This Wednesday, July 13, 6 PM ET we’ll bring up issues around getting started and establishing yourself in a new position in Higher ed. In previous podcasts we’ve discussed issues women face as they move through their career such as the double bind; importance of supporting one another, mentoring, the value of care work and organizational barriers. This month we thought we would take a step back and look at the issues women face when exploring and starting a new position. What are the things you should do just before and after you start a new job?
We’ll dig deeper into the topic of salary negotiations, discussing topics such as the long term financial impact your starting salary has and how to assess the whole package (i.e. value of benefits). The following article recently came through on the ITWOMEN EDUCAUSE LISTSERV suggesting it would be good information to share with women beginning their careers: To Seem Confident Women Have to be Seen as Warm. Their research study showed that the more competent a male engineer is the more confident they seem resulting in greater influence, regardless if they are seen as warm or not. For women to have influence they must also be seen as warm. The study suggests that women must therefore go out of their way to be seen as warm in order to be successful. What do you think? Is the answer for women to go out of their way to be seen as warm or to affect other change? Join us tonight and share your thoughts.
Wondering how best to spend your money and time on professional development in your new position? We’ll share our experiences in a range of professional development programs and leadership training. The conversation will center around the value of not just the training, but networking and how to assess what training aligns best with your goals. We were thrilled to have as our special guest Mary Niemiec.
The MOR Associates Tuesday reading from Nov. 4 is based on an article written by John Brandon which first appeared in inc.com
1. Expecting good communication from others but not practicing it: Do you expect others on our team to provide updates on challenges and milestones but not do they same for them? Just as it is important to know the status of projects your team is working on, it is important for them to know the same. What challenges are you having? Where are your milestones slipping? Transparency does not show weakness. By sharing with your team you will not only create a sense of trust but they may even be able to help you!
2. Promoting people before they are ready: Promoting someone before they are ready simply to keep them from leaving is not the answer. If you sense someone on your team is unhappy or feeling unchallenged have a conversation. Remember: Initiate, inquire, show interest and influence. If they are not ready think about what training or opportunities you can provide that will give them the skills they need.
3. Charging in with guns blazing: Think scaffolding. Coming into a meeting and threatening people is typically not the answer. This is not the way to build relationships and trust. Instead Initiate, inquire, show interest and influence (I see these keeping coming up over and over again). Take the time to gather information, learn what the issues are and together come up with a solution.
4. Not doing a needs analysis before purchasing: Always, always do a needs analysis before purchasing equipment and take the time to talk to our customer. Share your knowledge but think about how you question. Don’t try to bring them on to your side. Take the time to help them understand what their needs are.
5. Too much pride in role: As a verb pride is defined as feeling proud of a quality or skill. As a noun it is feeling pleasure from one’s own achievement. It is good to feel proud and a sense of accomplishment but don’t forget everyone else’s role in your accomplishment. Who made this achievement possible. Be sure to show gratitude.
6. Thinking you know it all: Be cognizant of the abilities of everyone around you. It could be someone below you or above you that has the knowledge needed to accomplish your goal. This is where networking and relationship building helps. Ask around and see who the experts are. Don’t discount anyone.
7. Not sharing vision: Don’t ever assume and communication is key, we all remember hearing these two statements along the way. People are not mind readers. Make sure you are communicating your vision clearly, frequently and with transparency. Your team shouldn’t be left guessing, or worst second guessing your intentions. If you want to build a coalition people need to know where you are going and why. It’s not enough to communicate your vision, make sure you team knows why that is your vision.
The November 18 MOR Associates Tuesday reading focuses on listening. It is based on a Leadership Reflection written by Zachary Jacques. Jacques says, “…if I want to improve my presence, I must focus on listening skills as well as speaking.” Sometimes the most obvious, is the most elusive. He goes on to discuss an exercise they did where the “listener” is intentionally acting distracted and then asked the speaker how they felt. Not surprisingly they felt emotions such as anger, frustration and irritation. Can any of you relate? We’ve all done it, and likely been on the giving and receiving end. Maybe not as frequently in a one to one discussion but certainly during a staff meeting or presentation. We may justify it in any number of ways, but here is a chance to practice seeing things from the perspective of the other. Practice turning off your devices and listening. If you must check your e-mail do so before the presentation and after, if needed exit the room. You may find that what you thought was “boring” or “irrelevant” only seemed that way because you weren’t really listening. You may learn something new! There is a time, place and method for feedback. If after intently listening you found the speaker could do some things to make their talk more engaging then simply go up and ask, “may i give you some feedback”?
The MOR Associates Tuesday Reading for Nov. 25 was about Gratitude. While I’ve always thought of gratitude as saying thank you and showing appreciation, I haven’t thought of it from a perspective changing lens. We are encouraged not only think about how we can change our own perspective but how can we help others. Each of our colleagues has work frustrations, but they also have personal frustrations. Whether these are related to money, health or something else how can we help them see the “positive”, to be grateful for what they do have. This is not always easy as we don’t always know the personal circumstances of those we work with. This may be a lead by example situation. If we always try to see the positive, to show gratitude for what we do have, and not complain maybe we can help those around us do the same. Although it is well past Thanksgiving it is always the right time of year to show gratitude!
How can I change my perspective and look at the positive? Instead of “complaining” or looking at something as a limitation, how can I instead look at it as an opportunity? We all have processes and procedures and best practices. We all are experts in our field. Rather than approach someone who isn’t doing things the way we think they should be done with a negative thought look at it as an opportunity to build a new relationship. Through the act of building a relationship you will naturally look at the situation from their perspective, see things the way they do and understand where they are coming from. Rather than just jumping in and telling them how things should be done, take the time to ask questions, and get to know them. Before the meeting think about what image you want to portray, how should you approach the situation? How do we do this? The 4 I’s are a great way to start! Initiate, Inquire, show interest and influence.
This week’s MOR Associates Tuesday reading focuses on not just setting priorities, but honoring them. I wrote my Tuesday reflection on how difficult it is to do just that. I commented on how easy it is to let the week go by and not spend any ELP time. I made a commitment to block out time every week and even said that I was immediately going to put that on my calendar. Yet what actually happened? As soon as I finished the reflection I had to run off to a meeting and told my self I would do it when I got back. Well, here I am a month later and I still have not blocked out the time on my calendar. This weeks reading was a good reminder for me. There, I just blocked out the time. Now I need to guard it and honor the priority. I feel I’ve been given an amazing opportunity, being a part of this program, and it is important to me to make the most of it.
The other thing that struck me in this week’s reading was how one spends their lunch time. In the past I used that time for walking. At some point I started sitting at my desk working rather than going out for a walk. I’ve been using the time to read articles, and catch up on e-mail. Rather than choosing between reading or walking I’m going to try and combine the two and listen to a book while walking.
I created this blog to serve the purpose of keeping me accountable and doing more than just reading. Blogging forces me to really listen to what is being said, think about it and respond on how I will involve, change and follow-up. Listening doesn’t just have to be in real time.
This is what it is all about. We can attend workshops, read, watch videos and reflect but it all comes down to putting it into action. We’re being told again and again to “get out of our comfort zone”. One of the new skills we are supposed to be working on is our presence and the 4 I’s:
When walking into a meeting or room where you don’t know someone, instead of pulling out your cellphone and reading e-mail, initiate contact. The first step, which can be the hardest, is simply sticking your hand out and saying “hi, I’m Patrice”. Don’t leave it at that, inquire. This is something that needs to be practiced and some thought should be put into it. Don’t just ask questions, but ask meaningful questions. What do you really want to know about this person? What information would be helpful to you in building a relationship? Most importantly, invest. If you are asking questions but not actively invested and listening it will come across. When having a conversation you should only be focused on that. In our multi-tasking overworked world this can be especially hard. Working at building relationships will then enable you to influence. Don’t forget to practice your elevator speech. Be ready when somebody initiates with you!
At the first meeting I attended after our first session I felt I missed an opportunity to “put it into action”. I walked into a room where everyone knew each other and I didn’t know anyone. They were not engaged in conversation as they waited for the meeting to begin but sitting and reading their phones. While I think of myself as an outgoing person, I found it difficult to try and initiate a conversation with people focused on not conversing. If someone is busily reading e-mail are they: catching up on work and don’t want to be interrupted? Feeling uncomfortable and going to their phone to avoid conversation? Hoping that someone will approach them and start a conversation?
For me getting out of my comfort zone isn’t just about initiating conversation with people I don’t know but in situations where I am uncomfortable. This could be a meeting I’ve been invited to that is not directly in my area of expertise. As I reflect on how I interact in different situations I’ve realized that when I’m in a space that is not my “area of expertise” I am less comfortable speaking up and voicing my ideas and opinions. This quote shared in our MOR materials seems very appropriate:
“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
This week’s MOR ELP Tuesday reading is based on an article by Whiteny Hischier and Rajiv Ball about 3 underappreciated IT leadership skills.It discusses a transition that is similar to the transition many service based businesses have gone through in the last several years: moving from mass production to personalization; reducing costs; increasing value. In this new world Hischier and Ball suggest there are three needed competencies:
- Problem Finding, Problem Solving: I was excited to see that the suggestion here was to use the design thinking methodology. I’ve recently used it as a way to understand whether my team was addressing the right problem and found it to be a very effective process. Last week I participated in a symposium organized by George Siemens focused on a MOOCs and creating a vision of Higher Ed in 2030. Upon reflection on our two days of discussion I think a design thinking session would be the perfect next step. We came up with several challenges we felt our universities faced. I think it would be beneficial to use design thinking to narrow in on finding the problem that is at the root of these challenges and then, as a team, developing a solution.
- Be a True Peer and Sparring Partner to Business: Hischier and Ball suggest IT leaders must, “articulate their own ideas and perspective and do so in a way that resonates across the organizational boundaries”. It always comes down to communication! For me the key phrase here is in a way that “resonates across organizational boundaries”. ELP stresses the importance of developing relationships. No matter how good your communication skills are I don’t think you can effectively communicate with a person or organization unless you truly understand their culture. We recently went through a team building exercise and one of the things that quickly rose to the top was how different our organizational cultures were which impacted how we approached things. Once we had a mutual understanding of each other’s culture we were able to communicate more effectively.
- Move Others to Action: This aligns with my goal of building a coalition of people aligned with my goal of providing leadership and direction in support of digital learning initiatives and increasing access to education. Hischier and Ball suggest, “nurturing and sustaining trusted, mutually supportive relationships.” Trust is critical. I recently ran a workshop about how to build collaboration in our IT community. What rose up to the top, across sessions, was that we can’t have collaboration without trust. Something to consider is how you define trust. It is important all stakeholders have a mutually agreed upon definition of trust. I will be attending a Franklin Covey session on The Speed of Trust to learn more about this.
Making the time to read these articles and finding a quiet space to reflect and think has been a challenge. Not different from exercising, it is alway difficult to find the time but when you are done you never you never wish you hadn’t. When I mentioned my difficulty in carving out time, my MOR coach, Susan Washburn said, “We all have the same amount of hours in the day, but some of the ways we choose to spend those hours TAKE energy and some GIVE energy. Time to reflect, for example, can be a deposit into your energy resources where as time wasted in an unnecessary meeting is energy taken”.
As part of the MOR Associates Cornell Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) I am supposed to reflect upon the Tuesday readings. Last week’s reading was based upon a Marshall Goldsmith video “Leadership is a Contact Sport”. A leader should reach out, listen and learn..sounds easy, right? The eight steps to being an effective leader and team member include:
- Ask: In ELP we are learning to always ask for feedback. Ask what kind of a job we’re doing and how can we do things better. I’ve always been an “asker” and sought feedback. I now find myself being more “planful and thoughtful” when it comes to asking for feedback. I first consider what my goal is, what is it I want to know or improve? Asking is the easy part…
- Listen: This is the hard part. In our last ELP session we were given an example of how 40 people can hear the exact same thing and interpret it 40 different ways. I think we’ve all experienced this. In my job I’m seeing on a daily basis how easy it is for this to happen and how important it is to not just listen but repeat back what you think you heard. A follow up e-mail summarizing your conversation is even better. I’m thinking about how I can be a better listener not just at work but at home. I am working on clearing my mind and focusing on only the person speaking. This is not easy to do. Our minds are used to multi-tasking and processing input from any number of places. It is hard to turn it all off and just…
- Think: We’ve beed told that the feedback we receive is a gift worthy of reflective time. After receiving feedback allow some “dead air” to just think about what you’ve heard. What additional information do you need? What do you not understand? It is not easy to allow time to just think…
- Thank: There is nothing as important as a thank you when receiving a gift. We’re learning to say “thank you for the feedback”. That will take some practice. Why does it feel so awkward to say?
- Respond: This is the critical step. We’ve all been to a performance review or conference and left reinvigorated to make changes and do things differently. How frequently do we end up doing the same thing, forgetting those changes? What will I do to make sure I respond to the feedback I receive? I’m hoping this blog will help. A place to reflect upon my journey, share with others and watch my growth. I’ve found for me the most important thing is blocking time off on my calendar each week. Time for me to think, respond and reflect on how I will involve, change and follow-up.
- Involve: I’ve been lucky to continuously find myself surrounded by people who support me in reaching my goals. Moving forward I would like to expand my network and develop relationships with people I might not normally interact or work with. What can I learn as I move out of my comfort zone?
- Change: Aren’t we always told “people don’t change”. Change is hard. It requires deep understanding of not just why the change is important but how to effectively change. Change needs to be meaningful. For me, meaningful change will help me attain my goal of providing leadership and direction in support of digital learning initiatives and increasing access to education. As I continue to develop my goals and action steps I’m thinking about what changes I need to make. Once you change, how do you know if you really changed or if the change you made was a positive one?
- Follow-up: Follow-up of course! This is an iterative process. After I’ve changed I need to go back to step 1 and start over again. I’m looking forward to our next ELP session and discussing with others what they are doing to implement these 8 steps.
I have posted the following words above my desk…”Remember to reach out, listen and learn”.