3 Signs Of A Relentless Next-Level Learner

Relentless LearnerBob at Webucator recently reached out to Y Scouts to ask a simple question.

What do you consider to be the most valuable workplace skill in 2015?

Given that we’ve closely analyzed the skills, talents and attributes of thousands of leaders in the Y Scouts Leadership Community, we have a unique perspective on this question.

Our answer: The most valuable workplace and life skill is to be Relentless Next-Level Learner.

What does it mean to be a Relentless Next-Level Learner? We like to define it as someone who aggressively pursues professional and personal growth opportunities; Actively chooses to create the future by challenging the habits, rules and mental frameworks of what’s worked in the past.

Let’s break down the definition a bit more.

Aggressively pursues professional and personal growth opportunities
Our unique candidate outreach process begins by deliberately concealing the specific details of the open leadership role. This unique approach yields pure and authentic responses from candidates about what’s most important to them as they consider a career move.

When the ‘right’ answer is unknown, the truth is easily attainable.

By concealing the identities of the potential employer and the job, we tend to receive authentic and detailed responses about professional and personal growth experiences.

For example, if you were to write a resume, what would you include in these areas:

  • // Education
  • // Professional Accreditations
  • // Press Links
  • // Volunteer + Board Member Activities

All of these areas are crucial measurements in demonstrating an active pursuit of personal and professional growth. If your list is thin in each of these areas, consider taking steps in finding opportunities to learn and grow.

Actively chooses to create the future
Part of our in-depth interviewing process at Y Scouts focuses on performance milestones, successes and learning moments.

We know that breakthrough leaders create game-changing innovations. They make the ‘impossible’ possible. When we’re interviewing candidates and reviewing their resume, we’re determining whether they’re one of the special ones that shape the world we live in.

For each finalist we submit, we perform an exhaustive reference-checking process.

If Y Scouts were to ask three people you’ve worked with if you’re a leader that thrives on polishing your past, or if you’re a leader who thrives on creating the future – what would they say?

Challenging the habits, rules and mental frameworks of what’s worked in the past
Good leaders have had a lot of success in their careers.

They’ve grown revenue. They’ve maximized profitability. They’ve increased client retention and developed other leaders.

But the great leaders are the ones that don’t rest on what’s worked in the past. They’re constantly challenging their own habits, rules and frameworks for continuous improvement.

If you were to define your habits, rules and frameworks – how would you define them, and how are you challenging them today?

Relentless Next-Level Learner Summary

To sum things up, being a Relentless Next-Level Learner is the one talent or piece of knowledge that could most help you be successful in your job or life.

Start by aggressively pursueing professional and personal growth opportunities. Actively choose to create the future. Challenging your habits, rules and mental frameworks of what’s worked in the past.

Take it to the Next-Level.

Y Scouts is a leadership search firm that helps organizations find Breakthrough Leaders. The Y Scouts approach to Breakthrough Leadership Search is best described as a ‘Covert Search Operation in Pursuit of the Best Possible Outcome’.

If you are in search of a Breakthrough Leader, contact us.

If you are a leader looking for the next step in your career, we invite you to join the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

Infographic: Millennials on Leadership + The Workplace

Deloitte recently surveyed 7,800 millennials across 29 countries.

What did they find?

A few of the things we found to be interesting:

// 60% cited a company’s driving purpose as key factor for taking a job.
// Millennials believe the best leaders have an overarching “sense of purpose”
// If you want to attract millennials to your company, nothing works like a purpose-driven mission statement.

Here is the infographic detailing more of Deloitte’s findings:

Millennial Infographic

10 Attributes of an Exceptional Executive Director

Executive Director

What are the top attributes, characteristics, and traits that make up an exceptional Executive Director?

As a leadership search firm that finds breakthrough Executive Directors for nonprofits, we’ve had unique experiences and perspective on this question. We interview executive directors for breakthrough leadership opportunities every day.

What have we found? And, perhaps more importantly, what do the nonprofit leaders in the Y Scouts Leadership Community say make an Executive Director “exceptional?”

Here’s what our executive nonprofit recruiters and leadership community had to offer about the ten attributes of an exceptional Executive Director.

Authenticity. People respond well to others who don’t try to hide who they are. Executive Directors are no different. You could have lunch with an Executive Director and be at ease. Exceptional Executive Directors encourage their nonprofit staff to be themselves.

Self-awareness. An effective Executive Director is aware of their actions and reflect on decisions without any bias. They invest in themselves and put in a lot of effort to use their strengths to the max.

Relentless Learner. For most Executive Directors, the learning never stops. They attend events, independently go online and research topics, and are driven to understand how things are done.

Focus on long-term results. Executive Directors don’t waste precious time worrying over the temporary setbacks. Their focus is always on the long term, and know that patience yields results in the long run.

Productivity Driver. Executive Directors examine trends and developments among the staff to influence and create an environment that works towards the nonprofit’s mission.

Inspires Others. If an Executive Director can’t inspire others, then volunteer development, fundraising, the Board of Directors, and nonprofit staff won’t be inspired to serve the mission either. Everything starts at the top.

Community Presence. An effective director builds and gains their personal and organizational presence on the local level. They’re the face of the nonprofit, and managing that brand directly lends to the success of the organization.

Relentless Recruiter. Almost half of all time an ED spends is spent recruiting. By recruiting and empowering volunteer leaders, the organizational mission is collectively achieved.

Fundraiser. Some ED’s don’t like to fundraise. The exceptional ones are fantastic fundraisers. They support the fundraising efforts by cultivating and nurturing all relationships – not just the ones that are considered to be “major.”

Leads the vision with purpose. Above all, the executive director is able to communicate a compelling and inspired purpose. When they talk, it’s always about beyond today. They talk about possibilities in an optimistic way with real measureables to ensure the vision is achieved. They lead, inspire and motivate by simply sharing their vision.

Y Scouts is a leadership search firm that finds breakthrough leaders for nonprofits and social enterprises.

Click here if you’re a nonprofit looking to find an executive director. Click here if you’re a nonprofit leader looking for a new professional challenge.

6 Ways To Get The Attention Of A Hiring Manager

How To Get The Attention Of A Hiring ManagerWe’ve asked the Y Scouts Leadership Community a simple question: How would you get the attention of a hiring manager? This post compiles their answer for 6 ways to get the attention of a hiring manager.

Intro to the Hiring Manager
Earn an introduction to the hiring manager by reviewing your connections on Linkedin. If the hiring manager sees that the intro is coming from someone they know, the chance of an interview greatly increases.

Button up your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is the new resume for the digital age. Treat your Linkedin profile just like your resume by highlighting your past work experience, education, skills and endorsements.

Treat the mission like a Marketing Campaign
Treat a job search like a marketing campaign. Come up with a strategy and tactics (like the ones discussed in this post) and execute. Without treating a job search like a marketing campaign, you’ll waste time on applications that will miss your target. Just like well executed marketing, the unique always rise above the rest.

Write The Hiring Manager
Hiring managers can tell from a cover letter or email whether they’re interested in learning more about a candidate. Craft a well written cover letter or email that first and foremost addresses WHY you want to work at THEIR company. Cite how your personality and accomplishments would be a great addition to the company culture and objectives. This shows you care about that specific company as opposed to just getting a job.

Show Your Value Online

Find the hiring manager online. If they actively participate in social media, listen to what they’re saying. When you can add value to the conversation, chime in with your two cents.

Be Patiently Persistent
Even hiring managers acknowledge that the squeaky wheel get’s the grease. Whatever tactics you try, if you keep trying to get an interview or to get the attention of the hiring manager – you’ll show persistence, desire, and reveal who you are before the resume is reviewed (if the resume ever is reviewed).

The Weekend Read – What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work

What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to WorkThe Book: What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work
The Author: Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
Where To Buy: Amazon

Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton analyze the results of 850,000 interviews to discover why people are not as engaged and energized as they could be at work. What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work looks at those who are happiest at work and offers a methodology to help readers identify their core motivators.

Three things that you may take away and still use at least a year after finishing this book:

  • Process of understanding what drives you
  • Strategy for creating the job you want
  • Questions to ask yourself when you’re feeling stuck

If you decide you rather get the What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work cliff notes, here’s a review from Amazon that sums it all up.

“The book’s initial chapters, where the premise of the book is outlined, there are multiple engaging stories that show the Motivators of individuals who are caught up in jobs that might not fit them perfectly. These little gems set the stage for the more meaty content.

While the first few chapters set the stage, the overall book is decidedly not anecdotal. Aside from the fact that WMM is based on an 850k person study, the book contains several chapters on what Gostick and Elton term “Job Sculpting” with worksheets in the actual book that will walk you through your own Job Sculpting process.

Job Sculpting addresses questions often posed such as, “Should I quit my job just because there are aspects of it that I dislike?” “As a manager, I know my team members struggle to be motivated with certain aspects of their work, how do I keep them going?” Job Sculpting is a smart approach to what otherwise might seem like a dead-end situation. “I quit” might be the answer for some, but overwhelmingly, Job Sculpting can transform a painful situation to something much more desirable—a better outcome for both the employee and the company.

In the final chapters, What Motivates Me breaks the 23 Motivators into 5 different categories termed Identities. I like the approach Gostick and Elton take here: Each Motivator is discussed, then an in-depth look at the Identities is presented. It clearly defines the Identity and which Motivators it contains, outlines it’s characteristics, shows where one might thrive, and ends with solid strategies for how one might add value, and pitfalls they might fall into.”

A Giant Step into the Future of Recruiting

This is a post from Y Scouts Managing Partner and co-founder, Brian Mohr.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the past couple of years is the need to experiment and iterate constantly. In a world that seems to change by the minute, adapting to the outside world is a necessary ingredient to the success of any business. However, making constant changes is a very scary notion, at least it was for me for a long time. I grew up in a business world dominated by processes, systems, scorecards, and KPIs. Now, I’m not saying processes, systems, and metrics aren’t important – they are mission critical. What I’m saying is that in order to create the most value and the biggest impact, a business must be willing to question everything and constantly reinvent how they do what they do. Doing so requires a tremendous amount of courage, and it also requires guidance – the type of guidance that is rarely found within the friendly confines of the business itself.

In the book ‘Great Work’ by David Sturt, he and his team of researchers uncovered 5 key skills that lead to great work. One of the five is referred to as ‘talking to your outer circle’. More specifically, talking to people who don’t live in your world and seeking their input, advice and guidance on the ideas you believe are worth pursuing. So, what’s my point to all of this?

I’m excited to share that Y Scouts has formed an official Advisory Board to help us continue our purpose of creating the future of recruiting. Even more exciting are the four individuals who’ve volunteered their time and expertise to serve as our advisory board. I’d like to briefly introduce each of them:

  • Ann Rhoades: Ann has been a long-time friend and ally. Her career in the People, Values and Culture business has impacted organizations like Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, and DoubleTree Hotels. Ann has always been on the leading edge of helping businesses create sustainable competitive advantage through their people. Ann is currently leading her consulting and technology firm, People Ink.
  • Sheldon Harris: Sheldon has been serving as an informal advisor to the Y Scouts team since our inception. He’s had successful career experiences with organizations like CostCo, Cold Stone Creamery, and Smartway Advisors. Sheldon is the epitome of servant leadership and is currently helping CEOs around the world achieve breakthrough results.
  • Kathy Sacks: Those of you who know Kathy, know she is a straight shooter and someone who demands excellence. Her background as an entrepreneur, small business champion, and advocate for the underdog is a combination we couldn’t be more excited to have at our disposal. Kathy’s current mission is to help people find the courage to ask for what they really want, and go out and get it.
  • Ray DelMuro: Ray has been on the leading edge of the global Conscious Capitalism movement and has been a huge advocate for Y Scouts. Ray is an aerospace engineer turned entrepreneur. His current venture, Refresh Glass, is on a mission to rescue 10 million wine bottles from landfills and turn them into everyday drinkware and home decor items.

Y Scouts Advisory Board

If you are lucky enough to have a relationship or connection with any of these four individuals, you know how fortunate we are to have them in our corner. All of us at Y Scouts appreciate their commitment to helping us continue our journey to create a future where everyone has an opportunity to be profoundly connected to the work they choose to do.

To Our Best Days Ahead!

Y Scouts is a leadership search practice that connects purpose-driven organizations with purpose-driven leaders. We believe that the best employer and employee connections start by connecting through a shared purpose.

What’s Your Why? Click here if you’re an employer. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new role.

The Weekend Read: Your Brain at Work

Your Brain At WorkThe Book: Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long
The Author: David Rock
Where To Buy: Amazon

Improve how you work by understanding how your brain works. That’s the best way we can sum up this weekend read.

This book will help you understand how the brain affects what we do, why we do it and how we act.

Three things that you may take away and still use at least a year after finishing this book:

  • How to maximize your mental resources when your brain gets taxed
  • How to better manage distractions when it’s hard to focus
  • How to make the best decisions possible by keeping your cool

If you decide you rather get the Your Brain at Work cliff notes, here’s a review from Amazon that sums it all up.

“Your Brain at Work does an excellent job synthesizing a large body of scientific research on cognitive neuroscience and interpreting the results in a way that helps readers understand how the brain works and how to make it function more efficiently.

The book is laid out in a format of a theatrical play, where it introduces two ordinary people and follows their respective days. Both of the characters are facing a variety of challenges, very similar to the ones that millions of professionals deal with on a daily basis. After presenting a particular scenario and having one of the characters go through it, the author then performs a thorough analysis of what each of the characters did wrong and how they could have approached a particular challenge or activity in a much more efficient way. The best part is, obviously, that the analysis and the corrections in the behavior are all based on the most recent research in cognitive neuroscience.

The narrative is broken into different “acts” according to the progression of the work day of the characters and the type of mental processes that are being discussed. I think this is a particularly good structure because it a)personifies the cognitive challenges by bringing up prototypical characters that most of us can relate to b)organizes the context in a way that is logically progressive and easy to follow and c)makes the book easy for later reference.

As far as the content, to use the book’s own language, a big dopamine rush is how I would describe it. It is really full of a good and useful insight, at the same time boasting a high level of writing that uses plenty of metaphors and is very easy to read (took me 5 days of reading before bed to finish). Some of the concepts that are tackled include mental energy management, dealing with pressure, mental blocks, creativity, need for certainty and autonomy, handling of relationships and managing expectations. The full list is a lot longer, and I think that once you start reading, you will notice that the implications of the issues addressed go far beyond just the workplace.

To conclude, I want to say that Your Brain at Work has really exceeded my expectations. It is based not on psycho babble and feel-good nonsense, as most books that are geared towards self improvement, but on solid scientific research. It doesn’t instruct on what to do and how to feel, but explains the biological mechanism of action behind default human behavior and how it may lead us astray. In the ideal world, I think that all books that claim to assist with self improvement should be based on scientific research, but that’s perhaps wishful thinking and a discussion for another day. Anyway, I highly recommend that you read this book, as I really feel that you will not be disappointed.”

Infusionsoft Cereal Bar

Every organization has something meaningful in their office. This post brings you the story of why Infusionsoft, a marketing automation software company, has an Infusionsoft cereal bar with over over 55 varieties in their headquarters.

Infusionsoft Culture: Cereal Bar

When you visit Infusionsoft, you can’t help but take notice of the cereal bar. Immediately, your imagination begins to wonder about the origin story behind the cereal.

The story, according to Lauren Hodgson, Senior Manager of the Talent Tractor Beam at Infusionsoft:

“In our early days of custom software and trading hours for dollars, it wasn’t always clear that success was imminent. The founders had pretty much put everything they had into the business. As the company grew, it didn’t seem feasible to buy lunch and dinner from everyone, but continuing to buy cereal was doable. And it just kind of stuck. At one point, Clate went home and his wife asked why with a JD and MBA they had no food and demanded that he find a more dependable way to support the family. The next day, he got into the office and just sort of got busy that day and couldn’t quite bring himself to telling his brothers-in-law that he was done. When he got home to break the news to his wife (that he hadn’t quit), she had had a change of heart… said she was willing to continue supporting the start-up. We’re all glad she did! Now we’re feeding 600+ people cereal!”

Infusionsoft Cereal

What is meaningful in your office? We want to find out and feature your organization here on the Y Scouts blog. Fill out the contact form below to be featured.

Y Scouts is a purpose based search firm that helps companies recruit leadership talent. Whether you’re looking for meaningful work or looking to attract talent, we can help. To get started, share your why with us. Click here if you’re an employer. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new role.

Goodmans Change The Community

Goodmans Change the Community

“I was shy about showing anyone my new vision statement for over a year. But no matter what words are swimming around in your gut, they don’t mean anything unless you share them. It feels risky at first. But, it will become a filter for everything you do.” – Adam Goodman, President & CEO at Goodmans

Just inside the lobby of Goodmans Interior Structures, the Valley’s most recognized provider of workspace furniture, you’ll find an attractively designed wall that communicates the words Adam wrote the night of his epiphany.

Adam worked in the family business since he was kid, and honestly, he was never that excited about it. “It was fine, but we were just selling widgets,” says Adam. After engaging in hundreds of employee and customer conversations, Adam had an epiphany.

He realized that selling furniture could, in fact, have a bigger impact on the community. “All of a sudden it all seemed so clear. Goodmans wasn’t just a provider of stuff. We could improve business. We could improve healthcare. We could improve education. We could reduce costs for government. We could help people achieve personal and economic prosperity. In short, we could change the community. We had a purpose.”

“I was inspired to write a new vision statement—to inspire me and our employees”, says Adam. “The mission reflects what customers and employees told me was different about Goodmans.”

Today, Goodmans uses their work environment to engage their employees and inspire them toward a shared purpose. The engraved statement on the wall is a reminder that purpose can transform a company.

Y Scouts is a purpose based search firm that helps companies recruit leadership talent. Whether you’re looking for meaningful work or looking to attract talent, we can help. To get started, share your why with us. Click here if you’re an employer. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new role.

The Weekend Read: Delivering Happiness

downloadThe Book: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
The Author: Tony Hsieh
Where To Buy: Amazon

In DELIVERING HAPPINESS, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life, from starting a worm farm to running a pizza business, through LinkExchange, Zappos, and more. Fast-paced and down-to-earth, DELIVERING HAPPINESS shows how a very different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success-and how by concentrating on the happiness of those around you, you can dramatically increase your own.

Three things that you may take away and still use at least a year after finishing this book:

  • What happens when customer service is the responsibility of the entire company, not just a department.
  • Why prioritizing company culture will help you make more money
  • How to help employees personally and professionally by applying research from the science of happiness

If you decide you rather get the Delivering Happiness cliff notes, here’s a review from Amazon that sums it all up.

“Delivering Happiness” has become the trade phrase for Zappos. In this hard-to-put-down book, Tony Hseieh (CEO of Zappos) tells the story of how his life became entangled with the life of Zappos. Starting with his childhood, Tony tells how he has always had an entrepreneurial spirit: he tried to raise earthworms when he was 9, he held garage sales and sold lemonade, he had a newspaper route (and decided it was just a way for newspapers to avoid child labor laws:), he wrote a newsletter of jokes he tried to sell to friends, he sold Christmas cards, he made custom photo buttons. Then in high school he discovered computers and began learning. He got a job testing video games, then became a programmer. The little jobs continued throughout college, where he tried to find the easiest path through his classwork. When he graduated college, he took a job at Oracle just because they offered the most money. And he found a way to do as little work as possible there too. Because he was bored, Tony and his roommate created LinkExchange which they eventually sold to Microsoft for $265 million. Bored again, this is where Zappos enters his life.

Much of the rest of the book is a fascinating history of how Zappos evolved and grew from nothing to $1 billion in gross sales in less than 10 years. Along the way, Tony explains how he learned business lessons from a summer fling with playing poker in Vegas. One of those lessons was to figure out what he really wanted to get out of life. He dabbled in investing and day-trading but found them unfulfilling. He dabbled in angel funding (Zappos being one of the companies he funded). He realized he was passionate about building a company, and the beneficiary of his passion happened to be Zappos. He poured a lot of his own money into keeping Zappos alive and learned lessons about inventory, warehousing, and outsourcing.

About half way through the book is where I started highlighting and folding down page corners. Tony talks about company culture and how he lead Zappos to invest their time, money and resources into 3 areas: customer services, culture, and employee training. Tony lists a great “Top 10 ways to instill customer services into your company” and explains (in great detail) the 10 core values of Zappos culture. He gives examples of interview questions that they ask to see how the person will fit into the company culture. He lists some of the course titles that are offered to employees that choose to learn new skills in order to advance their title. He lists the “Top 10 questions to ask when looking for investors and board members.” And then Tony tells the story of how Zappos became a “marriage partner” to Amazon.

The final section of the book is about applying the science of happiness. This was an outstanding section and the entire book is worth the price just for this section alone. Tony mentions several books (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom and Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment) that formed the foundation of his research into happiness along with books that taught him about company culture (Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap…and Others Don’t and Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization). Tony also recommends Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership) to learn how Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs can be applied to business, customers, employees and investors.

Overall a highly enjoyable book, very nicely written in an informal style, with a great story and good pointers to further resources. Highly recommended.

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