“I’m so good that I’m replaceable……” – I must admit, this headline from a recently published blog on LinkedIn by a C-level executive named Rudolph Rosenberg, really caught my attention.
Mr. Rosenberg’s central question is whether you should “make yourself irreplaceable, center to key processes and sole holder of high value knowledge or should you do the exact opposite and make yourself as replaceable as possible by organizing processes, knowledge and power so that people could wonder if you’re actually needed for things to run smoothly?”
In October 2014 I published a blog entitled Let’s Ban Multitasking. It was filled with advice (from high up on my soapbox) about how we should eliminate distractibility that inevitably arises when we multitask in favor of adopting a singular focus. The examples cited were all from the workplace – don’t multitask in meetings, don’t document multitasking as a required skill in job descriptions, etc. I still stand by these suggestions –and I make a conscious effort to apply this logic to increase my effectiveness as situations present themselves.
Star Trek: Next Generation fans remember episodes that included an alien race called the Borg in which their stock phrase was “Resistance is futile” where they would assimilate other cultures into their world forcing them to become part Borg. I think they were right in that generally resistance is futile. In my experience, there really isn’t a way to stop the sensation or feeling of not wanting to comply or accept something. When resistance (a force that opposes or slows down motion) arises, it is difficult to prevent the energy from taking over us and halting the ease and flow.
Is This Seat Taken?: It's Never Too Late To Find The Right Seat by Kristin S. Kaufman (Greenleaf, 2015)
What are the big take-aways?
My friend and classmate from Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching Program, Kristin Kaufman, offers in her second book a collection of fifteen profiles of Americans whose greatest achievements came later in life. They include the painter Grandma Moses, McDonalds Restaurant co-founder Ray Kroc, Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson, and long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad. The overarching message is “it is never too late” to find your purpose and follow a dream. Most of the men and women, alive and dead, who Kristin profiles in this book made their major “legacy” contributions after age 50, and some in their 70s and 80s.
After facilitating a change leadership and resilience workshop last week, I took a much-needed opportunity to stop and self-reflect. This got me thinking, “Wow, talk about change! This year, more than ever, was all about change for me, personally. I’ve got a new role, in a new location, and am living in a different city, in a different home, with a new look towards the future. Even beyond that, I noticed the changes that may not have directly been happening in my life or to me, but were happening all around me. The news, for example, was all about change: changing economics, changing climate, changes in pop culture, the Olympics and, of course, the election.
We have only to consult our experience to know that our leaders’ and co-workers’ moods and outlooks affect us. My colleague Cheryl radiates sunshine and hope; they “power” her life. During a year-long collaboration, I marveled at her earnest friendliness, genuine curiosity about others, and often-expressed appreciation. When we faced challenges, her hope buoyed me.
I'm curious how many of you are familiar with the acronym V.U.C.A.? It stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. I've referenced it in a number of blog posts in the past couple of years, and I've even been prone to incorporate it into performance reviews to provide additional context when coaching employees where emotional intelligence is or should be a focus. When feeling nostalgic for "simpler" times, I've tended to recall the 90's version of my professional self as a "people person," as a "multi-tasker" in the 2000's, and currently a "change agent" on flight 63 to VUCA-land.
Within the last 6 weeks I was a first-time attendee at two industry conferences in the field of scholarly publishing. Relatively new to my employer, though with over a decade of experiences in operations and client services, I felt a sense of optimism for meeting new people and learning new things alongside the usual apprehension about long days in back-to-back-to-back sessions, doubts about relevant content, and the potential mishaps of travel.
As an employee, you hope your supervisor knows about all the valuable contributions you’ve made, big or otherwise, for clients, for team members, and certainly for them. The truth is, while accomplishments on key projects may come with their share of kudos, there’s likely much less visibility into your more regular feats of development, execution, collaboration, and problem-solving. It’s time to consider a more proactive approach to professional self-advocacy.
I have spent considerable time in the decades since college graduation contemplating my next move. Whether looking for advancement (greater challenge, more senior title, higher pay), relocating for family, returning to work after maternity leave, or considering sole proprietorship, I have continually found or made opportunities that have been rewarding and educational.
In and of itself, being ambitious is culturally accepted in the U.S., if not downright encouraged. It goes hand in hand with the norm in our present day society to expect upward career mobility (while recognizing that a few lateral steps periodically may be necessary to give us a better position from which to launch to the next level).
There are important milestones in your professional development that will arise as you strive to accelerate and accentuate your leadership competencies. I am using the term leadership in a very generic sense, not implying any formal role, title or authority, but rather an elevated presence highlighted by intelligence, actions and behavior that inspires others to seek you out. Essentially, at various times in your career you will come to a crossroads, and whether by intention, guidance or luck, you might choose to go in one direction over another.
When you had your last BIG IDEA, where were you and what were you doing? Based on the answers I’ve heard, many of us meet the muse while running/biking/working out, showering or vacationing. I’d be willing to wager that there aren’t many who’d cite sitting at their desk or post-lunch meetings as incubators of Ah Ha! moments. So, when it comes time for a retreat, why head to the same old catered conference environments? Here are six reasons to head beyond the box:
Working within your comfort zone has its moments. There is a period of time (for some it might be months, for others it might be a year or more) when you’ve hit your stride – you’re working efficiently and effectively with no discernible downside. The effort is reasonable, the quantity is manageable, the time spent is acceptable, and the output is respectable, perhaps even impressive. Overall it feels predictable.
"doing more with less" or simply doing less with less? how execution cultures get things done by michele comette
There are many organizations and individuals out there who have subscribed to the notion of needing to “do more with less” in order to succeed in the ever-changing economic climate. In addition to implementing legitimate ways to become more lean and effective (e.g. waste reduction, work flow re-engineering), organizations are requiring their talent to become more agile and nimble, more innovative, and more strategic in order to remain competitive in the business landscape, all with less resources and less time. If everything is a priority, how do we get everything done without burning out?
In a recent training class my organization conducted, one of our exercises was to pair up people from the same department in similar job functions and have each person share a challenging situation they were facing at work. The other person’s role was to listen, ask questions, and offer any additional insight. The participants were “senior” level, having been in this line of work for many years. In addition to coming up with some options and alternatives to their respective challenges (our main objective), many of the participants vocalized how they had gained a greater appreciation for seeking another’s perspective which added value to the problem solving process (our secondary objective).
When you’re involved in a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement with someone there are a multitude of factors that can affect the process and outcome. One of the more significant variables is relationship. In the midst of ongoing discussion - negotiating a contract, persuading someone to share your perspective, offering feedback, resolving a conflict – the status of your relationship with the other party can swing the pendulum dramatically.