Recent Posts by Joseph Dworak

Top 5 Posts of 2014 and What I Learned

2014 2014 was a fantastic year!  I started blogging (semi-regularly) again and had some great feedback from people who stopped by to check out what I was up to.  Here are the Top 5 posts of 2014 based on unique views to each post and what I learned through writing those posts.  All the posts are hotlinked in the titles. 1.  How to Make a Million Dollars Mining Gold in Alaska:  Three Leadership Lessons from a Teenager This post focused on Parker Schnabel, the star of the hit reality TV show, "GoldRush."  I learned that you can learn about leadership even from watching highly edited reality TV.  The producer, Christo Doyle, does a good job of keeping things real.  I also learned how bad leadership can lead groups into failure.  I recommend watching the show, it is still fun and ever changing. 2.  5 Reasons to Love Minneapolis This post is pretty self-explanatory.  I have lived in Minneapolis for over a decade now and there is a lot to love about the city.  This post gave five of those reasons.  We do love Minneapolis, just wish that it was a bit warmer in the winter months.  That is really the only negative I can think of.  The place is clean, has a low unemployment rate, and keeps chugging along.  If you have not visited, you should make a trip! 3.  How to find the best job for you in 4 steps, and how I did it After 14 years working for a great employer, I had maxed out what I could do in that organization.  I made a big change one year ago today when I turned in my resignation and accepted a new job with Leadership Vision Consulting.  A year later, I am 100% convinced it was the right move.  My stress level is down, and my happiness is up! 4.  Top 5 Career Tips for Young Professionals Ah the post I wish I had when I was starting out in my career.  Alas, when I started out there were no blogs and no people like me that were writing posts like...
Read more

Making Changes? Don’t listen to naysayers

IMG_0207 It has taken me a long time to confirm this observation and write a bit about it, but here goes: Any time, and I should say every time, you propose doing something new with your life, your career, a new process at your work, something new, you will encounter naysayers. You will encounter people with other opinions. You will encounter people who just want things to stay the same no matter what. I have met some of the least engaged employees who will fight tooth and nail for their mediocre career existence. Why? People do not want change.  They say they do, but as someone said to me recently, they don't want the actual process of change. What happens during any change? change curve During the change, people get information about what is happening and go into denial.  This denial is avoiding the process of actually thinking that this change might happen.  But, then things start to happen and people get frustrated and angry.  What happened to my status quo?  Things are different and unfamiliar, I will fight for things to go back to the way they were - even if they were not that great to begin with. When I lived in Washington, DC I was in a relationship that was not very healthy.  My girlfriend and I would fight a lot and that became what was normal in our relationship.  A friend of mine came to visit and pointed out that things were not very peaceful between us and I immediately told him that he was off.  I was in denial.  Even though the status quo was not great in my life, it was all I knew.  I also was part of the problem, that was also something that was hard to accept.  I had to change.  I had to do better.  Over time I realized that my friend was right and I started to take some steps to make change.  But it was not easy! If you can get people, groups or organizations past the anger part of the change they will begin to explore the change and they will start to become more productive once again.  Some change processes never even get to this point and are abandoned.  To keep moving on the change curve you need leadership, fortitude, accountability and constant communication. If you push past exploring the change...
Read more

Top Five career tips for young professionals

Top Five Career Tips I am no longer a young professional. Once upon a time I was, but no longer. This past fall I signed up to be a mentor at my alma mater, Bethel University, and am in the process of mentoring a bright student who no doubt will do well in her career.  She is only a sophomore but is already doing informational interviews at top companies in the area.  I told her that not many people her age are doing that and she is already gaining an edge in finding a job after college.  All of this made me think of some tips for young professionals who are just starting out in their careers.  Some of these may even apply to all of us, regardless of where we are at in our careers. 1)  Know what strengths you bring to any environment you are apart of Before you ever get to a job interview, whether it be formal or not, know what you are good at.  Better yet, know what are you are great at.  If you have not already take the Clifton StrengthsFinder test and find out your areas of talent.  Then, work with a coach or mentor to refine how you use these talents and turn them into strengths.  If you can go into a job interview and be able to answer the question, 'What are your strengths,' you will already be ahead of many people who cannot provide good answers to this standard question. You should be able to talk about your strengths without mentioning what the strength name is.  There is no way of knowing whether or not the person interviewing you knows about the Clifton StrengthsFinder, but that should not preclude you from talking about your talents and how you use them. 2)  Have a mentor who helps you navigate your life and career When I started out in my career I worked for nine months as a temporary worker at Prudential insurance.  There was probably no environment that more resembled the movie "Office Space."  Looking back it is amazing that any work got done at all.  There was low supervision, lots of young professionals in tight quarters, and a general lack of direction from top management. I did not have a mentor who was helping me navigate this environment, either inside or outside of the organization.  There was no one challenging...
Read more

Break through vs. Break you moments – what to do?

path I am on an email newsletter that comes out somewhat infrequently, but when it does, rarely does it not grab my attention. My friend, Ben, is a dreamer and innovator who I am glad my life has crossed paths with. It is an opt-in newsletter and I have no idea how many people receive it. Ben helps people follow their dream and turn it into what they do for their life. He recently wrote a book called "Dream Year" and is having a great impact on many people. So, back to this newsletter. Ben talked through an interesting situation for one of his projects and how he was close to shutting it down. There were many factors, but he was not seeing a way through to continue this project. Then, he received a text message from a friend and everything changed. There was a way forward, maybe even better than before.  He experienced a 'break you' moment before he had a 'break through moment." Ben is always encouraging people to follow their dream. Not unlike how I try and encourage people to use their strengths in a passion area for their life. Ben does this in spades. He is his own boss. He writes his own ticket. But, Ben works his tail off to make things happen. Even in his own area of strength and passion, he works hard. There is no shortcut to his success. As some of you know, I left a successful career in higher education to pursue what had been a smaller platform in my life - doing strengths based organizational consulting.  Helping people understand their StrengthsFinder results and how they fit in their organizations, etc. Our aim at Leadership Vision Consulting is help empower strong people in strong teams to become strong cultures. Cultures based on what is right about them and not focused on their weaknesses. I love doing this work. It has been completely gratifying to make this leap and start on a new journey. Has every moment of leaving the perceived 'safe' job at a big organization been rosy? No. Have the positives completely outweighed the negatives? Yes. Last week I had one of those 'break you' moments. We had a client say no to a proposal and I started to focus on when people have said no over the past 10 months. I started...
Read more

What are you good at? Do you use it to help other people?

What are you good at? Better yet, what are you great at? Can you answer either of those questions? Ok, if you can answer either or both, move on. If not?  You have some work to do. If so?  Read on. If you know what you are good at, and hopefully great at, how are you helping other people with your talent? IMG_1494 That is a picture of my friend Trevor.  Trevor and I went skiing last July at the top of the Beartooth Pass in Montana, at Beartooth Basin summer ski area.  It was a great day where we were able to ski in the middle of summer.  Trevor is a great skier.  He is a ski instructor and is a great person to ski with. Trevor is gifted at being great at many things.  That is not the best part about Trevor though, what I really appreciate about him is the fact that he is generous.  He is always looking for ways to help other people out.  Ailing neighbor who has to go to the hospital in the middle of the night?  Trevor helps her out.  We need help installing a new microwave?  Trevor right there to help us out.  Our son needs someone to help him find a great hiding spot to fight the invasion of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?  Trevor is there.  Trevor gives away what he is good at to help other people out. Do you know what I notice about Trevor besides that he is always giving away what he is good at?  He is a happy person. Is there a correlation between being generous and being happy?  Yes.  The most generous people I know are some of the happiest people I know. I would take it one step further and say people are even more happy when they give away what they are talented in. So, what are you good at? What are you great at? I am a connector. I am a connector of people, and people to things. My whole life whatever I have been excited about I have tried to get other people interested in.  I did not know my strengthsfinder results growing up, but this was my Woo and Activator working together.  I am wired to do this connecting.  When I do it, it makes me feel good.  When I do it and it helps other people it makes me feel fantastic. This is...
Read more