These posts arose from an interest in Richard Martin & Kenneth Mikkelsen‘s idea & book: The Neo-Generalist: Where You Go is Who You Are. Like more & more people these days, it’s difficult to describe what I do in one clear sentence. I design & deliver leadership development programs for some of the world’s most well-known organizations. I also consult on learning strategy, especially how to transition into mediated programming most effectively. I support, train, and coach start-ups and leaders. I teach.
Some days I’m working on detailed, specialist tasks, other days it’s broad, strategic questions and projects. Some days it’s writing proposals, others it’s all-day meetings. Some days it’s research, others speaking. Like many of you, I work across sectors around the world.
I suspect many of you are also engaged in interesting work you’re not sure how to describe — and that we don’t always share with one another. As a result, I’m posting (on LinkedIn & here) a short list of the projects I’ve been engaged in during the past week. I’d love to hear about yours, too!
Last week I learned a lot, about particular topics and myself. It was refreshing, exciting, and busy… so last week’s post is happening on Monday. Here’s what I was working on:
- using virtual reality (& other technologies) in training – Did you see the front-page Wall Street Journal feature last week on the use of virtual reality in training (article here, the video is public)? From neurosurgeons to Wal-Mart, organizations are using VR in training because it creates greater focus, presence, and empathy or embodiment than any other medium. For risky or complex tasks and processes or embodied experiences providing new perspectives (putting yourself in someone else’s shoes), VR provides deeper access to a wide range of training topics from sales and customer service to diversity to technical skills. Watch out, though, that you don’t adopt VR just because it’s the next big thing. So many organizations do that despite experts (including myself) counseling otherwise. Technology is never a panacea, and the medium is not the message.
- leadership development in (currently) unsustainable industries – After over a decade traveling the world working with leaders especially in (currently) unsustainable industries (esp. food, fashion, fossil fuel & shipping), I am deeply passionate about transforming the cultures of your organizations so that innovation and sustainability are at the heart of what you do every day — all the way down to the front line. We’ve not been doing enough of this in your leadership development programs. Large, traditional organizations are not prepared for disruption. I am reading about your challenges and innovation in your industries every single day. Here are a few short items from this past week’s reading & viewing: Will 2017 be the year we get serious about sustainable food?, The True Cost, Carnegie Mellon is using drones, robots & AI to drag farmers into this century
- career development conversations — an organization surprised me by sharing that leaders have no formalized, regular system for career development conversations. They’ve asked for a proposal on how they should begin and institute those. It is wonderful work! In my career I’ve had two great leaders model these, each in his & her own unique way. I’ve loved putting together the proposal for this project and look forward to sharing more on this topic.
- coaching — Last week I also worked with a client/friend who’s building a company. In our first session a few weeks ago he realized that though he’s been thinking of himself as an increasingly successful solopreneur, he’s actually quite far along in the business-building process. It’s time to own it and be more focused in his business-building efforts. He’d put initial infrastructure in place; last week we were working specifically on negotiating his rates and a particular contract. (Note: I *love* doing this with and for clients so much more than for myself. Funny!)
- diagnosing your organization’s culture so you can lead gracefully — For leading your organization, wouldn’t it be great to have a dashboard just like when you drive a car? What would each dial measure? What would you like to gauge? It would vary for each organization…
- CU in CH — Thank you to two of you who met with me to discuss building CU Buffs in Switzerland. One of the things I’ve learned in recent years is not to try to do and build everything myself. It’s such fun to begin to work with more people and build larger communities. Thank you!
What about you? What are you reading and working on?