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Showing posts from May, 2018

Context: Back to the Future

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I recently facilitated a presentation on the power of defining and incorporating talents at work to an internal group of young professionals.  This group consisted of team members participating in our annual Marketing & Sales Mentoring Program.  Each year, we solicit ambitious employees to apply for this 8 month journey.  Like Ollivander himself, we magically pair "mentees" with seasoned mentors based on the skills and competencies that the future leaders would like to strengthen.

I have only just begun taking my StrengthsFinder act "on the road".  Up until recently, my evangelism has been practiced upon my direct reports and to a smattering of interested parties within my division.  For this group of eager mentees, I wanted to demonstrate why I am so darn passionate about all this stuff.

In short, I needed to provide Context.  

Establishing Context would not come easy for me as it ranks as #30 out of my own 34 Talent Themes.  Gallup might call this a "No…

Belief: Playing with a Full Deck

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In his book Delivering Happiness (2010), Zappos founder and CEO Tony Hsieh describes ten core values that drive his company's culture.  Among my favorites are #3 Create Fun and a Little Weirdness, #7 Build a Passionate Team & Family Spirit and #10 Be Humble.

Corporate values, when designed properly, should link directly back to fuel your company mission and vision.  In our case, when we "live the values" at Universal Orlando we create a culture that is proud, engaged and works together productively.  This then drives excellent service, unforgettable experiences and superior financial returns.  When taken to our aspirational extreme, all of this combined can make us the #1 entertainment destination in the world. Simple.

Well, not that simple, but I have always been all in on the Universal Values.  They provide guidance in decision making and can inspire trust, compassion and stability when practiced consistently.  In my department, we have clear descriptors for how e…

Developer: The Dinosaur

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Last September, I celebrated my 20th anniversary with my organization.  In the blink of an eye, I went from being one of the younger managers in the conference room to now being one of the oldest.  As time has progressed, my company has grown significantly and has become more sophisticated.  To effectively manage this growth, we have recruited amazing talent in targeted fields.  Digital & Experience Transformation, Strategic Business Intelligence & Integration and Media Analytics are just three departments within my division that I could not even have dreamed of back in 1997.

I have grown and developed myself during my 20+ year journey.  One great way to see how far you have come is to dig up an old strategic plan Power Point you might have done at the "turn of the century".  Not only do the tactics seem old-school, the document is filled with something we called "clip-art"; typically black & white stick figurines posing in different positions.

Even wi…

The Catalyst

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I first took the StrengthsFinder assessment in late 2013 at the recommendation of my boss.  I recall getting the results and immediately seeing myself in them.  After nearly 30 years in the workforce, it was nice to be able to label and summarize my talents so neatly.  The intensity of my interest wore off quickly as I was likely distracted with the day to day of my job at the time.  The StrengthsFinder book found itself in the same case as my DISC assessment and training materials from other courses I have taken over the years.

In 2016, I was tasked with trying to improve and enhance growth and development opportunities for team members in my workplace.  I am fortunate to work for an organization that is so focused on team member satisfaction and we identified individual growth and development as an action item.  My top 5 signature talent themes are Strategic, Ideation, Futuristic, Positivity and Achiever, so I was definitely in my "strengths zone" for this project.

I put …

Ideation: Starting with "Y"

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Ideation is a talent theme that really defines me.  I have always been an "idea-man" and through the years, my direct reports have served as my de facto sounding board as I dreamed up endless ways to innovate our business.  Take “Zoom Service” for example.  This bright idea combined an image of Nickelodeon’s Jimmy Neutron (and star of a former ride at Universal Studios) with Universal Orlando ticket delivery to guests at area hotels – a play on “room service” that I knew would be a huge hit.  My team still laughs about that one.  It wasn’t until later in my career that I discovered a formula to help tame my uninterrupted imagination and filter my ideas into risks really worth exploring. The epiphany occurred at a Customer Experience conference hosted by the renowned research firm Forrester.It was there that I learned a process to distill my futuristic ideas into opportunities that might actually find the light of day.The formula is detailed in the book Outside In by Forrester…