Six Low to No Cost Ways to Maximize your Executive Time

Staying up to date on trends and issues in your industry is imperative to effective leadership. Setting aside time in your schedule to listen, read, and think is a great justification of #ExecutiveTime and below are a few ideas about how to maximize this time.

Webinars
I get emails about free webinars all of the time and I am sure you do too. I register for them knowing full well that I will not be glued to the screen during a live webinar but counting on the fact that producers will send a link to the recorded version. The only flaw in my plan is that I never have time to listen to the archived content.

Podcasts
I admit that some of my favorite podcasts cover true crime and political scandals but there is a podcast on every topic. They are everywhere and accessible on almost every device and make for great listening during executive time or while trying to stay calm in traffic.

Published Articles
Reputable articles published by established leaders or associations are free and zipping across the internet. Registering for newsletters from industry associations or simply following thought leaders on LinkedIn can ensure that information is delivered to your inbox.

Conferences and Seminars
Last week, I received notification that registration for a national conference that I typically attend is now open. This year, they are offering a variety of virtual attendance options that make attendance cost effective considering many target participants work for small nonprofits. These virtual options make it possible for me to attend the keynote address and designated workshops from within the glorious white walls of my office instead of the loud and raucous convention center in New Orleans.

Of course, I would prefer to attend the conference in person but virtual options allow me to tap into the knowledge and future direction of the work for $1500 less than traditinal attendance will cost. For those of us who believe that being frugal is a virtue; the a la carte participation options provide a bonus.

MOOCs
It is a weird acronym for one of the best, free, development mechanisms to ever be invented. MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses are free (typically) online courses available to the public. Courses include videos, readings, and discussion forums on various topics.

E-Books
The thoughts captured in e-books can be innovative, controversial, and sometimes even bizarre. In most cases, they are free in exchange for a little contact information and can challenge your thinking.

Career Hack: How to Prepare for an Informational Interview

Last week, I was talking with a colleague who is preparing for the GRE. He is excited and very nervous about the test and about what happens after the exam because he is not sure exactly what type of graduate degree he wants to pursue.

We talked a little about his strategy for investigating career options. Currently, he is researching programs and “stalking” people on LinkedIn (his words, not mine).

I asked if he thought about reaching out to people via LinkedIn and actually asking for an informational interview. After recovering from the initial shock of me suggesting he speak to someone in real time, face to face; he agreed that it could be helpful.

Have you ever conducted an informational interview? If not, here are a few tips about “Preparing for an Informational Interview”.

Feel free to contact me if you need help thinking through a strategy for conducting informational interviews.

PURPOSE is the new passion

Purpose is the new PassionThere is universal agreement that the word “passion” is highly overused in professional settings. It needs to be retired.

That word should have been tossed in the wastebasket years ago but seems to continue to land in recycle. It comes back to haunt hiring managers, job seekers, recruiters, and everyone year after year.

In a purely selfish attempt to prevent me from reading one more cover letter explaining someone’s passion for working on programs; might I suggest the word “purpose”.

I know, you like that right? But wait, don’t just go through your documents and replace one word with the other.

Replacing passion with purpose requires a little more work on your part.
You need to ask yourself “What motivates me?” “What inspires me?” “What type of work will engage me and spark my A game most of the time?”

Please do not misunderstand, walking a purposeful path does not mean you will avoid every frustration that naturally comes along with work. It will, however, better align the personal and professional and minimize feelings of discontent.

Move toward a purposeful existence. Examine what you are doing and determine if it makes your heart smile in some way. If not, don’t be afraid to change direction.