Category: Associate Development and Engagement, Conferences and Events

Looking to Transform in 2015? Check Your Lens First


Every year a number of Boston Financial associates attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women. Being the largest conference of its kind in the country, the event hosts a number of prestigious speakers and packs a full agenda of educational break-out sessions.

This is the third in a series of blog posts recapping the experiences our associates had at the event.


lens-resized-462169457It’s a brand new year. A fresh start. A new year forces us to pause, puts things in perspective, and consider what we want for the future.

Have you vowed to make any changes? Perhaps you made a detailed plan for improving your personal life or advancing your career. Maybe your resolutions are broader and include things like exercise more and eat better.

Change pushes me to grow, enrich, and sometimes even transform. At this time of year, many of us commit to making a change, but individuals aren’t the only ones transforming.

According to a KPMG survey involving more than 900 senior executives from U.S.-based multinationals and asset managers, 93 percent of respondents surveyed indicated that they had just completed, are planning or are in the midst of a business transformation.

The statistic isn’t surprising when you consider today’s complex business environment. Shifts in the market, technological advances, disruptive innovations, and the regulatory landscape are just some of the triggers driving organizations to transform.

But transformations, whether at the individual or organizational level, take effort, time, and vision. Missing the mark in any one of these areas can easily derail your efforts. There’s been plenty of times when I’ve missed a step or two on my path of change. Tapping into expert guidance can be key to helping you succeed though.

I recently attended the Massachusetts Conference for Women, which featured a leadership track on transforming your organization and your life. Business leaders shared how they transformed their businesses and careers, lessons learned along the way, and the critical attributes needed to succeed.

I came away from the session with lots of practical advice, a lot of which I can use right away. And even if transformation isn’t part of your 2015 plans, change likely is. Here are a few ideas that might help you succeed.

Look at the lens framing your world:  We’re all subjective. This can cause us to overreact, judge people unfairly, or take something personally when it wasn’t meant that way according to Elizabeth Thornton, moderator for the session and author, speaker, and professor at Babson Executive Education. We need to be aware of our lens and consciously strive to increase our objectivity. Otherwise, how can we expect to transform ourselves, our organizations if we’re not aware of our underlying assumptions.

Possess a strong self-concept: What’s your mental picture of yourself? What is your belief system comprised of? How is it influencing the transformation? When driving transformation, we need to know when tapping into our attributes is a plus, when it’s a detriment, and adjust accordingly. For instance, if you’re leading a business transformation and you’re a perfectionist, you’re going to need to “let go” if you and your team are going to succeed.

See and accept things as they are: We don’t always see things the way they really are. No surprise, especially since we tend to frame the world with our subjective lens. But what is enlightening, is what happens when we increase our objectivity and don’t project our experiences and mental models onto things. We become better decision makers, relationships improve, opportunities open up, and yes, even transformation can occur.

Colleen Sebastian

Colleen Sebastian

Colleen has been with Boston Financial for 15 years, having held positions in client relations and operations. In her current position, she develops and executes marketing and communication strategies that accelerate business growth, build brand awareness, and strengthen employee engagement. Colleen holds a Masters of Business Administration from Northeastern University and is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire. A snow sport enthusiast, Colleen has been a volunteer for the Youth Enrichment Services’ (YES) winter program and still gets excited every winter for the first snowflakes of the season. Follow Colleen on Twitter @colleen_sebas.

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