Collective


Joanne Worden is a believer that work matters and “work is good” – she should know; she’s been an HR executive for most of her career. She is also an alumna of The Collective. You can learn more about her via LinkedIn.  I’ve been working since I was 16 years old (and before that, if you count babysitting and odd jobs). For the most part, I’ve loved – or at least liked – every job I’ve had. I found each one sort of fascinating in its own quirky way, and through each position I learned, grew, accomplished, built relationships and, of course, spent some amount of time banging my head against the proverbial wall. Even the experiences that put bumps on my head taught me something – the importance of knowing yourself, knowing the environment, being realistic, and figuring out if the job is a good fit. And so, for years and years, I was on what I called the ‘lather, rinse, repeat’ cycle. You get up, you show up, you do your best. Promotions and new projects come your way. You meet wonderful people, and you meet some asshats. If you wise up along the journey, you learn to appreciate the former and manage the latter. I was fortunate. I had way more good bosses than bad, and colleagues who were patient and kind and giving of their time and talents. We did cool things, we won awards, we got shit done. . . with lots of laughs and, yes, a few tears along the way. And then, like that (at least that’s what it felt like), I was done. I had the opportunity in the fall of 2015 to take a very lucrative ‘package’ from the company I had been employed with for five years. I weighed all the options carefully and decided it was a good time to pack my boxes and go. But then what? I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn’t ready to ‘sit’ – and, in fact, chances are good that I never will be. Work and working is woven into my DNA, and I doubt I can be content to be a ‘lady who lunches’. However, I do recognize that I want my second – and third – acts to be meaningful and focused, with the ability to ‘do some good’. Enter my time in the Collective. Getting connected to this wonderful group of smart, talented, open-minded and open-hearted folks is one of the best things I’ve ever done, personally and professionally. I was able to bring my semi-blank canvas to our meetings each week and talk to the group about what...

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The opinions on how you should start your day for “maximum results” and “increased productivity” are vast and varied. . . some may even be helpful. Whether the advice is “avoid the snooze” or “drink water right away” it can be hard to sift through all the recommendations to find one that really makes an impact. . . for you. So, we’ll keep it simple and suggest something we’ve offered and observed has an impact with the hundreds of people who have come through our programs: Tomorrow, start your day with an intention (Source: Huffington Post) – and end your day with a reflection. Lately, we have been asking participants in Crain’s Academy and other F5 leadership programs about journaling: Do you do it? Have you ever done it? And who cares? Astoundingly few do. And most aren’t sure why it matters. Well, it matters – to your ability to be successful and move forward (Source: Harvard Business Review). You are the most important research project of your life, so knowing what your intention is and reflecting on how you lived it out day to day gives you a lot of data to pull from to make better career and life decisions. So what is an intention and how is it different (Source: TED* Works!) than your goals?   It’s present focused (today) versus future-focused It’s a lived experience versus a destination It’s internally driven, versus externally If you begin with an intention you can reflect at the end of the day how you lived it out. If you wanted to “Remain open, flexible and kind with all people” or “Stay in learning and avoid judging” and you felt you didn’t live it out, don’t be too hard on yourself. Living out an intention takes a lot of practice and in research, sometimes experiments fail. Involve community in your intention setting and increase your chances of “coming back to center,” making better decisions and being more successful throughout the day. The Collective and Crain’s Academy are great communities to join as you conduct your...

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It’s become a month of visioning within our community, from our current Collective small group to our large group experiences, folks are ready to stop “just plowing ahead” and want to find an intentional and guided path forward on their career journey. And we love it. If you’ve been around these parts long enough, you know that Flank 5 Academy is all about starting with self-awareness as a way to get to a vision, an ideal future, a way of working that is aligned with who you are – the stuff that yields that juicy long-term happiness (hint: you’ve got to have a higher purpose) versus the pleasure-inducing short-lived happiness (quick hits of success, accolades or experiences) But it’s not enough to be self-aware – and while journaling is a great place to start – the real clarity comes from sharing what you learn about your core ideology and your ideal future with others. Chade-Meng Tau, Google engineer, self-described Jolly Good Fellow and co-founder of Google’s Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute agrees: “Values and higher purpose are fairly abstract topics and the act of verbalizing them forces us to make them clearer and more tangible to ourselves.” Getting clear is critical. To get started on your own vision, we invite you to start with a method Tau offers in his (charming and incredibly accessible) book, Search Inside Yourself. Start with the question, “What do I stand for?” What are those core values that drive you – that motivate you – that are non-negotiable in your work? Make a list. Check it twice, and check it against your activities day to day. If you value justice, how are you exhibiting this value on an average Tuesday? And if you’re not, would you like to? How could you take it upon yourself to introduce it into your orbit? Stanford’s Graduate School of Business offers great worksheets to take this a step further too.   Once you’ve done some cataloguing, why not ask others – then – “What do I stand for?” See if there’s alignment – see if there’s something you might be missing, or if you’ve got too much on your list (a list of six is easier than a list of three). Share what you’ve come up with – and what ideas may spark as a result of sharing. Once you’ve done this, you’re on your way to your ideal future (disclaimer: one with a higher purpose, not one where you’re happy all the...

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Rebecca is an alumna of The Collective and the founder and principal of Rebecca Lakin Consulting. She helps help companies navigate their business and risk landscape through in-depth research, translating the data into actionable plans and solutions, and managing the resulting plans from start to finish. You can find more of her wisdom and aspirations on LinkedIn. I’m more motivated to do something when that something impacts others. When it came to making a career change, it initially seemed like something that only impacted me – it’s my life, it’s my career. My motivation stayed pretty low in this mindset, even though the desire to change was high. I knew I needed to do something different and thought about it all the time, but I struggled to motivate myself to act. That’s where the Collective came into play. It turns out my career doesn’t just impact me – it impacts how I interact with friends, families and even the people I accidentally bump into on the sidewalk. I was consumed with my own thoughts about my job.  But it’s not all about me; I wasn’t alone in needing to make a change and needed others to help me get and stay motivated. To make a career change, you have to get out of your own head and act. With the support and encouragement of my fellow “Collectivists,” I did just that. After only one meeting with The Collective, I started making the change – in small steps. I didn’t quit my job right away.  I did begin to change my mindset, first, and set aside time to discover what it is I wanted to be doing and in what environment I wanted to be doing that work in. The small steps I took included: Set a time for working on career “discovery.” Every work day from 5 – 6 a.m., I worked on defining my career; what I wanted to get from it and what I want others to get from my work. . . like crazy. This started with coffee meetings with old connections and lunches with those in my current network. I then moved to meetings with connections of connections and cold emails to people with jobs that could be a good for me. Read and listen to inspiring things. To get you started, here are two of my favorites: The Accidental Creative podcast or Adam Grant’s Give or Take. Write down everything. By writing or tracking it, you can start to discover the trends that might point to a direction you could take your career. To get the things to write down, I took a tip...

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