Archive | November, 2011

an eye single

30 Nov

(D&C 88:67) In that scripture for a brief moment I could see that inhibitions and fears and self-consciousness could be conquered if I stopped performing for the admiration of mortals and sought honestly and faithfully to glorify only God.

I learned that day that appreciation for our own worth has nothing to do with the applause of one’s neighbor and everything to do with having integrity before the Lord. We all need a higher image of ourselves, but Satan would have us believe it comes totally from the praise of others when in fact it comes from our relationship with God.

Just focus on pleasing God. Let God worry about pleasing the people.

I promise you that if this year your eye is fixed, centered, riveted, and so cemented that it cannot be distracted by the allure of the crowds or the vanities of this world—then you will hear your calling from God. Your destiny rests in that call. Keep your eye single to God’s glory, and in doing so fill your bodies with such brightness of light that you will fulfill your destiny as one created in his image.

-Patricia T. Holland, “An Eye Single” Sept. 10, 1985, BYU Devotional

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where shall i serve today?

29 Nov

“Father, where shall I serve today?” I said,
And my love flowed warm and free.
Then he pointed me out a little spot
And said, “There, tend that for me.”

I said, “Oh no, not that,
Not that little place.
Why, no one would ever see —
No matter how well my work was done —
Not that little spot for me.”

The words he spoke — they were not stern.
He answered me tenderly,
“Little one, search that heart of thine,
Art thou serving them or me?
Nazareth was just a little spot
And so was Galilee.”

-Meade McGuire

let not your heart be troubled

25 Nov

“I come this morning with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that we “accentuate the positive.” I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort. I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance. Wise is the man who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his course. I am not suggesting that our conversation be all honey and blossoms. Clever expression that is sincere and honest is a skill to be sought and cultivated. What I am suggesting and asking is that we turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good in the land and times in which we live, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears.

Cynics do not contribute.
Skeptics do not create.
Doubters do not achieve.

This nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail. . . . I have faith in America. You and I must have faith in America if we understand the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. -Harold B. Lee, Deseret News, 27 October 1973.

I am certain that if we will emphasize the greater good and turn our time and talents from vituperative criticism, from constantly looking for evil, and lift our sights to what may be done to build strength and goodness in our nation, America shall continue to go forward with the blessing of the Almighty and stand as an ensign of strength and peace and generosity to all the world.

We are the creatures of our thinking. We can talk ourselves into defeat or we can talk ourselves into victory.

We have been blessed with the bounties of heaven and the bounties of earth. Oh, how magnificently and munificently we have been blessed! Now, with gratitude in our hearts, let us not dwell upon the few problems we have. Let us rather count our blessings and in a great spirit of gratitude, motivated by a great faith, go forth to build the kingdom of God in the earth.

On one occasion when the Savior was walking among a crowd, a woman who had been long sick touched his garment. He perceived that strength had gone out of him. The strength that was his had strengthened her. So it may be with each of us. Let me urge you to desist from making cutting remarks one to another. Rather, cultivate the art of complimenting, of strengthening, of encouraging. What wonders we can accomplish when others have faith in us.

-Gordon B. Hinckley, “Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled” Oct. 29, 1974, BYU Devotional

collaboration & teamwork

25 Nov

Give an example of a time in your life when you’ve seen successful teamwork or collaboration in action. What can you learn from that example that you can apply today?
EFY was one of the most collaborative environments I have ever been in.
Every day we had meetings with our BC group of girls, and we paired with a BC group of guys and talked about concerns and triumphs that we had seen in our own groups and in others. Because we all trusted each other so sincerely, the things shared in those meetings continue to impact my life today.
In our first meeting, I shared a concern about my teaching skills. The next day, our guy BC Ryan prepared an entire lesson on different teaching methods. I instantly started applying them. He offered to sit in on a lesson and give me feedback, and because he had been doing EFY for years and had served a mission, I knew that he had developed his teaching skills and that I could trust his feedback.
The last night of my first week, I had a particularly challenging problem with one of my girls. I was 20, I knew nothing, it was my first week of EFY, and I had no idea what I was doing. I felt completely unqualified to deal with it, and I was very overwhelmed with the prospect that I was facing. Two male counselors, as well as Ryan, that same BC who took the time to be invested in my growth earlier in the week, sat down with me and showed me what I could do, and that I really was qualified to help this girl who was having a really hard time.
Through the many challenges I faced as an EFY counselor, I always knew that I was supported by the other counselors and that I could find help when I needed it. Trust played a major role in all of my relationships. Knowing others’ strengths also helped us because we were able to play off of each others’ past experiences and skills to build our own.
Applying that experience to BYUSA, these are the things I think we can all do better:
-Trust each other to help with our own roadblocks
-Recognize strengths & expertise that we can all bring to the table
-Focus more on lifting each other up in general
-Don’t get hung up with the details

What challenges do you face with teamwork/collaboration and how can you overcome them?
Because our jobs are all so different, I think we have a difficult time accepting help from one another and actually utilizing the TEAM to solve problems. I know that up until recently, if I needed help with an advertising problem, I might consult each of the EDs individually. Reflecting on that, I was basically doing the same thing that we are doing more now (presenting an issue in area meeting and discussing it collectively), but more diluted and with less effectiveness. All together, we can work off of each other and benefit from the ideas of each other. Working together also helps us develop trust.
I’m actually really excited about the opportunity I have to work with Sarah on advertising now, because teamwork & collaboration was the skill I chose to work on in my leadership development plan. This opportunity is perfect for working on that!

integrity

21 Nov

What are some ways you can build integrity and trust with your team?
I loved Brittanie & Phil’s presentation at the retreat on respect because it actually put this concept into perspective for me. By showing respect for your responsibilities, the roles of others, and each individual, you are showing integrity and trust. By doing this honestly and being reliable in your dealings with them, integrity and trust within a team grows.
Another way is by getting to know the people on your team – really, really know them. When you take the time to love someone, then trust can follow more naturally.
With Comms, I really think that we can trust each other better. While it is true that comes with time, I think that another component is letting go of inhibitions about each other and letting go of our own stubborn ideas. By increasing trust in each other, we can accomplish so much more together.
With my ACs, I am trying really hard to encourage them to work more consistently with the vision. I’ve found that when they understand why they are filling out EAFs and holding ARCs and meeting with designers, they enjoy it more, and they can find the joy in serving others. When that component is present, I’ve found that integrity in accountability, productivity, and compatibility increases tenfold.

In what ways do you make sure your team is in agreement with a project before moving forward?
We ask for everyone’s input. When everyone has had an opportunity to voice their opinions, I always feel much more confident in the unity of the team. With my ACs, I always try to make time for them to share their concerns as well as their victories, because I always want them to leave a meeting feeling like they were really a part of the team. Creating an open and welcoming environment has made them feel more involved, and I believe it has allowed them to develop as leaders when they can think critically, together and independently, about their contributions, while also focusing on triumphs of their own and of others. I’ve loved being able to do that because that strengthens their unity and collaborative processes, and I’ve felt that it contributes to the bonding and building of a stronger team.
To answer the question more succinctly, I’ve found that the best way to make sure the team is in agreement before moving on is to first build that environment of openness and honesty and candor, to make all team members feel valued and included, and then ask everyone for their opinions and thoughts. Also setting a precedent of making sure everyone is on board with the decision first before moving on allows everyone to know that their opinion will be important.

What are a couple of creative ways you can communicate a new idea to your team?
Ooh. Other than straight up telling them, I can think of a lot of ways that involve charts and diagrams and a really really great Powerpoint. But I don’t think that’s what this question is actually asking. Actually, to be honest, I don’t have any idea what this question is asking. But this is the third question, and I remember hearing that we only need to answer two, so I’m just going to say that right now, I am eating tapioca and chocolate chips, which is one of the best ideas I’ve ever had, and I’ll call it a night. [While we are still here, I will say that I whole-heartedly believe that a mariachi band would be appropriate, provided there is also salsa involved.]

focus on results

15 Nov

In your opinion, what are the most important behaviors (as defined in your student manual) in getting results with a project or problem? Explain why you have chosen these and use specific personal examples to add merit to your claim.
I think the most important behaviors in getting results would be planning and organization, has a clear vision of desired results, is quick to act, and creates a high-performance team.
Planning and organization is extremely important because without a plan, a leader is unable to guide anyone down a path of any kind. If you know how you’re getting there, it’s a lot easier to bring people with you. Organization also allows you to delegate responsibilities to make sure everyone is included and has accountability for something.
Having a clear vision of desired results helps everyone understand why they’re doing what they’re doing along the way. Especially for projects or problems that may take a long time to be resolved, it serves as a motivational tool to remind people why it is important to accomplish the task at hand.
Being quick to act keeps things moving.
Creating a high-performance team is critical because it means that everyone is reliable and passionate and that everyone will help everyone reach the end goal together. A high-performance team can make strong and lasting contributions and will be able to find the resources necessary, brainstorm and innovate together, trust each other, anticipate problems, give and receive feedback, be committed to quality, and assume personal and group responsibility. When you have a high-performance team, everything else falls into place.
I saw the benefits of these four behaviors in my work at the admissions processing center. We had a deadline each year to make, and it was vital to reach it because thousands of people depended on us to process their documents so they could get into BYU. We had to have a solid organization set up for dividing document types and delegating responsibilities each day to speed up the process. It also helped to understand why we were doing our job, because one tiny mistake could cost someone their entrance to BYU. A lot was on the line, and that motivated me to do my best and to be thorough and accurate, but also to make sure that I got to everyone’s record. That was our clear vision of desired results. Finally, we had a high-performance team that worked together well. We had a lot of fun, and we all worked really hard. We had an assembly line system for almost every task in the office – opening mail, logging documents, processing colleges, etc. It made our office productive and collaborative and happy.

What are your personal strengths in getting results on projects or problems, and how can you use and implement them in your current leadership position to benefit your team?
My strengths are in planning and organizing and in supporting with adequate resources. I love to plan and organize pretty much everything. As I’m writing this, I’m working off of an agenda for my night (and I would just like to say that I am currently 100% on-time, on-task, and free from distractions. STEVE HOLT!). I feel that my practicum manual, the website, and other resources I have provided to my ACs have allowed them to find what they need more easily. I can help my team to reach greater heights by finding more ways to use these skills to their advantage, but more importantly, I can also utilize their skills to find more ways that they can best contribute to the team. That will also create a higher-performing team.

personal capability

15 Nov

Share one personal experience where you have seen the Technical/Professional Expertise leadership competency in action.
I have been impressed by Ryan’s ability to network within and outside of the office and to build solid relationships with everyone. As a leader, he is very professional with those he serves, but he still also makes time for the one when he probably doesn’t have the time to spare. What he has deemed as important is people, and that has made a huge difference in his leadership style. He also “desires to pursue excellence,” especially in the way he describes his passion for the organization and the university. Because of this passion, he expects a lot of those he leads, but it never seems like his high standards are out of reach. Ryan and Brittanie’s campaign was very results-oriented, and because of that focus in their presidential initiatives, it has been much easier to implement them because there is a clear path to reach them. I’ve had many conversations with Ryan especially that have helped me feel like I had a better grasp of my role in BYUSA and that has helped me to better understand the vision. Because he shares his experiences and knowledge, his development of technical and professional expertise has made me trust him as a leader.

Share one personal experience where you have applied skills from the Solves Problems and Analyzes Issues leadership competency.
The creation of the advertising system this year came as a result of the combined problem-solving and analytical skills of many people. First, initiative was taken by everyone to begin considering this concept. It required a lot of planning and organizing to develop the best program for everyone, and a lot of decisiveness to move forward with a product that could be presented early on to the presidency and coordinators. This required innovation to find new ways to incorporate everyone’s respective timelines, event schedules, and processes, such as RACE. Taking on this challenge was my favorite part by far, because I learned a lot about BYUSA in the process. I found the most joy in learning and applying new skills to something that I could begin practicing and implementing, while still being flexible enough to tweak it. The advertising system then had to be integrated into the entire organization and required the cooperation of all. I believe that over time, I became more independent in my execution of responsibilities. In turn, my ACs also became more independent and they have started taking initiative on their own, restarting the wheel of companion behaviors over again.

How does innovation apply to your specific responsibilities? How do you show support of innovation in others?
My position is half-innovation, half-precedent. Since it is new this year, I am making everything up as I go. But because it is meant to be a lasting position, the things I make up must also be good and beneficial for everyone to come. This requires not just crazy innovation, but good innovation. I’ve learned to rely on my team heavily in this respect, not only because I am not creative, but also because by involving more people, we can combine perspectives to anticipate unique needs and problems.