Thursday, 5 June 2014

The 7 habits

If you want to boost your career or your personal life, don't waste your energy on unnecessary matters. Pursue greater efficiency!
But how to do that? My mentor advised me to read 'The 7 habits or highly effective people' by Stephen R. Covey, so I did. And I can tell you, it gives you a head start.
You should be able to empower yourself, if you find yourself learning these 7 habbits from the book. It contains some nice examples and self-helpish pictures to guide you through the whole process.
Stephen Covey's vision goes against the 'macho style' of management that was common for that time. They preach all sort of quick wins like manipulation or better communication, .... It is not bad, but not all in the long run. 
If you follow the 7 habits, your actions will be guided by your principles, your character, your values. So you will be able to reach your goals AND feel good about it.
This is the 7 habits paradigm. First strive for independence with the 3 first habbits. If you  master these habits it becomes a personal victory.
  • Be assertive
  • Plan with the end in mind
  • Put First things First.
Then you strive for interdependence with the next 3 habits. These are social habits, if you master them, it will result in public victory! Or world domination ;-)
  • Think win/win
  • First seek to understand, ...Then to be understood
  • Synergize
The 7th habit puts it all in context. The other habits should all work together. You have to keep trying to improve yourself. Every habit has many layers the more you practice it, the more you can learn from it.
  • Sharpen the saw
This is realy a good self-help book. You can read it over and over again en try to master it on a more profound way. So get your own copy and stat reading! It will be worth your time.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

I need a goal

Back in the days I was just being busy. Having a goal was not my top priority, because goals were naturally present. Graduate, find a place to live, find a great wife, work for a living, work out to stay healthy....

But that changed for me. After fulfilling my basic needs, I needed something more. And sometimes it is not easy to find what that can be. It is like being so busy doing the things of the day, that you feel like accomplishing nothing at all.

Then I realized, ... I need a goal! Apart from the fact that reaching a goal can boost your self confidence, a goal also can give your life a purpose. And if I start something, I really go for it. I studied  user centered design, got married, played squash, became a daddy, I became a marathon runner, play the guitar a little... And I can juggle with 3 balls now ;-).

One of  my latest goals was asking Don to be my mentor. Now my goal is to boost my leadership skills and he helps me with this. This blog is one of the many ways to reach this goal.

Covey wrote, "begin with the end in mind". If you know what is important to you, you can plan your actions toward it. Having a goal is like an inner compass that guides you in every decision that you make.If you don't know where to start yet, try to answer this question (from the book the 7 habits)
"How do you wish to be remembered on your funeral?"
Try to think about it and right down that speech. Then you can start planning your actions so this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Your first elevator pitch

Ever heard of the elevator pitch? Maybe you do, maybe you don't. I will try to explain in 3 steps.
Imagine the following scenario:

Step 1 : you get in the lift with someone important for your business.
Step 2 : the door of the lift closes, you have 30 seconds to present your case...
Step 3 : 30 seconds later, the doors open again.

Did you talk about the right things? Did you make the right expression? Did you leave early?

To be prepared for situations like these, you need to be prepared. An elevator pitch needs to be short, 30 seconds 60 seconds max. Try to be unique but also make sure  to answer the following question : what is in it for the other person? The goal of your pitch is to make a difference, a call to action, so there can be a next talk.

There are a lot of blogs that can help preparing for this talk. Make sure to be ready when the moment arrives and don't forget to practice in advance.

Friday, 23 May 2014


Hi my name is Frank Gielen, I am really proud to work for Verizon, one of the best technology firms the world. I love the impact we can make, the challenges we overcome, the opportunities it brings.

I was blunt for a moment and asked Don Burgio to be my mentor, he is one of the Verizon leaders. And he agreed! So here I am, talking about my new goals, my new insights.

Do you want to be ….. my mentor?

On this blog "Learning about Leadership" I will write about personal growth, leadership, best practices. I hope to give you some nice tips, maybe some exercises, and some good reads. So this could be beneficial for your  professional career, but maybe also for your relations at home or your family.

How it all started