Thursday, October 29, 2009


I am taking a leadership training class as part of my studies at Bizdom U. At the end of the course I should be able to understand 8 Leader ship Skills, and they are:

Deep Thinking
Personal Growth
Living the Culture
Talent Development
Communication Expert

I’ve been asked, as an exercise, to identify which of these skills I think I’m strong at, and which ones are opportunities for me.

My strongest skill is probably adaptability. I’ve always thought of myself as a really happy person. And, I’ve always attributed my happiness to growing up in a household where money was tight. Unlike, MY KIDS, who must constantly be reminded their last name is not Rockefeller, I never asked for anything from my parents. I knew upfront the answer would be “NO”. So I learned how to make my own “happiness”. As a little girl if I wanted something I figured out how to get it, or get over it. As a result I learned to adapt.

For example, when I decided to learn how to play guitar, it was pretty obvious to me that it wouldn’t be easy. But rather than give up, I learned really really simple songs that were really really good. AND I found a bass player who was AMAZING and could make up for my weakness as a musician. And I also learned that being in a band is about more than playing well—it’s about marketing, image and branding—things I was pretty good at. So I made myself a valuable player by being aware of my strengths, and finding others that were good at the things I wasn’t—and never getting stressed out. Being in a band made me happy—not being a good musician—I found ways to adapt.

I also think Personal Growth is one of my skills. Before I wrote a book, “Rock Star Mommy”, I never once dreamed of being an author. It wasn’t one of my goals in life, but I knew I had a pretty good story, even though I knew little about writing. After a lit agent explained having a ghost writer would be expensive and time consuming, I had no choice but to write the book myself. I paid a local writer to review my work, and positively embraced my entire editor’s feedback. I wrote a 200 page book in 4 months. After I wrote the book, I continued to grow as a writer and went on to write several magazine articles too.

As for opportunities, the two big areas for me to work on are Vision and Deep Thinking. I am pretty good at dreaming about BIG things—but dreaming is not vision. I learned you can “dream” about being in PEOPLE magazine, but without vision, it doesn’t add up to much. Folks see your picture for a week and talk about you—but what happens? Another PEOPLE magazine comes out the next week with new stories and you are quickly forgotten. I wish I had the vision in 2004 to have leveraged a big opportunity, like being in a national magazine, into making something else happen. I didn’t.

I need to:

Ignore the noise.
Make long term goals.
Have reasonable, measurable objections.

I could also work on Deep Thinking. Before Bizdom, I spent most of my time being reactive—you know, reading my email and responding. Now I am working on being proactive. Thinking things through. Going deep. Looking for opportunities. I am figuring out how to make things happen for me, rather than waiting for someone else to come up with an idea for me.

I need to:

Dig deep in my problem solving.
Brainstorm with others.
Use research in my decision making process.

Having action items will hold me accountable to improving my leadership skills.