Posts Tagged ‘Phil Miller’
Author’s note – As usual, this post started small and has become a multi-post monster. What began as the concept of “alternate realities” that I often use as a frame for discussing how to move forward in a career search blossomed into how to think about exploration more broadly. So we’ll spend a few posts in the coming weeks on some core ideas and a methodology for how to systematically lay out and begin building future opportunities.
Ever wonder how some things just work out professionally for a friend or colleague? Have you thought about why interesting opportunities seem to pop up for them, often times “non-obvious” ones? Are you looking to find more fulfillment but are reluctant to just jump into something you don’t understand? Read the rest of this entry »
I was reminded of this and how our culture doesn’t necessarily strike the right tone on this recently as my two boys debated a t-shirt.
My son Teddy (5th grader) was recently wearing a t-shirt with the caption “helping kids fail since 1998″. His 3rd grade brother Sammy tenderly observed how “stupid” that t-shirt was. A very sophisticated exchange ensued. Sam’s basic point was “I don’t fail” and “Why would you brag about failing?” Teddy got very animated in explaining the irony of the caption and how science works, but Sam was not going to be moved.
Setting aside the brotherly “love” involved, the boys were arguing a fundamental point both about how we view and run our lives and also how we work and lead. Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes we learn from warm, positive reinforcement. Sometimes we get direct, clear feedback about what needs to improve. And then there are the times when you get indifferent silence. What follows is a brief example of learning that painful lesson and taking something away from it.
I just ran into a student who thanked me for one of these painful lessons that I inadvertently taught them.
The student in question is a very nice guy, had seen me give a few talks about management consulting and the Consulting Enterprise I used to run at the Carlson School of Management and knew a few of my students. He had connected with me personally and through those friends and I’d agreed to meet to discuss the Enterprise and careers in consulting. Read the rest of this entry »
I see a lot of people get hung up trying to get career decision making “just right”. This is usually an obstacle to success, particularly early in your career. As the saying goes, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” Here are a few thoughts on why and how to get unstuck.
Reality #1 – Not choosing is choosing: Make no mistake, deferring choices is often passive decision making. A friend of mine refers to as “the fallacy of infinite possibilities”. In it, we wait and wait for just the right thing but in the end are left without much because while we waited…life happened. Opportunities pass by. Windows close. I see many people let “good” opportunities pass by waiting for “perfect” ones. Maybe I’m not enough of a dreamer, but in my experience you often don’t even know enough early in your career to know what perfect looks like. Which leads to… Read the rest of this entry »
The comment was made by Carlson School alum Sam Rosen while talking about entrepreneurship and risk at our “offroaders’ symposium” a few weeks ago. The event was a pilot attempt at better supporting more diverse set of students’ interests and needs in pursuing “non-traditional” career opportunities. The building was filled with students seeking “something different” and alums and area executives who had companies or roles that are off the typical b-school radar (think NGOs, smaller companies etc). Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes things are so simple, but we either try to make them more complicated than they need to be or can’t see with the clarity we’d like to. I was reminded of this at a recent lunch with a mentor of mine when I asked the obvious question; “what are your keys to success?”
My friend is a retired senior executive who had sustained success in multiple businesses across his long career at a global F100 company. He drove results while being highly respected by everyone as near as I can tell. I’d point out that results and respect are not always correlated, by my friend was able to do it without leaving a trail of bodies. Read the rest of this entry »
I was chatting with a friend at a church social about networking and meeting people when he popped this gem out. I thought this was a perfect summary of what I’ve referred to before as “networking with content”.
This topic comes up for me a lot, as I work with a number of new students every year. We preach that networking is critical to success in their search and discovery process (and it is). But we NEVER mean “go have a bunch of empty, value destroying meetings with important potential supporters.” Schmoozing doesn’t work in the long run.
So what does “effective” networking look like and what is relevant “content”? (Hint: it doesn’t mean you have to have vast experience or knowledge, but it does mean you have to be interested and interesting…) Read the rest of this entry »
A key challenge we face as professionals and leaders is how to assess performance of both ourselves and our teams. We can’t be everywhere all the time to observe and as hard as I try I can’t really watch myself objectively. There isn’t an “eye in the sky” observing us and our teams to allow clear evidence for performance. So how can we get close to “objective” assessment? I don’t have any perfect answers, but here are a few ideas.
This idea crystallized for me a few weeks ago when Shannon Sharpe (retired NFL tight end, now CBS analyst) said something on the NFL pre game show that struck me. He was referring to a former coach who used to say “I see better than I hear.” He went on to explain his coach’s observation that we say a lot of stuff, but what we do is more telling. In the NFL they say “film doesn’t lie”. You can tell me all you want to about how well you did, but how did the play/game actually go? NFL games have the full field view and you can see everything everyone did. No hiding. Read the rest of this entry »
I recently returned from a gathering of colleagues who run MBA programs. As I was jotting down notes and discussing insights gathered with my team, it occurred to me how glad I was that we have occasional opportunities to get outside our “bubble” and hear what others are doing. It reinforced the importance of challenging your thinking and creating space to allow exposure some external ideas.
So what can exiting the bubble briefly do for you? Read the rest of this entry »
A few recent interactions reminded me that you never really know the impact you have on another person. So at the risk of sounding like my grandmother: make an effort to always be gracious and supportive. It’s not always easy and sometimes is impractical, but do it anyway and I think you’ll see benefits on many fronts. And even if not, it makes your world a little nicer. A few examples…
Cameraderie when you feel alienated
I was struck by this in a recent conversation with a former MBA classmate. We had been friendly in school, but weren’t close and had lost touch since we graduated. During school we’d had some lively debates about issues from our classes and had some shared interests. But our contact was fairly limited to class and the MBA lounge.
It turns out my friend felt like an outsider in our program, in part because he was approaching an MBA as a learning journey. MBAs are often very pragmatic about their program. Their journey can be very much about the explicit opportunities they seek. It’s not always about “the journey”. My friend was more about the journey than many of our classmates and so was I. Read the rest of this entry »