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18 MARCH 2013

Younger Workers Need a Career Narrative

"In recent years, much has been written about the importance of career narratives for mid–career and senior professionals, particularly those making a career transition. But, we'd argue, they're even more important for younger professionals who don't yet have a multipage CV or a high–powered headhunter in their corner. What, then, makes for an effective narrative?

First, it should be easy to remember and retell. The whole point is to give your colleagues a narrative that quickly comes to mind whenever they're asked about you, preventing them from making assumptions and drawing conclusions on their own. Two or four sentences, maximum.

Second, it should meaningfully link your past successes to your near and long–term development needs and suggest the kinds of assignments that would help to achieve those objectives. Those goals might certainly be developmental (to test a particular skill; gain experience with a certain tool or methodology; explore a specific industry). But they can also be more personal (limit travel to spend time with family, for instance).Think of it as a 'sound–bite resume' – on hearing it, senior professionals should have two reactions. First, they should be interested in working with you. Second, they should know if it makes sense for you to work with them.

Third, your narrative needs to hang together with the right combination of honesty, humility, and personal flavor. Doing so creates an authentic and compelling career narrative. Narratives that just articulate a string of successes are not credible and are not likely to be repeated. Similarly, boilerplate chronicles without any personal flair rarely get traction."

(Heidi K. Gardner and Adam Zalisk, 15 February 2013, Harvard Business Review)

TAGS

careercareer developmentcareer journeycareer narrativecareer pathcareer planningcareer progressioncareer story • career transition • curriculum vitae • CV • Harvard Business Reviewhuman resourcesleadershiplearning journeynarrative accountorganisational behaviourorganisational capabilities • organisational development • organisational productivitypersonal knowledge mappingpersonal satisfactionprofessional developmentprofessional skillsresume • senior professionals • sound-bite resume • strategysuccesstailored curriculumtailoring curriculumworkplace • younger professionals

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
10 JULY 2012

KAOSPilot: enterprising leader creating value for you and others

"The KaosPilots was founded in 1991 in Århus, Denmark. It grew out of a youth organization called the Front Runners, a truly novel initiative, who worked with cultural and social projects.

The KaosPilots is a self–governing institution comprised of two parts: the school and a consultancy. The purpose of the KaosPilots is 'positive social change through personal growth'.

The consultancy offers the same capabilities that are offered to the students to companies, NGO's and public organizations, but adapted to suit their specific need. For examples of clients please click here.

The program is a three–year long education where the focus lies upon learning by doing through client assignments, from entrepreneurs, consultants, leaders and thought leaders.

The program consists of the disciplines Creative Enterprising Design, Creative Project Design, Creative Process Design and Creative Leadership Design and the education is designed around and operates according to the values Streetwise, Risk–taking, Balance, Compassion, Real World and Playful.

Based on the written application approximately 70 individuals are invited to attend a unique three–day workshop in the spring every year. Through a variety of assignments the applicant provides information to the staff and students who in the end will select a diverse team of about 35 aspiring KaosPilots to begin the program in the fall.

According to a comprehensive survey conducted in 2005 approximately 30% of the graduated KaosPilots work as an entrepreneur.

A KaosPilot is an enterprising leader who creates value for themselves and others."

(Christer Windeløv–Lidzélius)

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TAGS

1991action learning • alternative action • Arhus • autonomousbusiness leaderschange • Chaos Pilots • classical education system • compassionconsultancyconsultant • create value • creative enterprise • creative enterprising design • creative leadership • creative leadership design • creative process • creative process design • creative project design • creative projectscreative thinkingcreativity in the classroom • cultural projects • Denmarkdesign thinkingdivergent thinkingeducation • educational programme • enterprising leader • entrepreneurship • Front Runners (organisation) • information and communication • innovative educational programme • KAOSPilot • Kaospilot Aarhus • knowledge constructionleadershiplearning by doing • live clients • management education • network of professionals • new jobs • new pressures • novel initiative • personal development • personal growth • playfulness • private educational programme • project management • rapidly changing society • real worldrisk-takingschools • self-designed projects • self-governing institution • social changesocial construction of knowledge • social inventiveness • social projects • streetwise • thought leaders • ways of thinkingyoung peopleyouth organisation

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 MAY 2012

Welcome to the Era of Design

"All businesses, no matter what they make or sell, should recognize the power and financial value of good design.

Obviously, there are many different types of design: graphic, brand, packaging, product, process, interior, interaction/user experience, Web and service design, to name but a few. ...

You see, expecting great design is no longer the preserve of a picky design–obsessed urban elite – that aesthetically sensitive clique who'd never dare leave the house without their Philippe Starck eyewear and turtleneck sweaters and buy only the right kind of Scandinavian furniture. Instead, there's a new, mass expectation of good design: that products and services will be better thought through, simplified, made more intuitive, elegant and more enjoyable to use.

Design has finally become democratized, and we marketers find ourselves with new standards to meet in this new 'era of design.' To illustrate, Apple, the epitome of a design–led organization, now has a market capitalization of $570 billion, larger than the GDP of Switzerland. Its revenue is double Microsoft's, a similar type of technology organization but one not truly led by design (just compare Microsoft Windows with Apple's Lion operating system)."

(Adam Swann, 5/03/2012, Forbes)

Fig.1 "Mille Miglia" bicycle by VIVA [http://www.vivabikes.com/].

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TAGS

advertisingaestheticsAmazon.comApple • Apple Care • applied discipline • B2Bbrandbrandingbrandsbusiness • business to business • CMO Network • competitive advantagecreativity • customer recommendation • customer satisfaction • customer-centric • customersdesign • design-led organisation • elegant design • employee satisfaction • enjoyable to use • era of design • feel good • financial value • First Direct • Forbesgood designgraphic designhyperconnectedIKEAinnovative designinteraction designinterior designintuitive designleadership • led by design • marketer • marketingmeaningful experiences • Michael Eisner • MicrosoftMicrosoft Windows • new era • new standardsoperating systempackagingPhilippe StarckPinterest • process design • product design • rewarding experiences • service design • service touchpoints • social media • social-media-fueled society • Switzerland • urban elite • user experience design (UX)web design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
08 MAY 2011

Dave Meslin: the antidote to apathy

"How often do we hear that people just don't care? How many times have you been told that real, substantial change isn't possible because most people are too selfish, too stupid or too lazy to try to make a difference in their community? I propose to you today that apathy as we think we know it doesn't actually exist, but rather, that people do care, but that we live in a world that actively discourages engagement by constantly putting obstacles and barriers in our way.

And I'll give you some examples of what I mean. Let's start with city hall. You ever see one of these before? This is a newspaper ad. It's a notice of a zoning application change for a new office building so the neighborhood knows what's happening. As you can see, it's impossible to read. You need to get halfway down to even find out which address they're talking about, and then farther down, in tiny 10–point font to find out how to actually get involved. Imagine if the private sector advertised in the same way –– if Nike wanted to sell a pair of shoes and put an ad in the paper like that. (Applause) Now that would never happen. You'll never see an ad like that, because Nike actually wants you to buy their shoes. Whereas the city of Toronto clearly doesn't want you involved with the planning process, otherwise their ads would look something like this –– with all the information basically laid out clearly. As long as the city's putting out notices like this to try to get people engaged, then, of course, people aren't going to be engaged. But that's not apathy; that's intentional exclusion.

Public space. (Applause) The manner in which we mistreat our public spaces is a huge obstacle towards any type of progressive political change. Because we've essentially put a price tag on freedom of expression. Whoever has the most money gets the loudest voice, dominating the visual and mental environment. The problem with this model is that there are some amazing messages that need to be said that aren't profitable to say. So you're never going to see them on a billboard.

The media plays an important role in developing our relationship with political change, mainly by ignoring politics and focusing on celebrities and scandals. But even when they do talk about important political issues, they do it in a way that I feel discourages engagement. And I'll give you an example: the Now magazine from last week –– progressive, downtown weekly in Toronto. This is the cover story. It's an article about a theater performance, and it starts with basic information about where it is, in case you actually want to go and see it after you've read the article –– where, the time, the website. Same with this –– it's a movie review, an art review, a book review –– where the reading is in case you want to go. A restaurant –– you might not want to just read about it, maybe you want to go to the restaurant. So they tell you where it is, what the prices are, the address, the phone number, etc.

Then you get to their political articles. Here's a great article about an important election race that's happening. It talks about the candidates –– written very well –– but no information, no follow–up, no websites for the campaigns, no information about when the debates are, where the campaign offices are. Here's another good article about a new campaign opposing privatization of transit without any contact information for the campaign. The message seems to be that the readers are most likely to want to eat, maybe read a book, maybe see a movie, but not be engaged in their community. And you might think this is a small thing, but I think it's important because it sets a tone and it reinforces the dangerous idea that politics is a spectator sport.

Heroes: How do we view leadership? Look at these 10 movies. What do they have in common? Anyone? They all have heroes who were chosen. Someone came up to them and said, "You're the chosen one. There's a prophesy. You have to save the world." And then someone goes off and saves the world because they've been told to, with a few people tagging along. This helps me understand why a lot of people have trouble seeing themselves as leaders. Because it sends all the wrong messages about what leadership is about. A heroic effort is a collective effort, number one. Number two, it's imperfect; it's not very glamorous; and it doesn't suddenly start and suddenly end. It's an ongoing process your whole life. But most importantly, it's voluntary. It's voluntary. As long as we're teaching our kids that heroism starts when someone scratches a mark on your forehead, or someone tells you that you're part of a prophecy, they're missing the most important characteristic of leadership, which is that it comes from within. It's about following your own dreams –– uninvited, uninvited –– and then working with others to make those dreams come true.

Political parties: oh boy. Political parties could and should be one of the basic entry points for people to get engaged in politics. Instead, they've become, sadly, uninspiring and uncreative organizations that rely so heavily on market research and polling and focus groups that they end up all saying the same thing, pretty much regurgitating back to us what we already want to hear at the expense of putting forward bold and creative ideas. And people can smell that, and it feeds cynicism. (Applause)

Charitable status: Groups who have charitable status in Canada aren't allowed to do advocacy. This is a huge problem and a huge obstacle to change, because it means that some of the most passionate and informed voices are completely silenced, especially during election time. Which leads us to the last one, which is our elections.

As you may have noticed, our elections in Canada are a complete joke. We use out–of–date systems that are unfair and create random results. Canada's currently led by a party that most Canadians didn't actually want. How can we honestly and genuinely encourage more people to vote when votes don't count in Canada? You add all this up together and of course people are apathetic. It's like trying to run into a brick wall.

Now I'm not trying to be negative by throwing all these obstacles out and explaining what's in our way. Quite the opposite: I actually think people are amazing and smart and that they do care. But that, as I said, we live in this environment where all these obstacles are being put in our way. As long as we believe that people, our own neighbors, are selfish, stupid or lazy, then there's no hope. But we can change all those things I mentioned. We can open up city hall. We can reform our electoral systems. We can democratize our public spaces.

My main message is, if we can redefine apathy, not as some kind of internal syndrome, but as a complex web of cultural barriers that reinforces disengagement, and if we can clearly define, we can clearly identify, what those obstacles are, and then if we can work together collectively to dismantle those obstacles, then anything is possible.

Thank you. (Applause)"

(Dave Meslin)

Fig.1 TEDxToronto 2010, filmed October 2011; posted April 2011

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TAGS

2010advocacyapathybarrier • bold ideas • campaignCanadacelebritychange • collective effort • community engagementcreative ideas • cultural barriers • cynicism • Dave Meslin • democracy • disengagement • electionsengagementexclusionfocus groupglamour • heroic effort • imperfectioninformationlazinessleadershipmedianeighbourhoodNike • obstacles • political change • political issuespolitical partiespoliticspollingprogressive political changeprogressive political perspectivepublic spacereform our electoral systemsscandalselfishness • spectator sport • stupidityTED TalksTorontotrivia • uncreative organisations • visual environment • voluntary

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 JUNE 2010

Charles Handy on Qualities of Vision and Leadership

"Charles Handy speaks at leadership All–Stars in downtown Los Angeles during the Drucker Centennial celebration. Charles is a globally renowned business expert and is often regarded as Britain's greatest management thinker. He has been an executive, a theorist, a management thinker and a student of business all his life. In 2008, he taught the Odyssey Course at The Drucker School while serving as a Scholar in Residence."

(Leaders–Coach.com)

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TAGS

2008 • Apollo • Athenabig picturesbureaucracybusiness • business expert • careers for life • centennial • Charles Handy • Dionysus • expertise • free-market • individualismknowledge workerknowledge-based economyleadershipLos Angelesmanagement • management thinker • motivation • organisational purpose • organisationsPeter Drucker • scholar • self-determinationtrendsUniversity of OxfordvisionaryZeus

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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