FVTC instructor is nominated for 4 Under 40

May 19, 2014

From thenorthwestern.com: “Jared Huss: Oshkosh should leverage its many strengths to help it succeed” — When we critique ourselves, what do we focus on? Our weaknesses, right? When we have to complete a task that we don’t necessarily enjoy, we put it off and stress out about it, right? And when we receive a performance appraisal, we tend to fixate on and attempt to improve upon our weak areas, don’t we?

Think about a time when everything was clicking for you; whether that be playing basketball and making every shot, learning a language, mastering your golf swing, helping out with your favorite charity, networking with new people, and the list goes on. Capture that moment; reflect back on what was going on around you. What kind of environment were you in that allowed that powerful feeling of success to surround you? What over-arching strength were you using to sink every shot, master that new language, or effortlessly dialogue with complete strangers? Do you spend the bulk of your time in that strength environment?

I have enjoyed the distinct privilege and pleasure of working for an organization that creates an environment just like that. Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) is innovative when it comes to leveraging the strengths of people, and creating a culture that focuses on the growth of those strengths. At FVTC we have a very unique opportunity to live and work in our strength zone. By focusing on our strengths, we achieve more, enjoy more, and succeed more.

FVTC takes the talents of people and uses those traits to build innovative curriculum and dynamic partnerships, internally and externally. The results of this approach to employee development is directly tied to enhanced student learning and workplace training. It’s simply a trickle down; the more we all enjoy our jobs, the more success our students enjoy.

When I look at Oshkosh, I see incredible potential aligned with this type of fundamental mindset. Our community is exemplary when it comes to events, cultural attractions and history, unique waterways, strong educational institutions, and of course, aviation-related initiatives, to name a few. Those involved in leading these areas could ignite a strengths movement to make an even greater impact.

I have learned firsthand that leveraging strengths not only contributes to better results and a greater impact on people, but the concept alone builds leadership. I have been on both the receiving end and the giving end of an environment that promotes the strengths we each have. Naturally, as people learn how to turn their strengths into successes, they realize new found confidence, independence, and value in who they are as unique individuals.

As a leader, I see the best come out of our team in times of adversity. Should one of us stumble, we quickly pick them up and focus on solutions rather than blame. We break through the “ya-but” and into the “how-to.” Then, we turn the “how-to” into actions, dispatching each team member into their strength zone of the collective goal. With the right team, nothing is impossible.

As an ancient philosopher once said, “When the best leader’s work is done the people say, we did it ourselves.” This captures perfectly the culture and leadership I have experienced at FVTC. Again, on both the receiving and giving end of this, I can say firsthand how effective an environment this creates to develop leadership at all levels of the organization. This empowering atmosphere allows each individual’s strengths to be harnessed and contributed to the collective goals of the organization and community.

For Oshkosh, our community leaders and hard-working citizens are well positioned to take the next step in personal and professional development if we simply allow for more opportunities to apply their strengths. Think back to that captured moment of success, and imagine how each of us could augment one success into another success just by having the chance to showcase what we do best. Whether it be working with our hands, growing community relationships, or thinking of new and exciting opportunities, what matters is that we do what we’re best at.

Here is my leadership philosophy: Every success I’ve been fortunate to experience over the years is because of the people I work with every day. The team, organization, and community that I’m a part of is very special, and I’m fortunate each day to take on challenges and go after opportunities, side by side with them. And of course, as with any individual who enjoys success in his or her professional life, I would be remiss without recognizing how important a loving and supportive family is as well.


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