I am an incredible advocate of personal responsibility. I was driven this way early in my career. I had made the Presidents Club at AT&T and was subsequently promoted to Sales Manager… Another Blog for another day… Since I thought I was so good, I assumed that I had all the answers. If one of my Account Executive was having a problem, I told them what to do and made sure they did it. If my plan didn’t work, they came back into my office and sat there until I came up with the next move. I was working 25 hours a day and losing ground. My group was under-performing. I was responsible because it was my plan.
John McAllister, my mentor at the time and a great man, helped me to let go of my control issues. The performance of the group went up and I got to go home once in a while. The real point is that there seems to be a growing movement to avoid accountability. More and More people are willingly giving up the right to determine their future. We are a victim-based society in which our employer, or the government, or the economy, or our socio-economic heritage is keeping us from living our dreams. The reality is we are keeping ourselves from living our dreams. We don’t take the time to think about the next step and what we need to do to prepare for it. If someone is willing to make decisions for us, we sit in their office and wait for the next move.
Do we start with an exit strategy in mind?
The great serial-entrepreneurs do. Many times they have a target market for the sale of their company before they even start. They court these prospects throughout the life cycle. They make their company attractive to these entities before the entity thinks it has a need. No matter what your vocation, you are a company of one. Companies re-invent themselves every 3.5 years on average. You should also. What is your exit strategy for the job you are currently in? Maybe it’s a promotion or a lateral move to another department. What skills do you need for the next phase? If you are unexpectedly laid-off, downsized, fired, or replaced, are you prepared? Do you have a network in place consisting of caring business relationships or do you just have a list of names? Have you joined the right associations that will get you connected to the right opportunities? Have you identified what those opportunities look like? Are your skills current and can you prove it?
We all are a company of one. Unlike our parents, we will change jobs often, sometimes because we chose, sometime because the choice was made for us. In either case it can be a god-sent. Rusty Gordon, CEO of Knowlegant, described his approach toward termination as “giving the employee an opportunity to find a job they will excel at.” I think that is true. But if you have a victim mentality, this is just one more set back. But if you have already started executing your exit strategy, then this might be just the incentive you need to step it up to the next level.
“If anything is certain, it is that change is certain. The world we are planning for today will not exist in this form tomorrow.” - Philip Crosby, Reflections on Quality
Winning is the Science of being Prepared