Name: John Lesko
Title: President, JohnLesko.Biz
What is it that you do on a day to day basis?
I’m a certified professional facilitator. And that means I try to identify the genius that’s in the room or group and help all members of this group come to consensus on the best way ahead. In short, I either help resolve conflicts or help manage agreement w/in an organization.
What are your favorite parts of your job?
My most favorite part of the job is watching a group discover the solution to a challenge or problem which up until then had perplexed them. And my 2nd most favorite part of the job is when folks proclaim at the end of the day, “We did it!”
How did you get into this field? Was it something you always wanted to do or something you discovered bit by bit?
Years ago I was a principal research scientist and program manager who hired facilitators to assist me w/ my work. These folks seemed to be having a hell-a-va good time facilitating. So I decided to become one.
What aspect of your work most surprised you? (Either in a good way or a bad way.)
Surprises happen in nearly every event I’m called upon to assist. The best surprises are when a truly novel solution emerges from someone who might be labeled a shy or introverted member of the team. There’s an old saying w/in facilitation, and this saying is … “There’s wisdom in the group.” So when we can discover this wisdom and it causes everyone to pause and take notice. That’s the AHA or surprise moment I enjoy best.
Does your education (high school, college or graduate degree) matter in terms of the work that you do today?
Directly … No. Indirectly … Very much so. Education at all levels allows for us to communicate around shared experiences. Not all education, however, occurs in the traditional classroom. Sometimes it’s the shared experience of a high school sporting event or extra-curricular event that unites a group / team. My college experience was truly unique in that I attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. Cadet life was challenging in many ways: academically, athletically, social-emotionally, and even spiritually. My graduate education helped me take a GENERAL ENGINEERING or systems approach to problem-solving. But in just about every case, it wasn’t the classroom experiences that helped me today but the experiences between classes that mattered most. Working in study groups, trying out for a team sport, leading a club service project, and doing research in support of independent studies — these are where my education paid off the most.
What environmental factors have the greatest impact on your job satisfaction? (For example: co-workers, compensation, company culture, flexibility, work/life balance, etc.)
The environmental factor that has the greatest impact on my satisfaction is the challenge of the work itself. Doing something that matters with folks I admire and trust trumps economic compensation, hours punching the clock, and/or being an employee of a big-name firm. Contributing to a team that’s focused on challenging work is the key.
Any career advice you’d like to pass along to others? (My audience is comprised mainly of adults in their twenties and thirties.)
Follow you heart. Align your talents, passion, and values in a way that enables you to enthusiastically start each day and then wonder where the time went when the day is done.