Lessons from the Olympics

The Summer Olympics are over and already I miss watching these amazing athletes.  While watching the post-event interviews with the athletes, there were several themes that you can apply to your career:

  • Practice is Everything – The athletes had practiced 8+ hours per day for many years in order to prepare for their event. How much time do you dedicate to practice for important meetings, presentations, speeches related to your career?  Do you practice the skills that are necessary for professional success such as writing, public speaking and networking?
  • Individual Responsibility – Most of the athletes acknowledged the invaluable contribution and support of their coaches and teammates.  None of the athletes blamed anyone else for their own poor performance.   Do you take responsibility for your own career or do you blame your boss, colleagues or the organization when things don’t go your way?
  • Focus and Excellence – Many of the athletes described a level of intense focus and standard of personal excellence that is often overlooked in today’s organizations.  Do you focus on your work like an athlete focuses on their game, event, competition?  What if you did?  What is the standard you set for yourself when it comes to you career?  Do you strive for excellence in your career?

These lessons from the Olympics are at the core of Career-ology.

Go Team USA!  See you in Buenos Aires in 2016.

Don’t Miss the Moment

Last week while on vacation at a beautiful Florida beach, I went “offline.”  I didn’t check email or voice mail and only went online to find a local restaurant.  It was great!

Being without my iPhone, made me hyper-aware how other people were using their smart-devices.  The most striking example was the teenager at the beach who was texting for hours at a time.  While I swam in the surf, listened to the sound of the birds and watched a pod of dolphins swim along the coast, this teenager was so focused on his smartphone that he missed it all.  He was at the beach, but not really at the beach– he was missing the moment.

While this blog is not a commentary on teenager’s behavior, this vivid example, made me think about how professionals divide their attention especially during a meeting.  Humans cannot effectively divide their attention between two similar, complex tasks such as reading and listening.  No one can read an email on their smartphone while simultaneously listening to someone speak during a meeting.

Get in to the office early or stay late, but don’t text, send or read email while participating in a meeting with other people– don’t miss the moment to hear what is being said or weigh in with your own opinion on the subject.  You’ll miss the moment like the teenager on the beach.

READING LIST: The Startup of You

Reid Hoffman is the co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn and knows a thing or two about the power of networking.

The Start-up of You is not a technical “how to” book about the world’s most popular professional networking site, but instead a philosophical discussion about approaching your career with the mindset of entrepreneur.  Hoffman along with his co-author, Ben Casnocha suggest that you consider your career in permanent beta– as a professional, you are never complete, but instead always aiming to grow, expand and improve.

Who should read this book? Read more

Getting Started on LinkedIn for College Students

There is never a better time to get started using LinkedIn than while you are still in college. Unlike Facebook, which you’ve probably used primarily for your social life, LinkedIn should be reserved for your professional life.  And even though you are a couple of years away from your first professional job, now is the time to start building your LinkedIn profile and network.  LinkedIn is a very powerful business tool and a “must have” for all professionals.  For more insight on the use of LinkedIn among recruiters, check out this article, “20 Reasons Why LinkedIn Will Be the #1 Recruiting Portal of the Future.”  Read more

Business Schools Put More Emphasis on Writing. . . Should You?

The Wall Street Journal ran an article about the shift in business schools to emphasize business writing.  Career-ology couldn’t agree more!  Thank you WSJ.  Email and text messaging is chipping away at of the the pillars of human communication– writing.  The article includes Read more

In-person conversations need to happen

Last week, while discussing an earlier blog post, Downsides of Digital Conflict Resolution, with a young professional, I used the following example which really seemed to bring Tjan’s point to life and wanted to share it here.

Imagine sitting in the same room with a good friend.  You and your friend sit  back-to-back and you may only communicate by passing written notes back and forth. No verbal communication or sounds are allowed and of course, you cannot see each others face.

Think of how much communication would be missing from that interaction.  That is what happens during an email exchange.

How to Leave your Job: 8 Tips for a Successful Departure

It is critical that you leave a good impression when leaving a job.  With social media today, you will encounter the people with whom you’ve worked again in the future– either directly or indirectly.  Here are 8 important tips to keep in mind when you are preparing to leave your current job.

  1. Read more

LinkedIn Maps to Visualize Your Network

LinkedIn Maps is a tool for visualizing your professional network.  It takes only a few minutes and reveals clusters, gaps and connectors in your network.  Here is mine:

Yahoo CEO “Resume Malfunction”

By now, the news regarding Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) CEO’s, Scott Thompson, “resume malfunction” is old news, but the lesson is omnipresent.  Padding a resume is wrong and it is just not worth it. . . ever.

What struck me the most about Thompson’s response in this CNNMoney’s article was that he was sorry for the effects of his lie, but not the lie itself.  Everyone involved will take a hit here including Thompson, Yahoo employees and it shareholders and the Board of Directors.  What will be the long-term leadership implications for Yahoo?  Only time will tell.

Read Kara Swisher’s All Things D post about Patti Hart, the Yahoo director in charge of the search that resulted in the hiring of Scott Thompson as its CEO.

The Power of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the most popular and powerful social media websites of our time.  I would argue that it is one of the most powerful business tools ever invented.  I say this because I believe that people with whom you interact are the single most important factor in your career.

Let me be more specific, it is the relationships you have with the people around you—your colleagues, managers, customers and clients– that determine your professional success.  And LinkedIn is the most powerful tool for helping you manage and grow your professional relationships.

All social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Myspace and Twitter and are Read more