leadership in your career

9 Feb

Bro. Cox

Bro. Cox shared 13 tips on leadership in your career. Please choose two of those tips and describe how you might apply those in your current role, then how you might apply them in your future roles.
One of his tips was to do more than is expected. I have always felt greater fulfillment from my roles when I try to go above and beyond, and I think this is an excellent concept. It ensures that the needs of the organization is met, but also allows you to leave it better than you found it. That is my number one focus right now as the year is winding down. I want to leave BYUSA better than I found it. That is becoming extremely difficult as my program will not exist (in its current form) next year, so basically everything I’ve done will be washed away. But I can still leave it better than I found it by sharing my knowledge and failures and successes with students who will pass through in the future. I was not the first, and I will not be the last, but I can still “leave my legacy.”
Another tip he shared was don’t value security more than service. I’m especially trying to apply that right now. No one ever became great by being safe. That is true in every aspect of life, the gospel, my education, BYUSA, etc. Leaving the familiar to learn new things and to reach out to others in need will always be a risk, but I have never regretted the risk in the past. Something tells me I won’t regret it in the future either. Especially if those risks are righteous risks.

Dr. Ben Wilson

1. Dr. Wilson spoke about the effect working in Student Leadership at BYU had on helping him become a “grown up.” Please describe the ways that your involvement has helped you develop as a leader from when you started serving until now.
Wow. How to tackle this question…Most importantly, it has given me the opportunity to be a leader. Because of my involvement here, I’ve had so many experiences that have enlightened me about myself, my skills, my weaknesses, etc. It’s ripped me to shreds and then pieced me back together slowly enough to see how I can change. When I started serving, I had absolutely no idea how much I had to improve on and how much I had to learn. I have definitely seen so many instances where I have tried to be a leader and crashed and buuuurned. But I’ve also had times where I come to know Christ better for what He experienced and why He did what He did. Now, I have a much better grasp on what it means to actually BE a leader, and why it is so critically important to do everything I can to be of use to my fellow men using my skills and talents.

2. Dr. Wilson shared his experience serving an internship in Jerusalem. This experience was not part of his program, but was approved because he was willing to do additional work to make it possible. Please describe the ways you can be effective in advocating for change or making improvement in existing programs.
People don’t give assignments that are perceived to be irrelevant or too hefty. But to those few people who are excited to take on the challenge, they are willingly distributed because they are still beneficial. I can advocate for change by deciphering which opportunities are beneficial and assessing the situation to see if I am capable of pursuing them. This requires dedication, research, and awareness, and even if it’s not deemed necessary or if I get turned down to do something, it’s always better for my leaders to know that I am willing to work hard. In this way, advocating change or making improvements becomes easier because people will take you more seriously when it’s a personal investment, not a delegated suggestion.

leadership in your career/community

30 Jan

Judge Griffith spoke about the importance of remembering the “least” among us. Describe how you can apply this concept in your leadership role today in BYUSA. Also, describe how you intend to apply this focus on the “least” in the future as you serve in leadership roles.
When Judge Griffith spoke about remembering “the least of these, my brethren,” it was in the context of remembering the poor and the needy that others would esteem as unimportant and lowly. However, in my role in BYUSA, I think it means a lot more than that. There are students who come in every day that I will never personally benefit from. For whatever reason, our jobs never intersect, their service never relates to my needs, etc., they simply will not play a role in my life. Circumstances such as these are a choice, and remembering “the least of these” involves taking time to remember these students who do not directly benefit me, because I can potentially directly benefit them. Leaders are servants of the people, not masters. If I am to remember “the least of these,” I must serve them and not wait to be served.
I have learned a lot from watching Ryan this year. He is incredibly busy, but he will always take the time to talk to anyone who needs an ear, some advice, or a friend. He takes the time to notice those who simply wish to be noticed, and that makes all the difference to that one person. That, to me, is the pure love of Christ. A program director will never necessarily make or break his job, but it never was about the job. It’s always been about the person.
That principle is one of the greatest lessons I will take with me from this experience. In future roles, I will never prioritize a task above an individual. The Lord isn’t watching my accomplishments as closely as He is watching the needs of others.

Judge Griffith talked about how we learn what God wants us to learn from listening to those who speak to us through talks, lessons and home teaching. Please describe how it is possible to learn from those who might not have the same level of education. Identify and describe a time in your life when you have learned from an individual with a differing educational background.
At FOL 2010, I was extremely humbled. I was 19 with no idea what I was doing, and my co-mentor was a fantastic, experienced, wonderful leader. I felt extremely inadequate and foolish for thinking I could do a good job leading these freshmen.
At FOL 2011, I was again extremely humbled. I was paired with someone who had never been to FOL before, and I just knew that I was more experienced than him. I had been in BYUSA for two whole months already, so I figured that I had more authority than him when it came to administrative aspects of being a peer mentor. After about a day of being stupid, I realized that there was no way I would be a good peer mentor for these incoming BYU freshmen if my example to them was that experience dictated worth. My co quickly outshone me and I saw so many great things from his example, his teaching, and the way he interacted with our kids. He was kind, fun, happy, and genuine.
It didn’t matter one bit that my co wasn’t as familiar with the program, because he knew why he was there. He knew how to help the kids. After I realized that, I spent a lot of time listening to him and trying to help him instead of trying to beat him. I had been more concerned with making sure the kids knew how cool I was, but I changed my focus from making sure they had a cool peer mentor to making sure they had a good experience. I turned outward, and because of that, my experience was much different.
Our “differing educational backgrounds” meant a lot less to my co-peer mentors each year than it did to me. Experiences are intended to distinguish us from one another, because that allows us to learn new principles from each other.

becoming the pure in heart

18 Jan

This talk made me think of Comms like nobody’s business.

Zion is “every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.” (D&C 82:19.) As I understand these matters, Zion can be established only by those who are pure in heart, and who labor for Zion, for “the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.” (2 Ne. 26:31.)

As important as it is to have this vision in mind, defining and describing Zion will not bring it about. That can only be done through consistent and concerted daily effort by every single member of the Church. No matter what the cost in toil or sacrifice, we must “do it.” That is one of my favorite phrases: “Do It.” May I suggest three fundamental things we must do if we are to “bring again Zion,” three things for which we who labor for Zion must commit ourselves.

First, we must eliminate the individual tendency to selfishness that snares the soul, shrinks the heart, and darkens the mind.

Second, we must cooperate completely and work in harmony one with the other. There must be unanimity in our decisions and unity in our actions. After pleading with the Saints to “let every man esteem his brother as himself” (D&C 38:24), the Lord concludes his instructions on cooperation to a conference of the membership in these powerful words:

“Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” (D&C 38:27.)

If the Spirit of the Lord is to magnify our labors, then this spirit of oneness and cooperation must be the prevailing spirit in all that we do. …

Third, we must lay on the altar and sacrifice whatever is required by the Lord. We begin by offering a “broken heart and a contrite spirit.” We follow this by giving our best effort in our assigned fields of labor and callings. We learn our duty and execute it fully. Finally we consecrate our time, talents and means as called upon by our file leaders and as prompted by the whisperings of the Spirit. …We can give expression to every ability, every righteous desire, every thoughtful impulse. Whether a volunteer, father, home teacher, bishop, or neighbor, whether a visiting teacher, mother, homemaker, or friend —
there is ample opportunity to give our all
. And as we give, we find that “sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven!” (Hymns, no. 147.) And in the end, we learn it was no sacrifice at all.

-President Spencer W. Kimball, “Becoming the Pure in Heart” April 1978, General Conference

not good.

7 Jan

Last night I had a dream that we had a reflection due on Monday.

We haven’t even had class yet.

At least I’m thinking ahead?

final reflection

5 Dec

This semester has been a string of learning experiences that have helped me grow as a leader and determine where my weaknesses are, as well as where my strengths are. I will focus on personal capability, especially on (1) technical and professional expertise, (2) solving problems and analyzing issues, (3) innovation, and (4) practicing self-development.

Professional and Technical Expertise
Professional and technical expertise is an interesting topic for me because I think it could be both a strength and a weakness, since it involves (1) performance, (2) training, and (3) group contribution.

I have felt very confident in my ability to direct others and help people with what I know about advertising. Most of the time, I know the answers to questions that I am faced with, and when I don’t, I know where to find them. I’ve definitely gained confidence in my own ability to lead and direct others because I have had enough exposure to all aspects of advertising that it’s finally starting to stick.

Training others has been a great experience, but most of the time I have realized that I didn’t do all that I could. I am generally afraid of overwhelming the volunteers at the beginning, so I establish a training schedule which is essentially just guiding them through their first project and explaining how each step in the process works and what their responsibilities entail. I think what I could improve on in this regard is holding formal training meetings, maybe even an advertising consultant retreat, because their position requires so much training that at one hour a day, it takes weeks to get them fully integrated into the organization. I want to make that transition smoother so I can more efficiently share my expertise with them.

Sharing skills and knowledge with the group is a challenge for me. I don’t think I share the right information at the right time. With our group in particular, I have found it difficult to share in a group setting, even though I would tell something to each person individually. Something about being in a formal group environment is intimidating, and I freeze. I want to work on recognizing the benefits of group brainstorming and sharing expertise with everyone, which includes recognizing the expertise of others and utilizing it to help my programs grow and flourish as well.

Shifting responsibility to Sarah helped me recognize what I have done to be successful with regard to professional expertise. She approached me and admitted that she had never really paid attention when it came to the details about my position, because they had never applied to her before. She needed to be trained on the entire process and get caught up to speed in a very short amount of time. I handed her my summer practicum, which was an AC manual, and over the weekend she essentially trained herself. Although that is almost completely due to the fact that Sarah is extremely intelligent and she worked very hard to learn what she had to know, I was glad that I had been able to help her because I took the time to learn everything as well. It allowed me to share that expertise with someone else, which I want to be able to do even better in the future. I want people to know how to advertise anything so easily that it scares them how simple it is.

Solves Problems & Analyzes Issues
I think that problem solving and analyzing issues are some of my strengths, in context. (1) Defining the problem and framing it as a learning and development opportunity, (2) analyzing issues and recognizing what is is important, (3) anticipating, developing, and evaluating possible solutions to unforeseen situations, and (4) implementing solutions in a timely manner.

Defining the problem is very simple for me, because people usually tell me upfront what it is. Anticipating the problem is another issue. I’ve learned to be able to do this with very careful planning and, more importantly, discussing progress with my ACs. I think that framing each problem as a learning and development opportunity was a weakness, but has become a strength. I can easily recognize all that I still have to learn, but how certain opportunities can help teach me to become a better leader and person. When Roger quit on me in October, I had no idea how I was going to pull everything together, but once I figured out exactly what the problem was (a lot of projects with no AC), it was easy to come up with a solution (distributing his projects among the other ACs).

I think that analyzing issues is probably one of my biggest strengths. My weakness is in knowing which perspective is best to run with. There are a lot of different outcomes of each situation analysis, and I am learning that the best outcome is always, always, always love. That is what it means to me to be a divine-centered leader. I can choose to believe that everyone is out to get me, or I can choose to believe that my leaders are acting in my best interest because they care about me, so I will respond by showing respect and doing my best to understand their reasoning. Recognizing that other people know a lot more than me is also critical to all analyses.

Solutions are interesting in advertising, because a lot of the time, all people want is an apology. I would much rather provide something tangible and deliver a product than say “I’m sorry” and explain how we will do better in the future. With Zombie Fest, I learned a lot about taking responsibility for my team and owning up to our mistakes without being condescending to the mistakes of others. When Logan approached me and asked me about the template, I was able to see things from his perspective and realize that the solution was simply to apologize and have a plan to do everything I could to improve their future product immediately. There are a lot of different solutions, and there is often more than one right choice. I want to learn better how I can determine what the best choice is, and I am working on that.

Implementing solutions in a timely manner is a weakness. I struggle with follow-through, but I am trying to overcome that using my other strengths, such as organization and asking for help. I have learned a lot from Sarah already about how to be more honest with people about what we need, and that has helped me to push projects forward in a more reliable way. My goal to have every project that occurs through February turned in to Campus Life Design before Christmas break was one example of how I am trying to overcome this shortcoming.

Innovation
Innovation is definitely a weakness of mine. I struggle with creativity, and that traditional correlation is a difficult barrier for me to break.

My goal next semester is to focus more on brainstorming rather than reflection in AC meetings. I think that will make it more fun for everyone, and our team will develop a more forward-thinking attitude rather than dwelling on past frustrations.

I love the status quo. If I could, I would marry the status quo. Challenging that is hard for me because to me, it works. If it isn’t broken, why fix it? Early on this semester, I was having an especially hard time figuring out why I needed to change, because I’d been doing just fine for 20 years, and I didn’t see why it was so important. Finally accepting that there is always success in positive personal change and realizing that if I changed I could help a lot more people allowed me to ignore parameters that I inflict on myself and my relationships with others and move forward, essentially “innovating” a new type of leader. I understand the importance of innovation, but I think that I will not be able to make true progress unless I focus on other weaknesses first, and allow an innovative attitude to flow freely from that progress.

Practices Self Development
I was honestly surprised that I got negative feedback about practicing self development on my 360 report, because I have found this to be one of the most rewarding outcomes of my experience with BYUSA. I think that building relationships with people is a strength of mine because I am open about how I am doing. Even when something goes wrong with advertising, I am able to maintain a strong relationship with the person I was working with, which allows me to patch most things up while being empathetic and understanding.

The companion behaviors of practicing self development are listening, being open to the ideas of others, respecting others, having integrity with others, not taking credit for the success of others, desiring to develop and give feedback to others, taking initiative, and being willing to take on challenges. For the most part, I feel like those are strengths that I can work with. Challenges that would have terrified me in May are actually exciting to me now. Because I made the initial choice to take on the challenge of advertising executive director, everything else seems so tiny in comparison with that initial challenge, even though I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Most of my frustrations have come not from finding out what people think I am doing wrong, but from learning long after the fact that they had a problem. I want to do my best, and I am trying to be more inviting of constructive criticism. On the other hand, I know that I have done good things as well, and hearing about those experiences from others has helped me figure out what works best for the organization. Brandon once told me that Logan was very pleased with how hard my team worked on Battle of the Bands, and that helped me understand what he was looking for out of his experience working with advertising.

This semester I have become much more open to other people’s opinions of me and what I am doing. I have definitely come to terms with it and can recognize it for what it is. I am really excited about this because it has helped me actually recognize my strengths and my weaknesses, and now I can build on them and move forward with an understanding of how I can contribute.

Conclusion
Overall, this semester has been incredible. It’s been probably the most difficult semester of college I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot of experiences that have pushed me further than I ever wanted to go. But for two hours a day filling out paperwork and checking up on people and writing down quotes, I definitely have gotten more than I bargained for. Mallory, Sarah, Olivia and Brandon are some of my best friends and I can truly say that I love each one of them. Tamara has been one of the greatest leaders I could ever have asked for and has helped me through some really really stupid problems without judging me (out loud) for struggling so much with them. Truly, though, the greatest advantage to BYUSA for me has been the experience of growing closer to everyone, not because we are all so similar and we get along 100% of the time, but because we are all serving the Lord and doing our best to give back to BYU. We are all so incredibly different, all of the officers and the presidency, but I look forward to seeing each of their faces every single day because they are bringing me closer to Christ, and that is what makes all of the 11x17s & outdoor banners & pencils & flyers & magnets & t-shirts absolutely worth it.

advertising vision

4 Dec

The vision of BYUSA Advertising is to provide a professional and reliable service that will improve campus awareness of and desire to participate in events and programs through uniting the organization, increasing focus on advertising, and utilizing the expertise of student volunteers.

thoughts?

leading change

4 Dec

Please describe a situation where you have watched a someone successfully lead an organization through a change. Identify what went well and how they helped the process succeed.
Last July, my MTC supervisor Dave was working on a language guide that was time-consuming and and told his boss, “there must be a better way to do this.” He started working on a new version and thought it would be completed in August 2010. In August 2011, the new version was completed for all 52 languages. It took a year longer than he originally anticipated, but he was able to build a team that shared his vision, and ultimately deliver a product that will improve missionary work worldwide.
He had a vision, shared it with everyone involved, and then went forward to develop the process, train everyone on how to use it, and effectively implement a system that is a great improvement. I think what he did especially well was be flexible with changes that needed to be made along the way. There were a lot of opportunities for him to quit and go back, but he held to his vision for a better learning experience and stuck it out even when he hit roadblocks. I also watched him own up to mistakes when he was confronted, and then immediately provide suggestions for how to fix them. He was humble in his dealings with others, and that made them trust him.

Please share the three discovery statements that you wrote down as you completed each of the challenges. What do those statements help you understand about your abilities to lead change and what insights do they give you on how you can be effective as a leader in a changing environment.
Discovery statements:
1) When I changed hands, I was hesitant to continue writing even though I knew I was capable & I knew what would happen. It made me frustrated that I couldn’t do my best though.
2) When I closed my eyes, I had to believe that what I was doing was right, even though I had no way of knowing. I felt unsure & unconfident.
3) Walking backwards, I was kind of scared because I didn’t know what was coming & I wasn’t close to anyone so I had no way to anticipate the changes.
I was definitely more surprised than I was frustrated with each of the challenges. They weren’t particularly difficult, they were just something I had never done before or couldn’t do well. I learned that what I need to overcome in my experience dealing with change is not being confident and not being very innovative. I’m definitely learning to not be afraid of what’s ahead, but that’s not all that it takes. It also requires an active confidence in the outcome, and that is where vision comes in.
I don’t think I’ve been acting with a specific vision in mind for advertising this year. I didn’t create my own vision, I just went with the BYUSA vision. Which is fine, but it’s made me focus less on results. But that’s what I need to do now.