Guide to Answering: “What are your strengths?”

In the Skagit Valley College BASAM program, we focus on building the banks of knowledge, skills and self awareness that it takes to flourish in a managerial career. Through this two-year course of learning, we discover new perspective on the things we do well and the things that are opportunity areas. It is interesting to me that many of us can recite a long list of the opportunity areas but we often struggle with communicating our strengths in a concise, compelling and evidence-based way. This article from Fast Company provides great perspective on ways to describe our strengths and why certain strengths are those that employers look for. It made my evening to see that all of these areas are covered and demonstrated in some way by the BASAM program. What great evidence to point to the real-life, practical learning experience that this program represents!

www.fastcompany.com/90234552/this-is-the-best-answer-to-what-are-your-strengths

The Art of Listening

One of the things I’ve always struggled with is listening. I think quickly, sometimes too quickly, and there have been more times than I care to admit that my mind goes on journeys while engaging in conversation. It’s not that I’m disinterested in the conversation – it’s just that I take what the person is saying and let my mind go off on the sparks, connections and links it wants to make. And then before you know it, I’m six miles away from the conversation and coming back to it takes more mental gymnastics to cover my mental detour and to rebuild my connection with my conversation partner.

I’ve worked hard at improving in this area, paying particular focus on listening with my eyes and ears and I’m always looking for tips and techniques to build this skill. So, I was intrigued by this essay in the New York Times by Kate Murphy, author of a book You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters. Murphy shares the findings of her conversations with expert listeners such as CIA agents and focus group moderators. The article is rife with suggestions on how to be a better listener and with some startling statements about the ramifications of not listening well. None made more impact than Ms Hudson’s closing line “…to listen poorly, selectively or not at all limits your understanding of the world and prevents you from becoming the best you can be.”

And so on this night on this night before the first day of BASAM classes in 2020, I make my new quarter pledge to focus 100% on every conversation I have. I further ask any of my conversation partners to call me on it if they see my mind starting to take out its passport for its journey to other places.

Countdown to Graduation

Today, the Skagit Valley College BAS in Applied Management Class of 2020 started the fifth quarter of their program. Their classes this quarter include Data (Evidence) Driven Decision Making, Leadership and Organizational Behavior and a project-based internship. I’m excited about the curriculum this quarter; all of these subjects are near and dear to my heart. More importantly, they represent some of the most critical, make or break areas of management.

However, no matter how excited I get about the learning journey we have ahead of us over the next three months, nothing beats the euphoria I felt when I wrote the first assignment of the quarter. Today, I had the great honor of creating an assignment inviting the Class of 2020 to submit their application for June graduation. As I wrote, tears came to my eyes as I thought about the toil, sacrifices and determination this milestone represents for the class. And then I chuckled to myself as I realized this was going to be one of those assignments with a 100% on time submission!

You’ve got this Class of 2020, the finish line is steps away!

Meeting People with Compassion.

This article is a wonderful embodiment of advice I was given in 2004, when I became a General Manager at Philip Morris International. The Region President, one of my best bosses told me “love your people and they will love you back and achieve miracles for the team” I’ve gone out of my way to love “my people” even sometimes it’s the last thing I think they deserve. Almost with exception, the results have been spectacular- for the people, the organization and for me,

Check out the full story www.facebook.com/790168635/posts/10159935146698636/

Fall Quarter – Check

The combination of a hectic Fall Quarter end and a busy holiday season has left little time for a program update. With things settling just a bit, I wanted to share a special moment in the BASAM program – the sight of 60+ program participants marking the end of Fall Quarter 2019. I think you’ll agree that the smiles say it all. Congratulations to all for a great quarter!

Skagit Valley College BASAM Classes of 2020 & 2021
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Five Things

We’re in the midst of crafting our personal narratives in the Year 4 BASAM program, and that has had me thinking about how my narrative needs a refresh. Then I came across this fabulous piece my good friend from college Perrin McCormick posted on her Limkedin page – 5 things people would tell you about her. So I’m borrowing shamelessly from Perrin to ask my program people what they would say about me – which was I’ll then use to update my pitch

Go …

Sharing the BASAM Story

Earlier today, I had the honor to share the SVC BASAM story at the annual WA State Baccalaureate Leadership Conference. The only thing that gives me more joy than being in the program’s learning environment is talking about it with others. Thank you BASAM program participants for making it so easy to sing your praises.

Happy Diwali

Light, love and laughter to all

As my program members know, the land of my birth is India. I haven’t lived there since I was seven yet thanks to the upbringing, the ties to my cultural roots are strong.

Today, many of the 1.4 billion Indians who live around the world (almost 18% of the global population) celebrate Diwali. I’ll leave its origins and reasons for others to cover. Suffice to say, Diwali celebrates universal truths of the triumph of good over evil and light over dark. For many, many reasons and memories, it is my most favorite day in the year and so I want to wish all BASAM followers the sentiments of festival – may light, love and laughter grace all corners of your home and heart!

BASAM Guest Speaker Mount Vernon School District Superintendent

On October 25, the BASAM program was honored to have Dr Carl Bruner, Superintendent of the Mount Vernon school district as a speaker in SOC420, a course that examines the intersection of social capital, bias, power and equity and career development. Dr Bruner led the class, drawing from the life story of Dr Donna Beegle, who escaped the pernicious cycle of generational poverty, thanks to a combination of factors including her tenacity and her mentors.

I know I speak for all program members when I say the discussion was thought provoking and inspiring. It will leave a positive, enduring legacy on our hearts, minds and behaviors as workplace leaders and as community members. Thank you Dr Bruner from all of us.