Posts tagged Leadership Development
Creating a More Conscious & Inclusive Chicago Business Community

Over the last 10 years, I’ve had a front row seat to the growth and transformation of the Chicago business community, and in particular the tech and entrepreneurial scene that’s emerged. During this exciting time, I've been fortunate to witness this transformation both as an investor and founder of several fast-growth startups. I’ve come to love the people, companies and trends that influence our business ecosystem: a focus on revenue & sustainability, gritty midwestern values, and hard work and resiliency. Characteristics that are reinforced by withstanding brutal winters and demanding investors.

But as I look forward to the next 10 years, it’s become clear to me that the only way we’ll continue this growth is if we invest in creating a more conscious, diverse and inclusive business community.

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Aligning L&D to the Future of Work

Linkedin's 2018 Workplace Learning Report highlights the challenges of developing our people to reach their highest potential...which can result in success from purpose to profit.

The study provides key data from their survey of talent developers, people managers, employees and executives. Below I'll highlight a few of the key insights and some related survey results from Ignite for Chief People Officers, Heads of L&D and those of us who partner with them.

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Inspiring Inclusion: Ignite’s 1-Day Chicago Leadership Immersion

Chicago has been my home for 22 years. It’s the place I started my first company, met my best friends, and dove deeply into my own diversity and inclusion journey. I love this city for its incredible skyline and lakefront, its array of cultures and unique neighborhoods, and its midwestern yet progressive values. For two decades, this city has shaped me, my ideas, my work. The people here have informed my purpose and passion, and they’ve challenged my privilege and politics. My development as a person and my growth as a leader are significantly tied to this place...and that is why I am so excited that Ignite is launching a leadership experience right here in Chicago.

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How Purpose Drives Our Company

Why defining your mission & values upfront provides employees' purpose & meaning in their work - we all want to contribute to the “Grand Human Drama.” When employees are connected to a company’s purpose and have meaning in their work, they perform better. Positive-psychology theorists suggest that a sense of purpose is a key indicator in understanding why some people thrive and others do not. This sense of purpose connects them more easily to others in the workplace, a major contributor to employee happiness.

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Key Steps on the Diversity Journey

Regardless of whether you are a small tech start-up or a fortune 500 company, addressing diversity and inclusion has become a necessity. Initially fueled by shifting demographics in the workforce, today most companies realize that creating a diverse team and an inclusive culture drives business results.  Creating a more inclusive culture requires facilitating experiences that allow your people to take meaningful steps forward on this journey.

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Invest in People. Not Employees.

The current advice surrounding how to engage employees complicates things. It makes it feel like there is some complex formula that goes into it - as if employees are some other life form that we can’t understand. What the advice seems to miss is the understanding that employees are simply human beings. They are people that have desires and needs beyond just being an ‘employee’. A job is simply part of the human experience, and a company’s role in this is to provide opportunities for people to thrive. That will never happen if we don’t start thinking of employees as more than numbers on a spreadsheet or an otherworldly life form needing to be ‘engaged’.

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The Cheerleader, the Strategist and the Guru

As leaders today, we have the opportunity to unleash the potential of the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. But, in our rush to be disruptors and to re-invent the wheel for Millennials, we should be careful not to overlook the fundamentals of traditional development initiatives that will serve this generation well. Millennials have grown up with face to face interactions and interpersonal connections replaced by technology and platforms that, while efficient and often effective, cannot replace the powerful and rewarding experience of a mentoring relationship.

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