Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Business is growing ever-complex: more vendors doing more things, shrinking company budgets, a workforce starving for opportunity and a quest to find what really matters to those you seek to recruit. There are consultants and technologies and process flows and hierarchies and interactive templates and places to be and people who want to be there.
It's All Pretty Exhausting!
So there you are in an airport bar, hanging your head in your beer, trying to understand how after two decades of professional experience you still haven't mastered your trade.
When the devices are turned off, the consultants go home and people stop telling you what you HAVE TO DO; only one thing matters:
If you reflect on the key points in your career you'll be reminded less of some mind-blowing gadget and more by advice you have received.
Having been in technology sales for nearly 20 years I am ever-surprised by humanity's inexhaustible ability to rear it's head when we need it most.
Follow me as we reflect upon the Human Stuff:
Don't Go Getting Insecure
My Boss had flown in for a major presentation. I got my suit dry cleaned, my car washed, my hair cut and shaved my pretty little face. I picked him up at the airport eager to impress. I was excited to show off how awesome I was in front of our customers.
We arrived to the appointment to discover our contact was not there....
As we walked back to the parking garage, I searched for an explanation for a circumstance that was out of my control.
When we got back in the car I offered 30 sentences deflecting blame in an effort to save face.
My boss put his hand on my shoulder and said:
"Don't Go Getting Insecure On Me"
We tend to scramble when times get tough, when our back is against the wall, when our production isn't perfect.... That's the worst thing we can do!
The minute you start doubting yourself, you empower the irrelevance of the unknown. It's a fools game!
You Are Not Going to Change Them, You Are Going to Become One of Them
The progression as far as I knew was simple: perform exceptionally well as a representative, get promoted to manger.. then director... then VP. I was more talented and more determined than anyone around me and I wasn't going to relent until I landed in the C Suite.
... I was ill-informed ...
The most-talented people didn't always get promoted & determination was often perceived as selfishness.
Happiness is not dictated by your organizational title. Some of the most-miserable people I know have high profiles and big pay checks.
When I stopped worrying about the status others assigned me, I started carving it out for myself.
You Seem Like You'd Be A Good Dad
Every morning I would get in early to chat with our Operations Manager. He had no influence on my career development, was not a vanguard for organizational advancement and would be fired a few years into my employment at company X. But he could really weave a story! We talked about PEOPLE in all the places he had been. We talked about music and movies and sports. He spoke with a voice that mirrored a journalist. He could make any topic seem worthy of pursuit and we never talked about work.
It was not the big bonus paychecks I received at the company, the onstage accolades for sales performance or the trophies that would soon gather dust in my mothers house that ended up being important. When the reality of my sweetie being pregnant arrived in our morning conversations, the man who meant nothing to my career development, told me the most important thing I needed to hear:
"I don't know where this company is going or any of the things you'll achieve in the next 50 years, but you seem like you'll be a good dad"
He was right... in so many ways!
Don't Forget to Remember!