Thursday, November 8, 2012

Affecting Change

Is it possible to affect change by being on the outside but yelling at those on the inside because you don’t like what they are doing? This quandary is not only pertinent, but could also cause for some deep introspection.
At some point, the leadership of a group or organization will change. This is a definite statement. People do not live forever and their leadership roles must be relinquished upon death, if not sooner. What happens when the change people are looking for doesn't come to fruition? I return to my introductory question and ponder how people can legitimately affect change?
One would have to make the assumption that different situations would yield a different process and result. A great example where those on the outside yell at those on the inside to affect change would be fans of the clothing store Gap. At some point the marketing team for Gap decided it was time to change the logo, but they forgot to ask some of the most important people. Gap failed to give a voice to their most important shareholders, their customers. The switch back was almost instant and apologies streamed from Gap like never before. That was a way that a group of outsiders penetrated to the inside with what they had to say and it affected change.
However, this doesn't always work. We recently had an election in which President Obama was selected for an additional four-year term. Those on the right of the aisle are both distraught and upset. Instead of regrouping from the blow to their political hopes, some are choosing to yell. Yelling is showing up in many forms and social media has a way of helping complainers get their word out. In the end is that really going to affect the kind of change they want or even affect change at all?
My humble suggestion for an avenue to affect change is from within. There may not be a quick or easy way to get into the White House, but change that some people are calling for can be done locally. What would it look like if everyone who spent time complaining about politics, left or right, would focus their energy on offering legitimate change.
Get involved. Don’t sit on the sidelines and yell at those on the field, get in there and help. My guess is, it’s easier to sit back on the sidelines and complain and whine about how you would like the game to be played with this strategy rather than the one playing out before your eyes, but that won’t accomplish anything.
If you sit on the sideline for too long, bitterness will take hold. When bitterness takes hold you become like a virus to all surrounding you. Sure, you may have a few followers that caught the virus, but even more will distance themselves from you. When you lose your seats on the lower-level fifty-yard line and get pushed to the upper deck, your ability to impact and affect change will be lost.
Leadership isn't just about the leader; it’s also about the followers. If people follow you to that top corner of the stands, you haven’t only taken your voice, but theirs too.
Be a leader that affects change from being an active participant on the field, not the sideline. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TED Talk Tuesday

If you aren't familiar with TED, you are in store for some very rich content. I would encourage you to make comments in the box below. Did this video challenge you to do something different with the next 30 days?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Things to Remember as a Freshman

I have been overloaded with research for my dissertation proposal, so I haven't been very active on the blog. I still don't have time to create new posts, so I'm going to give you some information from Thomas Frank. (You can find Thomas at As you will notice, I crossed out a couple of Thomas's tips. I didn't want to delete them altogether because this was his list, not mine. However, I did take the liberty to strike-through a couple that I disagreed with. This is a pretty solid list and of course it's been vetted by an actual student. Enjoy! Leave your comments at the bottom.
When I started college, I was just like any other normal student. My only real concerns were my classes and my part-time job; everything else I did was for fun. I learned a lot during my freshman year, though, and as I learned I began to focus on more productive things. Here’s a collection of college tips and bit of info that helped me out a lot.
  1. Always go to class. A lot of bloggers will debate this one, but I think it’s essential. You never know when the professor will drop a crucial test hint, or give out extra credit for attendance.
  2. If you have to choose between a double major and getting involved on campus, get involved. All the knowledge in the world won’t help you if you come out of college with no experience or professional relationships.
  3. ALWAYS back up your files. Dropbox makes this easy as can be.
  4. Make sure your computer is protected against malware. Install Microsoft Security Essentials or Avast Anti-virus, and use a web browser other than Internet Explorer. Installing the Adblock extension doesn’t hurt, either.
  5. Learn to do your taxes and your FAFSA yourself, instead of letting your parents do it. Knowing how to handle these things will prepare you for life after college.
  6. Get a bank account with a bank in town. It can be really inconvenient having to wait for Mom to send cash, and it teaches you to manage your own finances.
  7. Get a credit card, and make all your month’s purchases on it up to 20% of the card’s balance. This will help to start building your credit. If you start spending more, or can’t pay the balance in full for even one month, tear the card up.
  8. Bring enough clothing to school with you that you can go two weeks between washings. This will save you money in the long run.
  9. Never leave your clothes in a washer after the cycle is over. Be there to take them out a minute before the cycle ends. Not doing this is rude, and people WILL pull your clothes out and set them somewhere.
  10. If you have new colored clothes, wash colors separately from whites the first few times you wear them. Otherwise, toss ‘em all in the same load if they’ll fit.
  11. Try not to drink too much caffeine. It’s really not good for you (it caused pretty bad acne for me), and you can get energy by staying well-hydrated, eating healthy foods, and sleeping enough.
  12. If you’re having issues with your roommate, talk about them. Don’t let them build up to the point where you can’t stand each other.
  13. Get a part-time job, preferably doing something that relates to your major. If you can, work in the early morning – you’d just be sleeping otherwise. I’ve found that having a job actually helped with my time management when I first started school.
  14. If you can’t find a part-time job that relates to your major, look for a “warm-body” job – one that allows you to do homework while working. Some examples would be working at the desk of the library or the athletic center.
  15. If your school offers a position that helps with summer orientation for incoming students, apply for it. This kind of job will build your confidence and communication skills like none other.
  16. Get to know your professors. College is just as much about networking as it is about sitting in class. Plus, most of them are bored out of their skulls during office hours.
  17. If you have younger siblings that come to visit, supervise their use of your microwave. Trust me on this one.
  18. Don’t bring a car to campus if you don’t need one. Many schools have great public transit systems, and Facebook can net you rides when you need them.
  19. If you are bringing your car to campus, buy the parking permit that puts your car closer to you, even if it’s a bit more expensive. It’ll save you a lot of time (and whining).
  20. Live in the campus residence halls your first year if you can. Residence halls are much, much more social than apartments, and you’ll be involved in a lot more cool things.
  21. Realize that you are an adult now; just because you don’t have to go to work for eight hours a day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act like it. Be professional.
  22. When you study, don’t do it in your room. Also, try to use an active study method such as making flashcards or writing your own quizzes. It’s a lot less boring and a lot more effective than just looking over your professor’s slides.
  23. Getting a tutor does not make you look dumb. Not getting one when you need help does.
  24. Flip-flops in the bathroom. No exceptions.
  25. Freezy Pops from Wal-Mart are a great substitute for fattier desserts.
  26. Take smart notes. Use a laptop in content-heavy classes that don’t give you time to write things on paper. If you do use paper, use the Cornell Method. See more note-taking hacks here.
  27. Find out when you can register for classes and do right at that moment. You’ll thank yourself later when your friends are having to do an extra semester because they couldn’t get into a required class.
  28. Try out as many clubs as you can. Feel no obligation to them if you don’t like them. College is about finding out what you love to do.
  29. Don’t put your alarm clock anywhere you can reach it. Make yourself get out of bed to turn it off.
  30. If your roommate isn’t still sleeping, turn on the light immediately after waking up. Light helps you feel more awake and reduces the chances of you going back to bed.
  31. Don’t get drunk, but don’t miss the show when your friends do :)
  32. You need a calendar. Google Calendar is probably the best one there is.
  33. Never underestimate the value of a care package from Mom.
  34. Get out and explore your campus. If you have to ask your friends where the main financial office is, you’ve failed. Same goes for exploring the city your campus is in.
  35. Find out what resources your school offers. Many universities have free tech support centers, health centers, seminars, and more.
  36. Get an internship the summer after your sophomore year. You’ll forge professional connections early on and make it easier to get another internship the next summer. Graduating with two under your belt will give you a real leg up on the competition.
  37. Keep a journal if you can. It’s great to be able to go back and see how you’ve progressed over the years.
  38. Connect with your school’s career center; your career advisor will be an invaluable resource in the years to come.
  39. Create a resume if you don’t already have one, and have it critiqued by someone who knows what they’re doing.
  40. Go to every career fair, even if you’ve already lined up a summer job. You want to build relationships with recruiters, and they’ll remember your face if you show up every time.
  41. Take a speech class, even if you don’t have to. Communication skills are among the more important things recruiters look for in students.
  42. Be confident, get out of your comfort zone, and try new things. College is the greatest opportunity you’ll ever have for personal development.

There you have it – the answers to life, the universe, and everything – or maybe just to making freshman year the best it can be. (

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TED Talk Thursday's

I've decided to add some additional types of media to my blog. Each Thursday (or most Thursday's), I will feature a TED Talk. If you aren't familiar with TED, you are in store for some very rich content. I would encourage you to make comments in the box below. Did this video change your perception of introverts?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Separation of Personal and Professional

Does the name Rick Marini ring a bell? There’s a great chance you haven’t heard of Marini, but if you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably heard of his latest project. Just in the past week I have had several invitations to join one of my friends on the BranchOut network. The idea seems to be taking off with great success. I have yet to accept an invitation because I’m not sure it’s a good idea. Facebook is a great site and has the ability to keep you updated on the goings on of your friends and even family. Do I really want Facebook to ease into my professional life? Currently, I have an account with LinkedIn. Even the feel of the site is more professional. There is a distinct difference between the feel of Facebook and LinkedIn. I use Facebook to keep me updated on my friends from high school, my nephew and his tee ball career, and to see where all of my college friends ended up. LinkedIn doesn’t serve that purpose, it helps you connect professionally. One quick thing you may notice is the profile picture. That the guy on Facebook with the picture of him posing with Barney the Purple Dinosaur has a tie on for his LinkedIn profile picture. What message does this send? What if an employer never finds the LinkedIn page? The image of you hugging Barney is the first impression. Your Facebook profile should be at the very least semi-private, but with the BranchOut application you’re open to the world. Would you want your potential or current boss and your friends from high school to access to each other? In the BranchOut application if one of your friends installs BranchOut, you can see the work histories of their friends as well. Having an online presence is important, but make sure you are managing it appropriately.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Always Being Interviewed

Each semester I spend about a week on interviews. We have a nice discussion about interviews that the members of class have had or heard of. I even grab a few students and ask them to be the genii pig as I interview them on the spot in front of their peers. These types of interviews are what we expect. These are the interviews that we know are real and exist. However, I always like to entertain that idea that you are always being interviewed. I quickly follow that statement up by telling the students they may take that as far as they want to, and then I pause. The looks are their faces are sometimes priceless. After the moment of silence I go on to tell them they could be being interviewed right now. What does that shirt say about you? How about your desire to sit on the back row, or the front? Do you ever add to the discussion or do you count the time until the bell will ring? This may not make any sense, until you apply for a job and your potential employer calls and wants to talk to one of your professors. Just think about all of the places you go and the people you meet. What if every person you came in contact with had a say in if you would get the job? Though this scenario isn’t likely, what is likely is that someone you didn’t even realize was around you will be coming to the table when it’s time to discuss your hire. You can take this as literal as you want. Just remember, you are always on an interview.

Do Your Research

Social media plays a major role in the way we communicate. Unfortunately, social media has also made it easier to get your message out before it has even been proven to be legitimate. I realize this may ruffle some serious feathers, but I find it hard to get behind the KONY2012 movement. For the record, I fully support removing Kony from his seat of influence and power. I believe he is a bad person that is responsible for a massive amount of inhumane acts. However, the group behind KONY2012 is what worries me about this event. Invisible Children has always seemed sketchy to me. When they first started they refused to release any financials, but they assured everyone the money was going where they said it was going. I actually spoke to their CFO at the time and he deflected more questions than he would answer. I understand deflection like the best of them, but this was a different kind of deflection. For me, Invisible Children is less of an aid in financial resources and more of an aid in awareness, if that makes sense. That isn’t really a bad thing. However, that’s not how it’s being packaged. IC is being packaged as the organization that is making things happen and pours all/most of its resources into aiding these children. However, this looks more like a film project that is being sponsored than actual aid to these children. Social media has allowed videos to be seen and tweets to be posted, but what is actually happening? Some people are re-tweeting, but will do nothing else. Some are donating, but don’t actually know who or what they are donating for, it just feels right. Then there are those that are posting videos, updating facebook and twitter and pouring money and manpower into this because they believe in their heart it will make a difference. I hope the final group is right. I hope Invisible Children are legit, I just don’t see it. I have done my research and looked into this organization and I don’t see what others see, but I hope I’m wrong. As stated at the beginning, I’m not against the movement, but it’s hard to get behind something that is orchestrated behind what seems to be the big curtain that concealed the Wizard of Oz. Whatever you decide on this issue, at the very least, do your research.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Do You Plan For Roadblocks?

Okay, I’m back. A lot has happened since my last post. I completed my first semester of doctoral studies, welcomed two children to my family (twins), and semi-started a new role at work. There was a time that I thought none of this would have been possible, but now it’s all happening…. at the same time.

These past few months have taught me a great lesson in time management and fighting through the urge to throw up my hands and quit. There have been numerous times when a huge paper was due and the twins decided sleep was for the birds.

I am a serious planner and before I start a project I usually have everything mapped out, sometimes on paper but at the very least in my head. These days I am faced with challenges to my plans more times than not. What do you do when your plans fall through? What would it look like if every time you faced a challenge you walked away? Life gives us challenges, but the experience of roadblocks molds us into who we are.

Planning is good, but you must be prepared to hit some challenges along the way.