Awhile ago, I pitched the idea of doing a recognition event at my work. My inspiration was Apple’s Top 100 and the idea was simple: we should hold up and give opportunities to the people who, if we were to restart our department today, would be the ones we’d bring along for the ride. I was awarded the autonomy and budget to hold a monthly event with lunch and a different activity.

Today, I held our first event. We had lunch from NaanSense and then I led a discussion based on this post by Seth Godin’s and thoughts from his book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?.

With about 15 of us in the room, we tried figuring out the type of people we wanted to work with (read: the type of people we want to be) by calling out the attributes that defined our “ideal coworker”. We placed the attributes into columns for gifts, skills and attitude. We wound up with about three gifts and about three dozen attributes between skills and attitude—along with plenty of a few in-betweens after healthy debate.

We got to a point, naturally, where we were having a hard time distinguishing between the three categories and thus got to the heart of the matter, as Seth put it:

It turns out that choices lead to habits. Habits become talents. Talents are labeled gifts.

My department has a lot of green, front line people and a lot of them have a desire to do something more, even to lead people. Because of this, we discussed the need to find a path that’s your own—you can’t wait for someone to lay it out for you. Leaders don’t ask what needs to be done, they find it and do it.

So, what exactly was the milestone for me? Getting this comment as feedback about the event:

I think this is a fantastic event. It not only made me feel appreciated, but it also made me feel like my opinions and perspectives in this department are valued by my peers and my superiors. It was incredibly empowering to talk to other people who WANT to grow. I'm used to hearing a lot of discouraging voices in my area and this group felt like it was completely void of toxicity. And that felt nice.

It was a good day.

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Copyright Kevan Loy 2019