What to Do When Hard Work Doesn’t Pay Off with Blair Milo

Nov 1, 2021 | Hot Mess Hotline Podcast, Resilience

Blair Milo, founding director of the Center for Talent and Opportunity, took on a huge career opportunity, drove innovation, and then confronted a problem she couldn’t outwork. One minute into this episode and you’ll know how hard Blair works. She went from distinguished naval officer to city mayor before the age of 30.

Like you she’s an ambitious, go-get ’em tiger, high achiever who does. not. shy. away. from hard work.

But hard work doesn’t solve all your problems.

Gggggaaaaaasssssspppp. Did I just say that?

Yep. Let me say it again for those in the back and my friends who are stubborn like me: You can’t outwork all of your problems.

Asking for the right kind of help can be the difference between an okay leader and a phenomenal one. Mayor Milo was driving a once-in-a-lifetime transition for her small town. They were all in and there was no going back. Think: this manufacturing plant that’s been closed for decades needs a new life in a new century. She had 4 leadership team members’ transition out in 6 months’ time and she thought they were her ride-or-die gurus all in for the wild ride.

They weren’t and they were gone.

It didn’t matter if Blair worked 6 hours or 26 hours a day. There’s no way she could have fixed this on her own.

Listen in for Blair’s “oh boy” moments and her lessons learned from propelling LaPorte, Ind. into the 21st century with her team. The old one and the new one. Here are some my notes and I’d love to see yours in the comments.

  • The downside of innovation
  • The importance of putting the mission first at every level
  • What to do when you’re overwhelmed with people problems and why it’s not personal
  • Why you’ll never really be ready for the big challenges
  • Always err on trying to see the best in somebody
  • When an organization makes a commitment, its people make the commitment too
  • How to answer, “What have I gotten myself into to?”
  • Hard work won’t solve all your problems.
  • How to prioritize people, team, and mission
  • This problem is not the emergency you think it is
  • Prioritize your team’s life outside of work
  • Your leader can’t control as much as you think
  • It’s not right to put your expectations on your leader.

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About Blair Milo

Blair Milo is the founding Director of the Center for Talent and Opportunity, a community resource at the Sagamore Institute focused on closing the wealth gap of the new majority by accelerating entrepreneurship and impact investing.  She previously served as the first Secretary of Career Connections and Talent, a newly created cabinet position by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. In this role she launched the 21st Century Talent Regions initiative resulting in 80 Indiana counties forming regions to plan and implement strategies for attracting, developing, and connecting talent. She also helped create the Indiana Talent Network, a “network of networks” which connects stakeholders statewide in sharing best practices for equitable talent policies and strategies.

Before joining state government, Blair was elected Mayor of La Porte, Indiana in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. Under her leadership, La Porte entered a period of economic growth, with increased job opportunities for residents, improved infrastructure, streamlined government services, and higher reported levels of happiness and quality of life. She was named “Elected Official of the Year” by the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association in 2017 after initiating “Step Up Saturdays,” a community 5k in each of Indiana’s 92 counties.

Blair also served 13 years as a Surface Warfare Officer with the U.S. Navy serving aboard the USS Mason; Destroyer Squadron 50; the Surface Warfare Directorate at the Pentagon; and multiple Navy Reserve commands. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Purdue University and a Master of Professional Studies in Legislative Affairs from George Washington University. She serves on the Board of Governors for the Richard G Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series, the Board of Directors for the Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation, and on the Dean’s Advisory Councils for the Purdue University College of Liberal Arts and the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University.  Blair is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Civil Society Fellowship, a partnership of ADL and The Aspen Institute, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

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