May 30, 2020

Lessons from LinkedIn Founder

I know – you’re not an entrepreneur anymore.  You’re a government appointee.  Now, you’ve got fiefdoms.  You’ve got regulations and people who follow them to the ‘t.’  AND, we both know you’re an entrepreneur at heart.  So…consider that you can borrow these ideas from Reid Hoffman, founder of  LinkedIn:

  • Find Ways to Reach People;
  • Improve Users’ Lives;

and more in this Fortune Magazine article, here.

Elizabeth Gilbert on Creativity

Five Ways to Prevent Yourself from Being Blindsided

How do you really know what people are thinking?

Not to feed your paranoia or anything.  But, hey, as an appointee, you’re the interloper in a world that essentially has been there before ya and will be there long after ya!  All you have is communications.

If you’re lucky, there’s someone loyal around you that you can trust — who will give you the skinny.  AND, that doesn’t let you off the hook for doing your own footwork.

John Baldoni, Leadership Consultant and Coach, in a post at Harvard Business Online offers five ways to be in the know and create two-way dialogue to enhance open communications.  The tips are geared more toward business — and you’ll adapt them as you see fit.

Walk the halls. Make yourself visible to your team.  Check in and ask how things are working for them;

Listen to feedback. Give them time to respond.  The word “fine” is not an answer;

Report on feedback. Let your colleagues know what you are hearing and what it means;

Report on revisions. If you make a major change, or even a minor one, communicate it. Also, do more follow up to see how it is working. This is especially critical when there is initial resistance;

Conduct a communications audit. Baldoni writes this suggested to corporate leaders.  In state government you may not have this luxury — and you can still create ways to tap into what people are thinking, feeling, and doing related to your initiatives.

Here’s the full article

You, as an Appointee…Keeping Your Vision & Passion Alive

You’re a first-term appointee in state government.  You’re serving a Governor you believe in.  You’ve been highly successful in a number of other positions or in your career.  You’ve managed projects, led people and coalitions — and you’ve been passionate about your vision and doing what you love.

And now, you’re discovering or have discovered that this government world is totally different than anything you’ve met before!

Agendas — conflicting or hidden.  Politics – overt and covert.  New friends or convenient allies.  Career civil servants – some engaged, some not.

Whether you’re serving a Democrat or Republican Administration, it doesn’t matter.  The challenges you face as an appointee are non-partisan.

That’s why I’m here.  My intention is to serve YOU during your time as a public servant – to provoke you to keep your vision alive, your spirit on fire and your soul intact no matter what during this time.

A little about me — I jumped from the private to the public sector in 1994 to serve former NJ Governor Whitman in the Department of Commerce.  At first, I was Director of the Division of Small, Women and Minority Businesses – and excited to make it easier for small business to do business with government!  I’d been a lobbyist for years, and before my transition, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business.  After years of issues management, I was ready to see how life worked on the inside of government!

Marching to the tune of “creating smaller, smarter government” I retooled a process to eliminate built-in, historical overtime that staff had come to rely on over the years.  That was in the Department of Commerce – where our goal was to make it easier for business to do business with state government.  Awesome learning opportunity.  Later I moved to an “in-but-not-of” agency called NJN, the State’s Public Television system, as assistant executive director.   Here, I had a blast working with career civil servants, engaged employees and just about every state agency to deliver large-scale education and training initiatives as well as legislative/policy issues.

What was the common thread among these experiences?  My personal investment in training and development, also called leadership coaching.

So, today, I work with visionaries passionate about making a difference and I’m in service to you and what you’re up to in the world to make sure you keep your foot on the pedal of your possibility!

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