Sunday, September 5, 2010

Orientation Week

In sports, the pregame warm-up is essential to setting the tone for the competition.  Some teams have pregame routines or rituals where they fire each other up such as the Polynesian war dance called the Haka.  If you haven't had the chance to see the Haka performed by BYU's football team, here's a link: Others take a prayerful approach--they kneel together and offer a prayer while holding hands.  Some teams do both.  Regardless of how a team prepares for the game, the expected outcome is always the same: a more unified team with a stronger resolve to achieve greatness.

For me, the MPA orientation was like a pregame warm-up.  The events held throughout the week set the right tone for students to be successful in the program.  We were given multiple workshops such as resume building, interviewing, networking, and more.  We also had discussions on what to expect in graduate school, ethics, and what it means to be a graduate student at the Romney Institute.  Even though the days were long (they typically went from 8AM - 5PM), not a minute was wasted.  I had a great feeling coming home each day about the things I learned and my wife could tell I was excited about starting the program. 

By the end of the week, I had a better understanding of how the Romney Institute set out to accomplish the mission statement, which says:

The mission of the MPA program is to prepare leaders of exceptional capability and integrity who are committed to serving their communities and improving public service organizations. The Romney Institute of Public Management will accomplish this by:
  • Attracting men and women of faith and character who demonstrate professional promise and a commitment to improving the organizations in which they work;
  • Imparting the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to effectively lead public service organizations;
  • Providing students with opportunities to explore and identify career choices and achieve their public service goals;
  • Recruiting and supporting high caliber faculty who produce quality scholarship relevant to public service practice.
Orientation week was a great way to start the MPA program.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer Reading

In preparation for the MPA program, we were asked to read a few books over the summer.  I thought it would be appropriate as my first post to list the important principles I gleaned from one of the books I read called Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.  On the back cover it says the following; "Your network is your net worth.  This book shows you how to add to your personal bottom line with better networking and bigger relationships"  And, "Everyone in business knows relationships and having a network of contacts are important.  Finally we have a real-world guide to how to create your own high-powered network tailored to your career goals and personal style."

Knowing the importance of networking and how it will help me in my professional career, I approached this book differently by having a notebook and pen in hand (even though this wasn't a graded assignment) to keep a list of all the practical information I would use to develop my own network.  I have pages of notes but I'll try to summarize here the most important points:
  • Success in any field, but especially in business, is about working with people.
  • Real networking is about finding ways to make other people more successful.  It's about working hard to give more than you get.
  • The key to success: generosity
  • Relationships are solidified by trust.  You gain trust by asking not what people can do for you, but what you can do for others.
  • Job Security = Friends & Associates
  • Our achievements grow according to the size of our dreams and the degree to which we are in touch with our mission.
  • Don't become a networking jerk
    • Don't Schmooze
    • Don't Gossip
    • Don't come to the party empty handed
    • Don't treat those under you poorly, give everyone respect
    • Be transparent - I am what I am
    • Don't be too efficient, it's not about mass, it's about real connections
  • Do your homework
    • Preparation is the key to genius, research the person you're going to meet.
  • When you meet someone new, take the step to ensure you won't be lost in their mental attic.
  • Follow-up is the KEY to success in any field.
    • Write down a reminder to follow-up.
    • Don't focus on what they can do for you but what you can do for them.
While this is an incomplete and extremely watered-down list of things I learned from the text, I still like the fact that I can use this post as a quick "networking tips" guide.