Amy Cuddy

31 May, 2018

Find Your Path. Create a Map. Drive the Bus.

Amy Cuddy

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Thought Leadership   News You Can Use  
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Read time: 2 minutes, 32 seconds

I am all about action. I work each day in a planning and design firm where creative ideas fly through the office multiple times a minute. The question I am always asking myself is how do we translate these amazing ideas into actions to better individuals and the firm overall.

As a leader, I believe in letting people find their own path, with the caveat in that you only know what you know. When we interview potential team members for marketing and business development at Ayers Saint Gross, we always mention two qualities we want in our candidates: curiosity and accountability. Leaders help their teams, peers and clients learn – constantly. My advice – learn from everyone.

Being involved in the SMPS DC's #LikeABoss Leadership Development series for the second year, it is becoming clearer that I need to continue to learn from everyone around me. I am very passionate about career advancement, professional development and supporting emerging leaders in the industry.

When thinking about the future of your career and yourself as a leader, I challenge you to separate your thinking in three ways: personal leadership, relationship building and career planning.

Personal Leadership

What are you doing to grow personally as a leader? This can be very introspective and takes some dedicated thinking. Have you gotten feedback from a client or colleague on ways to improve? Have you read a great leadership book lately that has some solid ideas on thinking / doing things differently?

In my opinion – leadership is connected to empowering others to do their best. A leader can support others, build their confidence, act as a sounding board for ideas and really inspire others to be their best self.

Relationship Building

A truly valuable piece of advice came from a great leader in my life, my mother. (Aren’t moms great?!) She always told me – no matter if you are writing proposals, designing a widget, working at a restaurant – it is ALL about the people. Period.

I have taken this advice and integrated it into each day in my personal and professional life. For me, it has been successful, helping me build meaningful relationships, both personal and professional. I have found it helpful to be open, honest, no-nonsense and caring about others. The truth is – I actually do care. Listening is key, and seeking and offering guidance is paramount. Being a considerate person and arriving to a relationship with no hidden agenda has and will continue to lead to great achievements in my relationships.

Career Planning

I should admit – making a plan and executing a plan is my drug of choice. Those that work with me know this. I have learned in my years of working in the AEC industry that not all plans go accordingly. You need to be adaptable, flexible and open to accomplishing your plan in a variety of ways.

When creating a plan for your career, I suggest breaking it down into actions over three, six and nine months. Small accomplishments over time can lead to great change. Talk to your colleagues about your goals. How will you accomplish them? Are there smaller steps you can take to get you to the end game? Think realistically about the time you have and don’t over commit yourself to the plan – because work and life commitments will force you to adapt the plan.

Be accountable. Find someone to be your accountability partner – to meet with, vent to and ensure that you are doing what you say you will do. Keep a journal, notes and thoughts separate for your career plan that you can refer to when you are feeling off track. Most importantly – take action. A plan is a plan. Actions (no matter how big or small) will lead to results.