Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When Did Being Disruptive Become a Good Thing?

When I was in grade school, being disruptive earned you a trip to the Principal's office. Today, being disruptive (with a new technology or other innovation) may earn you the attention of venture capitalists. A disruptive technology or innovation improves a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically by lowering price or designing for a different set of consumers. It changes the rules of the game. Think PC, then the iPhone.

What are you doing to be disruptive in your career or organization? Breaking out of the usual way of thinking and acting means taking a risk. It means moving out of your comfort zone. It can be a simple as reaching out to a colleague you have been avoiding to find common ground for collaboration. It may mean creating a Twitter account for your organization and increasing the transparency of your operations. It may mean developing a whole new approach to serving your clients. Large or small, if it leads to positive change and better results, being disruptive can be a good thing.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Who Defines You?

Change is hard - in your organization and in your career. One obstacle is the resistance of people around you to your efforts to re-invent yourself or just make a few strategic course corrections. As Daniel Goleman says in talking about Social Intelligence, "we are wired to connect." Our behavior has a strong effect on others, and vice versa. It can be all too easy to let others define who we are.

So how do we break through our own resistance to change and the barriers raised by the preconceived perceptions of others? It is all about motivation. Is what you are doing now working for you? Are you getting the rewards and gratification you are looking for from your career? How strong is the desire to try new ways of behaving and relating to others? If you want it badly enough, you will find the courage to take those crucial first steps in the change process. The right coach can help you every step of the way.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

When Was the Last Time You Moved Out of Your Comfort Zone?

I know exactly when I last moved out of my comfort zone. It was this past Tuesday, when I took part in a speed networking event. My preferred way to interact with people is one-on-one, with enough time to share information and begin to build trust. Speed networking allowed 2-3 minutes for two people to exchange names, business cards and enough information - verbal and the all-important non-verbal - to form the basis for further contact. I was a little dizzy at the end, but I had collected 15 business cards and met a number of people I liked almost instantly. Now I have new connections on LinkedIn and several follow-up opportunities. Once again, I found that moving out of my comfort zone brings rewards. What about you? When was the last time you moved out of your comfort zone? Try something today. It doesn't have to be a life-changing experience. Start with baby steps, but do move out of that cozy circle of familiar actions. If you need help, find a great executive coach to support you along the way.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Are You Going Through a Major Life Transition?

If you are going through a major life transition, you are certainly not alone. Over the last few weeks, I have talked with almost a dozen people - friends, clients, colleagues - who are grappling with big changes involving career or personal life - in some cases, both. Thanks to a generous gift from an amazingly empathetic friend, I knew just what to tell them - read Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes, by William Bridges (25th Anniversary Edition). Bridges sets out a model of change encompassing endings, neutral zone, and beginnings. The book offers many useful insights and strategies. Importantly, it prompts the reader to pause to think more deeply about what the visible change is really about.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Are You Using Social Media to Advance Your Career?

I don't ask my executive coaching clients to do things I won't do myself. So I am learning as much as I can about the effective use of social media to advance careers and achieve business goals. Starting this blog at the beginning of 2010 is part of my personal program for exploring the benefits and pitfalls of using social media. I also look for models of success. Recently, I signed up for the daily blog of Seth Godin, best selling author who writes about the spread of ideas and managing both customers and employees with respect. His posts are brief and challenging. Mine are definitely a work in progress. But, as I tell my clients, you have to move out of your comfort zone and try new things if you want to grow personally and professionally.