Whether you’ve just graduated from school or you’ve had it up to here in your current position, looking for a job can test the limits of your patience. It can actually be downright discouraging. Your well-written, error-free cover letters rarely solicit a response. On those rare occasions when you’re granted an interview, you show up on time wearing nice, conservative clothing and generally make a strong impression. The interview goes well and you’re certain you’ll hear from the company.
Days go by … and nothing. Self-doubt starts to creep in. Maybe you’re not as qualified as you think.
In fact, you may very well be an ideal candidate, but computer programs designed to evaluate information gleaned from job applications, personality tests and social media unceremoniously reject you. A growing number of organizations are depending on algorithms to help shape their hiring practices, yet some observers believe it’s a mistake to rely so heavily on technology.
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In his new book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass, Bill Treasurer doesn’t mince words. Leadership is hard, and sooner or later every leader faces a situation that is literally a kick in the behind. Throughout the book, he drives home one point: If you want to become a better leader, you have to learn from those situations – you have to learn from your mistakes.
getAbstract had the opportunity to sit down with Bill and discuss his new book.
getAbstract: The moment we read the title of your new book, we were intrigued. Why did you call it A Leadership Kick in the Ass?
Bill: Even before I wrote Leaders Open Doors, I pitched an idea to my publisher of a book called Leadership is Freaking Hard. And it resonated. There are a lot of books that give you the idea that leadership is all this flowery attractive stuff, but if we get real about leadership, it’s freaking hard. As we were talking about that title, we thought it was too playful, and so we changed it to A Leadership Slap in the Face. Leadership is often a wake-up call; leaders go through startling experiences that are humbling – you fail, you mess up, you have a giant misstep. Those events are critical to the formation of you as a leader. They give you the seasoning, experience and wisdom you need.
As we were shaping the book, we shared experiences and we’d often say, “You know, I was facing this situation and I’ll tell you it was a real kick in the ass.” After a while we thought, “Why don’t we just call it what it is, A Leadership Kick in the Ass.”
I did get permission from my 80-year-old mother. [Laughs] I said, “Mom, we’re thinking about calling the book A Leadership Kick in the Ass, what do you think?” And being a New Yorker she said, “You know, Bill, ass isn’t really much of a swearword. You even hear it in PG movies.” So, we thought it was edgy enough to get attention but tame enough that readers will know our aim isn’t to offend them in any way.
Who doesn’t identify with the following scenario? A restaurant hostess escorts several young adults to a table. Literally seconds after being seated, they whip out their smartphones like Ninja warriors with throwing stars. Uh-oh, must be urgent. My goodness, someone else wants to be your Facebook friend! Wow, Beyonce’s new hairdo is blowing up Twitter! Holy cow, the Yahoo account you just checked three minutes ago has two more emails!
Those of you fretting over the future consequences of artificial intelligence may want to note the unsettling robotic behavior of present day flesh-and-blood human beings. If you’re not scared, you ought to be.
Prof. Sherry Turkle, director of the Initiative on Technology and Self at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is clearly alarmed by technology’s effect on people. Her video talk, Humans First – Technology Second, offers a pessimistic assessment of the current state of interpersonal relationships.
“Technology makes us forget what we know about life,” says Turkle, whose research revealed that the majority of people prefer texting to talking – even though they acknowledge that it damages the interaction.
getAbstract: How did you conclude that fear is the number one obstacle to managing change effectively?
Stott Steinberg: The fact that we’re all capable of successfully innovating our way to the top – and all it takes is one simple shift in mindset to do so. Research shows the leading barrier to ongoing business success isn’t time, money, or resources: It’s resistance to change, and lack of risk tolerance. As fast-moving and unpredictable as today’s world is though, we’re all forced to adapt on a daily basis. Haven’t taken a good look at your shifting schedule or priorities lately? Surprise – chances are, you’re successfully changing and innovating every day already. If everyone is capable of innovating, the only thing stopping you from getting ahead consistently is your own sense of perspective. As we discovered, fear comes in seven flavors. Learn to conquer them and you’ll soon find out – the possibilities are endless.
Start the year right and become the most efficient version of yourself. To help your personal and professional development, we’re challenging you to #30DaysOfSummaries with getAbstract from January 2 to 31.
When he was charting his career course, it’s unlikely that Mike Rowe thought about collecting owl vomit, making charcoal or turning the bones of dead cattle into useful products.
Rowe probably didn’t envision himself developing a passion for the Dirty Jobs TV show that enjoyed a seven-year run on the Discovery Channel. Life can be funny that way. Doors open unexpectedly and you walk on through. Or maybe you’re among the fortunate ones in a profession you’ve dreamed of since childhood.
In his 2016 video talk, Don’t Follow Your Passion, Rowe warns against the dangers of pursuing unrealistic goals and ignoring the practical demands of life. Wishes and desires, he explains, often are not aligned with talents and capabilities.
“Just because you’re passionate at something doesn’t mean you won’t suck at it,” Rowe says.
Have you ever wondered how Google and Starbucks stay ahead of the game? The answer might surprise you – they have great learning cultures.
In his book, Building an Innovative Learning Organization, Russell Sarder said it best, “You don’t know what you don’t know, and it’s what you don’t know that can lead to wasted resources and disappointing outcomes.”
To succeed, your company needs a workforce that is well-informed and has access to relevant knowledge. And every employee needs to feel empowered to take charge of their own learning – your company has to become what Sarder calls a “learning organization.”
“Learning organizations are better able to compete because they are more able to innovate and respond quickly to change in a world where change is one of the few things we can count on,” says Sarder. This is exactly where getAbstract comes into play – we support your company’s existing learning culture or help you build one. Thousands of companies worldwide – including 40% of Fortune 100 companies – have already become learning organizations with getAbstract. Why not yours?
|Building an Innovative Learning Organization
A Framework to Build a Smarter Workforce, Adapt to Change, and Drive Growth
Time management is arguably the only topic on which you can get a consensus. Whether you’re a CEO, nurse, architect or studio musician, everyone agrees that it’s critical to use your time wisely. “I really enjoy racing to appointments, blowing deadlines, working overtime and missing meals and sleep,” is not something you hear in the break room.
Considering that 24 hours is our maximum daily allotment, time is a precious commodity. Once gone, it can never be recaptured. Some people seem to have the gift of organization while others are tossed about in a perpetual vortex of disorder. How compelling is our pursuit of effective time management? Well, getAbstract’s most downloaded book summary is Kevin Kruse’s 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management. The author interviewed billionaires, Olympians, scholastic achievers and entrepreneurs in an effort to identify common traits that enable them to be high fliers.
If you’re working at a job you dreamed about as a child, consider yourself fortunate. Many high school students struggle to identify their areas of interest. They attend college because everyone else does and graduate with history or philosophy degrees that are fairly useless in the real world.
A four-year college education is no longer an automatic ticket to success. Advanced degrees – and additional financial obligations – often are required in certain fields. But what if you don’t know which direction you’re headed? What if you’re no closer to choosing a profession than you were before going off to college?
Ever feel like a hamster on one of those little wheels, running furiously but going nowhere? You try to focus on work but you can’t help thinking about what’s for supper or when to squeeze in a workout or who’s going to watch the kids Saturday night. Your mind always seems to be racing.
Well, the authors of One Second Ahead would like to suggest that your participation in drama and chaos is strictly optional. You’re not obligated to feel overwhelmed, powerless and distracted. Rasmus Hougaard, with Jaqueline Carter and Gillian Coutts, believe that properly training your mind using specific techniques will boost your productivity and peace of mind. getAbstract recently connected with the authors for a quick Q&A.
What is “mindfulness” and why is it vital in a corporate environment?
In simple terms, mindfulness is a set of tools and techniques designed to enhance mental effectiveness. Specifically, mindfulness training techniques skillfully applied to the workplace enhance focus, creativity, communication, team work and a sense of well-being. These are vital skills for team success and organizational results.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” – Steve Jobs
Believe it or not, there was a time when sticky notes, disposable diapers, luggage on wheels and bite-sized Snickers didn’t exist. Yet those are precisely the types of products we look at and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Americans have always been proud of their work ethic. Millions of immigrants arrive here with little more than a suitcase and a dream. Through sheer determination and maybe a break or two along the way, they overcome long odds and make something of themselves.
How many of us have been conditioned to believe in a direct correlation between success and the amount of time we spend at the office? Eight-hour workdays? Please. The other guy is putting in 12 or 14. Feeling guilty punching out at 5 with work still piled on your desk? Feeling a bit coerced when your boss asks you to volunteer to work overtime?
Knowing good work habits is only half the battle; you also have to apply what you know in order to achieve the desired outcome. Here are more ways to work smarter.