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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

 

The How-To Guide

Julie Slanker

We've covered Why.

We've envisioned What.

We've enlisted Who.

It's time for How.

How are you going to accomplish the things you've set out to do?

But, Julie, you might be thinking, you've already told us a million times that we won't be able to see more than a few steps ahead. That's right! That's not the how I'm talking about. This has nothing to do with intricate plans to march yourself from point A to point Z. 

[Quote: "We need to focus on the boring stuff: how to measure progress, how to set up milestones, and how to prioritize work." - Eric Rise,  Lean Startup ]

[Quote: "We need to focus on the boring stuff: how to measure progress, how to set up milestones, and how to prioritize work." - Eric Rise, Lean Startup]

This how, is the boring how.

The schedule.

The communication guidelines.

The accountability plan.

The expectations for documentation.

The how-to guide

The users manual for yourself and your team.

This doesn't need to be a lengthy, formal document. Shorter is often better. But I do encourage you to write it down. Keep it somewhere (digital) where everyone can see it. 

Start by simply documenting what you're already doing.

Too often I see leaders begin with an idealized version of how they think the perfect team should look and act and be. It is the natural consequence of reading all the research and going to all the training and wanting to be the best leader you can be.

But it's a trap.

Your team is not perfect. It is a unique mixture of Genius and mindsets and preferred ways of working. Imposing an idealized rule-book down on that melting pot will only lead to aggravation and a lot of wasted energy. Your team will mock it. Then they will ignore it. And if you fight them, they will leave. Because they already know how to do it, in many important ways.

Human beings are an adaptive species. When motivated, we will find a way to get shit done in any environment, despite all manner of constraints and limitations. 

If you are getting anything done at all, even if what you've done is merely the formation of your team, you already have naturally chosen schedules, and priorities, and modes of communication, suited to your current situation. 

What are they? Write them down.

This is where your leadership, and your research, comes in. What's working? What could be better? What have you not considered, yet? What can wait until you're group is bigger?

Propose changes. Provide justification. Get your team's buy-in. Then try it.

Make a plan to check-in (perhaps quarterly) on how things are working. Are you communicating enough, and by the right means? Are you focused on the right priorities? How do you know? Are you making progress? Are you meeting deadlines? Are you challenging each other? And is your team thriving?

When new teammates join, and they see the how-to guide, are they able to quickly and meaningfully participate without stifling their own creativity or suppressing their preferred ways of working?

If not?

Propose something better! Observe what they're doing when they're succeeding despite your handbook and see how you can make that different way of working the standard. 

The point is not to live up to a Harvard Business Review case-study, or try to recreate some other organization's team dynamic. 

The purpose is to determine what works for your group. To create clear expectations, accountability, and  a boundary around this intense work, so that you and your team can generate forward momentum and make meaningful and sustainable progress. 

Want to go deeper? Sign up for my weekly Rise & Shine! Monday morning email. Every week, we'll work to turn a piece of The Activated Genius Method into practical, actionable steps to access and engage your Genius so that you can improve your work, your life, and our world.
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Diversity is Mandatory

Julie Slanker

I told you once that not all work is your work. Remember?

It wasn't so long ago that I encouraged you to look at the landscape of activities required to overturn the status quo (you can no longer stand) and determine what of that effort is work that only you can do. What tasks will benefit most from the unique Genius that only you posses?

Well, what about the rest?

There is no doubt a long list of actions, activities, objectives, and outcomes that will require a different Genius than what's inside of you. Probably multiple different Geniuses, if we're being honest.

You know what that means...  

It's time to build your team.

It is time to find people who make up for what you lack. Or who have some of what you have along with the energy to multiply your effort. Who are motivated by your compelling Vision and wiling to commit themselves to the future you are creating, as uncertain as your path to success may still be.

It's time to enlist partners and participants. 

As you begin to assemble your cohort - whether it's loosely held or tightly bound, whether it's well-defined or nebulous, whether you assign specific roles or ad hoc tasks - only one criteria is mandatory: Diversity.

[Quote: "A deeply diverse team can be as good as a deeply talented one." - Andrew Zolli & Ann Marie Healy, Resiliance]

[Quote: "A deeply diverse team can be as good as a deeply talented one." - Andrew Zolli & Ann Marie Healy, Resiliance]

Diversity is Mandatory

Because it is the only way to succeed. 

First, because you have blind spots. You have your areas of lesser strength, and you also have areas that you don't even know you'll struggle with, because you've never tested that aspect about you. 

And, because you're biased. We all are. Our lifetime of experiences, traumas, successes, and failures has created a pattern of behaviors and reactions in each of our heads. There are rules we all follow, even though they aren't really rules. And our individual ways of observing could cause us to miss the most important markers for our future success. 

Most importantly, because the future is uncertain. Yes, you have your Vision. You know what you are creating. And hopefully you have a clear understanding of the status quo - as it is. What lies between today and your eventual success is unknown beyond the first few visible steps. You cannot anticipate the mix of Genius you will need by your side as you reach step 5 or 8 or 53.

Sure, you could wait until you get there to determine who else to recruit to your team. And you may have to do that, still, even after prioritizing diversity.

But there's something to be said for creating a core team from the beginning. The things you will learn together as you begin your quest will create a common bond. The obstacles you overcome, even while the path is still relatively simple, will develop critical knowledge about how you all function as a team. Who leads, who organizes, who envisions, who begins, and how do the roles reverse under different circumstances?

How the team collaborates cannot be quickly taught or learned, it must be developed from within. Together. 

So as you begin to enlist support for the future you are creating, ask yourself: are you satisfied with the diversity on your team? Are you happy with the mix of Genius, experience, and training?

Or do you need to share your Vision even more broadly?

Want to go deeper? Sign up for my weekly Rise & Shine! Monday morning email. Every week, we'll work to turn a piece of The Activated Genius Method into practical, actionable steps to access and engage your Genius so that you can improve your work, your life, and our world.
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References:

Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back by Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy

StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath

Shout it out - Loud!

Julie Slanker

Where are you going?

What are you building?

How will the future be new and different and better, because of you?

[Photo: My Vision board for 2017]

[Photo: My Vision board for 2017]

Write it down. Digram it out. Collage it together.

Say it out loud.

Do you feel it? The excitement inside you when you get clear and concrete about what you're going to do?

No? There's no tingle? No effervescence? Go bigger. Get bolder! Let yourself really want the thing you really want to do. It's what you need to actually get yourself moving, so don't waste a single minute with half-measures, compromises, or "realistic" expectations. Keep going. Keep revising, until your Vision is so clear and compelling your feet start to itch and your legs start to ache with desire to get going.

That's direction.

That's the measure of your future success.

That's the guiding light for your every action.

When you have a clear Vision, you have the tools to determine if you've done it. Or if there still is work ahead of you. More importantly, you have inspiration. And an articulation of what you were put on this Earth to do. 

But wait! There's more!

When your Vision is compelling enough to move your feet, it has everything it needs to invite our participation, too.

[Quote: "All change begins with shared language" - Brene Brown]

[Quote: "All change begins with shared language" - Brene Brown]

If you tell us...

And let's be real, when you have a future to create that is so exciting it changes the way you behave right now - in the moment - today, we'll probably have to beg you to shut up about it...

But just in case you're feeling too timid to share, let me encourage you to fight that fear.

When we know where you're headed, we can decide if we want to follow along in your direction. When we understand your high standards, we can decide whether we have the time, energy, and interest to commit ourselves and our own Genius to participating in your cause. And just seeing how passionately motivated you are to achieve your goal will inspire us all to do the same for ourselves and the future we want to create.

What opportunity you create just by doing what you want to do, anyway!

Get clear about your Vision. 

Then shout it out.

Loud!

For all of us to hear.

 

Want to go deeper? Sign up for my weekly Rise & Shine! Monday morning email. Over the next two weeks, we'll work to turn this piece of The Activated Genius Method into practical, actionable steps to access and engage your Genius so that you can improve your work, your life, and our world.
Name *
Name