Engineering Intern at Swagelok. Cohort 4 member of the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute. Miami University.
Everyone knows college is a time to grow and find who you really are, here’s one person’s experiences and how we can learn from them.
“I started college in a very different place than I’m finishing it. Back then, my future was an enigma and thinking about it frightened me. My focus was nonexistent. One “wrong” person in a group project would make it impossible for me to finish. No relationship I had at Miami could compare to the family and friends that I left back at home. A large portion of how I lead my life was based on the example of others.
One day, in the midst of all of this, I opened one of my over a thousand unread emails to see that my physics professor recommended me for this thing called the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute. I remembered hearing about it, vaguely on my first tour of Miami and decided to try my chances and apply. I have no idea what made this past version of me take this step that was so uncharacteristically forward thinking, but past and future me are very glad he did.”
The Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute is a 6-course program on transformational leadership. This is a transformation that takes place in the members and it’s made through personal and professional development along with developing skills such as communication, focus, teamwork, and more.
Transformation can take the form of obvious improvements in addition to smaller changes that you may not be able to quantify for years.
In order to get to where I am now, we used a va, we used various sources for insight. Uh, one of the sources was speakers. We attended University sponsored speakers, watched videos of influential people and TED Talks, and had other people come to our class and have open discussions with us about the topics that we were learning.
Another large portion of our insights came from books. These topics ranged from teamwork to leadership, innovation to focus and anything in between. These to taught us valuable soft skills that are not always available to engineering students in a typical curriculum.
Uh, the next portion of our learning came from projects. Whether composing a large binder full of reflections about everything that we have done in our first year or working on Listen4Insight, a website that our cohort created from scratch, each was specifically designed to help each of us, in the cohort, realize various aspects about ourselves, work better in a team, lead more effectively, and altogether be more prepared to live in a professional setting surrounded by people that are different than you.
Oh, the main example of an obvious transformation that took place within myself, was with career fair and interviews. Um, we thrust into going to a career fair our first semester into the Institute. We had some initial training but still had a mindset of who we were before the Institute. Um, because of this, I did not prepare fully nervous, I did not research very many companies, I didn’t really see who was going to be there, and whether, what they’re looking for really fit what I had to offer. Um, I showed up that day nervous and unprepared. I was unable to sell myself and I let the interviewer hold all of the power. I had to often stop, sit out in the sidelines, and compose myself before being able to bring up the nerve to be able to talk to the next person. If you compare that to my most recent trip to the career fair, um, it was like night and day. I was, I was able to compose myself and I was able to say exactly what I needed to say, uh, to communicate what my strengths and weaknesses were and how they fit into the company and why I would be such a great asset for them. Um, this ended with me getting an internship for the past two summers as well as, um, where I am starting my career after graduation.
Another example of an obvious transformation is with how I handled big assignments. Our first big assignment was a leadership development plan, which was a large binder filled with reflections and reviewing everything we had done the year, this past year in addition to, um, planning for our futures. Uh, we were given plenty of time to accomplish this, but we were unable to, us, foresee how much work it would be, no matter how many times we were told don’t put this off ‘till the last minute and though I am proud with my final project and I think I learned a lot from the experience I know it was not my best work. If you compare that with what our junior year with Listen4Insight, we were able to, uh, brainstorm an idea for how to affectively get podcasts to the audience that we wanted to identify that audience, identify who we wanted to have podcasts with, interview those people, and finally edit the podcasts, put them on the website, and market them in a successful way and I can say that everyone in the cohort is proud of what we’ve done, uh, since the launch of our website.
In addition to these examples of transformation with distinct before and afters, there are less visible transformations that culminate in an overall shift in focus from self-interest to the interests of other people, smaller teams and organizations, and finally, to interests that revolve around the common good.
We first focused on personal growth, uh, strengths and weaknesses were analyzed with tools such as an in depth analysis of our Myers Briggs results, reading and discussing articles such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and listening to speakers and working on projects that revolve around personal and professional development.
I have also been able to increase my ability to focus myself fully on everything that I am trying to balance in my life. A large part of this is limin, limiting or eliminating distractions, especially technology. Using a clear understanding of my values, morals, and goals to prioritize everything in my life, I have become much better at devoting appropriate amounts of times to each aspect of my life.
The course then shifted to concentrating on teams and emotional intelligence: the ability to work successfully with others.
Knowledge of strengths and weaknesses was used to be a better team member for each of us. Being open about my weaknesses along with helping others to realize their weaknesses has also helped me become more successful. I am able to accept help about my weaknesses to become a more productive member of the ream. Uh, these blind spots that everyone has, can be detrimental to personal and team success and making sure that I have the kind of people around me that will be honest and constructive about those blind spots is essential. When in a team, I also have grown to be better at making sure I am in a position where my strengths can be utilized more fully.
Having an understanding in others’ strengths and weaknesses as well as how to identify them is extremely important when working collaboratively. This allows me to shape a “culture” in any team that I am working for that works for all group members. Improved conflict resolution skills also improve the success rate of a team.
In the final section of the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute, we shift to learning about big picture concepts.
Firstly, this consists of cultural intelligence and the ability to work with others different from yourself in a global context. Through speakers and videos revolving around the difficulties faced and strengths of different cultures, I began to have a better understanding of, on where people are coming from, in addition to how to communicate with them if I do not have that understanding.
The second aspect of this section is strategic planning. We have read and listened to experts on the topic about the important concepts and common mistakes revolving around strategic planning. Using this knowledge, I have worked through, I have worked on a thorough analysis of a company I am planning on working for to better understand their strengths and weaknesses internally, and their customer base, competition, and other external forces such as the economy, regulations, and technology growth.
Altogether these last insights have effectively helped me think larger and further into the future than I was able to previously. I can see how my actions affect people differently from myslef and have a better understanding of how to truly know where someone is coming from.
Overall, the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute provides an unprecedented method to grow as a person and a leader in a transformative way. And now, my future is relatively clear, my focus is constantly improving, there are no wrong people, just personalities I need to work harder at understanding and collaborating with in order to make the team successful. My relationships at Miami have grown and they have helped me to become the best person I can be along with my friends and family back home. I live my life in a way that fits my values and morals and am able to use advice from others to shape that instead of to dictate that.
Categories | Inside the Institute
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