Big Result for 2015?

Happy Holidays!

Having a nice restful break is a great thing.  It provides an opportunity to reflect on the year that was, and to think about the upcoming year.  I have some big challenges ahead next year as most others do as well.

This next year needs to be different for me.  I need to think differently, act differently and lead differently.  My management is expecting a breakthrough result, but the good news is I believe I have a plan.

While I can’t discuss the plan, I can describe some of the key considerations I made going into the development of the plan.¬† These elements are answering the “why” question, developing a clear set of expectations (down to every team member from Day 1 of the new year)¬†for higher levels of performance, strategies for rewarding team members who rise to the challenge as well as plans to deal with those who don’t make it (and that’s OK) and developing the metrics to figure out how we are doing.

Answering the “why” question is probably the most important part to get right.¬† People will want to¬†know why¬†this plan, why we need¬†a certain result, among other things.¬† From there they will be able to better connect to the plan once it is communicated.

I will keep track of my progress here and share any lessons learned.  No doubt there will be some.

Big Presentation Tips

This past week I did a thirty-minute talk as the leadoff presentation of our internal symposium.  This was one of my larger talks I have done, and it was an important one in my professional world.  A few days have past and I have had a chance to reflect on the overall experience.  I am happy to report the talk itself went well, based on the feedback I got.  Most importantly, my boss was happy!

Doing great presentations is¬†an required¬†skill for¬†leaders in today’s business world. ¬†I have decided to double my efforts to improve in this area. ¬†I’ve been told I am competent as a speaker, but I would like to become a lot better at it. ¬†It’s probably the best thing I can do to prepare for the next level.

I learned a few valuable lessons that I will apply next time (hopefully) I am invited to do a talk.  The three big lessons were: be clear about your goal, work with a team and rehearse in front of an audience.

Be Clear About Your Goal

In this recent experience, the goal was apparent to me. ¬†I was speaking in front of an external expert and I had a good idea of what he was going to say. ¬†As I was going through preparation, I went back to my objective: to energize and inspire the audience. ¬†Essentially I wanted to “build a bridge” to next speaker. ¬†I found it helpful to remind myself of that objective often during the process. ¬†It helped me stay on point and get the right content in the talk.

Work With a Team

As a senior manager, I have access to a great team in my laboratory. ¬†I brought together a small group of people to help me craft the presentation file, sound out the key messages and provide encouragement and support. ¬†I don’t think you’d need direct reports to build a team to help. ¬†If it’s important enough, you should not have too much trouble getting some teammates to help. ¬†Probably the biggest help my team provided in this experience was to provide encouragement, especially as the talk got closer. ¬†They helped me keep things in perspective.

Rehearse In Front of An Audience

For big presentations, I found it to be critical to give the talk to as large an audience as you can find. ¬†If you can replicate the venue of the talk that is helpful as well. ¬†This will help you figure out the time of your talk, and give you a chance to gather feedback. ¬†As my instructor a few weeks ago said, it’s all about muscle memory. ¬†If you go through a good dress rehearsal, your body will remember how it felt and it will reduce your stress as a speaker.

As I mentioned earlier, I think being clear about the goal, working with a team and rehearsing in front of an audience will be the activities I will focus on next time I get the call to do a big presentation.

The Big Plays Blog Turns 1!

Didn’t think it would happen, but I managed to sustain this effort through the whole year. ¬†For me, that was a notable accomplishment. ¬†Welcome, now, to Year 2.

Whale Watching in Monterey Bay, October 2010

In 2011, I will work a little harder to add content. ¬†More relevant content with greater frequency will be the approach here. ¬†I noticed today that WordPress (the host of my blog site) has a contest to inspire more blogging. ¬†I am going to make a goal of a weekly post. ¬†Hopefully by simply writing it down makes it a stronger personal commitment. ¬†Let’s see how it goes.

Some New (or Old) Advice

Mr. Ted Turner - November 9th, 2010

This week, I had the privilege of attending a conference at which Ted Turner (yes, THE Ted Turner) did a keynote session, which was conducted in an interview format.  The moderator asked a series of questions and Mr. Turner provided his insights on a variety of topics that were relevant to the conference.

Without going into the details of the discussion, he did share one nugget that stuck with me:

“Early to bed, early to rise, work hard, and ADVERTISE!”

I think this is going to be my motto as I go into 2011.¬† What struck me is that in order to move forward, whether it be my career, or my cause, it’s not enough just to work hard.¬† You have to be able to tell others what you’re doing and why it matters.

It may be the core essence of The Big Play.  Next, I am going to come up with some strategies to put this idea into motion.  Stay tuned for 2011.  My team and I are going to take our message to the streets.

Enhancing Career Growth – Visibility Tactic #1: The Elevator Speech

I’m going through the performance appraisal process with my team again.  As I am thinking about this process, I am seeing a common thread around visibility.  It is no longer good enough to simply show up, do good work and expect to receive recognition through promotions, high performance ratings, corporate awards or new opportunities.  So, how does one strategically enhance their visibility?

The next series of posts deals with this topic.  The first one of the series is developing an effective elevator speech.  Nothing is better than a great elevator speech.  An elevator speech is a term used to describe the story you would share about what you do that is done in the time it takes to take an elevator ride, usually about one to two minutes.  Great elevator speeches are memorable to those who hear them.  They are crisp, to the point, and usually contain a key business impact within it.  Because they are memorable, they tend to be remembered and will come up when ratings are discussed or opportunities are staffed.  I can’t say I have mastered this skill yet, but I like to think I am moving in the right direction.  What would YOU say if you were on the elevator with your CEO?  Could you capture her/his attention?  Tell me your elevator speech stories!