Recent Posts by Joseph Dworak

Lessons I am learning: It is all about relationships

A few months ago I wrote to you about things I was learning working at our company, Leadership Vision Consulting, and what it was like to work in a startup, or small company environment.

Three months in, I have learned a lot, and still have lots to learn.  

Maybe this is the new economy, and maybe it is an idea as old as time, but the biggest lesson I continue to learn is that is all about relationships.  In my old job I was in a a large organization of 1,000 employees and I did a good amount of internal networking to try and be successful in my role.  But, in some ways the networking was not super critical to my success.  Do not get me wrong, it helped, but it was not nearly as crucial as it is for me now working at a company of 6 employees.

Networking and relationships is something that is so vital both personally and professionally.  If you have read this blog, or my other iterations over the years you may have caught me talking about the importance of having mentors in your life. This remains critical to your success, but so do lateral relationships and people who you might be able to help as a mentor or guide.

How to Network

In networking the old adage applies, 100% - go with the goers.  If someone is skeptical of your attempts to connect, do not waste your time unless you have to connect with that person from some reason.  In the past I tried to connect with a very influential consultant who I knew I could learn a lot from.  He was guarded with me, which is not unusual for highly successful people, and figured I was just trying to sell him something.  I made it clear to him I wanted to hear why he was passionate about what he was doing, and some of he had learned over the years.  It was clear he wanted me to try and fit into some demographic that I did not fit into and the connection did not take root.  Move along to someone who will be generous with their time, and don’t waste it when they give it to you.  What can you do right off the bat to help that person with something you are good at?

What are you good...

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The Secret to Success (at least one that I know)

Do you want to be successful?  Here is a huge secret key that is so obvious many people overlook it:

You have to work harder than anybody else.

Let me repeat:

You have to work harder than anybody else. Last year I read a quick tweet from Rory McIlroy, the former #1 golfer in the world talking about how he was on the range practicing for a playoff golf tournament this week in Indiana.  Rory mentioned something about being the early bird on the range and that the range was not crowded.

Who is on that range at some early crack of dawn time?  Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.  Two of the best golfers in the world.  Does that surprise me?  No, not at all.  The best work harder than everybody else.  Period.

Do they have talent?  Yes.

Do they use their strengths to their advantage?  For sure.

Does talent win?  Not without hard work.

Are they in the right fit?  Yes.

Does fit matter?  Absolutely.  If you are not in the right fit, you may never get a chance to do what you do best.

Rory and Tiger work harder than other golfers who may have similar talent levels.  Tiger also is a victim of his own success because now young up and coming golfers also saw what he did and worked harder, practiced longer and now the whole level of golf on the PGA tour is better than it was years ago.

If you are in the right fit, and you are not working as hard as you can, do not complain about having less than excellent results.  Work hard, be the early bird.

Once you are in the right fit, it is not complicated....
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Are we all exclusive in how we talk? Avoid Insider Lingo!

insider lingo In any group, organization, company, school, tribe, etc there is always insider lingo.  Insider lingo is a code that only people who have been assimilated into the group or tribe understand and can decode rapidly.  Almost any time I enter into a new setting I immediately notice what is familiar, and what is not.  Lingo and language often has subtle nuances that are easy to notice if you are new, but not even a second thought for those already 'in.'  Is this bad?  Is this good?  Neither probably, but it can be exclusive and limiting if you want to bring new people into your group, tribe, etc. In the past few months I changed careers and do strengths based organizational consulting full time.  Our company, Leadership Vision Consulting, works with the strengthsfinder to help people, teams and cultures become strengths based.  Do we have our own lingo at our company?  Absolutely.  Do I have to help connect people to what our company does and how we might be able to help their organization?  Yes!  Do I have to make sure our own insider lingo does not get in the way of their ability to understand what we do?  Absolutely. My New Job  As part of my transition to my new job, I have been doing tons of networking meetings and finding out so much about companies and what people do for a living.  It has been great to get in a bunch of new settings and find out how people are changing the world through a lot of new and exciting ways.  Minneapolis and St. Paul is a hotbed of innovation in so many areas including medical technology and more.  In many of the meetings I have been in there is a good amount of business jargon and insider lingo that is thrown around without a second thought if the listener understands what is being said.  It is usually possible to decode what the people are talking about, but if they head to the acronym world, that presents a whole new level of exclusivity. Exclusive Acronyms  Yah so in the first quarter we need to hit our SMART goals through our new NEC initiative and run any decisions by our CEO, COO, CFO and make sure the exec group approves our TNT based SME quickly and we get...
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If at all possible: REMAIN CALM!

Parking Gararge   A few weeks ago I was running right on time for a client engagement at the University of Minnesota and drove up to this parking garage.  Parking garages more and more are moving away from cash and are only taking credit cards.  So as I rolled up to this parking garage I realized I had neither - cash or credit.  My margin for being on time was low and I immediately felt my anxiety start to raise as I did not want to be late.  What was I going to do?  How would I park?  Would I be on time?  How could I remain calm and solve the problem? This could have gone a lot of ways.  In my youth for sure I would have blown my top and just gotten really mad and been blinded by pure emotion in a way that would not have helped me solve the problem at hand.  At any time in my life my anxiety over stress could have pushed me in a direction that might not have been helpful to solve this real problem.  Thankfully the last couple of years I have really pressed into the concept of emotional intelligence, or 'EQ.' All of us are familiar with the concept of 'IQ,' intelligence quotient.  What is your 'IQ?'  IQ is interesting to talk about, but many studies have shown that your IQ has little to do with how successful you might be in life.  What does have much more to do with how successful you will be in life?  EQ What is EQ, or emotional intelligence? "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically." Do your emotions control you?  Or, do you control your emotions?  When I realized I had no way of paying for parking that story could have gone a lot of ways.  Getting mad or anxious would not have solved my problem, it only would have left me with the problem and no solution.  On top of that I would have ended up late to my client engagement - something we just do not do. If you are not controlling your emotions it will have an effect on your interpersonal relationships.  This has happened to me more times than I would like to admit in my own life.  These are lessons I can only learn...
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Announcing My New Project: MSPBiking.com

I am excited to announce a new project. Earlier this week I registered and launched MSPbiking.com - A few years ago I began biking more regularly and absolutely love it. It is something I can do by myself or with friends and family.  Just amazing, and helps my legs after 15 years of running. The site is not much to speak of right now, and the Twitter is just getting going @mspbiking Why did I do this? Biking in  the Twin Cities is exploding. Biking in the Twin Cities is among the best in the United States because of amazing trails and a bike culture. There are many good resources for biking, but they fall into smaller niches and there is space in a growing bike culture for another good resource. What have I learned? I learned starting this website and other things associated with it are much easier than when I relaunched this website.  Things like setting up MailChimp, designing the site, etc come more naturally now. I have also been inspired by my coworker Nathan Freeburg who started MinneapolisRunning.com which is becoming the spot for information on running in Minneapolis. You are who you hang around?  I guess so :) This new project will hopefully help other people who love biking in Minneapolis and St. Paul. This new project will teach me what works and what does not work in that space. It may work. It may not. In the end I will learn either way, and maybe help a few people out. Sounds like a great formula. Hope to see you online, or on the trail. photo (4)...
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