Selection of blog posts from 2008-2010

Polish your CV Personal Profile

Ensure your CV gets read by carefully wording the 'Personal Profile' paragraph which many people insert at the top of their document. It should grab the attention and stimulate the interest of the reader.

Here are some tips to enhance the impact of this paragraph.

1. Highlight your main attributes: what you do well and how you do it.

2. Remember it's about their needs: show you understand their requirements and that what you bring will meet the needs of the role.

3. Relevance: leave out anything that, however wonderful, is just not relevant. Ask yourself 'So What?' for every point you include.

4. Key messages: decide what 2-3 important aspects you want to convey about yourself and include supporting evidence to convince the reader about these points.

5. Brand association: highlight links between you and any positively-regarded brand names eg. voluntary organisations, hobbies, awards, Uni.

6. Credibility: neither be too shy to mention great credentials nor exaggerate wildly on average ones. Get the balance between macro and micro levels of detail.

7. Coherence: create positive perceptions by showing the connections between your past, your present and your desired future. This helps you to create an impression of direction and consistency.

8. Relationships: highlight what kind of people skills you have.

9. Weasel words: avoid adding in meaningless words, jargon and cliches. Use relevant evidence to support any claims about yourself.

10. Impact: read it aloud and shorten or amend sentences that lack impact. Check your verbs are dynamic, not just 'have' or 'got' or 'did'.

What the L is Leadership about?

Everyone's got their view on what Leadership is. I've come up with a quick and cheap view of my own: there are Leaders and there are leaders. Upper- and lower-case leadership is important but I believe you can't be a true big-L Leader unless you have spent time developing as a small-l leader first. Let me explain.

The Big L Leadership is earned, awarded or conferred. It arrives because others want you to have it (though you probably wanted it too). And ultimately it is about them, the others; it's not about you but your followers. This Leadership involves rank or status, recognition and reward, power and authority over other people. There will be expectations; decisions to be made that will affect many; and judgement by the results delivered.

Nobody said this is easy, so a Leader needs qualities and capabilities. I believe that these are developed when one is a lower-case leader, without formal followers, status or outside expectations. This is a long-term process that often begins at school and for many it continues throughout life.

Anyone can keep working on their own capabilities and character, in order to manage themselves better in their life and develop the attributes that Leadership will demand. We are all capable of working on our self-discipline, persistence and awareness of our choices. We can each decide for ourselves to do the right thing and be comfortable being different. We can develop our courage, we can learn from feedback and adapt our everyday behaviour and we can even (with practice) acknowledge our weaknesses.

Small l leadership is about personal responsibility and decisions that may affect only you, but it is about developing the best You that You can be. And unlike Leadership, leadership is available to all of us, all of the time.

Be an AUTHENTIC presenter

Had enough of regurgitating the corporate line? Too many TLAs?

Jargon-crazed? Eyes glazed? Get A.U.T.H.E.N.T.I.C. and be amazed!

Here are some tips to help you bring more of yourself to your presentations. Check how you are being, as well as what you are doing.

A - Alive and Aware of your Audience

U - Unpretentious and Unaffected in your manner

T - True to your self yet tailored to your audience

H - Happy to be here now with your audience

E - Evidence to back up your points and Examples to illustrate

N - Natural in your delivery. NB. this takes rehearsal!

T - Themes for engaging the audience; Transparently clear messages

I - Interesting and Impactful, otherwise why show up?

C - Coherent, Concise, Clear

Honk! Honk! Leadership lessons from geese

From the website: www.stuartgrayassociates.co.uk.

1. Much greater flying range is added by flying together in a ‘V’ formation, not alone. - People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are travelling on the thrust of each other.

2. When a goose falls out of formation, it moves straight back in to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front. - If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

3. When the lead bird tires, it rotates leadership.- It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each others' skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, or resources.

4. Geese honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. - We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one's heart or core values and to encourage the heart and core values of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

5. When a goose gets sick or wounded, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. - If we have as much sense of geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we're strong.

Poem for 3i, by Christopher Logue

Come to the edge.

We might fall.

Come to the edge.

It's too high.

COME TO THE EDGE!

And they came,

And he pushed,

And they flew.

Stress management

I had a discussion with my Mum about stress the other day. She's quite a fan of stress, thinks that nothing would get done without it. Well, of course humanity wouldn't have evolved this far without fight or flight but it’s good to be able to control the amount of stress you feel.

Here's a recommended daily stress management technique that will make you feel good inside and out, ready for whatever the day may bring:

On wakening, take a couple of minutes for the following ...

  1. Become aware of your breathing

  2. Become aware of your body, from your toes right up to the top of your head

  3. Repeat any phrase or affirmation that makes you feel good e.g. I am the right person; this is the right time; there is nothing between me and being X (whatever you like to be)

  4. Set your intention for the day - e.g. ask yourself 'What will I enjoy today?'

  5. Focus on what you have to be grateful for

I wonder if I can persuade my Mum to try that, and maybe change her mind about stress?