Peek Inside A Career Blitz
When was the last time you spent a day revealing and reflecting on what you want in your career?
Career Blitz provides the dedicated time and guidance to reflect, seek clarity, and work through an action plan.
This isn’t your typical career workshop.
We exercised our curiosity and imagination by using the Looping Method.
The Looping Method is a problem solving approach specific to closing career gaps.
Whether you feel lost in a career transition or you want to level-up in the role you have at the company you love, the Looping Method is a bias-to-action to help you chart a path to where you want to be.
Career Blitz is designed around the three Looping Method steps: Clarify, Create, & Connect.
Here is a look inside a recent Career Blitz in Austin, Texas.
Part 1. Clarify your challenge.
The first half of the blitz is a 3-hour morning session designed to clarify career aspirations and challenges, then picking one to tackle.
Instead of sitting at tables and burying our heads in notebooks, giant foam-core boards allowed each participant to have a personal workspace to think out-loud. Post-it notes and large format worksheets helped us quickly get out of our heads and sort our thoughts.
To start the day, we used three short drills to reveal and reflect on what might lead us to unexpected new paths.
- 5 Cent Stand: Like Lucy’s psychiatry stand from Peanuts, we asked what talents we might share with others? What would we teach? What skills do we offer? This helped us explore our talents and gifts beyond of our current jobs.
- Roadtrip Nation: Based on the book/show by the same name, this drill gave us permission to follow our curiosities. What do we want to learn about? Who would we meet on our bus tour?
- Matters Most: We took time to reflect on the values and quality of life that matter most to us across six categories; Family+Friends, Health+Wellness, Personal+Professional Growth, Financial, Environment, and Wicked Problems.
Matters Most, Roadtrip Nation, and 5 Cent Stand provided inputs for a tool called Venn Zen.
Venn Zen helps us imagine future possibilities for our careers.
Venn Zen is a “What If” exercise. It is not about how you arrive at the future or the details of the future. It invites you to suspend disbelief and give yourself permission to be bold.
Zen is the space to imagine where three inputs come together to inspire new possibilities.
Curiosities are the things you are drawn to and want to learn more about; industries, skills, places, people, trends. Roadtrip Nation helped our group reveal these curiosities.
Superpowers include your talents, skills, hobbies, experiences, and personality that combine great value to the world. 5 Cent Stand helped us explore beyond our job titles.
Matters Most describes your desired quality of life. Venn Zen challenges us to think about how what matters most is woven into our career.
If you really like mountain biking, a career that affords more time and access to trails is a good start. But what if mountain biking was woven into your career? For example, Richmond Cycle Corps uses mountain bike racing to change the lives of youth in public housing.
The drills we used to get to Venn Zen are not a pre-requisite. And the inputs are not rigid. You might substitute Matters Most with another Superpower.
Pull out Venn Zen whenever you feel stuck and make new combinations to recharge your imagination.
Anchors to Rockets
From Venn Zen we jumped into a drill to explore all the barriers, obstacles, and mental blocks that might be holding us back from our aspirational futures.
Anchors to Rockets quickly helps us recognize that the people standing next to us are struggling with the same challenges.
For example, “not experienced enough” is a commonly shared anchor and receives a unanimous, “Yes, that!”
Instead of getting dragged down by our Anchors, we quickly switched to a possibilities mindset to transform these Anchors into Rockets. The first step to transformation is to position our anchors as clear challenge statement.
Clarify the Challenge
Our anchors and ambitions invite challenges asking to be solved. Selecting the challenge we want to tackle is the first step to the Looping Method.
We learned how to express a clear challenge in the format; How might I… in a way that…so that.
How Might I is a possibilities mindset. This question format invites many potential paths rather than attempting to aim for a right answer.
We used a guided drill to help us quickly draft and iterate on our challenge. We aimed for something specific enough to start brainstorming solutions, but also board enough to invite wild ideas.
We tested the clarity of our statements by sharing them with the group and refining as needed.
When listeners immediately share solutions, then you know you have a well constructed challenge.
With our How Might I challenges in hand, we successfully completed the first step to the Looping Method; Clarify the challenge.
Lessons From Part 1.
- Mindset is a powerful predictor for how you respond to anchors and your ability to imagine possibilities and spot opportunities. Read: Who Succeeds Here.
- Don’t solve for everything at once. Focus your How Might I challenge with specificity. Think in small bites.
- Momentum is your best friend. Looping is about creating momentum. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. So focus more on doing than debate.
Part 2. Create
Armed with our How Might I challenges we explored potential ways to begin solving our challenge. This is the Create step of the Looping Method.
First we worked individually to generate ideas for solving our challenge.
Then we used a drill called Back Talk to invite real-time ideas and feedback from others. The key to this drill is that the person receiving help must turn their back and only listen while two imagineers discuss ideas.
Following “Back Talk” everyone returned to their workstations with lots of possible ways to tackle their How Might I challenge.
We used the Radness Ranking to help decide which of our possible solutions to pursue.
The Radness axis is a gut-check on what idea you feel most excited to pursue. The Resources axis is a measure of do-ability — the means, skills, network, and confidence you have to execute on the idea.
Radness Ranking helps us avoid getting stuck in debate or self-doubt.
With our top idea selected, we began mapping the steps required to take action.
The final step to the Looping Method is Connect.
What you Create must Connect with real people other than your mother.
Often times, connecting with people is inherent to what you Create. Other times we need to make sure we are not working in isolation. Connecting might be how you ask for accountability or feedback.
Connecting is the invitation for serendipity. Our careers are people-powered. Companies don’t hire you, people do.
Looping provides a human-centered approach to what can be an isolating and confusing journey.
By the time we wrapped up the Blitz, participants had Clarified a challenge, mapped steps to Create a solution, and identified who and how to Connect and invite serendipity into career design.
Lessons From Part 2.
- Create something you can share with the world and the world will give you something in return.
- Create can be many things; digital, tactile, or experiential. You might create a convening by hosting a dinner party. You might Create a job shadow opportunity and document what you learned. You might Create work for a potential employer by doing the job you wish you had.
- Loops are small undertakings. Aim for what you can do within a week. Done is better than perfect.
By design, the Career Blitz moves quickly. We are not self-censoring or debating. We trust our gut and use short drills to open new possibilities. Our priority is to catalyze intentional momentum.
Loops are how you get a push from the universe.
The three steps to a Loop help you focus and move quickly with small investments. You swing down and out of a Loop, like a roller coaster, to propel you into your next Loop to build on your new momentum.
With practice, Looping becomes a language for confidently leading your career no matter what challenges you face.
A Super-powered Gift
Prior to the Career Blitz, participants sent a survey to friends and colleagues.
Survey recipients answered five questions to reveal stories about the blitz participant’s strengths and talents (Superpowers) along with Kryptonite; things that drain energy.
I compiled the answers for each participant and shared them over the lunch break. The results are a rare look at the uplifting and insightful perceptions of ourselves through another’s eyes. This activity is profoundly inspirational and often reveals strengths we undervalue.
Want to bring a Career Blitz to your organization?
Hi I’m Spencer. I host custom career and professional development workshops (half-day and full-day). Connect with me on LinkedIn to start a conversation about what we can do together.
Who is this for?
- Universities and Community Colleges
- Non-Profit Job Clubs
- Employers: retreats, talent development, outplacement