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4 Effective Ways to Execute 2021 Employee Training

There is no doubt employee training boosts motivation and reduces turnover. But did you know that training also provides employees greater direction, purpose, and peace of mind?

According to a recent report, 94 percent of employees say they would stay with a company longer if their employer invested in their learning. The report also found that heavy learners are 47 percent more likely to find purpose in their job. They’re more likely to know the direction of their career. And they’re 47 percent less likely to feel stressed at work.

Ongoing employee education should be a top priority for every organization. Unfortunately, the abrupt shift to remote work sparked by the pandemic forced many companies to push training to the back burner. As companies reexamine their 2021 budgets, many HR and training professionals seek smarter ways to invest in and execute employee training in 2021.

Here are four tips for getting the very best training for your employees — even if you have a smaller budget:

1. Ask Managers and Employees to Help Identify Gaps in Knowledge

According to a recent McKinsey memo, CFOs budgeting for 2021 should be looking to unlock more profound value from every investment. That includes employee training. Of course, for some companies, maintaining certifications will require training. In other cases, you may be completely clueless about the gaps in employees’ knowledge.

To ensure you’re investing wisely, talk to department managers and employees about what type of training would be most beneficial. Their knowledge and support will be helpful if you have to make a case for the investment. Plus, employees are likely to get more out of training they’ve already identified as needed.

2. Invest in Private Group Training

The pandemic may have disrupted your training in 2020, but that doesn’t mean 2021 should be a lost year. You can set up private group training either on-site or virtually, depending on current COVID-19 restrictions and your organization’s comfort level. Private group training gives you ultimate flexibility on scheduling, and the instructors come to you.

Private group training is an excellent investment, in part because you can tailor training to your company and employees’ needs. For example, IT training solution provider IBEX offers a customized curriculum to ensure the training aligns with your organization’s goals. They also incorporate your internal processes and terminology into the curriculum. Plus, educating an entire team or department is more cost-effective than training individuals.

3. Set-up Video “Lunch and Learns”

Executing employee training isn’t just about giving your team the technical skills they need to level up. It’s also about igniting their curiosity and creating a culture of growth. Of course, this idea gets a little nebulous when your team is remote. After all, where does that spirit of inquiry live when your employees are working from home?

One way to keep this growth mindset during a lockdown? Coordinate virtual “lunch and learns.” You’ve probably heard of TED Talks, but now you can get customized video recommendations based on your interests with TED Recommends. Pick a new video every week, and then discuss it as a team via Zoom. Not only will this help spark curiosity and innovation, but it will also give your team some much-needed social interaction.

4. Book Virtual Conferences Early

As COVID-19 cases surged, many organizers canceled major 2020 conferences. It’s unclear if big festivals such as South by Southwest will have physical events in 2021, but many are planning online events. While digital experiences don’t bring all the excitement of in-person events, there are certain advantages to booking online conferences.

First, many conferences are making their panels and keynotes available on-demand. This approach allows for greater flexibility and means your team can be sure not to miss the most relevant sessions. Second, these virtual events enable HR and training professionals to score tickets for a fraction of the typical cost. Tickets to SXSW usually cost upwards of $1,700, for example. But early-bird tickets for the virtual event are going for just $149. Plus, your company won’t have to foot the bill for plane tickets and hotel rooms.

Now more than ever, the future is uncertain; no one has any idea how 2021 will look.

The one thing we do know? Ongoing employee education provides enrichment that boosts job satisfaction and morale. Training is also an investment in your human capital that pays dividends for years. So as you look ahead to 2021, pay extra attention to how you will execute employee training for your company.

How to Take Charge of Your Career

Want to let your peers outpace you?

If you’re not constantly looking for ways to enhance your professional worth, you’ll soon find yourself in the cloud of dust your peers leave behind as they race past you. They’ll be moving rapidly toward your promotion, your job, and the recognition you were meant to have.

If you don’t take action, your value will simply be undermined.

To avoid getting stuck in your career while your colleagues outplay you, you must increase your market value. You must continuously acquire new skills and new experience.

Take charge of your growth

To avoid undermining your professional value, you have to stop settling for good enough, and start aiming higher.

Trying to exceed your own performance can be scary, especially if you’re a fan of comfort zones. Naturally, you fear ending up with even more work and longer days in the office.

Luckily, taking charge of your professional growth doesn’t mean you have to spend 10 extra hours a week at the office, or that your happiness depends on getting a promotion (although the latter might unintentionally happen after what you’re about to do).

Rather, you should approach your development as a series of projects. Projects are advantageous because they’re designed to be completed one step at a time within a definite time frame. This allows you to work on a project alongside your daily tasks and avoid overwhelm.

Come Up With An Idea

So, what should the project be about?

Doesn’t matter. The only requirement is that it allows you to acquire skills and experience that benefit you and your work place. The idea is to make your professional development an intrinsic part of your work life. Since you’ll be spending time on it during office hours, it must have a positive impact on your work.

Maybe you want to read about the latest trends in your professional field, build relationships with people in your industry, create a more efficient system for solving your daily tasks, or even find new creative ways to improve the work environment.

Choosing which idea to pursue can be intimidating, since it involves taking a chance. You have to set a course and commit to taking one step forward every day, even if you’re not sure whether you’re on the right path.

For instance, if you’re looking to acquire new skills, but you aren’t sure which ones would be more beneficial in your job, pick one at random and commit to studying as much as you can in the next hour, day, or week. If it feels right, keep going – if not, change the topic.

Decide On A Time Frame

To increase your chances of success and avoid getting stuck (again), assign a specific time frame for your project. Once the time is up, move to something else. Your primary purpose is to keep growing.

The time frame could be everything from 1 to 12 weeks. Its primary purpose is to make sure you don’t get stuck on a particular project. In his book Project: Success, Mark Sieverkropp suggests a maximum of 60 days. This gives you enough time to immerse yourself in the project but ensures that the end is always in sight.

Even more important, however, is that you commit to taking small steps and set milestones that illustrate your progress. How many hours a week will you spend on the project? How many minutes a day?

You can also measure progress as an outcome, e.g., how many books you read, how many leads you create, or how much time you save due to increased efficiency. But beware: you have limited control over these outcomes. Therefore, I recommend assigning an amount of time or specific little tasks as your measure of success.
This corresponds to what James Clear calls focusing on systems rather and goals. Of course, it’s valuable having a clear direction – maybe in the form of a measurable goal – but it’s the effort that counts.

Take Action Today

The first step is usually the hardest. So to get the ideas flowing, start by asking yourself:

What would be a fun project to do?

Some measure of fun (in this case, earnest interest is just as valid) is critical to mustering the energy necessary to keep growing professionally. Of course, you can’t practice rope skipping during work hours, but surely there is some topic you’d be interested in studying or a skill you’d enjoy improving.

Please share your idea in the comments below. For accountability, you could also share it with a friend, or stick a post-it on your computer screen. Just commit to start working on something that will help increase your professional value.

So get out that pen and paper, and write down one idea for a project that you could start today. Keep it simple – and enjoyable!

 

Image: bigstock

Managing Your Career: What Would Richard Branson Do?

Written by James Clear

In 1966, a dyslexic 16-year-old boy dropped out of school. With only a tiny bit of seed money and a friend’s help, he founded a magazine for students. Fueled by advertisements he sold to local businesses, he ran this bootstrapped operation from the crypt of a local church.

Four years later, seeking ways to grow the fledgling magazine, this enterprising young man started selling mail-order records to his student subscriber base. Within a year, record sales were sufficient to help him build his first record store. After two years of selling records, he decided to launch his own record label and studio.

The small recording studio rented space to local artists, including one named Mike Oldfield. This was where Oldfield created his hit song “Tubular Bells,” which became the record label’s first release. The song eventually sold more than 5 million copies.

Over the next decade, the fearless entrepreneur grew his record label by attracting bands like Culture Club, Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones. Along the way, he continued adding businesses to his portfolio — an airline, railway, mobile phones, on and on. Almost 50 years later, his conglomerate included more than 400 companies.

That young boy who left school behind but kept starting things despite his inexperience and lack of knowledge is now a world-renown billionaire — Sir Richard Branson.

How I Met Sir Richard Branson

When I walked into the Moscow conference room, Branson was sitting in a chair only 10 feet away. A hundred other people surrounded us, but it felt like we were having a private conversation in my living room. He smiled and laughed frequently. His answers seemed unrehearsed and genuine.

At one point, he told the story of how he started Virgin Airlines, a tale that seems to represent his entire approach to business and life. Here’s what he said, as I best recall:

I was in my late 20s, so I had a business, but nobody knew who I was. I was headed to the Virgin Islands and a very pretty girl was waiting for me, so I was, um, determined to get there on time. At the airport, the final flight to the Virgin Islands was cancelled because of maintenance or something. It was the last flight out that night. I thought, “this is ridiculous,” so I went and chartered a private airplane to take me to the Virgin Islands, which I did not have the money to do. Then, I picked up a small blackboard, wrote “Virgin Airlines: $29” on it, and went over to the group of people who had been waiting for the cancelled flight. I sold tickets for the rest of the seats on the plane, used their money to pay for the charter fee, and we all went to the Virgin Islands that night.

Successful People: What Habits Make a Difference?

After speaking with our group, Branson joined a panel of industry experts to discuss the future of business. As everyone around him filled the air with buzzwords and mapped out complex ideas for our future, Branson said things like, “Screw it, just get on and do it,” closely followed by things like, “Why can’t we mine asteroids?”

As I watched the panel, I realized the one person who sounded the most simplistic is the only one who is also a billionaire. So what sets him apart from the rest?

Here’s what I think makes all the difference:

Branson doesn’t merely say things like, “Screw it, just get on and do it.” He actually lives his life that way. He drops out of school and starts a business. He signs the Sex Pistols to his record label when everyone else says they’re too controversial. He charters a plane when he doesn’t have the money.

When everyone else balks or comes up with rational reasons why the time isn’t right to move forward, Branson gets started. He figures out how to stop procrastinating and he takes the first step forward — even if it seems outlandish.

Start Now — Even If You Don’t Feel Ready

Of course, Branson is an extraordinary example, but we can all learn something from his approach. If I summarize the habits of successful people in just one phrase, it’s this — successful people start before they feel ready.

I can’t think of anyone who embodies that philosophy better than Branson. Even the Virgin empire name was chosen because Branson and his partners were business “virgins” when they launched the company.

Branson has spearheaded so many ventures, charities and expeditions throughout his career — it would have been impossible to prepare fully before launching them all. In fact, he was likely not prepared or qualified for any of them. He’s a perfect example of why the “chosen ones” choose themselves.

The Truth About Getting Started

If you’re working on something important, then you’ll never feel ready. A side effect of pursuing challenging work is that you’re simultaneously pulled by excitement and pushed by uncertainty.

When you begin a new endeavor, you’re bound to feel uncomfortable and perhaps even unqualified. But let me assure you — what you have right now is enough. You can plan, revise and delay all you want, but trust me, what you have now is enough to start. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to start a business, lose weight, write a book or re-energize a career. Who you are, what you have, and what you know right now is good enough to get going.

We all start in the same place — no money, no resources, no contacts, no experience. The difference is that some people choose to start anyway. And only those who start can reach the finish line.

So, what are you waiting for?

james-clear-circle-250(About the Author: James Clear is an entrepreneur who leverages behavior science to help you master your habits, improve your health and do better work. For useful ideas on improving your mental and physical performance, subscribe to his newsletter or download his 45-page guide on Transforming Your Habits. Connect with James on Twitter or Google+ or LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Kris Krug Flickr

What's Your Culture Tattoo? #TChat Recap

This Friday is tattoo day at work. Seriously. Tattoo day.

Everyone in our team is encouraged to display meaningful “appropriate” tattoos and the stories behind them. Any form is acceptable — permanent body art, decals, even hand-drawn creations. (Want to join the fun from a distance? Keep an eye on my Twitter stream for some inspired ink.)

The Art of Business Culture

Sure, this sounds a little hokey, like “Hawaiian shirt day.” But that’s the charm. It’s a simple, lighthearted way for us to interact, learn about one another, and gel as a team. What could be wrong with that?

The fact is — today’s crazy-busy world of work assaults us with constant change. It forces us to adapt, and adapt, and adapt again. But in rolling with all the changes, we can easily lose touch with people who are in the trenches with us. Injecting a little camaraderie into the day-to-day flow helps us create, reinforce and enhance our culture. For a company that has absorbed multiple acquisitions in the past two years, that can be a tough sell. But we’re making the case for continuous cultural connections, from the top down and the inside out.

And yes, as I said, along with the fun comes learning. We’re learning in general, and individually from one another. When fun is purposeful and persistent, it actually sticks.

According to Bersin by Deloitte 2014 workforce predictions:

“The traditional definition of a ‘highly engaged’ employee is one who delivers discretionary effort. What leads someone to deliver ‘discretionary effort?’ Our research shows it takes a working environment that is friendly, flexible, fulfilling and purposeful.”

Change Agents and Purposeful Symbols

This week’s #TChat Events guest, Fortune 500 executive leadership advisor, columnist, and author, Mike Myatt, would agree. On #TChat Radio, he noted that the most vibrant, valuable business cultures are built by design. They’re “very purposed and intentioned — creating a place where people actually want to come.”

(Editor’s Note: See full #TChat Event highlights and resource links at the end of this post.)

So, ask yourself these questions:

• How purposeful is your company culture? Even if you lead an organization of one, what are your intentions? Knowing that commitment to culture is integral to business success, are you clear with your employees (and yourself) that you’re here to stay and play? Don’t let your culture slip away through unintentional behavior. Choose to make it stick.

• What’s the shape of your cultural tattoo? I’m not an ink kind of person, but I don’t disparage those who are. In fact, throughout history, great leaders have bound tribes together with powerful visual symbols. In today’s organizations we may think of them as brands, but why shouldn’t meaningful symbols bind work tribes, as well? They do fulfill a primal need for identification and belonging. Does your employer brand accomplish that mission?

Hey — if you show me your tat, I’ll show you mine. On purpose.

For more insights on this topic, check out the highlights and resource links below from this week’s #TChat conversation. Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas and opinions! Your contributions helped bring the concept of “culture makeovers” to life!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Leading a Culture Makeover

SUN 1/5:

MikeMyatt (2)

Watch the #TChat sneak peek hangout now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post featuring a variety of related blog posts, and a “sneak peek” hangout video with guest, Mike Myatt, author of the new book, “Hacking Leadership.” Read the Preview now: “New Year, New Company Culture?

MON 1/6:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro suggested multiple ideas for leaders who need to drive cultural change. Read “5 Ways to Recognize Your Talent Culture.

WED 1/8:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen now to the #TChat Radio replay

#TChat Radio: Host Meghan M. Biro, spoke with Mike Myatt about the role that leaders play in transforming organizational cultures — focusing on several real-world examples. Listen to the #TChat Radio replay…

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan and Mike joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, as Nancy Rubin moderated a dynamic open conversation, centered on 5 related questions. See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: New Year, New Company Culture?

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/new-year-new-company-culture.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mike Myatt for sharing your perspectives on how to drive meaningful organizational change. We value your time, your thoughtful ideas and your expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about organizational culture and change? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Our month of forward-thinking #TChat Events continues on Wednesday, January 15, when @appendTo CEO, Mike Hostetler, helps us take a closer look at remote workplaces — specifically, what makes virtual models work. More details to follow.

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on the #TChat Twitter stream, our LinkedIn discussion group. and elsewhere on social media. So join us anytime — don’t be shy.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

What’s Your Culture Tattoo? #TChat Recap

This Friday is tattoo day at work. Seriously. Tattoo day.

Everyone in our team is encouraged to display meaningful “appropriate” tattoos and the stories behind them. Any form is acceptable — permanent body art, decals, even hand-drawn creations. (Want to join the fun from a distance? Keep an eye on my Twitter stream for some inspired ink.)

The Art of Business Culture

Sure, this sounds a little hokey, like “Hawaiian shirt day.” But that’s the charm. It’s a simple, lighthearted way for us to interact, learn about one another, and gel as a team. What could be wrong with that?

The fact is — today’s crazy-busy world of work assaults us with constant change. It forces us to adapt, and adapt, and adapt again. But in rolling with all the changes, we can easily lose touch with people who are in the trenches with us. Injecting a little camaraderie into the day-to-day flow helps us create, reinforce and enhance our culture. For a company that has absorbed multiple acquisitions in the past two years, that can be a tough sell. But we’re making the case for continuous cultural connections, from the top down and the inside out.

And yes, as I said, along with the fun comes learning. We’re learning in general, and individually from one another. When fun is purposeful and persistent, it actually sticks.

According to Bersin by Deloitte 2014 workforce predictions:

“The traditional definition of a ‘highly engaged’ employee is one who delivers discretionary effort. What leads someone to deliver ‘discretionary effort?’ Our research shows it takes a working environment that is friendly, flexible, fulfilling and purposeful.”

Change Agents and Purposeful Symbols

This week’s #TChat Events guest, Fortune 500 executive leadership advisor, columnist, and author, Mike Myatt, would agree. On #TChat Radio, he noted that the most vibrant, valuable business cultures are built by design. They’re “very purposed and intentioned — creating a place where people actually want to come.”

(Editor’s Note: See full #TChat Event highlights and resource links at the end of this post.)

So, ask yourself these questions:

• How purposeful is your company culture? Even if you lead an organization of one, what are your intentions? Knowing that commitment to culture is integral to business success, are you clear with your employees (and yourself) that you’re here to stay and play? Don’t let your culture slip away through unintentional behavior. Choose to make it stick.

• What’s the shape of your cultural tattoo? I’m not an ink kind of person, but I don’t disparage those who are. In fact, throughout history, great leaders have bound tribes together with powerful visual symbols. In today’s organizations we may think of them as brands, but why shouldn’t meaningful symbols bind work tribes, as well? They do fulfill a primal need for identification and belonging. Does your employer brand accomplish that mission?

Hey — if you show me your tat, I’ll show you mine. On purpose.

For more insights on this topic, check out the highlights and resource links below from this week’s #TChat conversation. Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas and opinions! Your contributions helped bring the concept of “culture makeovers” to life!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Leading a Culture Makeover

SUN 1/5:

MikeMyatt (2)

Watch the #TChat sneak peek hangout now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post featuring a variety of related blog posts, and a “sneak peek” hangout video with guest, Mike Myatt, author of the new book, “Hacking Leadership.” Read the Preview now: “New Year, New Company Culture?

MON 1/6:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro suggested multiple ideas for leaders who need to drive cultural change. Read “5 Ways to Recognize Your Talent Culture.

WED 1/8:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen now to the #TChat Radio replay

#TChat Radio: Host Meghan M. Biro, spoke with Mike Myatt about the role that leaders play in transforming organizational cultures — focusing on several real-world examples. Listen to the #TChat Radio replay…

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan and Mike joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, as Nancy Rubin moderated a dynamic open conversation, centered on 5 related questions. See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: New Year, New Company Culture?

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/new-year-new-company-culture.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mike Myatt for sharing your perspectives on how to drive meaningful organizational change. We value your time, your thoughtful ideas and your expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about organizational culture and change? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Our month of forward-thinking #TChat Events continues on Wednesday, January 15, when @appendTo CEO, Mike Hostetler, helps us take a closer look at remote workplaces — specifically, what makes virtual models work. More details to follow.

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on the #TChat Twitter stream, our LinkedIn discussion group. and elsewhere on social media. So join us anytime — don’t be shy.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Going Social: Learning In Action #TChat Recap

“Learning is more effective when it is active rather than a passive process.”
– Euripides

One of the most active learning environments I know is #TChat.

In fact, sometimes it’s truly hyper-active, as the TalentCulture community meets on the Twitter stream to exchange ideas about the world of work. That’s certainly how it felt this week, as we gathered to celebrate three years of #TChat events and continuous online knowledge sharing.

It was fitting that our conversation focused on social learning. And it was equally fitting to welcome an HR executive who’s responsible for (among many other things) leveraging social tools and techniques to foster learning across her fast-paced, global organization.

Our guest this week was Ambrosia Humphrey, VP of Talent at HootSuite. And the insights she shared on #TChat Radio are instructive for any organization striving to elevate its learning culture.

(Editor’s Note: See full event highlights and resource links at the end of this post.)

Social Workplace: Learning Everywhere

As social media weaves itself deeper into daily life, organizations are searching for effective ways to blend social behaviors with learning methodology. There are good reasons for all the interest.

Social channels remove the hierarchy found in most organizations. With traditional roles de-emphasized, everyone has more freedom to contribute, interact, experiment and develop personally and professionally. It’s collaboration at its best. When organizations channel this collective energy, there’s great potential to boost innovation and business performance.

However, many companies are still only testing the waters in their cultural commitment to social learning. Twitter chats such as #TChat provide a low-risk model outside organizational walls; bringing together experts and talent-minded professionals to discuss today’s workplace — what works, what doesn’t, and how to address key issues.

#TChat: Social Learning Slice Of Life

As #TChat proves, social tools and techniques are an attractive way to develop and sustain learning communities. The immediacy, flexibility and availability of social media make it possible for people with common interests to connect and contribute easily in real-time, from all corners of the globe.

Imagine the possibilities when this approach is applied within organizations! Employees feel more appreciated and valued for their input. Engagement increases. And employers signal a commitment to employee development and growth. It’s a win-win. Companies gain a more engaged, productive workforce, and in turn, employees are challenged and become more competent.

This is why I look forward to many more wonderful years for #TChat and TalentCulture — an open, ongoing learning environment that is helping us all shape the world of work for the better!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Online Communities and Professional Growth

Kevin Grossman Tim McDonald TChat (2)

Watch the #TChat hangout now

SAT 11/16:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Editorial Director, Kathleen Kruse framed this week’s topic in a post that features a special 3rd Anniversary #TChat hangout video with co-founder, Kevin W. Grossman. Read the Preview: “We’re Turning Three! Let’s Celebrate Community.”

SUN 11/17:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro looked at 7 ways leaders can foster a high-octane social workplace culture. Read: “7 Characteristics of a Social Leader.”

MON 11/18 — THU 11/21

Related Posts:
Read: “What Drives Social Influence? Insights From Recruiting Circles” by Carter Hostelley
Read: “#TChat Road Trip: Going to the Next Level Together” by Meghan M. Biro
Read: “Community Heart + Soul: #TChat Favorites” by Kevin W. Grossman

WED 11/20:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guest Ambrosia Humphrey , VP HR at HootSuite, about why and how organizations benefit by committing to social learning initiatives. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and team Hootsuite joined the entire TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, as I moderated an open conversation that centered on 5 related questions. For highlights, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: The Growth of Online Learning

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/from-the-virtual-wilds-the-growth-of-online-learni.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Ambrosia Humphrey for sharing your perspectives on social learning and organizational culture. We value your time, enthusiasm and expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about social learning in the workplace? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, #TChat Events go quiet, as we celebrate the Thanksgiving week in the U.S. However, we’ll be back on December 4th, with a special double-header, featuring two of our community’s most beloved HR experts, Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers! Look for more details next weekend.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream,  our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Generation X at Bat #TChat Recap

Do you ever wish you could instantly capture expert advice or opinions from across the World of Work?

Here’s an easy solution: Just ask a quick question on Twitter about generational differences in today’s workplace. Even better, ask that question during a #TChat event. I guarantee that, within moments, you’ll be drinking from a fire hose of thoughtful, passionate, articulate responses!

That’s exactly what we experienced on the #TChat stream last night with special guest, Mark Babbitt. As founder + CEO of YouTern, an organization that helps young professionals grow through high-impact information, mentorships and internships, Mark has developed strong opinions about the silent strength that Generation X brings to the workforce.

Do You Mind If I Talk About Your Age?

We were curious if the TalentCulture community agrees with Mark’s perspective. And we wondered how important generational similarities and differences are in shaping tomorrow’s organizations.

The conversation exposed what at first blush, might seem like opposing viewpoints. For example, on one hand, many participants emphasized the benefits of celebrating diversity:

“It’s not one-size-fits-all.” …and… “Let’s value the differences.” …and as Tom Bolt suggested…

Meanwhile, other participants emphasized the importance of focusing on similarities:

“Empower people; stop focusing on generations.” …and… “There are inspired, innovative, connected people in every generation.” …and as Kelly Blokdijk noted…

Of course, upon reflection, these perspectives are really two sides of the same coin. Both hold truths that can propel organizations forward.

But key questions remain — HOW BEST can we bring together both ends of this spectrum to create more effective organizational cultures? And how prepared is our next wave of leaders to accomplish that mission? Whenever human behavior is involved, there are many roads to the same destination. Some paths have many more detours and roadblocks. Organizations need smart navigators. Meanwhile, the business world continues to grow more complex and challenging. That’s why we’ll need extraordinary leaders in the future — regardless of their generation.

What’s Age Got To Do With It?

In the meantime, we look to one another for guidance. It’s actually phenomenal how much information has been created and shared about generations in the workplace. And yet organizations still struggle with how to “make it work.”

Just for fun, consider this quick, unscientific peek at the magnitude of commentary available online:

GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS:
“Millennials” work = 39,000,000
“Boomers” work = 37,000,000
“Generation X” work = 3,260,000

You’d think there are enough nuggets of wisdom in there to help us understand and resolve these issues. But ideas, alone, aren’t the answer. Action is also required.

I wonder what “old-school” sage, the late Peter Drucker, would have said about this, if he had joined #TChat Twitter last night? Perhaps only this:

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”

After all, no matter how old or young we are, that’s really the only path to progress.

So let’s keep the ideas flowing. Let’s keep the lines of communication open. Let’s share what works, and toss out what doesn’t. But most of all, let’s encourage one another to be bold and try “something new.” Let’s keep trying, and learning, and growing, and evolving. Let’s look forward to creating that “new” future together!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Gen X — Leading From The Middle

MarkB

Watch the Hangout now

SAT 10/12:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured a brief G+ Hangout video with guest Mark Babbitt. Read the Preview: “Gen X: Leading From The Middle.”

SUN 10/13:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro suggested how leaders can overcome generational differences. Read: “5 Ways Leaders Bridge the Generational Divide.”

TUE 10/15:

Related Post: Dan Newman, author of “The Millennial CEO,” examined the source of effective leadership. Read: “Anatomy of a Leader: Not Just Skin Deep.”

WED 10/16:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with special guest, Mark Babbitt, about the unique challenges and opportunities that Generation X faces in today’s world of work. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Mark, Meghan and Kevin joined the entire community on the #TChat Twitter stream for an open conversation about 5 related questions. For highlights, check the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Gen X: Leading From The Middle

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mark Babbitt for adding your voice to this week’s discussion. Your insights about Gen X have helped challenge our assumptions and expand our understanding.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about the multi-generational workforce? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we tackle another important “world of work” topic. So save the date (October 23) for another rockin #TChat double header. And keep an eye out for details in the next few days.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues! So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your thoughts are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Gen X: Leading From The Middle #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a complete overview of the week’s #TChat highlights and resource links? Read the #TChat Recap: “Generation X At Bat.”)

I just discovered that I’m exceptional! Or to be more accurate, I’m unconventional.

I’m a member of Gen X — and according to those who analyze age-related attributes, I should feel disadvantaged and overlooked in the workplace. Fortunately, I’ve had an interesting and rewarding career path, so perhaps I just got lucky. Or perhaps the assumptions aren’t as universal as we think.

But that raises some related questions — Just how “real” is the generational divide at work? And what do those differences mean, as Baby Boomers begin to retire, and a new wave of leaders steps up to drive the world of work?

Last week at #TChat Twitter, our community collectively agreed that the office is no place for age discrimination. However, for better or worse, each generation brings a unique set of shared experiences to the workplace. Are Baby Boomers and Millennials stealing attention from those of us who are “in the middle”? If so, what kind of impact will that have on the future of work?

This week, we’re addressing those questions head-on. We want to give Gen X the attention it deserves. And we’ve invited an ideal expert to lead the discussion:

Mark Babbitt, Founder + CEO of YouTern, an organization that helps young talent develop professionally through high-impact mentors, internships and information.

I spoke with Mark briefly in a joint G+ Hangout, where he set the stage for this week’s topic:

No matter what generation you represent, we want to hear your thoughts about how organizations can prepare tomorrow’s leaders for success. So please join us, and bring your ideas and opinions!

#TChat Events: Gen X — Leading From The Middle

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, Oct 16 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mark Babbitt about the unique challenges and opportunities that Generation X faces in today’s world of work. Follow the action LIVE online, and dial-in with your feedback and questions!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Oct 16 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream for an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Anyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: Gen X is “forgotten” in today’s workforce — myth or reality?
Q2: How can Gen Xers elevate their visibility and value at work?
Q3: Why is it smart for employers to empower all generations?
Q4: How can today’s leaders develop tomorrow’s decision makers?
Q5: What could technology do to remove generational barriers?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Forbes Picks TalentCulture As A Top Career Site: 3 Reasons Why It Matters

“The people to get even with are those who’ve helped you.”
–J.E. Southard

Today it’s time for us to “get even” by expressing deep gratitude! Why? Because Forbes.com has selected TalentCulture as one of “100 Top Websites For Your Career.” Of course we’re thrilled — and not just for all the obvious reasons. So, in the spirit of lists everywhere, here are our 3 Reasons Why This Forbes List Matters:

1) It Matters For Our Mission

By including us, Forbes is acknowledging the rise of crowdsourcing and virtual communities of practice in today’s social business world. And, if you consider the breadth and caliber of the company we’re keeping, it truly is an honor to be featured.

2) It Matters To Others In The World Of Work

On this list, everyone is a winner because there are no rankings. Instead, as Forbes staff writer Jacquelyn Smith notes:

“Our goal was to assemble a comprehensive guide to smart and engaging…online destinations for interns, job seekers, business owners, established professionals, retirees, and anyone else looking to launch, improve, advance, or change his or her career.”

forbes-logoForbes has developed a highly eclectic mix of sites. It’s not just about wildly popular social platforms like Twitter; professional networking sites like LinkedIn; job boards like CareerBuilder; and reference sites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forbes actually adds meat to those big bones with niche services like CareerBliss and PayScale, as well as informational sites like Lindsey Pollak and Jobacle.

However, for us, the most exciting sites on the list are the many valued friends, partners and participants in our TalentCulture community. For example:

Blogging4Jobs by Jessica Miller-Merrell
Brazen Life by Brazen Careerest
Come Recommended by Heather Huhman
Keppie Careers by Miriam Salpeter
The Office Blend by Dr. Marla Gottschalk
Tweak It Together by Cali Yost
WorkLifeNation by Judy Martin
YouTern by Mark Babbitt

3) We Hope It Matters To You

Most importantly, this recognition is a positive reflection on each of you — the tens-of-thousands of monthly visitors who rely upon TalentCulture as a resource for helpful “world of work” ideas, insights, connections and conversations with professional peers.

This milestone is also an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the hundreds of community participants who, for nearly 4 years have generously developed blog content, appeared as guests on our #TChat Radio shows, participated in our popular #TChat Twitter events, and shared knowledge and peer support continuously on our social media channels.

TalentCulture exists only because of the time, effort and skill that each of you contribute. That’s the beauty of community. This isn’t merely a “website.” This is a reflection of a continuous collaborative process that our founder, Meghan M. Biro, calls a “metaphor for the social workplace.”

Truly, in this case, we could not have done this with out you. So thanks to you all! And congratulations on what you’ve helped us create. Stay tuned to this site — and let’s see where our living learning laboratory will take us next!

Image Credit: redagainPatti at flickr

 

Want To Be Your Own Boss? Try This First

By Hans Balmaekers, Founder and Director, sa.am

Plan B: Entrepreneurship?

Many young professionals quickly discover that corporate life falls short of expectations. Do you relate? You probably feel you have more to offer than your job requires. You may even think you could outperform your manager. If so, you’re not alone.

It’s no secret that Millennials tend to score lowest in employee engagement. Many of us feel that, if only the economy weren’t so bad, we could have started our own companies by now and could proudly call ourselves entrepreneurs.

The great stories of leading self-made innovators like Elon Musk make it easy to see ourselves standing in their shoes, building companies and disrupting industries just as they did. And because corporate life can be so frustrating and unfulfilling, it seems attractive to completely jump ship and do our own thing.

Perhaps if you burned your bridges, you could soon be the next Steve Jobs, on stage, presenting the next big thing, with the world at your feet…

News Flash: Entrepreneurship Is No Ticket to Success

Ready for a wake-up call? The truth is that your dream isn’t likely to become a reality.

Most young-professionals-turned-entrepreneurs don’t even come close. They aren’t even entrepreneuring. They often do the same kind of work as before — but as consultants. (What else can they do with only a few years of experience?) These free agents chase clients, network like crazy, stick their toes in social media and market themselves, but they find themselves still unsatisfied and earning less than before. Has being brave ever felt less appealing?

Another Path

Maybe you shouldn’t leave and become an entrepreneur. Maybe there’s another way to use your talents and ideas and channel your frustrations about how your organization needs to change. Leaving is not your only option. Why not take a deep breath, stand up, rise above your desk and shout out, “Enough! I’m making changes around here!”

Sure, that might seem a bit theatrical. But be honest. Doesn’t that statement actually describe how you feel?

Start A Secret Intrapreneur Mission Now

If so, try a more subtle way to go about disrupting the status quo — start a secret mission to become an intrapreneur. That means you can use your entrepreneurial mindset and skills to create the job you love and generate better results for your company.

Read that again — a job you love that generates results for your company. Is that possible? Sure it is. Many have done it. Not all openly call themselves intrapreneurs, but the population of these inspiring and talented people is growing. They are changing their companies’ cultures from within, and launching hugely successful products. Think of companies like 3M, Sony, Vodafone, Dell and Google, just to name a few. Intrapreneurs are absolutely essential to these organizations. Most of them started their careers at the same point as you. They experienced the same frustrations as you. And just like you, they knew change was needed.

They had similar ideas and the same urgency to challenge the status quo and figure out how to get things moving. But instead of walking away from those challenges and leaving their employers, they decided to drive the change they envisioned.

Being a change-maker takes passion, persistence, patience and resilience. It’s not the easy road. And it’s not how our generation was raised. We’ve been told that the choice is always ours, that we can have whatever we want, and that participation is optional.

GenY operates with the mantra, “If we don’t like it, we don’t do it.” If you don’t like your job, it might seem easier to quit, but that will not necessarily help. You may still end up feeling unfulfilled, with no stage and no audience (plus a lower salary, or none at all).

Isn’t it more exciting and rewarding to show colleagues, managers and senior executives that we Millennials can fulfill our promise of being innovators, connectors, change-makers and leaders?

The next time you envision yourself as Steve Jobs, picture yourself on the same stage announcing the same breakthrough innovation — but wearing a shirt with your current company’s logo. A successful and happy intrapreneur. Doesn’t that feel more fulfilling than endlessly chasing gigs? You still get your monthly salary, and if you do it right, you’ll grow your income faster than you would as an entrepreneur.

Still Not Into Intrapreneuring? Consider This

Like many GenY workers, you may feel inspired to play your part in changing the world for the better. Multinational corporations and other big organizations play a major role in change-making, believe it or not.

You can take a shorter shower to save water, but compared to the consumption of big industrial corporations, it’s a droplet. You can talk for hours about the financial crisis, but as long as big banks and institutions don’t change the way they operate, will it ever be solved? Transforming education is a must, but if there’s no work for hundreds of millions of young people, why care?

Multinational corporations and big organizations are crucial in changing the world for the better. And the only way to make them frontrunners in that process, rather than followers, is for next-generation employees to drive change from within.

What’s Stopping You?

Ready to apply yourself to the ideas that will help you become an intrapreneur, rather than an entrepreneur? The best way to start is by learning how to perform better at your current job and in less time. Your time can be better spent investing in interesting side projects, engaging in more strategic relationships, and building your reputation.

Are you in?

Hans-Balmaekers-founder-sa.am_-001(Author Profile: Hans Balmaekers is the Founder and Director of sa.am, a resource for young professionals who care about their future, want to make a difference, and want to develop the mindset and skills to become change-makers. This month, sa.am is launching an online intrapreneurship course to prepare aspiring and new intrapreneurs for success. Connect with Hans on Twitter, or on LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Brazen Life, a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, the blog offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

4 Employee Engagement Drivers: Workplace Social Technology

We’ve heard the term “employee engagement” a gazillion times, and one could even say it’s now just a buzzword.  If you ask me, it is the most critical aspect of any successful organization….without a doubt!  A positive correlation exists between employee engagement scores and business results (via Right Management – “Employee Engagement, Maximizing Organizational Performance”).

I have worked with a dozen plus diverse organizations on their employee engagement strategies, not only identifying their top engagement drivers, but facilitating strategy design and execution.  I can see how it could be a buzzword to many because they have not the slightest clue how to take employee engagement beyond just simply talking about it.

Regardless, my definition of employee engagement is, “an intimate emotional connection that an employee feels for the company they work for that propels them to exert greater discretionary effort in their work.”  Take note that their are many definitions that exist, and whichever one you favor, remember this…it all comes down to the positive emotions that employees possess, individually and collectively.  In my experience the top 4 engagement drivers are the following:

  1. Strength of leadership capabilities of direct managers.
  2. Perception that advancement opportunities exist, and are attainable.
  3. Opportunities for personal growth and development.
  4. Appropriate recognition for the good work that I do.

The “What” Versus the “How”

I just listed what I have seen to be the top 4 common engagement drivers.  The next natural question would be, “now what?  How are we supposed to improve engagement if we now know where our focus needs to be?”  There is no cookie-cutter response because it depends on each organization, because each organization is unique due to the distinctive make-up of their workforces.  But, I will say this…the “how” (i.e. executing an employee engagement strategy) is as important, if not more so, than the “what” (i.e. what we need to focus on).

This is where social technology could theoretically play a huge impactful role.  I say theoretically because again, the success of strategy execution does not lie in the technology/platform itself, but in how it’s executed.  At the top of my head, key things that are required for successful execution are strong leadership, people change management, communication, trust, authenticity, and ultimately a strong perception of competence in the eyes of employees.  Notice how this is nothing different than any other major organizational initiative?

One Step Further

You need to also recognize that workforces in North America are more diverse than ever before.  Work is now fully integrated into our personal lives, rather than being completely separated like it was just a few decades ago.  We value customization, personalization, flexibility, variety and choice.  Organizations need to understand this, and find a way to fully integrate these characteristics into how employee engagement strategies are executed.  Now enter social technology!

Where Technology Could (Really Should) Play a Role

Keep in mind that technology by itself means very little.  It’s a very similar concept to strategy, which I’ve said many times before, “is just a piece of paper with words on it” (see Strategy = A Piece of Paper…).  If you don’t execute it well, it doesn’t matter how great the technology/strategy is.  All technology does is enable organizations to be flexible, offer variety and choice, enable personalization and customization.  It’s a vehicle, albeit a very effective one ONLY if you actually get the “how” part and focus on executing.

Having made my point about what technology is I will say this.  The market has just been bursting with new niche social technology platforms that aim to help make business easier, more effective and efficient, and ultimately more successful.  The mainstream platforms include the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google and others.  Example niche HR platforms include Rypple, ZuzuHire, SurgeHire, Yammer, Yackstar, ClearFit, Success Factors and I Love Rewards.  Thousands more exist out there, but you get my point.

Tying it All Together…

So, I have talked about the following:

  1. Employee Engagement, Maximizing Organizational Performance
  2. How employee engagement strategy is executed is more important than what you’re executing.
  3. Impact of workforce demographics on our preferences for customization, flexibility and personalization.
  4. Work is now fully integrated into our personal lives—no longer separated.
  5. Social technology is a huge part of our lives, and social platforms are highly effective vehicles to support strategy execution.
  6. The key in all of this is that leveraging technological platforms within traditional HR functions, particularly as it relates to employee engagement strategy will enable organizations to optimize their ability to drive positive employee engagement results.

(Note: The next post in this series of 3 posts will explore a case study of an organization that integrated social technology into its employee engagement strategy to drive positive results.)

Image Credit Flickr

http://jeffwaldman.ca/?p=86St

New Years Resolution For The "Over-Thinker"

My personal strategy is doing lots of evaluation on important things throughout the year to gauge what’s working and not working. These regular progress and results checks suggest a range of adjustments to make (along with their potential impacts). Afterward, I decide what to change.

Given this ongoing process, I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions; they seem too point-in-time to be effective. Handed the assignment of doing a December 31st TalentCulture post though, it’s a topic begging to be addressed.

Based on a recent panel discussion I attended of successful entrepreneurs, I think the perfect area for a 2011 New Year’s resolution is my penchant for systematic consideration, thought, and planning in business.

During the breakfast session, four entrepreneurs on the panel shared their strategies for innovation and planning. It was clear from hearing them that careful, systematic consideration about business decisions is WAY overrated.

How OVERRATED you may ask?

Here are some of their comments from my live tweets of the event:

THAT’S how overrated planning is according to these four.  Based on their track records, it’s hard to dispute what works for them.

Listening between the lines, four factors trigger their collective willingness to trade a lot less pondering for much more rapid implementation:

1.  An intuitive understanding of their businesses, customers, and markets

2.  Unwavering confidence in their abilities to sense, execute, succeed, recover (when they don’t succeed) amid opportunities that present themselves

3. A risk-embracing orientation

4. The flexibility start-ups can enjoy over bigger competitors

Looking at the list, I’m good at dissecting business situations, but my planning orientation comes from the need to anticipate multiple potential downsides (counter to #2) and risks (counter to #3) to minimize them. Having spent most of my career in a corporate setting, flexing ample resources is central to most business strategies (counter to #4).

So to challenge myself and develop my weaker skill sets, I’m entering 2011 with a new acronym emblazoned on my brain: BITP.

It stands for “Better Implementing Than Planning.”

Or “Pondering.”

Or both. You decide…RIGHT NOW!

I’m making 2011 the year of “Smart Immediacy” for me. If you’ve also been labeled an “over-thinker” in your career, I’d encourage you to join in.

The focus will be getting much better at quickly perceiving, evaluating, and deciding on opportunities to begin implementing on them much more rapidly and decisively. What will we do to improve?

  • Fully trust ourselves where we’ve already demonstrated success.
  • Limit the time allowed for planning for contingencies almost certain to never happen.
  • Look for opportunities to slice several steps from existing processes.
  • Embrace that decisions once made can be reversed if they don’t pan out as anticipated.

What do you think? Are you up for joining me on this new approach in 2011? Or if this is already your orientation, are you willing to share your guidance and suggestions?

Join in the year of “Smart Immediacy” starting RIGHT NOW!

Cultivating Diversity: A New Way to Network

Jon Lovitz did a routine on Saturday Night Live about how to be more successful. The answer to success was always the catch phrase, “Get to know me!”

Looking back on my first year of leaving the corporate world for entrepreneurship in the world of strategy and innovation, the success we’ve had has been linked in every instance to getting to know OTHER people over the past few years. This effort was coupled with trying to deliver a valuable experience to others through a presentation they attended, assisting them with networking, or somehow trying to help them whenever we interacted.

Another important element of my “getting to know people “strategy is embracing a concept vital to successful innovation: cultivating diversity.

Too often, I see people networking very narrowly, trying to meet people similar to them. Yet when all your networking effort goes toward people in the same company, industry, or geographic location, you wind up tremendously limiting your options.

As you look toward the coming year, here are 6 strategies to enhance the diversity of your networking efforts and ensure you get the greatest benefit from investing time to meet new people:

  1. Expertise Diversity: Network by topic, not by group – Rather than sticking to the same association networking events you always attend, review the list of educational events in your area and target your networking participation by topic, not group. For me, going to new marketing-related meetings and even to a lunch sponsored by a largely female-oriented organization led to re-establishing contacts with people I hadn’t seen for years and who now had very different careers and networks.
  2. Time Diversity: Allow yourself to network at multiple times of the day – It’s easy for your schedule to dictate networking only at certain times of the day, i.e. typical work requirements make lunches difficult so you attend happy hours. Figure out how to vary that pattern and go to events at a new time of the day. You’ll run into different types of people, creating new opportunities.
  3. Age Diversity: Attend events with someone of a different generation – If you’re going to the right types of diverse events, people from three or four generations should be present. To help in meeting people across the greatest age range, ask friends in generations preceding and following yours to join you at events. They can help attract and make introductions with a broader mix of attendees than you might ever pursue on your own.
  4. Profile Diversity: Be inefficient in meeting new people – Sometimes when you meet a new person, you feel like you’re being put through a standard set of qualifying questions to see if you warrant more time and follow-up. Efficient, yes. But I rarely want to invest time with those people. Put away the efficient qualifying-speak and ask questions which make sense for the person you’re talking with right now. Invest more time in hearing what they have to say instead of only listening for keywords important to you.
  5. Channel Diversity: Live tweet an event you’re attending and blog about it afterwardSharing a speaker’s content through tweeting at an event is a great way to meet and interact with new people both at the venue and those following it remotely. Turning your tweets into a subsequent blog post (either for your own blog or perhaps the association’s blog) provides yet another way to meet others interested in the speaker, the topic, or the sponsoring group.
  6. Audience Diversity: Speak at an event, especially if you never have before – If you’ve not been a public speaker previously, make this the year to prepare content, rehearse, and break into the ranks of people sharing their knowledge at public events. You’ll meet multiple people and be in the wonderful position of having offered something of value to them before even getting to know them.
  7. Atmosphere Diversity: Throw a party and invite too many people – Hosting a party is a great way to get to know people you already know in new ways. Since only a certain percent of people you invite will actually attend, play the percentages and invite a bunch of new people – more than you can accommodate – and discover new attendees who will become your great party guests of the future.

With these diversity-building efforts incorporated into your efforts, you’ll get to know a whole new group of people and have a much stronger network to show for it.