Lessons from Nature – Nurture!!

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A couple of years back, I obtained the cutest little siamese kitten that I named Smoky. Smoky came to me from finding him under the floor of the house. We had no idea for one how the kitten got under the floor and had no recollection of seeing any other cats around – such as his mother. As I began to care for the kitten, who barely had his eyes open, the dog, who never had puppies before, began to care for the little one like it belonged to her. That made me think, as leaders, how do we nurture ourselves and those that pass through our lives? Is it forced, or is it a natural occurance? Here are three challenges that I see leaders have in nurturing self and others.

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Does Diversity and Leadership Co-exist?

I have taken a couple of weeks off due to Memorial Day. Throughout this time I have reflected on a recent luncheon seminar with my local ASTD Smoky Mountain chapter on diversity in the workplace. The focus of the presentation was thoughtful in the way we as individuals are influenced by our surroundings that may hinder diversity in our lives. As leaders, we are often challenged with leading others, who may or may not directly report to us. How do we support or view diversity? What may hinder a leader to shy away from diversity in the workplace? I’ve listed out 5 key areas of reflection that might hinder a leader from working with diversity among teams.

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Leadership + Communication = Influence?

Throughout my career, I have sat on several team projects. Team projects usually have a defined leader with an official title of responsibilities and duties. Then, there is the unofficial leader with no title and responsibilities that seem to merge among the group. What is the defined skill between assigned leaders and natural leadership? Continue reading

Lists, lists, and more lists: Overwhelmed?

Photo Credit: Gary Mcinnes

Lists?  It seems that everyone out there has a list for something.  List to arrive to this, list to arrive to that, and a list to get to where?  Everyone wants a list of “how to”.  But what happens when the list does not work?  What occurs when we have checked off all items?  Have we been lied to by the list?  Lied to by the list maker?  Or what did we not check off or check off incorrectly?  Continue reading

Elf Motivation 101: Insights from Santa!

Photo credit: Axente Ovidiu, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

The count down begins.  Santa’s checking the list twice.  He’s finding out who has been naught or nice?  Sounds familiar?  How does the big man in the red suite keep everything going smooth in this chaotic holiday season?  Think of all the Elves, Ms. Claus, 8 Reindeer, and one special Reindeer (Rudolph), how do you keep them all working together?

Santa, being the person that he is, must have exceptional interpersonal skills.  I often wonder how he manages to find each Elf’s strength and utilize this in the workshop. Continue reading

Learning: What are the next waves?

Photo courtesy of Zsuzsanna Kilian

Last week, my blog post was “missing in action.”  Why?  I was busy researching and putting together daily topics for the latest information on adult learners as my local American Society for Training and Development chapter (ASTD Smoky Mountain) celebrated what has been deemed Employee Learning Week (ELW).   Below are the daily email tops sent out to our chapter members that will be good to know in the upcoming decade.

What is Employee Learning Week?

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) created Employee Learning Week as an opportunity for organizations and chapters to demonstrate their commitment to employee learning and to emphasize the connection between a highly skilled workforce and organizational results.  To learn more about ELW, see www.employeelearningweek.org.

Proclamation

This year the Chapter received proclamation from the City of Knoxville for Employee Learning Week (ELW).  If you are not able to view the photo below of proclamation, please see the News section of our website.

 

Day 1 WLP Topic:

Is your organization prepared for the emergence of informal and mobile learning?  Will mLearning replace what we know as the textbook, and traditional classroom letcure?  How will mLearning impact group discussion during the delivery of course material?  Do you find yourself automatically grabbing a smart phone to quickly research a topic for class or discussion Continue reading

When Days & Nights Collide!

Five days later, I’m still recovering.  Black Friday or should it be called Zombie Day (as a friend of mine already called the local shopping zone Zombie Land).  From the fighting in the isles, waiting in the frigid cold, to the checkout lane that never moved – I decided to attempt Black Friday again.  At 4am, I’m beyond loony – not realizing at 9am, I’m to be in the kitchen cooking Thanksgiving Dinner as my immediate family celebrated Thanksgiving on Friday of this year.  Continue reading

Leadership Lessons from DIY Insulation Install

Leadership, one topic that Americans have learned to not take for granted.  I’m still amazed at the gridlock that occurs in our political system – but that’s a different topic for a different day.  While playing around in my music storage room migrating the unit to be more climate controlled, my weekend was spent installing over 500 sq ft of insulation.  It has been a few years since my hands have been on power tools.  Going through the process I realized several similarities of what it takes to get a small project like this completed to what it takes to be a good leader. Continue reading

What Does It Take to Change?

What requires you to make change in your life? Is it a friend willing to go down the journey of change with you? Is it a friend willing to nudge you or drop kick you in the rear if you don’t make change you keep talking about?

It’s obvious change is a fact of life. If you have not figured that one one, please let me know what planet you are living on as I would like to join you. Why do we change? Is it to make our lives better? Improve the lives of others? Personal gain? Self-development? Have a lasting impact on others?

For me, change has been away of life as I have lost count of the significant life changes in the past 12 years Continue reading

Wishful Thinking Is not Day Dreaming!

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It’s Saturday night and I’m wondering if my phone this time will update correctly with the time change that is about to occur in my area. I sit and think about my office and the new music studio hobby room, thinking about needing heavenly intervention to organized the two rooms – especially before tax season with having two side partnerships.

Day 10 is quickly approaching from where I had my tonsils and adnoieds yanked out (well the first few days that’s what it felt like). Amazing what the human mind will dwell on when all you can do is sit, sleep, and stare out the window.

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Change? Really?

Well these days, I think I’m changing up how I do blog posts and focus on content vs format.

To speak of change, it seems that every class and seminar that I have been to lately focus on change and human behavior (including my present graduate class).

The central theme is that we can’t change people. The change has to come within. Ironically, I laugh at this when I see Corporate America trying to change people to fit the idea “corporate” associate instead of just working with who they have. Guidelines, maybe we need a few, but just how many guidelines are required before you loose personal identities that lead towards shutting down creativity and then loosing your chance at the latest invention, solving your budget crisis, taking your organization to the next level?

The next time you like to change someone, think twice. Think rather, how may I use their uniqueness? If behavior is still an issue, have some emotional intelligence to confront and manage the situation. That associate turn around may become your highest performer.

Until next time, enjoy the season change,
Bryon

How to Drive Your Freight Train

Wow, when the train starts rolling, it doesn’t stop!  That is so true for my own personal life and probably true for many of us.  This summer was a pivital change in my life as I enrolled in to a regional unversity’s Masters in Education with a focus in Human Resource Development program (aka, now known as Human Performance Improvement).  Shall we not forget I am working on my project management certification as well.  In the midst of this, a couple of hobbies that I have in music and digital photography are beginning to turn in to side business adventures – yes, I’m investigating certificaiton classes for them as well.  (We will not even count my normal day job that is funding all this).  This almost reminds me of my junior and senior year of college being heavily involved in campus leadership activities and some how graduated without going insane.  Sleep?  Who needs it right?  Continue reading

Are you ever going to come out of the cave???

Photo Credit: Don Wang, Dublin, OH

Well as with any type of leader, he or she has to take a sabbatical sometimes from the front lines. These five months have been an exciting challenge in regards to “leading self” – one of the toughest challenges for leaders I have found. Yes, it is quiet easy to tell others how to lead, but telling yourself how to lead, and applying some of that very own teaching? How profound, right? Any type of healthy leader will realize that, he or she has to take a sabbatical sometimes from the front lines (and the world will continue to go on with out you for that short time period).  Continue reading