Career Development Facilitator Training & Certification Program

Dear Friends,

Merrill Consulting Associates, LLC is pleased to announce our Summer 2014 Career Development Facilitator (CDF) Training & Certification Program.

CDF training can enhance the skills and knowledge of individuals who work in any type of career development setting.  As a CDF participant, you will receive training in each of 12 career development competencies.  The training includes hands-on and interactive teaching methods and opportunities to interact with colleagues from a variety of work settings.  Since the course content covers 12 important competencies, there is plenty of opportunity to build skills and knowledge in areas that are new to you, as well as enhance and develop those that you use every day in your work.

Key Takeaways:

  • Career resources and labor market information
  • Career planning processes
  • Basic helping and facilitation skills
  • Career development models and theories
  • Informal and formal assessment approaches
  • Diversity and specific population needs
  • Development and maintenance of an effective career resource center
  • Training others and program promotion
  • Case management and referral skills
  • Ethical and scope-of-practice issues
  • Professional and resource portfolios
  • Cutting-edge job searching and more!

Please click on the following link for additional information: http://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sd/calendar/30961/_PARENT/layout_details/false.  Thanks for sharing with your network associates who have an interest in career services.

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The Anatomy of Leadership

Dear Friends,

As I adjourn an emerging leaders forum for high potential employees, I’m reminded that the traditional notion of leadership as top-down is no longer valid.  The 21st century is calling for a new brand of leadership, one that is holistic in nature and summons from within.  The call is for a deeper level of self-awareness and self-discovery than traditional leadership concepts enabled.  This type of leadership is a bottom-up shared approach that emphasizes internal qualities rather than external status.  It’s what I refer to as inner leadership.

Inner leadership is a learned set of capabilities born out of strong commitment and passion to an idea or cause.  It capitalizes on the whole person by integrating authentic leadership qualities into all aspects of life.  The assumption of inner leadership is that we all have talents and contributions that are needed to foster organizational success.  Since we all share in the responsibility of creating a better society, leading others begins with leading oneself.  While you may not be able to influence change from the top of your organization, you do have the innate ability to identify creative ways to drive change from behind or from the middle, which can be especially effective during times of transition and transformation.

Be-Attitudes of Inner Leadership

Regardless of your current professional status, you can become a strong and impactful leader and initiate powerful change in your organization and community by creating an environment where you are fully utilized.  The following be-attitudes can help you take the initiative to lead from within.

Be passionate. Passion provides an internal spark to get you moving and an internal flame to keep you going. It engages mind, body and spirit in pursuing possibilities by having the innate belief that people want to work together to create the best future imaginable.

Be authentic. Grounding yourself in truth means knowing who and why you are. You understand and can articulate your purpose, gifts, talents, vision, values and beliefs. You also recognize your strengths and shortcomings, and are not afraid to admit either.

Be adaptable. Our natural preferences are to maintain the status quo, but today’s complex issues require the ability to readily adapt to changing conditions.  Sharpen your adaptability skills by: (1) engaging curiosity; (2) inviting and accepting diverse perspectives; (3) anticipating change; and (4) creating value-added solutions.

Be credible. Credibility is the cornerstone of effective leadership. When you are credible you demonstrate personal integrity by being honest and consistent in thought, speech and action and following through on your commitments.

Be ethical.  Selfish ambition disconnects us from others. Ethical behavior enhances the well-being of everyone because it stems from positive motives and emotions such as love, compassion, and generosity.  Setting the standard as an effective leader means keeping your actions above reproach.

Be an expert. Knowledge is a leader’s greatest resource. Become an expert in your field by immersing yourself in the chosen subject matter through reading, thought-provoking dialogue and conference/workshop attendance.

Be open. Actively listen to and understand others’ point of view, even if it conflicts with your own.  While you may have great ideas, other perspectives do exist; so don’t hesitate to leverage diverse points of view to achieve more extraordinary results.

Be facilitative. The art of leadership hinges on the ability to enable others to succeed.  In helping others we help ourselves. Rather than hoarding your knowledge and skills, seek ways to create win/win situations by turning competition into collaboration.

Be big-picture focused. Focus on the overall job to be done, rather than your individual role in completing tasks. Create a vision for yourself and think strategically about concepts and ideas that you can use to enhance your job and performance. This way, you’re better prepared to anticipate and capitalize on change.

Be a prudent risk-taker. Risk taking involves a willingness to advocate unconventional positions, take a new approach, or tackle challenging problems without obvious solutions. Taking calculated risks is a great way to stimulate creativity and innovation.  It also obligates you to take full responsibility for failures and successes.

Be positive. Harness the power of optimism by making a positive commitment to yourself to: (1) stay focused on what really matters; (2) view change as an opportunity for personal and professional growth; (3) assume that others have the best intentions; (4) look for the value in every situation; and (5) modify your self-talk, because you are what you think.

Inner leadership is a critical skill to be developed, but it allows you to tap into your internal sources of freedom and power to move boulders, create change and enjoy long-term success.  In the words of John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Until Next Time,

Mary

The Myth-Understanding of Multitasking

Dear Friends,

Technological advances have limited our attention span to the point where we believe we must achieve as much as possible in less time, or we’re doomed for failure. But don’t be deceived, multitasking is a myth that creates a false sense of accomplishment as we rush from project to project, without doing any one thing well.

Continuously dividing your attention between multiple tasks causes you to lose focus, minimizing any deep fulfillment that you ever hope to experience.  To be truly effective, you must emphasize quality over quantity, so here are nine ways to boost productivity by taking a more intentional approach to goal achievement:

1.  Be clear about your priorities. Know exactly what you need to get done and by when, and schedule your time accordingly.

2.  Scrap the To-Do List. It’s nothing more than an annoying reminder of how much you haven’t gotten done. Add tasks as an appointment on your calendar and dedicate that time for getting them done.

3.  Delegate responsibly. Delegation frees up time for more opportunities; but simply off-loading tasks that you don’t want to do can come back to bite you. Before delegating, quickly decide if it makes sense. If so, determine to whom you should delegate the task by considering individual skills, abilities and workload.

4.  Focus on the moment. Eliminate distractions and focus your attention and energy on the task at hand. Urgent tasks will arise from time to time, so it’s important to recognize the difference between what’s urgent and what appears to be urgent.

5.  Handle correspondence once. Whenever correspondence comes across your desk, handle it only once. If the message requires more thought or action add it to your calendar. If it’s FYI, print it or store it in an electronic reference file. If it’s junk mail, trash it.

6.  Minimize interruptions. Interruptions break concentration, and it takes about 10-15 minutes to regain focus. Cut idle chatter short and schedule a mutual time to connect with colleagues. Turn off e-mail notification and schedule periodic e-mail checks. Instead of answering every phone call, allow callers to leave a message and set aside a specific time to return calls.

7.  Build in time for creativity. Rather than reacting to everything that comes your way, carve out time each week to focus on creativity so that you can make more valuable contributions to your organization.

8.  Know your body. Know when your energy level is highest by monitoring your productivity. Use this time to tackle your most important tasks first.

9. Take time for self-renewal. Keeping your nose to the grindstone leads to burnout, resentment and physical ailments. Take small breaks between tasks to re-energize and re-focus. Dedicate time each week to self-renewal by doing something that brings you joy.

Losing a few minutes here and there may seem insignificant, but when translating those minutes into hours, multitasking has far-reaching consequences. The next time you find yourself getting sucked into this productivity-busting phenomenon, consider the overall costs to yourself, your staff and your organization.

Until Next Time,

Mary

What Are You Tolerating?

Good Day Friends,

To increase self-awareness and inspire change, I often ask my clients “What are you tolerating?”  Since we can’t lead others to places we haven’t been, we must be willing to confront our own demons.  Therefore, after pondering this emotionally-charged question, I’m ready to admit that one of the things I’ve been tolerating for months is procrastination

Time and again, I’ve promised myself that I would reignite my passion for reflective journaling to promote greater self-awareness and understanding.  However, I have repeatedly broken this promise by using my demanding schedule as an excuse for not taking action.  As a result, I’m feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and unfocused.

Now that I’ve come clean and shared with you one of my life’s major frustrations, I’m going to get personal and ask, “What are YOU tolerating?”  Is it self-limiting beliefs?  Unproductive attitudes?  Unmet needs?  Other people’s bad behaviors?  Your own bad behaviors?  Ongoing frustrations?  Violated boundaries?  Paralyzing fear?  Poor performance?  Unfinished business?  If you’re honest with yourself, you can probably name at least five tolerations that are robbing you of personal power by depleting your time, energy, enthusiasm and spirit.

Each time we choose to tolerate an unfavorable situation in our lives, we sacrifice a piece of our soul.  Over time, it chips away at our self-esteem, joy, and inner peace which can lead to denial,  depression, stagnation, and even irrelevance.  To anesthetize or block our feelings, we may resort to unproductive behaviors such as procastination, lying, cheating, self-deprecation, or overindulgence — all of which ultimately render us powerless and ineffective.  Whenever we are tolerating any situation that impedes our progress and well-being, our mind, body and spirit respond in kind.

To make a positive shift and reclaim our power, we must honestly confront those hindering forces that chain us to mediocrity.  If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired of draining life forces, here’s a reflective exercise to help raise your consciousness, remove self-imposed limitations, and propel you to new levels of performance and satisfaction:

1.  What am I tolerating?  (Make a list of those things that you are tolerating.)

2.  What am I doing to help sustain the things that I am tolerating? (Make a list of your behaviors that help sustain the things that you are tolerating and sabotage your success.)

3.  How does this make me feel?  (Write down how what you are tolerating makes you feel.  To really expand your awareness of feelings, you can find a comprehensive list of “feeling” words at http://eqi.org/fw.htm.)

4.  What are these tolerations costing me on a mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, social and professional level?  (Make an honest assessment of the high price you are paying in every aspect of your life for the things you are tolerating.)

5.  What can I do differently to let go of the things that I am tolerating?  (Write a positive statement of change for each of the things that you are tolerating and what it means to achieve this goal.  Identify the beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, knowledge and skills that will better serve you in making this change.)

6. How can I model my new behaviors?  (List the ways in which you begin to model your new behaviors to become the best of who you are meant to be — then do it!)

Change is a step-by-step process that requires awareness, commitment, action and perseverance; so be patient with yourself.  However, don’t use the fear of change or a temporary relapse as an excuse for not taking control of your circumstances and your life.

Some tolerations are much easier to release than others.  Sometimes, we have endured situations for so long that we unconsciously accept them as normal or think “that’s just the way life is.”  In such instances, we may need to seek professional assistance from a therapist, counselor, coach or mentor to help us get unstuck.  Regardless of what helping resource(s) you choose, know that taking direct action — sooner rather than later — to eliminate tolerations from your life will help you reduce stress, access your hidden potential, seize new opportunities, and produce breakthrough results.  If that’s not enough, it will redirect your focus and give you a better sense of control by releasing time and energy, so you can fully enjoy more of the things that bring you pleasure.

In closing, I am making a personal (and now public) commitment to create change in my own life by carving out at least 10 minutes each day for personal reflection, refocus and renewal around the things I want to accomplish in myself, my career and my life.

What personal commitment are you making to free yourself and move forward on purpose?

Until next time,

Mary