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Recommended Apps to Support Your Leader Self-Development and Growth

Leader Learning Apps_3x5 Leadership

There are thousands of online lists offering recommended productivity or “life-hack” apps to help improve your time management, collaboration, and organization. Without question, many of these recommendations are immensely valuable. However, I’ve recently come to wonder what apps people use to support their growth and development, especially as leaders. Unfortunately, there are not as many lists targeted to this topic.

Thus, as a follow up to my previous leader growth tools blog post, I want to offer my recommendations of apps that I leverage to aid in my daily pursuits to learn and grow as a leader in the various roles in my life. Many of these are tailored to my preferred methods of learning and may not necessarily work for you. However, I believe this list can at least get you thinking of a system (app or otherwise) to fill that particular void in your learning efforts. Continue reading → Recommended Apps to Support Your Leader Self-Development and Growth

What Tools Are You Using for Your Leader Growth?

Basic CMYK

What is the primary tool you use to learn and grow as a leader?

How do you record key experiential lessons or ideas in the moment?

Finally, how do you maintain them for long-term retention and use?

I argue that every leader should define how they are learning and what tool(s) they use toward that effort.

In his blog, From the Green Notebook, Joe Byerly clearly defines his learning tool as the famous Army green notebook. Here, on 3×5 Leadership, I identify mine as the common 3×5 index card. I believe there is an important message conveyed on the value of defined learning tools when leader development blogs such as these are named after the author’s tool of choice.

After defining what their learning tool of choice is, I often see leaders struggle to make the next necessary step: to do something with the product. I don’t believe it’s terribly effective to keep a bookshelf of filled green notebooks that are likely untouched afterwards, or to keep a box full of hundreds of filled-out index cards somewhere on a shelf or closet. Further, like almost every Army leader, I too use a green notebook. However, it often becomes filled with daily urgent “to do” lists in addition to insightful leader lessons that I should remember years down the road. How do you separate those so the important lessons are not lost in the noise of the notebook daily tasks? To truly learn from the lessons you record, you need to make them easily accessible. I argue that you need to create a personal learning resource to centralize your valuable lessons. Continue reading → What Tools Are You Using for Your Leader Growth?

Writing as a Means of Learning

Writing as a Means of Learning_Franklin Annis post_3x5 Leadership

Guest post by Franklin C. Annis, EdD

When you think about learning, the act of writing typically isn’t one of the first thoughts that come to mind, but maybe it should be. There is a lot of aspects about writing for military self-development that makes it an extremely useful tool. The act of writing forces you to organize your thoughts, it develops a critical communication skill, it can be used to demonstrate expertise, it can be used to seek help in defining a problem, and test proposed solutions in front of a wider audience. For these reasons and more, every service member should consider publishing to build both their personal capabilities and expand the knowledge of the larger community.

In this article, I provide several justifications for service members to engage in writing and publishing. Hopefully this might start you on the path of writing for personal development and to contribute to our community of practice. Continue reading → Writing as a Means of Learning

Building A Community of Practice: How Are You Contributing to Our Learning Organization?

3x5 Leadership Community of Practice_1

Would you consider your organization and the people that comprise it as a learning organization? Personally, as a member of the US Army, I absolutely believe that we strive to be a learning organization. Amidst the myriad of ways that organizations can establish themselves as a learning one with systems and methods to do so, I want to address a critical question to you: what, then, are you doing to contribute to your organization’s learning? In professional networks, this is called “building a community of practice.”

A community of practice is a group of people who are bound together by the passion of some thing or practice, and desire to learn how to do it better as they regularly interact. Would you consider yourself a member of a community of practice? I argue that in reading this and subscribing to 3×5 Leadership, you are a member of a community of practice for organizational leadership, working to improve your organization and your life through leadership.

So, how are you contributing to your community of practice? There is a difference between being a member and actually contributing; the community is only valuable, and the organization is only learning, if its members are contributing. Continue reading → Building A Community of Practice: How Are You Contributing to Our Learning Organization?

Leaders Are Readers Part VIII: Introducing the New 3×5 Leadership “Bookshelf!”

3x5 Leadership Leaders Are Readers 2

This is the conclusion of a series addressing the value of reading for leaders’ personal and professional development. You can begin the series with Part I: Introduction HERE.

Now, after seven weeks of sharing my lessons on professional reading, it is time to put my words into action!

Introducing the new 3×5 Leadership Bookshelf reading resource!

The 3×5 Leadership Bookshelf page is a comprehensive resource regarding all things related to professional development reading. It will be a “living” page on the blog website that is routinely updated to give you the best reading content possible. Continue reading → Leaders Are Readers Part VIII: Introducing the New 3×5 Leadership “Bookshelf!”

Leaders Are Readers Part VII: Your Responsibility to Inspire Others

3x5 Leadership Leaders Are Readers 1

This is Part 7 of an eight-part series addressing the value of reading for leaders’ personal and professional development. You can begin the series with Part I: Introduction HERE.

The previous six parts to this series have aimed to inspire and equip you with tools to initiate or improve your own personal reading program to grow as a leader. However, I argue your next challenge is to do the same for your people. Whether in a formal leadership position or not, you can easily influence subordinates, peers, and even superiors alike to engage in professional development reading through simple conversation and deliberate behaviors.

You have a responsibility to inspire and equip them to take responsibility for their own leader growth and to commit to reading. Self-discovery toward improved professional maturity (the Army’s self-development pillar) must be encouraged and supported by caring leaders who invest in their people. Ultimately, this emphasis will improve your organization’s overall professionalism, commitment to improvement (being a learning organization), and ultimately the results you achieve. Continue reading → Leaders Are Readers Part VII: Your Responsibility to Inspire Others

Leaders Are Readers Part VI: Reading Online & On Social Media

3x5 Leadership Leaders Are Readers 1

This is Part 6 of an eight-part series addressing the value of reading for leaders’ personal and professional development. You can begin the series with Part I: Introduction HERE.

Here are the amounts of time it took for entertainment and social media platforms to reach 50 million users:

  • Radio: 38 years
  • TV: 13 years
  • Internet: 4 years
  • Facebook: 5 years
  • iPod: 3 years
  • Twitter: 9 months
  • Instagram: 6 months
  • Angry Birds game: 35 days
  • Pokémon Go: 19 days

Our world, the way we spend our time, and the way we receive information is changing. That is easy to see, both in the statistics above and in our own lives. The way we learn should evolve as well.

Our reading programs, and the tools and systems I’ve discussed so far in this series, are ultimately about learning and growing as professionals. Our means of learning should adapt with our environments, meaning books alone (though incredibly valuable) should not be your only source of “learning through reading.” We need to diversify our sources of information and reading. Here are some other great resources to incorporate into your own professional reading program. Continue reading → Leaders Are Readers Part VI: Reading Online & On Social Media

Leaders Are Readers Part V: Expand Your Source Horizon

3x5 Leadership Leaders Are Readers 1

This is Part 5 of an eight-part series addressing the value of reading for leaders’ personal and professional development. You can begin the series with Part I: Introduction HERE.

I try to commit to reading 30 minutes a day toward my personal reading program (outside of daily Biblical devotion time). Though that doesn’t sound like much of a time consumer, it is still somehow hard to enact that each day. Life happens and ends up having other plans for me, which I’m sure you can easily relate to. It often becomes challenging to find 30 quiet minutes a day to read.

Thus, I’ve learned to leverage audiobooks to use the times in each day where I am busy, but with mindless activities where I can enjoy an audiobook. Continue reading → Leaders Are Readers Part V: Expand Your Source Horizon

Leaders Are Readers Part IV: An Argument for Fiction

3x5 Leadership Leaders Are Readers 1

This is Part 4 of an eight-part series addressing the value of reading for leaders’ personal and professional development. You can begin the series with Part I: Introduction HERE

If you’re like me when I started my professional reading program, I consumed volumes of nonfiction, without even a thought about fiction. When considering fiction books, I think of fantasy series like Harry Potter or Hunger Games; not necessarily books that contribute to leader development (though Angry Staff Officer makes a good argument in writing the many leadership lessons of Star Wars).

There are obvious reasons to read certain nonfiction such as biographies and history, which certainly equip us with knowledge and skills of past events. However, I have recently learned the immense value that fiction can bring to my professional and personal development.

Now, there are two “types” of fiction relevant for professional development and I think it is necessary to address both: historical fiction and science fiction. Continue reading → Leaders Are Readers Part IV: An Argument for Fiction

Leaders Are Readers Part III: Managing Your Reading Program

3x5 Leadership Leaders Are Readers 1

This is Part 3 of an eight-part series addressing the value of reading for leaders’ personal and professional development. You can begin the series with Part I: Introduction HERE

Like almost all things in life and work, to grow as a leader through reading requires a defined management system to ensure long-term sustainability and effectiveness. I’ve found that a quality personal reading program requires a tracking system and a means to maintain the lessons learned from the books you read.

Keeping Track

As of this writing, I have 217 books on my to-read list right now. That is years-worth of reading; so, how do I manage such an extensive list and know which of those to read next? Continue reading → Leaders Are Readers Part III: Managing Your Reading Program