What’s Stopping You?

What is stopping you from moving ahead or moving up in your career? Let’s do a quick survey to capture the perceived concerns, problems or walls that are complicating your advancement and growth. If there is one word or one short sentence that captures this, please respond in the comments below.

We will see what others are finding problematic as well and base future posts off of the responses.

Starter ideas: lack of specific skills? finding the right contact? not knowing the next step to break out of your current role?

Action: Create a comment below with the one word or sentence that you think is stopping you.


Apply creativity to your role…always

Whether it is life, strategic direction for the company, or the next project, my internal questions have always been:
• Do I want to follow in footsteps, or do I want others following mine?
• Does the company pay me to think like others or to create my own thoughts and actions?

Whether intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, creativity is a key component of success and career satisfaction.

“But I’m not creative!” Malarkey. You just haven’t given yourself permission to be creative. Over time, society and self-preservation has taught us to “play it safe” go “by the book” and be “risk-averse”. However, this stifles your natural creativity and limits your potential in all aspects of your life.

The first step in tapping your natural creativity is giving yourself permission to think big and dream.

Giving yourself permission to think big or dream will guide your thoughts and actions toward the reasons you were really hired: starting and completing new projects, shifting directions and planning new initiatives, developing the future of the company. It also allows you to plan the direction your work life will take. That’s the fun about internal brainstorming, no one will tell you why not, or how it cannot be done.

Brainstorming is brainstorming, without being inhibited.

Even though there may be some jobs where creating new boxes may not be encouraged, this should not stop you from integrating this into your routine. Personal growth and development is a process you should always make time for. What a better way than by creating and dreaming to influence and building into you. Thinking big and dreaming can help you and your company, today and in the future.

Most people think their next job movement will be up, of course. But we challenge you to think wide and high, not on the limitations but the possibilities. Think about merging your current or future skills into what will bring you the most experience and self-satisfaction. Motivated employees are always high performers; even if there goals lie outside the current work environment.

Action: Make a list of the skills you have today, then on top of the paper put where you want to get. What’s the perfect job for you; a role you want to challenge yourself to be in the future? Start brainstorming the possibilities and areas to move toward that top future goal. This may involve getting experience outside of your current employer or profession, but don’t forget to think creatively about things you can do within your current setting. Remember that no one is stopping you – except yourself.

This is a great exercise to go through with a mentor. The mentor’s experience can help to identify creative paths to your goal. And, discussing your goal can help you clarify what it is you really want. Who knows, your mentor might already have an opportunity that’s a perfect fit!

Now, repeat this exercise for your team and your organization. Don’t be surprised if there are ideas that apply to all three domains.

Don’t respond to email…yet

Most people attempt to maximize productivity by taking a reactive approach and diving into the small tasks at hand. We get involved with the tasks of the day much too soon. And before we know it, the day is over. We then wonder why we cannot get the really large projects started, or feel as if there are not enough hours in the day to even complete the little things.

News Flash- there will always be enough little things to grab your attention, but those will not ultimately help you achieve your personal goals.

Bestselling authors Tim Ferris (The Four Hour Workweek) and David Allen (Getting Things Done) both point to a reactive approach to task management as a source of stress and reduced productivity. Deliberate work, however, frees you to focus your creativity and energy on what really matters.

Action: Therefore, don’t start your day by listening to voicemails or opening emails. Instead close your door, take out a piece of paper, look around the room or out the window and think about the next “big” thing you need to do.

  • Is it a specific strategic direction to take?
  • A project that you have thought about before?
  • Data gathering that could help guide analysis or decision?
  • It could even be just the few items to complete today.

10-15 minutes is all you need

Don’t limit your thoughts or have expectations on developing something from your notes. Once you stop limiting or trying to tie a thought to a project, the more open or creative you will become.

Giving yourself permission each day will hopefully allow you to cleanse the diminutive. After repeating each day for 10-15 mins this will replicate a period for you to expand and develop you and your thoughts. This will be a time to think about new ideas and challenge assumptions. Write down your thoughts. Who cares what it looks like or says? These are your thoughts. After a few of these sessions, you can start to direct and prioritize. Then they will become actions. If getting started with something is always the problem, here you go, you’ve begun. Now focus and the planning will start.


Welcome to the Management Mentor Blog! We aim to replicate some of the benefits of a mentoring relationship through this vehicle. Here’s what to expect:

  • 3 Categories of content: Organization, Team, Self
  • Practical tips for new supervisors and managers
  • Short posts with actionable recommendations
  • Bi-weekly original posts plus additional posts with updates and links to resources
  • 1-year of new content culminating with a comprehensive eBook by Winter 2013

A key element that makes a great manager is the ability to mentor each and every employee. Every employee should not only be appreciated for their efforts, but should be encouraged to grow and develop their career.

Most employees want to grow, but do not know how to broach the subject with leadership. The misnomer here is that the onus should not be on the employee, but on the manager to take a special interest in staff development. The challenge for the experienced one is to realize how this role fits in their daily work life. If managers think policies, procedures, internal processes, financial stability, etc., is why they are here and what they should spend all their time doing, they are very wrong. Building and growing staff is for the betterment of the organization and the future success for the individual. If this practice gets ingrained into your organization’s culture, watch out! Most everything else falls into place and everyone will want to work for you.

While managers have the burden of responsibility when it comes to mentoring, it is in the employee’s best interest to seek out these opportunities. The benefits of mentoring are well documented and researched. However, the inherent upside of a personal relationship with a successful, experienced individual in your field are obvious. In addition to the rich learning you will garner from this individual, mentors are also ideally positioned to open networking doors, assist with growth projects and recommend (or hire!) you for future jobs.

The Management Mentor is a blog for everyone- those who should be mentoring, and those who should be growing. We invite active participation from readers in the form of comments, emails or even phone calls. The feedback we get from all sides will continue to build skills and experiences in us all. Your positive participation will have immediate results for others. It is amazing what bits of feedback can do.

The Management Mentor.

Stay tuned for our first post and practical tip the week of Jan 23, 2012!