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5 TED Talks That Will Mold You Into A Competent Leader

5 TED Talks That Will Mold You Into A Competent Leader

Whether you’re a business owner or a leader of any kind, these 5 TED talks will inspire you to break free of old expectations and lead from a wiser, more informed perspective. Watch each talk at the links below for a fresh set of ideas on leadership and problem solving in the workplace.

1. Productivity doesn’t happen when you think.

Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work, by Jason Fried, unravels a surprising trend in the workplace – not getting work done. Fried asked several professionals where they went when they needed to get some work done. The responses he received included places like the kitchen, the bedroom, the train, and the coffee shop. But not one person said “the office.” This led Fried to the assertion that “M&Ms” (managers and meetings) are screwing with workers’ productivity. He cautions against pointless meetings, insisting that if everyone had a little more alone time at work, we’d all get a lot more done.

“Businesses are spending all this money on this place called the office, and they’re making people go to it all the time – yet people don’t do work in the office. What’s that about?”

Watch it

2. Money isn’t always the best motivator.

The Puzzle of Motivation, by Dan Pink, breaks down a scientific experiment that showed the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivators. While you’d think that money and other extrinsic motivators spur workers to achieve more, this is not always the case. According to the research, these incentives work well for basic tasks that require narrow focus. But when it comes to complex problems, the rules totally reverse.

“There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.”

Watch it

3. Companies are investing in leaders, but not producing them.

What it Takes to be a Great Leader, by Roselinde Torres, delves into what we can call a “leadership gap.” The puzzling fact is that companies are investing in leadership more than ever, but not seeing the results. Torres claims this is happening because companies are not growing a diverse enough network, or changing strategy when they need to.

“Prepare yourself, not for the comfortable predictability of yesterday, but for the realities of today and all of those unknown possibilities of tomorrow.”

Watch it

4. It’s not all about you.

Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe, by Simon Sinek, covers a rarely discussed aspect of leadership: safety. Sinek discusses how great military leaders put themselves second, sacrificing their comfort zone to support and instill confidence in their troops. For business leaders, It’s not just about utilizing the best startup resources, grabbing the right talent, or working within the perfect budget. Rather, it’s about gaining the trust of your subordinates, so that they, in turn, feel empowered to do their best work.

“This is the reason so many people have a visceral hatred for banking CEOs with disproportionate salaries…It’s not the numbers. It’s that they allowed their people to be sacrificed to protect their own interests.”

Watch it

5. Nurture your first followers

How to Start a Movement, by Derek Sivers, dissects a hilarious YouTube video of a spontaneous dance party that grows from one individual to dozens. The takeaway of this talk is the importance of early followers. As a lone leader, you must recognize that the only true way to gain credibility is to gain your first follower. This person or group of persons sets the stage for others to feel comfortable joining your movement. It grants you credibility. By treating your early followers as equals, you show them (and others) that joining you is a safe decision.   

“it’s the first follower is what transforms a lone nut into a leader.”

Watch it

Featured photo credit: urban_data via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

The wake-up call often comes when you least expect it. Maybe you’re enjoying a relaxing get-together with your old college buddies when someone turns to you and says, “Wow, I never thought you’d become an investment banker. I always thought you’d write a novel!” If this leaves you wondering how to change careers, you’re not alone.

Before you know it, you find yourself remembering your old dreams—and comparing them to the career field where you are now. Life rarely goes according to plan. Marriage, kids, and grandkids often come earlier than imagined—or later.

Maybe you pursued one career path because you were considered the breadwinner, but now someone else in the family is the breadwinner. Conversely, maybe you landed a job, thinking you’d stay for six months, and now you’ve been there for sixteen years.

A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics pointed out that “baby boomers held an average of 12.3 jobs from ages 18 to 52″[1]. For millennials, who are more technologically apt, that number is likely to be much higher.

As this proves, it’s perfectly normal to change careers and begin a job search even when it seems too late! Steering your way through a career change is part calculation, part chance, and part leap-of-faith.

If you feel stuck and are ready for a career change, take these steps to guide you.

Step 1: Be Mentally Prepared

These points can help you master the psychological aspects of a career change at any age.

Now or Never Is a Fallacy

For most professionals, there is no cut-off age for striking out in a new direction. People do it at all stages of their careers.

If you’ve ever dreamed of leaving a large company to start your own business, you are not alone. Similarly, thousands of entrepreneurs and people working for one-man shops decide each year that they’d like to work for larger organizations.

You’ll find hordes of baby boomers looking for a redo alongside mobs of GenXers and Millennials—especially as the boomers now remain in the workforce longer than their predecessors.

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Your Career Is not a Straight Line From A to B

You don’t have to have your career trajectory completely decided from the start. In fact, that’s an unrealistic expectation, no matter how methodical you are.

People change. Industries merge, morph, and in some cases, disappear. Careers rarely follow the straight and narrow.

Many careers can be compared to journeys—there are the adventurous patches, boring patches, downright scary patches, and the hills and valleys, too. The trick is to try to have a little fun while you’re charting out your various careers.

Don’t panic if you find you need to change your career. It may take some work as you sort through job posts, write cover letters, and pursue your dream job, but you’re up for it.

Career Changers Are Among Good Company

Consider these well-known trailblazers whose careers took a radical turn:

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, studied computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton, went on to establish himself as a Wall Street prodigy, then quit to launch Amazon.com.

Sara Blakely, a billionaire businesswoman, was a fax machine salesperson before creating her signature slim wear line, Spanx.

Jonah Peretti, co-founder of the media sites Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, initially taught computer science to middle schoolers.

Be Ready to Take on the Naysayers

Expect plenty of advice—usually of the discouraging kind—from friends and family when they learn that you’re exploring a career change. Those you know best are often the most vocal in trying to thwart your plans.

Be prepared to field a flurry of pessimistic conjecture and doomsday scenarios. Know, though, that when your loved ones question your judgment, they’re not necessarily doubting your talent but trying to look out for your wellbeing. Stepping out of your comfort zone will make anyone close to you uncomfortable.

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Keep in mind that pessimists avoid the unknown, while optimists invite new challenges. Above all, believe in yourself and follow your instincts. Don’t let your fear of change paralyze you from seeking out your new career path.

Project an aura of enthusiasm, energy, and passion. You’ll find it’s contagious.

Step 2: Be Proactive

These tips can help you master the practical aspects of changing careers at any age.

Take Baby Steps

Ease into your new direction. Start building the skills you’ll need to make the switch.

Find out what skills you will need, and do whatever it takes to add them to your skills arsenal. Make the time to invest in additional training.

Start by devoting a half-day each week to your new pursuit until you’re ready to confidently make a move.

Clearly define where you want to go and what you’ll need to do to get there. Take an inventory of your strengths. Read trade magazines, and study up on industry trends.

Volunteer

Charitable organizations are often looking for volunteers to help them with their outreach, social media, and engagement. You can show up without the requisite skills and learn as you go in a fun, convivial, low-pressure environment, which will help you expand your experience and skills.

Take Online Courses

Today, LinkedIn and many other providers offer online courses in everything from accounting software to time management to mastering Excel. For extra credit, see if you can find classes that award online badges for completing each course.

Don’t be shy about adding these certificates to your online profile. Keep your profile fresh by adding more and more skills to it.

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Take a Temp Job

Depending on your field, it may be possible to freelance at a company where you learn on the job.

Remember that you can’t just show up at a potential employer’s claiming you have the skills. Taking a temporary job that allows you to polish your skills is proof that you’re serious about your career change.

Network!

Build a family tree of contacts. Explore beyond the main branches of your work acquaintances, industry groups, and social contacts. Join your alumni organization. Tell everyone.

Ask friends and friends-of-friends to meet you for coffee to explain what it is they do and tell you which skills you’ll need to succeed in your chosen field[2].

When you want to learn how to change careers, start by networking!

    If you have friends or associates with ties to the organizations where you want to work, ask your contacts to make an introduction. The majority of today’s jobs are found through one’s own networks. When jobs open up, companies invite informal recommendations from internal and external channels.

    Step 3: Take It Online

    This last step can help you master the online aspects of a career change at any age.

    Develop an Online Presence in the Field of Your Dreams

    Reconfiguring your online presence will be a critical step in your career change. Fine-tune your digital identity to reflect your new direction, tailoring your profile to the role and industry you’re after. Include keywords that are relevant to the industry so that recruiters can find you.

    Craft a clever personal statement that states your interests, your values, and your dreams. Once you’ve zeroed in on your message, also pick and choose which outlets make the most sense for it.

    Will your personal statement resonate on LinkedIn? Or is it highly visual—making it a better fit for Instagram?

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    Polish your sites until they gleam, then get active so others take notice. Add insightful content to your social media pages that goes deeper than the information on your resume, such as commentaries on something taking place in your newly chosen field.

    For more on how to build an online presence, check out this article.

    Final Thoughts

    Americans spend 1,800 hours or more each year working. That’s nearly one-third of your life, and it goes without saying that your job satisfaction and career goals have a great bearing on your life’s happiness barometer.

    Set out to intentionally pursue career satisfaction, looking for opportunities to fine-tune your working life so that you find fulfillment.

    If playing the piano is your personal bliss, could you meld your love of music with your clinical psychology background and find a job using music to promote healing? Perhaps there’s a foundation that would fund you in a multiyear study.

    Or, if you’re a movie buff for whom every encounter has the makings of a screenplay, why not sign up for an evening class and see if your years of writing advertising copy could morph into a career move into the film industry?

    Achieving your career change successfully will occur when you mentally prepare, take a proactive approach, and mine your personal and online networks. The pay-off will be in a life well-lived in a successful career.

    More Tips on How to Change Careers

    Featured photo credit: Jason Strull via unsplash.com

    Reference

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