Want to know more? Reach out!

I'd be happy to chat about The Activated Genius Method, my research, our individual and organizational coaching programs designed to maximize your performance, or Tailored Output in general.

No question it too silly, or too profound. This is my life's work. Let's chat!

- julie


Arlington, VA
United States

Tailored Output is a professional development coaching company with an emphasis on goal-setting, career-planning, and team-building within the context of creating whole and fulfilling lives. 



Individuals working with Tailored Output will uncover their unique genius to identify career opportunities that will contribute to a whole and fulfilled life.

Organizations working with Tailored Output will learn how to assemble multi-disciplinary teams--staffed with engaged and motivated members--to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks in alignment with the corporate mission and values.

 

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The Tailored Output Blog

 

What Inspires You?

Julie Slanker

CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO VERSION. (COMING SOON!)

 

What inspires you? What lights you up? What are you curious to learn? What always seems to capture your attention?

What do you think about most-often in the shower or on long runs? What are you a big nerd about? What topic do you keep coming back to, from every possible angle?

That thing? That is your Inclination. Your deeply-rooted interest. And it is the fourth pillar of your unique Genius.*

The Inclination concept comes from Robert Greene's Mastery. He writes that uncovering your inclination as the first step toward becoming a Master, because your curiosity will be the fuel that keeps you invested in any domain long enough to master it. Your interest will keep you making connections that others may never see.

And when you consider your professional development responsibilities, isn't that exactly what leaders are hoping to help create? Masters. Fully-capable, creative, self-sufficient, innovative team members who contribute positively to the corporate mission without too much input from above.

That's the dream.

And just like every other productive and engaging employee attribute, mastery requires Activation.

If you want your team to learn and grow and develop into masters of your universe, you must help align their growth-edge to their deepest curiosity. Otherwise you will just continue to waste resources, and your energy.

How many times have you paid for expensive training - only to have it all forgotten months later, the course binders collecting dust on communal bookshelves? How many books have you distributed? How many outside speakers have you summoned? How much difference did it make? Over the long term?

Not much, right? Totally predictable.

You've hired high-achievers. They know how to play the game. They will sit and listen and pass the exam (if there even is one). They'll take notes and participate in discussion. And if it doesn't markedly improve their outcomes - right then! - or spark a deep-seeded interest, they'll happily return to their cubes and their old ways.

How many times have you done that same thing, yourself? When your leadership sent you off to an expensive professional development course or conference? Why would your team be any different?

The better question is: How can your team be different?

How can you unlock the diversity of thought necessary to create the innovative team of your dreams? How can you help each team member grow into a domain master - in their own right? How can you help develop your team into the self-sufficient, creative, contributing force your organization needs?

My Inclination is understanding how things work, and using that knowledge to make things work better. Follow your Inclination. Light a fire under your Curiosity. And unlock your inspiration, innovation, and awe.

My Inclination is understanding how things work, and using that knowledge to make things work betterFollow your Inclination. Light a fire under your Curiosity. And unlock your inspiration, innovation, and awe.

By understanding each team member's Inclination and helping them align what drives their curiosity to your corporate vision.

Simple. But maybe not easy.

Because - like a seed - Inclination can become deeply-buried. Covered up by more-practical things. As attention turns to getting good grades, or getting a good job, or climbing the corporate ladder. The things that sparked wonder and enthusiasm in your childhood might be a distant memory, now.

Those are the things you must find within each member of your team.

The childhood curiosities. The things they were scolded to put aside to make time for homework. The books they loved to read - when they still had time to choose. The games they loved to play - when their imagination made the rules. Those are they keys to unlocking Inclination.

Critical keys that may not be easy to find.

Inclination is not always attached to a concrete topic. It can be squishy, and hard to define. Or your team members may not have run into that thing that gets their juices flowing, yet. So you have to pay attention.

Who is really loving the new training, or the new topic, or the new project at work? Who is noticeably energized when everyone else is going through the motions? What books or ideas are they digging up on their own time, because they are enthusiastic about the topic? Those observations are a hint. Share them when you see them.

Then work with your team to design growth opportunities around their curiosity. Encourage them to run down personally fulfilling tangents. Help them explicitly tie their curiosity to the things your organization needs to do to grow.

And don't worry if everyone on your team is sharpening a different growth-edge.

Encourage it.

That's how you grow-in diversity of thought and experience. That's how you continue to generate creative and innovative solutions within a long-standing team. That's how you maintain the deep trust necessary to take risks - and still overcome the group-think that can creep into overly cohesive cultures.

Encourage your team members to uncover and follow their Inclination, and grow a team full of innovators to masters your universe.

 

*The Activated Genius Model is based on my experience and extensive research into leadership and organizational performance. The model is defined by four pillars of Genius: Values, Motivation, Strengths and Inclination, activated by a strong foundation: Communicated Vision, Dedicated Leadership, Effective Structure and Process, and Adequate Resources.
Through Tailored Output, I offer individual and organizational coaching programs applying the Activated Genius Method, a scientific approach to maximizing performance. Together we will Access and Engage your (and your team's) Genius to Accelerate your achievement, in service of a better world.

 If you'd like actionable insight into how to access and engage your Inclination (and all aspects of your Genius) more-fully in your life, sign up to receive my weekly Rise & Shine! email. It is a solid way to stay up to date on the art and science of human performance, translated into actionable insight for your everyday life. This little bit of Monday Morning sunshine will keep you thinking, growing, and Activating your own Genius, as you start your week.

Name *
Name

References:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream by James Altucher

The Desire Map (affiliate link): A Guide to Creating Goals With Soul by Danielle LaPorte

Mastery by Robert Greene

What Are Your Strengths?

Julie Slanker

CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO VERSION. (COMING SOON!)

 

Strengths are…

"…specific areas where we can do things, see things, understand things, and learn things better and faster than 10,000 other people…" - StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths, Find Your Edge, Win at Work by Marcus Buckingham

Strengths are…

Areas where we have the greatest potential for success. - StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

Strengths are…

Traits we might see "as disabilities and try to work around them to fit in."  - Mastery by Robert Greene

Strengths are…

"Your most valuable currency [because they are] what comes most naturally to you." - The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms by Danielle LaPorte

Strengths are talents, traits, capabilities, or competencies that are far beyond average. They are the things you do better than everyone else, the things that come most naturally to you. And - this is important - they are things that you also enjoy doing. Put simply, your Strengths must also strengthen you. If you are good at something, but you hate it, it is not your Strength.

Understanding and aligning your strengths to the achievement of your goal is how you create competitive advantage. It is how you stand out from the crowd. It is how you shine.

Accessing and engaging your team members' strengths - in service of your group objective - is how you stay ahead in your fast-paced, high-demand, innovation-intense industry. And layered effectively with the other pillars of The Activated Genius Model,* it might just be how you trap lightning in a bottle and answer senior management's demand to do more with less.

But Strengths are tricky. And you might need to help your team access and own their abilities. Because while they may have pronounced traits, that generate significantly greater value for the organization than the average employee, that might actually be hard for your team memebers' to see.

Our - US - educational system measures cogitative performance and knowledge retention. And that's great. But it does not do much to help students understand where their deep talents lie. Many of the Strengths that you rely on your team to provide may never have been tested in school. And because their Strengths come so naturally to each individual, they might not even notice themselves doing anything.

But you notice. Because how could you not?

Human performance in complex environments can be modeled using an exponential curve. That means a large proportion of the output is created by a small percentage of the workforce, and the rest is pretty-well evenly completed by everyone else. In some industries as much as 25% of the output is generated by just 5% of the employees.

Flipped around the other way, that means that your team members have areas where their strengths completely outshine everyone else around them. It is undeniable.

The difficulty may come if they haven't had an opportunity to use their Strengths, because of how the team is structured, how the work is divided, or how aligned their Strengths are to corporate objectives. Two-thirds of Gallup respondents said that they do not have opportunity to use their Strengths every day.

What a waste.

If you want to compete, if you want to retain your best workers, if you want to accomplish more than you ever thought possible, you must become part of the other 33%. You must access and engage your - and your team members' - Strengths. And there are multiple tools or techniques to help you uncover them, for yourself, and with your team.

My Strengths are: problem-solving, communicating complex ideas, creating structure in chaos, inspiration, strategy, and experiment design. Not all things you test for in school... 

My Strengths are: problem-solving, communicating complex ideas, creating structure in chaos, inspiration, strategy, and experiment design. Not all things you test for in school... 

But before you schedule your team's Strengths Discovery Meeting, a word of caution:

This is powerful stuff. Accessing your team members' Strengths, and aligning them to your group mission, will have a profoundly positive effect on team performance. You will accomplish more with less effort. You will be able to make efficient use of training dollars - because even a modest improvement in an area of your strength will create an exponential improvement in output. And you will have better motivated, more engaged employees.

And.

It will be a lot of work. You will have to change the way you manage and how you structure your day.

You will need to create differentiated work-roles that leverage each individual's Strengths, layered effectively to accomplish your objectives.

You will have to devote more time and energy to removing obstacles to individual performance, rather than just focusing on what constrains the team as a whole.

You will have to tailor your compensation strategy. And you will have to exponentially increase your communication, so that each team member understands the why behind decisions that affect only one or two people on the team. So that they see the equity in your leadership decisions - that every member is getting what they need to perform at their best - despite the lack of uniformity in how those decisions are applied.

And you will have to let some people go.

When a person's Strengths do not align with the core objectives of your group, the disparity in motivation, compensation, meaning from work, and engagement will be noticeable to everyone. And it will drag the team down. Your leadership role, then, will be to enlist and engage other aspects of their Genius to ensure they do play a role on the team that is meaningful to them, or - and this is more likely - help them find meaningful work elsewhere.

And that won't be easy, either.

None of the work required to lead your team in a way that fully-engages their Genius will be easy. It's up to you to decide if it will be worth it.

 

*The Activated Genius Model is based on my experience and extensive research into leadership and organizational performance. The model is defined by four pillars of Genius: Values, Motivation, Strengths and Inclination, activated by a strong foundation: Communicated Vision, Dedicated Leadership, Effective Structure and Process, and Adequate Resources.
Through Tailored Output, I offer individual and organizational coaching programs applying the Activated Genius Method, a scientific approach to maximizing performance. Together we will Access and Engage your (and your team's) Genius to Accelerate your achievement, in service of a better world.

 If you'd like actionable insight into how to access and engage your Strengths (and all aspects of your Genius) more-fully in your life, sign up to receive my weekly Rise & Shine! email. It is a solid way to stay up to date on the art and science of human performance, translated into actionable insight for your everyday life. This little bit of Monday Morning sunshine will keep you thinking, growing, and Activating your own Genius, as you start your week.

Name *
Name

What Motivates You?

Julie Slanker

Click here for the video version. (coming soon!)

 

How many articles have you read about how to motivate yourself or your team?

How much money does your organization spend on perks and incentives to try to pull out the passionate engagement you need to compete?

How many hours do you spend worrying about how you can get people to really care? To find meaning in their work? To bring inspiration and energy to their tasks?

What if you stopped guessing about what might engage your staff - only to be disappointed, yet again - and instead unlocked the secret to motivation? 

You can.

Once you start to think of Motivation as a key aspect of your - and your team members' - individual Genius.* Something that is intricately linked to who you are.

Once you understand that Motivation is a near-limitless energy source that sits at the core of every individual, attached to your deepest desires.

Once you realize that Motivation is not a decision. It is a feeling. Or, more accurately, the desire for a feeling.

The Core Desired Feeling concept comes from Danielle LaPorte who says that our goals, our objectives, our every conscious desire come not from our wanting the tangible goods of the achievement. But actually derive from a deeper part of our brain, below our logical, conscious, verbal mind. Our goals come from our wanting to feel how we expect to feel once the thing is achieved.

And neurobiology backs her up.

Our primordial feelings - the perceptions of our bodily sensations and thoughts - are signals that let us know if we are in danger or if we are in an optimal state that will preserve our wellbeing. We are driven by our desire to feel safe and warm, for example. As our brains developed, they became more complex and adaptive. Our definitions of wellbeing expanded to include far more that well-fed and free-from-disease, but the signaling system remained the same. 

We are literally motivated by our desire to feel the way we want to feel, to keep moving in the direction of our definition wellbeing.

My Core Desired Feelings are Vitality, Connection, Brilliance, and Wonder. I took this photo at Diamond Head in Hawaii after an early-morning hike to the top with two brilliant friends. It's rare to go 4 for 4! And I reaped the Motivation rewards for the rest of the day.

My Core Desired Feelings are Vitality, Connection, Brilliance, and Wonder. I took this photo at Diamond Head in Hawaii after an early-morning hike to the top with two brilliant friends. It's rare to go 4 for 4! And I reaped the Motivation rewards for the rest of the day.

So instead of trying to ply ourselves and our team members with perks and prizes - that may do nothing to improve focus and engagement - we must treat Motivation like a key aspect of our Genius. We must organize our calendars and our teams to reinforce the feelings we want to feel. And balance the sometimes brutal - but necessary - work with tasks or activities that re-energize and inspire.

To do that, we must first take the time to uncover our Core Desired Feelings. 

Then, once you've uncovered your Motivation, you can begin the process of enlisting it to work for you. Prioritizing, delegating, layering teamwork, balancing the stressful, de-energizing tasks with moments that build you back up and get you back in the fight. To keep yourself - and your team - moving in the right direction, with or without the perks.

 

*The Activated Genius Model is based on my experience and extensive research into leadership and organizational performance. The model is defined by four pillars of Genius: Values, Motivation, Strengths and Inclination, activated by a strong foundation: Communicated Vision, Dedicated Leadership, Effective Structure and Process, and Adequate Resources.
Through Tailored Output, I offer individual and organizational coaching programs applying the Activated Genius Method, a scientific approach to maximizing performance. Together we will Access and Engage your (and your team's) Genius to Accelerate your achievement, in service of a better world.

If you'd like actionable insight into how to access and engage your Values (and all aspects of your Genius) more-fully in your life, sign up to receive my weekly Rise & Shine! email. It is a solid way to stay up to date on the art and science of human performance, translated into actionable insight for your everyday life. This little bit of Monday Morning sunshine will keep you thinking, growing, and Activating your own Genius, as you start your week.

Name *
Name