YES, I am back from the holiday season and finding myself busy as ever, and even more. (I do apologize for my readers in taking an extra week longer than expected). For me, the holidays and the New Year is a typical blur of catching up with old friends and hanging out with others. Then, in my present role, we have the blur of year-end that entails preparing the software system for our accounting team. This year, I decided to add to the madness of joining friends of a local community theater group for a special project that exhibits stories and other munisings our members have created on their own. Somehow in all of this, I find myself as the music director, (and part technology coordinator). No, I’m not on overload – to busy to think about it.
As I think about my decisions for 2010, I am generally a person that learns by observing others and the decisions they make and the reactions others have. Really, what have we observed over the past decade that we wish could be avoided? Bad career advice, listening to the wrong people, leaders that could communicate better, leaders that should have thought outside the box, leaders who created boxes not in line with societal values/norms, whatever it is, it is time to make the change. I know by now we are all under way of taking those steps to complete our 2010 New Year Resolutions, or are we?
Today I took a step towards mine, project management by attending our local PMI chapter meeting. Since I have a history of working for companies that outsource, downsize, or go out of business, the traditional career path of moving up the corporate latter truly does not exist – for me at least. I recently decided to create my own corporate ladder and map out things about past jobs I enjoyed and things about past jobs I did not enjoy. Leadership has been one of those things that I have studied and observed over time. If we look at the lesson of others, many things can be learned and many aches/pains can be avoided. And in everything I do from corporate world, to non profit, to entertaining on stage, success hinges on leadership! In most cases, I’m too the one that somehow winds up in charge.
While I believe that everyone is not perfect, I truly believe that some things can be avoided or managed in a better way. Other fields that I find myself migrating to or “being assigned” is in training and developing. I remember back to those days working on local CPA firms of teaching new grads the software and the accounting/auditing processes. This has led me this year to serve on the local American Society for Training and Development Board (ASTD) in my transition of incorporating more learning and development into my professional life. As a result, I have been searching hi and low for ways that I can tap into life and contribute back to society. Of course, this doesn’t count the number of years I have stood back and taken time off to overly evaluate myself (yes, I know more about me than I want to know). But from a leadership perspective, I don’t regret performing these tasks. I have met interesting people and made unique friendships along the way. As a leader speaking to other leaders, I strongly urge you to take time and get to know yourself, your motives, your desires, and the people around you.
And yes, as I am finishing up this blog post, I receive an msnbc.com txt alert that Mark McGwire admits to steroids, five years later! In the article, he says
“I’m sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I didn’t take any, and I had bad years when I didn’t take any. I had good years when I took steroids, and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn’t have done it and for that I’m truly sorry.”
Shortcuts, are they truly any shortcuts in life that will let us get ahead? When I think of shortcuts, I reflect back to the models used by Wall Street and the revealing of the financial shortcuts taken in the past decade (or stated, relaxing financial regulations). In the end, what was truly accomplished? Yes, you may have set record breaking stats or exuberating profits, but when you set back to review you’re life, is the risks associated with the shortcuts worth it?
When I think of this, it all reflects on leadership and leadership character. What type of leadership character will you have in 2010 as you take those initial steps in professionally developing your own life? Will we see in the upcoming decade more results of shortcuts taken = bad management decisions? How has the recent events changed your basis for leadership decisions? Are we more cautious than in the past? With experiencing the now Great Recession, what are we as leaders learning to change in our evaluation of limits and truly access risks of new presented business/financial models?