Developing Leadership & Taking Your Career To The Next Level: Expert Interview with Mick Yates

The business climate has changed irrevocably since the turn of the century with the integration of the Internet and our daily lives. It’s no longer enough for an employee or an organization to simply do the work and hope for the best.

Every company and professional needs to have a plan. They need to be a leader, establish authority, and stand out from the pack.

Leader Values is a non-profit organization that has everything for an individual or a business to establish themselves as leaders in their industries.

Leader Values’ Mick Yates took a moment to tell us about the company and how being a leader can help take your career to the next level.

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How did Leader Values get started? Where are you based out of? What did you feel that other career websites were missing that prompted you to start your own company?

LeaderValues was started in 1997 because I had then (and still do) a passion for leadership development. It was thus a pretty early starter in this field. It is a non-profit site and carries very little advertising.

At that time, there were few sites carrying “independent material.” Most were (and largely still are) the vehicles for consultancies and consultants. I wanted to create an online resource with a very wide range of materials from many sources.

Leader Value is intended as a resource for students, researchers and practitioners to help them achieve their leadership goals. Could you briefly describe what you mean by leadership goals? How can these goals be used to help someone advance in their career?

By leadership goals, I mean the objectives we all have to get things done.

As a CEO, that might mean defining the future strategy of a multi-national business. As the president of a hobby club at school, it could mean how best to engage the members and define weekly activities.

In every case, it is about getting people to engage and willingly do things on behalf of the enterprise. So since almost all of us are involved in “leadership” to one degree or another, any personal development in this area helps.

One of the themes of your articles is career assessment. What are some of the topics you cover under this theme? How can someone objectively assess their own career? 

On LeaderValues, we cover both personal assessment and career development advice. The former includes objectively assessing one’s own capabilities with tips for approval, using the views of many different writers and researchers in the field.

Career articles give more general advice on how to progress from many points of view – managing others, handling office politics and more.

Leader Values has recently expanded to incorporate coverage based on the use of Big Data analytics. For people who have not yet encountered this idea, could you briefly describe Big Data? What are some industries that have been taking advantage of this new area of study?

“Big Data” is the rather generic term to describe the data we create everyday, in increasingly vast quantities, with great variety from all kinds of sources, and in both structured (e.g. retail till records, government census records, scientific records) and unstructured forms (e.g. Facebook posts and phone calls).

A great example of an industry that uses it is retail, where the customer information analyzed from loyalty programs helps the retailer do a better job of meeting customer needs in pricing, retail store range and layout, and promotions.

You also have a category for the future of work. In your opinion, what is the future of work? What are some ways that people can start tailoring their careers to make the most of these changes?

With life expectancy continuously on the rise, the idea of “retirement” at 65 is inappropriate. Life expectancy is already reaching the 90s in many places, and scientists predict that kids being born today will make 120 or more.

Add to that the increasing impact of technology and automation of work, and you can see the need for a variety of training, experiences and multiple careers. Being trained for a “job for life” is dead. Now, continuous training and re-training is needed.

You’ve written about social networks as well on Leader Values. What are some ways that people can use social networks to make themselves a more valuable employee? What are some industries that are particularly apt to use social networks to find new employees?

We are all a “brand” to one degree or another. When you bear in mind my comments above on the future of work, you can see how the use of social networks to get across an individual’s ideas, skills, experiences and interests can contribute to the “personal brand.”

Of course, it can also be a huge negative if used inappropriately.

Almost all recruiters in all industries use LinkedIn as a source, either for new candidates or for reference checks.

You wrote a post a while back about building communities through network weaving. Do you have any advice for people using the Internet for networking on how to make new contacts, without being annoying or pushy?

Decide on what you stand for in real life; your values, principles, and skills and experiences that are valuable to others. Identify your industry interest areas.

Then, create your profile consistently across both the real world of interactions and the social one. Be true to yourself.

What are some ways that human qualities – like commitment, dependability, and passion – are essential in today’s market? Do you have any advice on how someone can tailor their portfolio or profiles to reflect some of these qualities?

Yes, all of these are critical to your success in your career. But you can’t “invent passion, commitment or dependability.”

You either have these qualities or you don’t.

For example, I am passionate about photography, but have little interest in cricket. So be true to yourself.

You can, however, equip yourself with new skills, which could apply to many industries. For example, go read more about Big Data or the Internet of Things. Be curious, and your career will be rewarded.

As the business environment becomes increasingly competitive, how important is organization and efficiency for both workers as well as businesses? What are some tools and resources for people to reach optimal organization and efficiency?

Clear your inbox, make good lists of things you want to get done, and do them. Identify your longer-term learning objectives and career goals. Write things down. As to tools, I use Evernote to synchronize my notes across my various devices – desktops, pad, phone.

Why is it important for everybody, no matter what stage of their career they’re in, to keep growing their skill sets and resumes? What are some things someone might keep in mind when considering what areas to expand into?

We will all have multiple careers, technology will keep changing things around us, the world will get smaller. Either stay curious, learn new things, enjoy new experiences … or wither away. Change or die.

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