Independent learning is a cornerstone of Skagit Valley College’s Bachelor in Management program. Our classes meet just once a week on Fridays so the bulk of our learning is outside the classroom, in our own environments and with ourselves to hold ourselves accountable. The program prepares our participants for the workplace of the unexpected and the unanticipated; no way is this more true than in the current world health pandemic.
The tips in this great article from Fast Company shares hacks on maintaining workplace productivity when working remotely or independently and are equally useful whether you’re a student or and employee who is staying at home to limit the spread of the coronavirus
Check out this article by neuro scientist Amwesha Bannerjee. Bannerjee talks about how her fear of public speaking kept her from sharing her research publicly. She describes how she overcame that fear – by acknowledging and accepting that the fear was a normal function of the brain and over time, embracing that fear.
Fear has kept me from any number of things. A fear of math kept me from pursuing a degree in Economics and a career in finance or banking. A fear of not being a Renoir or a knitting ninja kept me from painting and knitting. And a fear of change kept me stuck in a career that was becoming less and less fulfilling as each day went by. As I look back, I realized that I embraced the fears by accepting that fear is completely normal when I doing something I don’t know how to do – by embracing my inner learner. As a result, I’ve moved from a stifling corporate role to my passion of learning, teaching and coaching, I knit, I paint and I teach Accounting. One thing I’m pledging to put more attention to is my fear of being a duff on the golf course – I’m going to work on embracing that fear this summer.
Curious about you : what fear are you ready to embrace or have you already conquered? How?
I just read this blog post from the Harvard Business Review, which discusses the perils of being so focused on one thing that it defines who you are. The post discusses it in the context of a career but it could so easily apply to any element.
For me, it’s definitely been my career that’s been that one thing. In my corporate days, I lived and breathed my job, even though countless people warned me about the related danger and risk of burn out. I started to see the same patterns repeat in my second career as faculty. It’s what happens when you love what you do.
This time though, thanks to a superb circle of people who care- my family, my friends at Skagit Valley College and beyond and a number of my program participants, I’ve caught myself. Realizing that I was falling into that swirling sink hole of working almost non stop and seeing the impact it was starting to have on my effectiveness as an instructor and on my relationships, I caught myself. I’ve pulled back the hours, redeployed some of that time for me and my interests : knitting, art, walking, reading, time with my loved ones including my Bandit. And guess what: by working less, because I’m rested and relaxed, I’m achieving more – funny that!
So what about you? How have you dealt with the risk of burn out? When do you see the signs of the slippery slope? How do bring yourself back?
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!
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.
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!
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,
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!
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