Overcoming Mistakes – Video Guide
No one likes to make mistakes, but we all do and we just have to accept that someday it's going to happen to us. Whatever our mistake is, it's nowhere near as important as how we react to it and what we learn from it. In this week's video, Jason talks about how to get our mindset right after making a mistake and the three steps we need to take before we can begin to learn from it. One of the most important aspects of the process of learning about our mistakes is to engage in self-reflection and take an objective look at the root causes of the mistake. Asking ourselves some key questions will help us adopt a rational process to overcoming mistakes. Here are a few examples of questions that might be valuable to figuring out the real cause of a mistake:

Overcoming Mistakes – Video Guide

No one likes to make mistakes, but we all do and we just have to accept that someday it’s going to happen to us. Whatever our mistake is, it’s nowhere near as important as how we react to it and what we learn from it. In this week’s video, Jason talks about how to get our mindset right after making a mistake and the three steps we need to take before we can begin to learn from it. One of the most important aspects of the process of learning about our mistakes is to engage in self-reflection and take an objective look at the root causes of the mistake. Asking ourselves some key questions will help us adopt a rational process to overcoming mistakes. Here are a few examples of questions that might be valuable to figuring out the real cause of a mistake:

Overcoming Mistakes Through Reflective Questions

  • Was there information out there that I didn’t have that could have helped?
  • Was there information that I had that I didn’t use to make my decision?
  • Was there someone I know with experience I could have consulted with before proceeding?
  • Were there others who had an opposing or different perspective that I could have considered?
  • Were there external factors that I didn’t consider or fully understand?
  • Did I have a thorough understanding of the flow of the activity and the people who needed to be involved?

The only way a mistake can truly be a wasted experience is if we don’t find a way to learn something from it. Adopting a healthy mindset towards mistakes and learning valuable lessons from every mistake can help us grow into stronger leaders and help those around us benefit from our experience too.

 

Photo Credit: By Ervín Pospíšil [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Now that we've recovered from the holidays and we've got a few weeks of 2016 under our belt, it's time to start thinking about some ways that we can make our team stronger, better and faster over the coming year. One of the ways we can make these kind of improvements is through team building exercises. While these kinds of activities can take away from the time we have to get work done they often pay significant benefits in helping us assess our team's strengths and capabilities as well as giving us an idea of what areas we might want to help our team members improve upon. Taking a little bit of time at the beginning of the year to do this kind of assessment can help give us an idea of what specific capabilities we'd like to have each of our team members work on for their next evaluation period.

Team Building Exercises – Video Guide

Now that we’ve recovered from the holidays and we’ve got a few weeks of 2016 under our belt, it’s time to start thinking about some ways that we can make our team stronger, better and faster over the coming year. One of the ways we can make these kind of improvements is through team building exercises. While these kinds of activities can take away from the time we have to get work done they often pay significant benefits in helping us assess our team’s strengths and capabilities as well as giving us an idea of what areas we might want to help our team members improve upon. Taking a little bit of time at the beginning of the year to do this kind of assessment can help give us an idea of what specific capabilities we’d like to have each of our team members work on for their next evaluation period.

Team Building Exercises You Can Do

Team building exercises don’t need to be elaborate or time consuming to be effective. What we want to do is find an activity that will help challenge and develop the communication, problem solving and leadership skills of our team members. There are a lot of team building exercises out there but one that is very effective at developing the kind of skills we talked about is the Marshmallow Challenge. This exercise requires only a little preparation using inexpensive items you can get from your local supermarket and should take less than an hour to complete, including discussion after the exercise. If executed properly, the Marshmallow Challenge should challenge all of your team members’ critical skills without taking away too much time from their regular activities.

Give this exercise a try and let us know how it goes for you. If all of your team members get through this exercise without being challenged, it might be time to consider an even more challenging exercise for them next time!

We took a little break from posting content over the holidays, but we're back now and our first video of 2016 is all about the importance of investing in ourselves. As we all start to set our improvement goals for the upcoming year it's important to assess if we are investing our energy and resources effectively to achieve them. Worthwhile goals don't just happen overnight or come about on their own. In order to really see the gains that we desire in our personal and professional lives, we need to apply our energy and resources in the right areas with sufficient intensity.

Investing in Ourselves

We took a little break from posting content over the holidays, but we’re back now and our first video of 2016 is all about the importance of investing in ourselves. As we all start to set our improvement goals for the upcoming year it’s important to assess if we are investing our energy and resources effectively to achieve them. Worthwhile goals don’t just happen overnight or come about on their own. In order to really see the gains that we desire in our personal and professional lives, we need to apply our energy and resources in the right areas with sufficient intensity.

4 Areas for Investing in Ourselves

  1. Time – The most important resource we have is our time and where we choose to spend our time says a lot about our priorities. Planning ahead to determine how much time we need to dedicate to achieving a goal can help us invest our time wisely and keep us from getting frustrated if our progress is slow. Investing in ourselves by prioritizing and budgeting our time to spend on the areas we most want to improve will provide us the greatest gains.
  2. Money – There are many free resources, both online and offline, that we can use to begin our quest to improve in a certain area, but at some point in order to achieve true mastery, we often need to spend some money. Asking ourselves if we can spend some of our hard-earned money in a smart way can help accelerate our development to get to the next level.
  3. Relationships – Developing a solid support structure made up of people who support us and provide honest and candid feedback is key for personal and professional development. Investing in ourselves by building strong relationships with people who believe in us and support our goals is essential to achieving those goals.
  4. Tools and Systems – Creating processes and procedures that help us follow through on our goals can help us make regular and continuous progress and keep us from having to rely on willpower to keep us moving forward.

Try taking a look at these 4 areas as you start turning your goals for 2016 into actionable steps and see if you’re investing appropriately in all 4 areas. If progress is slower than you’d like see if you can up your investment in one or more areas to accelerate your gains!

When we work with a group of exceptionally talented people, it can be a challenge to figure out which projects we want to assign individuals to. We would like to have everyone contributing all of their unique skills and abilities to every project, but it's just not a good use of resources and can actually hinder our results. In order to optimize talent on our team we need to have a solid understanding of the individual strengths and weaknesses of everyone in our work area. Using a Team Skills Matrix to Optimize Talent on Our Team A simple tool that we can use to keep track of everyone's abilities is a Team Skills Matrix. The matrix lists out all the individuals on our team and the special skills and talents that they have. Once we've done an honest assessment of each person's skills, this tool tells us at a glance who might be a valuable contributor to an upcoming project. It also tells us where our team might be lacking in a certain skill and where we might have to some professional development to fill that gap. When we are getting ready to start a new project, using the matrix to list all of the skills needed on the team and then matching team members based on how their abilities contribute to the team requirements can help us optimize talent on our new project team before starting the project.

Optimize Talent Using a Team Skills Matrix

When we work with a group of exceptionally talented people, it can be a challenge to figure out which projects we want to assign individuals to. We would like to have everyone contributing all of their unique skills and abilities to every project, but it’s just not a good use of resources and can actually hinder our results. In order to optimize talent on our team we need to have a solid understanding of the individual strengths and weaknesses of everyone in our work area.

Using a Team Skills Matrix to Optimize Talent on Our Team

A simple tool that we can use to keep track of everyone’s abilities is a Team Skills Matrix. The matrix lists out all the individuals on our team and the special skills and talents that they have. Once we’ve done an honest assessment of each person’s skills, this tool tells us at a glance who might be a valuable contributor to an upcoming project. It also tells us where our team might be lacking in a certain skill and where we might have to some professional development to fill that gap. When we are getting ready to start a new project, using the matrix to list all of the skills needed on the team and then matching team members based on how their abilities contribute to the team requirements can help us optimize talent on our new project team before starting the project.

We can’t do it all by ourselves. It’s true in leadership just as it is in life. Trying to achieve our goals without asking for help usually slows us down on our path. This is why human beings have learned to build teams and why good leadership is regarded so highly. When we build a team around us, it’s important to utilize those team members effectively to accomplish our mission and properly delegating authority is key to making that happen. Usually when we think about delegating a decision or task to someone on our team, we think about it in terms of something that we either don’t have the time or energy to handle, or it’s something we don’t want to deal with ourselves. An alternative way to consider this is using delegation and empowerment to develop the individual capabilities of our team members.

Delegation and Empowerment – Developing Your Team’s Potential

We can’t do it all by ourselves. It’s true in leadership just as it is in life. Trying to achieve our goals without asking for help usually slows us down on our path. This is why human beings have learned to build teams and why good leadership is regarded so highly. When we build a team around us, it’s important to utilize those team members effectively to accomplish our mission and properly delegating authority is key to making that happen. Usually when we think about delegating a decision or task to someone on our team, we think about it in terms of something that we either don’t have the time or energy to handle, or it’s something we don’t want to deal with ourselves. An alternative way to consider this is using delegation and empowerment to develop the individual capabilities of our team members.

Delegation and Empowerment – The Payoff

Delegating to our team members and empowering them to make decisions pays vast dividends beyond the immediate payoff of getting a task done or a decision made. Sending one of our team members off on a journey to develop their own decision-making process and engage in critical thinking will help them grow in a way that simply focusing on the technical aspects of their job can’t provide. Engaging in this kind of leadership development will help produce team members who understand our vision and can show initiative to take action to meet team goals without needing direct supervision.

How to Develop Leaders Using Delegation and Empowerment

It’s important to make a distinction between simply delegating tasks to our team members and empowering them to make decisions. While assigning tasks and managing work flow among the team is an important aspect of leadership, if we want to grow and develop our team members, we need to give them more than tasks to engage in. We should be striving to delegate not just actions, but to delegate the authority to solve problems and make decisions that support our goals. Not everyone is ready to jump right in and be a decision maker right away, so here a four ways that we can develop leaders on our teams by empowering them while guiding them at the same time.

  1. Challenge Them – Delegate a project that actually matters. Much like setting goals for ourselves, it should be achievable but challenging. Success shouldn’t be 100% guaranteed. Giving a team member a decision to make that is too easy or doesn’t have significant impact will result in limited growth.
  2. Push them out of their comfort zone – True leaders are comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty, or at least not afraid of it. We can help our team become more comfortable learning to act without perfect information by guiding and mentoring them through situations that expand the boundaries of their comfort zone. Since every team member is different, it will take some consideration to determine what each one is comfortable with. Assessing how to help each team member to expand their comfort zone can be a key factor in who we delegate a decision or project to.
  3. Let them struggle – It can be a very difficult balance between providing mentoring and advice and breaking the problem open for our team. We should strive to be coaches for them, not problem solvers. When they are struggling, we should ask questions, not provide answers. A little adversity is a good thing. It helps people bond and break down the barriers between them. If interpersonal barriers are part of the problem, allowing the team to solve these issues for themselves will provide them a better set of tools for interpersonal relationships in the future.
  4. Let there be potential to fail – We always need to assess the stakes of the decision we are delegating. If this is a “failure is not an option” situation, we may not want to delegate the whole decision, but maybe only pieces of it. Failure teaches our team to evaluate what they have already tried and adapt in order to succeed as well as building perseverance and determination. Your team will learn more about themselves and their leadership style by failing initially, then pivoting until they succeed than if they are immediately successful every time.

 

Applying these four considerations when you are trying to figure out who to delegate that important decision to will help develop strong leadership among the members of our team. Don’t forget that the one of the goals is to grow their capabilities as much as it is to distribute the work around the team. In some cases, the necessity to achieve the mission will drive that decision, but it always benefits us to look for opportunities to develop our team members while we achieve our goals. Delegation and empowerment, when considered thoughtfully, help us meet both of those needs.

 

Share your experiences with delegation and empowerment in the comments.

 

Photo Credit: By tableatny (originally posted to Flickr as BXP135677) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

We’re all going to face at least one crisis in our careers as leaders and our teams are counting on us to lead them through these kinds of challenges. Often how we react to a crisis is more important that the actual crisis itself. It’s important to approach any crisis rationally and recognize that the problem is not insurmountable, but the extreme nature of the situation is usually a result of how quick the onset is. Crisis management is very much like dealing with any other problem or leadership decision, it just requires having a response that matches the urgency and gravity of the situation.

Crisis Management – 5 Steps to Get Through It!

We’re all going to face at least one crisis in our careers as leaders and our teams are counting on us to lead them through these kinds of challenges. Often how we react to a crisis is more important that the actual crisis itself. It’s important to approach any crisis rationally and recognize that the problem is not insurmountable, but the extreme nature of the situation is usually a result of how quick the onset is. Crisis management is very much like dealing with any other problem or leadership decision, it just requires having a response that matches the urgency and gravity of the situation.

Step 1 – Admit the Problem

It is absolutely astounding how often leaders launch into their reaction to a crisis without taking the time to admit that they have a problem and what the real problem is. Many leaders start to immediately tackle the symptoms of the situation without ever determining what the actual problem is. To truly get your team through a crisis successfully it is critical to determine what the actual problem is. Although it is important to determine the problem quickly, it’s important to avoid getting fixated on the first idea that is presented. Take a few minutes to ask some detailed questions about the problem and really make sure you’ve identified all the aspects of it. Missing one of these key aspects early could lead to problems implementing a solution down the road.

Step 2 – Investigate Thoroughly

Now that you’ve identified what the real problem is, it’s time to dig deep and get down to the root causes. Continue to ask who, what, where, when and why until you and your team are satisfied that you fully understand the causes of the crisis. This, of course, must be balanced with any time constraints necessary to implement a solution especially in an urgent, time-critical situation. A key point to remember is that determining the root causes is not to lay blame or point fingers, but to identify all of the areas that will need to be addressed in the solution and who the key players will be in implementing that solution.

Step 3 – Accept Accountability for Your Role

Once the root causes and key players have been determined, it’s important that you and your team take accountability for any role you may have had in creating the problem and accept your role in coming up with and implementing the solution to the problem. Also, hold others accountable to accept their roles in the crisis and solution as well. Recognizing and admitting these roles to ourselves and others is an important step that often gets overlooked and, without this accountability, and can impact the implementation and effectiveness of the solution.

Step 4 – Take Corrective Action

Now it’s time to come up with a solution and implement it. Methodically address each root cause and identify not just what the solution is, but who the key people are to make it happen. As the solution starts to take shape you’ll be able to find that some pieces of it will address multiple root causes and be able to streamline your plan. Once you believe you have a completed solution, circle back to make sure you haven’t left any of the root causes unaddressed. Implement the plan and monitor the actions that the team is taking to see if they are actually effective. If the solution is not having the intended effect, it’s okay to adjust, but don’t throw out the plan without giving it a chance to work.

Step 5 – Communicate Throughout Crisis Management

Although it’s listed as our last step, communication throughout the crisis management process is critical. Make sure to be sharing appropriate information to your leadership, your team and other appropriate stakeholders. You may have to communicate to customers, the media or the general public. Stay focused on the message of what the problem is, the root causes and the solution. As we talked about before, assigning blame is not usually productive at this stage so focus on root causes and solutions. You will have to make a decision about how quickly to tell your leadership that the crisis has occurred. If you can work through the steps and implement a solution very quickly, it may make sense to tell them after the situation is in hand; but letting them know right away that you’re on top of it and working on it is usually a good call.

One point to emphasize is that while the five steps presented here are deliberate, they can actually be performed very quickly, sometimes in a matter of a few minutes. Dealing with a crisis in a time critical manner is often the key to success and it’s important to balance how long you take on determining causes and solutions with correcting the problem quickly. The best way to save time in this process is to deal with the accountability aspects of the crisis early. As the saying goes “Accountability never goes out of style” and your leadership will appreciate it if you hold yourself and others accountable without unnecessary finger-pointing.

Wishing you all the best next time you have to handle a crisis situation. Tell us in the comments the steps you use in your crisis management technique.

Photo Credit: By Americophile (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Preparation, training, and skill will all serve us well as we tackle our next big crisis, but the one key factor that impacts the ability to successfully navigate a crisis is taking accountability early on and throughout the situation.

Taking Accountability: The Key to Leading Through a Crisis

 

As much as we all try to plan well to avoid crisis situations, it is inevitable that we will face a crisis sometime in our careers as leaders. Preparation, training, and skill will all serve us well as we tackle our next big crisis, but the one key factor that impacts the ability to successfully navigate a crisis is taking accountability early on and throughout the situation.

4 Tips for Taking Accountability in a Crisis

The most important step for taking accountability is to admit there is a problem in the first place. Accepting this truth is necessary and it’s surprising how many situations spiral out of control because we can’t admit to ourselves that something is wrong. After thoroughly investigating root causes of the problem, it’s important to take accountability for any role we and our team might have had in causing the crisis. It’s very difficult to implement a solution if we haven’t addressed any procedural or team issues that might be barriers to implementation. Once the solution has been determined, we need to continue to hold ourselves and any others accountable to perform their role in the solution until the crisis is over. Finally, taking accountability to communicate the problem and solution to any key stakeholders is important throughout the crisis situation.

As leaders, we have a lot of hopes and dreams for making our lives better and building a better world. It’s difficult to fit everything in that we want to achieve and sometimes it’s overwhelming to figure out what it is specifically that we want. Creating a development plan can help you think through what goals are really important to you and to articulate them clearly. It will also give you a framework to put together a plan of action and highlight the people you’ll need to help you implement your plan for achieving goals.

Achieving Goals Using a Development Plan

As leaders, we have a lot of hopes and dreams for making our lives better and building a better world. It’s difficult to fit everything in that we want to achieve and sometimes it’s overwhelming to figure out what it is specifically that we want. Creating a development plan can help you think through what goals are really important to you and to articulate them clearly. It will also give you a framework to put together a plan of action and highlight the people you’ll need to help you implement your plan. A development plan isn’t absolutely necessary to achieve your goals, but it does provide you with a great foundation to start getting organized.

Section 1 – Setting Your Goals

When writing your development plan it’s important to put your goals into the context of the timeframe in which you want to achieve them. Start listing all of the goals you have into three categories: near, mid and far term. Near-term goals should be ones that you want to accomplish in the next 1-2 years, mid-term goals are on a timeframe of about 2-5 years and long-term goals are the ones you want to achieve in the 5-10 year timeframe or even further out. Long-term goals might be getting a certain job at a certain point in your career or starting a family. Mid-term goals might be completing a degree program or internal training program at your company. Short-term goals might be taking a class, acquiring a certain skill or getting selected to be part of a certain project team at work.

As you come up with your goals, remember that effective goals are clear, measurable and achievable. Try to be as specific and descriptive as you can when write them down. Also, it’s just as important to include the goals that you have for your personal life as it is to articulate the goals for your professional life.

Section 2 – Action Plan for Achieving Goals

After you’ve got your goals written clearly and specifically and arranged into near, mid and long-term, the next step is to see if completing any of your goals are helpful towards meeting other goals. If meeting some of your near or mid-term goals will help meet a longer term goal, use this as the beginning of your action plan. Show clearly how the interim goals will help meet the longer term ones. Then start filling in the other actions you think you need to complete to meet each goal. Look for common actions or themes between them and use these to refine your plan to make it more efficient. Don’t forget to include any skills, education or training you might need to acquire in order to fully achieve your goals.

Section 3 – Using your Network to Achieve Goals

Just as critical as the steps you will take in your action plan is thinking about who the people are that can help you with your goals. You might find that these people associate directly with some of the tasks in your action plan, but you may also find that this is a good place to list the leaders and mentors who will help you on a long-term basis with general support. If you’re having a hard time figuring out who would be great assets to help you achieve your goals, pull out your network map and start aligning the people on it with your goals and action steps. If you find that you have an action step where you need help but don’t have anyone in your network to help you, figure out what kind of person you’ll need to help you and who currently in your network map can help you find those people.

One of most critical aspects of using a development plan is to revisit it periodically to check your progress on your goals and recognize yourself for how much you have already accomplished. I recommend reviewing your plan every 6 months, but at the very least you should review it again at the end of your short-term timeframe (1-2 years from writing the plan). Every time you review your plan you should clear out any goals that you have already achieved and re-evaluate your mid and long-term goals. During this review you should evaluate your progress on your mid and long-term goals and determine if you need to write new short-term goals to meet them. Also, as you move through the years, you’ll want to add new long-term goals as your previous long-term goals get closer. Don’t forget to update your action plan and people sections to make plans to achieve new goals or update your current plans and recognize that you have probably added people to your network who might be able to help you.

 

What long-term goals are you setting out to achieve? Tell us in the comments!

 

Photo Credit: By Allen Institute for Brain Science (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One simple tool that you can use to improve your networking and build strong relationships is a network map. In this video Jason shows some simple, but effective, things that you can do with a network map to leverage your network to solve problems you may be facing and also to make lasting connections for yourself and (more importantly) for others.

Networking & Your Network Map

Take a look at anyone who is really successful and you will find that they have built a really strong network of people around them; but for many of us, the idea of networking can be intimidating and confusing. “How should we go about networking?”, “Who should we be networking with?” and “Where do we meet these people?” are all questions that come up frequently. Many people also feel like they’re introverted or not good with names and faces and that makes them not good at networking.

Networking – Don’t Stress About It!

The best thing you can do to help improve your networking skills is to not place so much pressure on yourself about networking. All you’re really doing is getting out there and looking for people who share your goals and interests. You can meet people like this anywhere, whether it is through your job, your social circle, or your community. Just as important as getting out and meeting the people you want to bring into your network is keeping track of them and being able to re-connect with them when the need arises.

Using a Network Map

One simple tool that you can use to help keep track of your network and build strong relationships is a network map. In this video Jason shows some simple, but effective, things that you can do with a network map to leverage your network to solve problems you may be facing and also to make lasting connections for yourself and (more importantly) for others.

Starting a Leader’s Journal can be a great way to start enhancing your creativity and innovation. The idea comes from Steven Johnson’s “Where Good Ideas Come From” where he discusses how the great thinkers of the Enlightenment Period would keep “commonplace books” for recording their thoughts, observations about the world and the ideas of others that they found interesting.

Enhancing Creativity Using a Leader’s Journal

Starting a Leader’s Journal can be a great way to foster your creativity and innovation. The idea comes from Steven Johnson’s “Where Good Ideas Come From” where he discusses how the great thinkers of the Enlightenment Period would keep “commonplace books” for recording their thoughts, observations about the world and the ideas of others that they found interesting.

Enhancing Creativity with a Handwritten Journal

My handwritten journal is where I really get in touch with who I am and the kind of ideas that I want to foster. I don’t store a lot of information like facts and figures in here, but it is where I capture the attitudes and themes that I want to bring forth every day. This is where I do my daily practice of writing down each morning what I am grateful for and the things I want to achieve every day. This is not in the sense of a “to-do list” (although I have one of those as well) but more of the kinds of behavior I want to remind myself to exhibit each day. Some examples are:

  • Living according to my core values and truth
    My handwritten journal is where I really get in touch with who I am and the kind of ideas that I want to foster. I don’t store a lot of information like facts and figures in here, but it is where I capture the attitudes and themes that I want to bring forth every day.

    Handwritten Journals can be a key component of your Leader’s Journal

  • Letting my true personality shine through
  • Being open to what the universe is trying to teach me today

That may sound a little new-age and touchy-feely but I’ve found since I started recording this practice in my handwritten journal that these attitudes come easier each day and help put me in a more creative flow throughout the day where ideas come to the front of my mind much easier. A key part of this daily practice is also reviewing at the end of the day how much I connected with these attitudes and if there is anything I would have done differently. Finally, I just kind or review any other ideas I may have written in the journal because that’s where I chose to get them down instead of using one of my other tools.

 

 

 

 

Enhancing Creativity with Evernote

Evernote is probably the tool I use most throughout the day to capture ideas into my Leader’s Journal that I want to follow up on. It’s so easy to screenshot or bookmark something with Evernote (literally a few mouse clicks) that I’m able to create a great visual reminder of websites, blog posts or issues and ideas that I can use to create my own content on the subject later on. As I review things I’ve captured in Evernote later on, it helps me to draw connections between those ideas and include my own thoughts to build a new, bigger and better idea.

Evernote is a great way to capture ideas visually

Evernote is probably the tool I use most throughout the day to capture ideas into my Leader’s Journal that I want to follow up on. It’s so easy to screenshot or bookmark something with Evernote (literally a few mouse clicks) that I’m able to create a great visual reminder of websites, blog posts or issues and ideas that I can use to create my own content on the subject later on. As I review things I’ve captured in Evernote later on, it helps me to draw connections between those ideas and include my own thoughts to build a new, bigger and better idea.

Evernote is not just great for connecting ideas, but also with people.  I use my leader’s journal to follow up with people I meet whether that’s in person, online or otherwise and Evernote is the primary tool I use to capture their contact information. #FollowFriday on Twitter is a really good example. When I have a great conversation or interaction with someone on Twitter throughout the week, I screenshot their info in Evernote and send out #FollowFriday tweets on Friday mornings including all of the great people I met that week.

 

 

Enhancing Creativity with Article Readers

Another tool that makes up a significant part of my Leader’s Journal is article readers like Feedly and Flipboard. This is how I curate the content for myself that I want to read and share with others. Apps like these are a great way to not only become more expert on the topics you feel are important to keep up with in your primary field, but also on things that you enjoy or are passionate about.

Article Readers can be a great way to curate content you want to save and share

Another tool that makes up a significant part of my Leader’s Journal is article readers like Feedly and Flipboard. This is how I curate the content for myself that I want to read and share with others. Apps like these are a great way to not only become more expert on the topics you feel are important to keep up with in your primary field, but also on things that you enjoy or are passionate about. You’d be surprised how often an idea from one of your hobbies or side ventures can grow into a solution to a problem in your job. My business is leadership so I subscribe to a lot of blogs and other media sources about leadership and management, but I also read a lot of things about social media and marketing so I can reach and help more people, as well as about art, science and relationships to help me bring good ideas from those worlds into my coaching efforts. These tools make it easy for me to gather content that I think is beneficial, save what I want for later and also share with others to start a dialogue and collaborate to bring in other perspectives and foster more creative ideas.

 

Enhancing Creativity through Social Media

You’ll definitely get benefit from your journal by pulling together and reviewing all of the great things you put in it, but you’ll really see more gains when you share your ideas with others and bring in alternate perspectives on your thoughts. Using your social media accounts to share items that you think others would find interesting is a great way to do this. It’s easy, convenient and potentially reaches everyone you are connected with on social media.

Sharing on Social Media is a good way to put your ideas out there and get feedback from others

Sharing is Caring, or so the saying goes. The same is true when it comes to your Leader’s Journal. You’ll definitely get benefit from your journal by pulling together and reviewing all of the great things you put in it, but you’ll really see more gains when you share your ideas with others and bring in alternate perspectives on your thoughts. Using your social media accounts to share items that you think others would find interesting is a great way to do this. It’s easy, convenient and potentially reaches everyone you are connected with on social media. It’s really important to include your own thoughts on what you’re sharing so that others can give you feedback on your ideas and help make them even stronger. Encouraging people to comment can bring in thoughts that enhance your ideas that you may never have considered unless you had shared.

 

 

 

 

It’s important that your Leader’s Journal not just become a black hole where you dump ideas, thoughts and things you find interesting, never to seen again. Another repository of information that you never look at again will not help you make the kind of creative leaps called “slow hunches” that Johnson describes in his book. Taking some time to really sit down with your journal and look back at your thoughts and ideas in a reflective manner will start to spark those circuits in your brain that will start to put together those “slow hunches”.

One last piece of advice: If you’re not sure if you should include something in your Leader’s Journal, trust your instincts and put it in anyway. You may not know why something that you put in your Leader’s Journal is important to you. Just go ahead and put it in there, you can always take it out later, but it will be much harder to find

Tell us in the comments what tools you’ve built your Leader’s Journal around and the kinds of things you include in it.