MOOCs for Your Professional Development

Continuing education is a critical part of your professional development.  There are many opportunities to further your education including a formal graduate degree (on campus or online), a professional certificate program from a college continuing education program, or a MOOC.

What is a MOOC and how can you utilize a MOOC for professional development?

A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aiming at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and TAs. [Wikipedia]

Last November, the New York Times declared that 2012 was The Year of the MOOC.  The leading MOOCs are Coursera, edX and Udacity.  These platforms are Read more

Focus on Focus

Harvard Business Review wordmark

Harvard Business Review wordmark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, has written two outstanding articles for Harvard Business Review | HBR.org which focus on, well. . . focus.  New professionals and CEOs will benefit alike.  After implementing these habits, you will gain laser-like focus in as little as 10 minutes per day.

In Two Lists You Should Look At Every Morning, Bregman recommends creating two lists: 1) Your Focus List; and 2) Your Ignore List and reviewing them every morning.  These are not to do lists, but rather major areas of focus for your life and serve as a guide when deciding how you spend your time each day– “because time is your one limited resource and no matter how hard you try you can’t work 25/8” as Bregman notes.

In The Best Way to Use the Last Five Minutes of Your Day, Bregman recommends reserving Read more

Four Destructive Myths Most Companies Still Live By

Tony Schwartz, the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything, identifies four myths found in many organizations:

  • Myth #1: Multitasking is critical in a world of infinite demand.
  • Myth #2: A little bit of anxiety helps us perform better.
  • Myth #3: Creativity is genetically inherited, and it’s impossible to teach.
  • Myth #4: The best way to get more work done is to work longer hours.

Are these myths present in your organization?  It is easy to adopt the practices and habits of the organization in which you work– is this how you want to work?

Read the full post.

Discovering Your Organization’s Culture

Last week, we discussed the importance of understanding your organization’s culture.  In this post, we are going to provide some specific tactics for discovering the culture of an organization:

  1. What is the history of the organization?  Is it at start-up or a long-established company?  Learn how the organization began and the path it followed to get to where it is today.
  2. What significant events impacted the organization such as a merger, bankruptcy or initial public offering?  Was there a scandal involving a leader of the organization?  What about a major world event such as 9/11?  These significant events may shape or even change the culture of an organization. Read more

A Muddy (Corporate) Culture

A few weeks ago, I participated in my third Tough Mudder event.  I enjoy these events for the physical and mental challenge and the camaraderie of competing as part of a team.

Post-race photo with my team. I am 2nd from left.

For those who don’t know, Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie.

One of the most impressive aspects of the Tough Mudder organization is the culture that they have built into their events.  While it is difficult to describe in words, the Tough Mudder culture is palpable.  It is truly something that must be Read more

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.

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.

Godin Makes the Case for “Career-ology”

In his article, “If You’re An Average Worker, You’re Going Straight To The Bottom,” Seth Godin makes the case for being proactive about your career and professional development which is what Career-ology is all about!

. . . if you’re different somehow and have made yourself unique, people will find you and pay you more, Godin says.

Instead of waiting around for someone to tell you that you matter, take your career into your own hands. In other words, don’t wait for someone else to pick you and pick yourself! If you have a book, you don’t need a publisher to approve you, you can publish it yourself. It’s no longer about waiting for some big corporation to choose you. We’ve arrived at an age where you choose yourself.

Thanks again for the wise words, Seth.