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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.

 

Blog

The Tailored Output Blog

 

Solutions Require Scientists

Julie Slanker

Don't roll your eyes... 

This is not a call to hire more scientists (although I support that!). 

Scientist is more than an earned credential, or a profession. Scientist is a way being, of learning and problem solving. It is the rigorous application of a methodology for finding whatever truth there is to be found in what you're doing.

At its simplest definition, a Scientist is someone who develops and tests hypotheses. 

You are working to do something that has never been done. You are overturning a status quo you can no longer stand to build something better in its place. Your idea for how to do that is still just that - an idea. 

It may be perfect. It may succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Or it may fail miserably when it makes first contact with reality. Most likely, it is somewhere in between. Surviving that experience - taking the hit when your plan doesn't work - and learning what there is to be learned from that event will require you to consider your idea merely a hypothesis, a good but incomplete theory.

Getting from first good guess to a solution that actually works will require you to be a Scientist.

When you first set out, if you consider your plan a workable draft, if you consider your theory of success only a hypothesis, you put yourself in the right frame of mind to weather - and learn from - inevitable set backs.

Because of course it isn't going to all work out as planned!

If you hold too tight to your first idea, if you are convinced that you are already right, you run the risk of getting stuck. Or failing to learn from what your doing and wasting a whole lot of time and energy on things that will never lead to success.

Blog#21-Experiment.jpg

Putting yourself in a Scientist frame-of-mind, calling your plan an hypothesis to be tested, reinforces the reality that there is data you don't have yet. There is critical information you can't have until you actually start doing the work of dismantling. Until you run your experiment.

The conditions you will create, the consequences of building your new reality, can't be truly known until you get to that point in the process. But you won't have to worry about how to deal with that uncertainty!

You will be in data-taking mode! You will be actively testing your theory. You'll be poised - lab notebook ready, pen in hand - to challenge your assumptions, fill in your blind spots, and build a better solution. A new idea for how to create the future that you will also test

Over and over until your work is done.

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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The Meaning in Accountability

Julie Slanker

Holding individuals accountable can be one of the most uncomfortable parts of leading a team.

It also is one of your most important leadership duties. 

Not only because it is provides an opportunity for growth - if you never ask your team members to confront where they are weak, they won't have an opportunity to develop in that department. 

Not only because it is an opportunity for your own learning - about where your expectations match up to your team members' true capabilities. 

Not only because it is "fair" - and acknowledges to the rest of the team that you also have noticed a difference in how they are delivering, and plan to do something about it.

Most critically because it is your chance to actually demonstrate that your team's work truly matters.

If there are no consequences, no open reassessment of expectations, no hard conversations about capabilities, when someone fails to deliver what they said they will bring to your effort, it can have a poisoning effect on everyone's motivation. 

That seed of doubt will be planted.

When things get hard, and deadlines get tight, and life intervenes, and people get tired (and they will!), that nagging voice will start to whisper, why bother? she doesn't care if we do a good job, anyway.

It's just a few short steps from she doesn't care about our work to she doesn't really care about the change we all say we are making... 

Blog#18-Accountability.jpg

Once someone starts to lose their belief in your shared purpose, no amount of creative autonomy, professional development, or rah-rah Vision-focused pep-talks will return them to the level of spirited dedication they had when you first enlisted their Genius onto your team.

Everyone has to trust that you truly believe the things that you're always saying. That their work means something. That it is more valuable than high-fives or logo merchandise. That your Vision is worth enough to you to do something we all know is uncomfortable. 

You demonstrate your conviction by living up to your leadership responsibility. You reinforce the meaning in their hard work through accountability.

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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The Cost of Creating the Future

Julie Slanker

You know this already: The future you are creating won't show up for free.

If it was going to be easy, or cheap, it would be done already.

This work that you're doing is going to cost some significant time, energy, and money.

As the leader of this effort - the owner of your Vision - providing sufficient resources is your responsibility.

If that feels daunting, you're not alone. When we start out, most of us are at a disadvantage. First, because our access to resources is historically uneven. And also because - culturally - we don't talk about money. It's rude. Uncouth. 

During our formative years, if it wasn't for The Price is Right, many of us wouldn't have known the cost of anything. As entertaining as that show is, I'm willing to bet your Vision will not call for a jet ski or a new bedroom set... 

Instead, it will require labor and travel, education and nutrition. Ways to compensate and communicate with your team. It will require short-term surges and long-term sustainment. Prototypes. And printer paper. As well as your time and energy to pull it all together and keep the whole operation running.

How do you put a price on all of that? 

And then, once you do: Where does that fit into the budget?

Daunting is probably an understatement. 

The first step is to shorten your time horizon. You don't know (yet) what it will take to get you all the way to the future you are creating. So trying to estimate the cost of that (non-existent) plan would be an exercise in futility. So only budget as far as you can see, up to and over the next major obstacle. And if that still feels too far away, or uncertain, consider the next 18 months of sustained activity.

What will you need?

Make a list. Then talk to your team. What are they willing to do, for what compensation (if any)? For everything else? Consult Amazon and Travelocity and Frelancer.com to estimate what it will take to successfully complete this phase of your work.

Hint: It might be nothing! It may just take a whole lot of your time and elbow grease. That's good! You already have all that, and you know how to create more if that's what you need.

What if it's not nothing?

What if all totaled up, even the next few months, are going to cost much more than you have to give, financially?

The answer - and you're going to hate it - is that this is a chance to see your financial constraints as an opportunity to re-think your plan. If you don't have the resources to make it work, you will need a different, more-creative way forward.

What could you bootstrap? Or DIY? What could you scale back or change and still generate the same result? What could you share or borrow or rent? What could you move closer to home. What could you make more personal and less high-tech? 

[Quote: "Money is an accelerant, not a silver bullet." - Ash Maurya,  Running Lean ]

[Quote: "Money is an accelerant, not a silver bullet." - Ash Maurya, Running Lean]

Sure, you could raise money. That is another option. But not necessarily a good one. If your plan is solid and well-tested, outside resources can accelerate your progress. But if your path is still uncertain, you run the risk of pouring gasoline on the wrong fire and creating a bigger mess for yourself in the long run. 

That is the other responsibility that comes with providing sufficient resources: Ensuring good stewardship. 

You have a long way to go between now and achieving your Vision. And it is only going to get more complicated. What you learn in these next few months about how to provide and manage necessary resources will be critical to your longterm success. 

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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