Have you trained your Monkeys lately?

Have you trained your Monkeys lately?

By: Jill Mendoza Recently I had an opportunity to participate in a pilot program sponsored by Butler University College of Business.  The program, “The Women Business Owners Consortium” (WBOC) is focused on helping established woman owned businesses in building and growing a high performance organization. The learning objectives of the WBOC program included a multitude of elements from assessing opportunities to crafting competitive business strategies to inspiring and motivating employees to drive the successful execution of your corporate strategies.  It was a tall order but through the course of the program the most valuable lessons were much less complex. As I prepared for my final class which was a presentation of IDO’s Business Plan, I thought it more important to present the essences of what I learned from participating in the program instead of just presenting the business plan.  For the plan alone did not seem to capture the real experience and these seven valuable lessons;

  1. See the Greatness
  2. It’s a continuous process
  3. Plan for the future me
  4. Embrace Conflict
  5. Train the Monkeys
  6. Results matter
  7. Enjoy the ride

To keep this blog on the short side I will only elaborate on a few of these lessons to give you a feel for the impact this program had on me. See the Greatness This lesson was not only inspired by this program but being on the Butler Campus I became aware of a campus event featuring the now 85 year old professor, Maya Angelou.  At the same time we were studying the leadership portion of the program and I had just read an interview the HBR (Harvard Business Review May ’13 Issue) conducted with Ms. Angelou.  The final question of the interview asked Ms. Angelou; “As someone who’s known Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, what do you think makes a leader great?  Her response; “A leader sees greatness in other people.  You can’t be much of a leader if all you see is yourself.”  Yep, this pretty much summed up what I learned in the leadership portion of the program. Train the Monkeys This valuable lesson came upon the heels of receiving my Leadership 360 assessment results and feedback.  The assessment came at the perfect time.  We had just completed an in depth business assessment of our company, so it was only natural for the firm’s leader to undergo a thorough evaluation as well.  The feedback from the assessment was very valuable and I continue to work on and benefit from the information provided.  With that said, the advice I received from the program evaluator is what really stuck with me.  We were discussing how I need to improve my delegation skills and temper my over whelming sense of responsibility to everyone and everything.  The simple feedback I received was; “Jill you need to train those monkeys”.  Immediately I realized that my role in our company had evolved and if I continue to allow all those monkeys on my back, I’ll never get to the really important work that needs to be done.  This is when I realized the biggest monkey in the room was ME! Again, there is so much to learn in an academic setting but the real lessons are sometimes not realized until you can actually connect what you learn with what you experience.  This reminds me of Oscar Wild’s famous quote:  “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” And that pretty much sums up the most valuable lesson of all.  Personal and professional growth will always be a continuous process and for me, success is perhaps learning to enjoy the ride!

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