Ask Ken Coleman
Zero in on your passion
Q: I’m 23, and I currently work at a community college as a student liaison where I help incoming students acclimate to college life. My dream job is to work specifically with first generation Hispanic students in the same sort of capacity, but instead of advising them as students, I would like to focus on life skills and steering them toward college and other post-high school educational outlets. Do you have any advice to help make this dream a reality?
A: I really admire what you’re doing, and how you’d like to apply your talents and skills to help a largely underserved sector of the community. For starters, let’s think in more specific terms. How exactly would you help these young Hispanic people? Do you want to function as a life coach, or do you see yourself more in a pre-college advisor role? These are both incredible things to offer young people, but I think you’ll need to focus on one specific area to be the best you can be. You’ll also need to come up with a plan to market and monetize yourself if you plan on making a career out of this.
Right now, you’re in your sweet spot. You’re communicating, connecting, listening, and problem solving. You’re using your talents and training to reach kids, and help them formulate plans for the future. I don’t think your current role will be the end of your story, but I would advise sticking with your job at the community college a while longer. Learn all you can in that environment, because I believe it will enable you to better serve those kids you want to help.
Remember, there’s nothing to keep you from planning and mapping out a path for your dream while you work at the college. The additional experience you get and encounters you’ll have will serve you not only in your dream job, but it will open your mind to ideas, needs, and strategies that will help make it a marketable reality!
Retaining company culture
Q: I’m in leadership for a company with 250 employees across 25 states. It’s a great organization, but we’re having issues trying to sustain the culture we had in the beginning. What’s the best way of delivering information to our employees that will inspire them to grow and maintain the culture we want?
A: Driving personal development is one thing. If you’re trying to retain the culture you want as you grow, that’s something completely different. A culture is shared habits and behaviors, and this first means all members of your leadership team must be on the same page as to what the company culture should be and how it should be communicated and maintained.
After you all agree specifically on these behaviors, I’d suggest meeting once a week to exchange notes and determine what is and isn’t working. You’ll also need to get feedback from trusted members of your team in all locations to allow input and gauge responses.
Finally, I would commit to a scenario where the entire company meets together at least once a year. This would be a great time to recognize and reward team membersand pour resources into them. Show them they matter and how much they mean to you. If you’re intentional about maintaining or changing a company culture, involving your entire team is a great step toward making that happen!
* Ken Coleman is host of The Ken Coleman Show and the top-rated EntreLeadership Podcast, and author of One Question: Life-Changing Answers from Today’s Leading Voices. An acclaimed interviewer and broadcaster, Coleman equips, encourages and entertains listeners through thought-provoking interviews, helping them grow their businesses, pursue their passions, and move toward a fulfilled purpose. You can follow him on Twitter at @KenColeman, on Instagram at @KenColemanShow, and online at kencolemanshow.com or facebook.com/ KenColemanShow.