Once again, because I had options, I was able to make the best decision for me and for my life.
All institutions of higher education have different paths, programs, support, services, focuses. You name it. And when these options are not available to prospective students, then a person may have to decide on one or the other, that may not be the best fit for what they want to accomplish and how they want to go about accomplishing it.
Bottom line is options provide us education and knowledge to make the best decision for us and our situation. When it comes to higher education this benefits all of the parties involved. The prospective students, the schools, and the taxpayers who provide funding through federal student loan programs.
After attending the conference this week, that is what I am most excited about. Regardless of your form of ownership the government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers in business.
Yes I said in business. All schools are businesses, if they don’t make more money than they spend, they will no longer exist. This why I am thankful for an even playing field where the business that wins, is the business that serves the customer the best based on what that customer needs and wants.
To your success and your future.
Whether you are starting your career or have been in one for a very long time. The chances are you have already received a lot of advice on what to do and what not to do. You might even think you have it all figured out.
I spent fifteen years of my career managing and leading teams. I hired hundreds of managers, and other people in the organizations that I worked in.
Here is the one piece of advice that I personally never received, nor have I read or heard about others giving this advice.
You should look at all positions you take as three-year contracts with your employer. I would even tell them this. Now, some employers are old school and they think you will stay there forever, so proceed with caution with sharing that information. But I personally would love it if someone says, “I will be in this position for three years. I will become really good at it, and then I will seek other positions.”
Why three years?
In any position you take it is going to take to you some time to figure it out. I say after a year in a position you will have a pretty good gage on what the position is and how to do it effectively. If it takes you longer than that, than I would encourage you to learn how to speed it up.
In that second year, you should get better at the job you are doing. You now have enough information and knowledge to probably even make changes to what you are doing and can contribute to making your position better.
In that third year, you should start to seeing a lot of results from the changes you have made and you are really fine tuning all of the things you have learned from your previous two years. You now really have your position figured out and are probably even helping people who are doing similar jobs as yours.
From my experience doing the same job past three years doesn’t have very many advantages. You do not become incrementally better at the job beyond three years. You learned what you need to learn, and if you are good at the job, you have proven that you can get results in that position.
You may be thinking “I have been in leadership for many years and I learn everyday.”
When it comes to positions such as sales and leadership.
I belive that your first leadership position is usually leading and managing a small team of people who are performing a job that you used to do yourself. After three years of managing those people. If you have proven that you can get them to perform and deliver results, you should be looking for your next position, which would include managing other managers.
Leading a group to perform a task is one skill set, and leading a group of managers to get others to perform a task, is a different skill set. Again, the three-year contract fits.
If you are in sales, you are learning daily how to get better at your position. You are constantly seeking new ways to deliver results. The job itself requires you to constantly learn and develop. But eventually you will get things in a good place, with a great pipeline.
Unless you go into sales management, you should strongly consider looking at selling different products that may require a different sales process or selling to a different set of buyers.
The goal in life should be skill development not years in a job or in a position. The more skills you can develop the more marketable you become. And what happens typically in a company is most people, including myself. Is we get into a position and we are so excited to have that position, the money that goes with it, the prestige of the position or the company, and we spend the next five, ten, or even fifteen years doing that same position. We may grow, or we may think we are growing, but in reality you are really just doing the same things over and over.
I would love to hear your thoughts on my advice.
To your success and your future.