Category Archives: Derailment

Are You A Born Leader?

Are Leaders Born or Are They Made?

I recently had someone ask me if I believed that leaders could be created.  I actually was very surprised.  I thought everyone knew that leaders could be developed.  Haha.  Note to self:  EVERYONE doesn’t know anything.  Second note to self:  Just because you believe something, that doesn’t mean it is a fact to be known by everyone.  Third note to self:  Never, never, never forget that your “facts” aren’t everyone’s facts.

Born or Made, Other Things Are Involved

OK.  I’m done with my lectures to myself.  Let’s look at whether leaders can be developed.  First of all, I’ve spent a reasonable amount of my life teaching Leadership at the graduate level, and I’ve developed and implemented Executive Development programs.  I’ve WATCHED people grow leadership skills.  Were they born with nascent skills that became more dominant?  In other words, were they born leaders?  Maybe.  But they weren’t great leaders, and then when they were exposed to ideas, to new ways of thinking and interacting, when they practiced, they became better leaders.  In fact, frequently, they began to see themselves as leaders and began to consciously behave as leaders.

The Center for Creative Leadership, which does great research and training on leadership, recently asked C Suite leaders whether they believed that leaders are born or made.  Fifty eight percent of those asked believe, like me, that leaders are made.  Nineteen percent believe that they are born and twenty nine percent believe that it is both.  If leaders are born, then there isn’t much we can do to grow leaders.  However, if they are born with potential, then of course there are things that can be done to make them better leaders.

Let’s start with what creates a leader.  If a leader is born, then it is his/her personal characteristics and traits that makes him/her a leader.  Presumably these folks would show leadership capabilities at a very young age.  What is interesting about that, though, is that how children are judged as “leaders” is very different than how adults are judged as “leaders.”  I once participated in an effort to develop “leaders” at the middle school level.  We surveyed their teachers as to what characteristics demonstrated leadership and the results were eye-opening.  Most teachers thought that the best leaders in the class were those who behaved themselves, were quiet and did their work.  Imagine that being the criteria in an Executive Development program for a corporation.

I think most people would agree that these personal characteristics are a part of what makes a leader. The dispute is just about how much these characteristics matter.  The other things that contribute are leadership training and experiences.  The same Center for Creative Leadership  (CCL) Survey, asked both those who thought leaders  were born and those who thought leaders were grown how much these other factors played in leadership development.  Interestingly, both groups thought all played a role–they just varied in how much of a role.  Those who believed in the ‘born’ method thought that traits were  31%, learning  28%, and experiences were 38% of the development of leaders.  Those who believed in the ‘made’ method thought that traits were  20% , learning 34%, and experiences were 46% of the development of leaders.

The bottom line–whether leaders are ‘born’ or are ‘made,’ your own self development can have quite an impact on your leadership capabilities.

It’s Up to You

You can sit around and wait for your organization to “develop” you.  You can mourn the fact that you aren’t “one of the chosen high potentials” in your organization.  You can decide that you can’t afford an MBA or an Executive certificate.  OR you can get to work on developing yourself.  What do you know about leadership?  Have you read about Situational Leadership?  Have you read the Leadership Challenge? Do you know the theories of leadership? Do you understand power?  Do you know when to use which kind of power? What role does charisma have in leadership? What experiences can you add to your resume that will grow your leadership abilities?

Stay Tuned

This is the first of a series of posts focused on growing your leadership knowledge, practical knowledge, skills and confidence.

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Filed under Career Development, Derailment, Leadership

Are You A “Flat-Tire-HIPO?”

damaged flat tire

What Is A Flat-Tire-HIPO?

You know those people, those really, really talented people? Those people who REALLY get things done or those people who can spot the 2 numbers in a 20 page spreadsheet that have issues. Or those who are so incredibly charismatic or entrepreneurial or incredible presenters and can sell anything? Those people who are so special that everyone (even the ones who don’t like them) recognizes that they are HIPOs?   *A ‘HIPO’ is a high potential individual with significant ability and potential to move up the organization.* Well, it has been my experience that the most special, most talented, most capable of these HIPOs are flat tires. They are ‘round’ in all the ways that they are special, but they go ‘kathump’ as they hit that part of them, that non-round, non-perfect part of them that is flat. I know you’ve met these people—the guy who gets results . . . but leaves bodies; the person who is incredibly charismatic and people follow her anywhere . . . who can’t make a decision; the person who is charming and talks a perfect plan . . . who doesn’t actually deliver when promised. These are ‘flat-tire HIPOs.’

That Flat Tire Will Derail You

HIPOs are highly sought and cherished—as long as the organization benefits from the ways in which they are special. As long as their strength outweighs their cost. The higher up HIPOs go, however, the more likely that their deficit will begin to get in the way. The Center for Creative Leadership which does great research on Executive Development, Leadership and success factors for Executives, has identified several “derailers,” behaviors or traits that can ‘derail’ a career:

Failure to Change or Adapt During a Transition. Examples include:

  • Failure to adapt to a new boss
  • Over-dependence on a single skill and/or failure to acquire new skills
  • Inability to adapt to the demands of a new job, a new culture, or changes in the market

Problems with Interpersonal Relationships. Examples include being seen as:

  • Insensitive
  • Manipulative
  • Demanding
  • Authoritarian
  • Self-isolating
  • Aloof
  • Critical

Failure to Build and Lead a Team. Examples include:

  • Failing to staff effectively
  • Can’t manage subordinates
  • Poor leadership skills

Failure to Meet Business Objectives: Examples include:

  • Lack of follow-through
  • Too ambitious
  • Poor performance

None Of Those Apply to You, Right?

Riiiiiiiiight. Almost all of us . . . at least I’ve never met one of us it isn’t true of . . . have one or more of these. Especially HIPOs. People become HIPOs by being really good at stuff. When you’re really good at stuff, then you by definition are more focused on the stuff you’re good at than the stuff you’re not focused on. And you’re not as good, and maybe you’re pretty bad at, the stuff you’re not focused on. If you are a detail person, who really pays attention to the details and on getting things done, then it is highly likely that you’re aren’t as focused on the people side of things. You may be insensitive to those who don’t speak “detail.”

Yeah, I know, not you.

If you focus on getting results, you may be impatient. If you are ambitious, you may be TOO ambitions. There are so many combinations that are possible. And it is hard to see it in yourself. You need to listen to feedback. CLOSELY. It may be between the lines. When you are a HIPO, then the organization will appreciate you for as long as you aren’t hitting the “flat” part. That can be years. Eventually, though, your flat part will hit at the wrong time or with the wrong person and you will be out. UNLESS you start paying attention and learn to inflate those parts.

OK, I’ve take this metaphor far enough. What do you do?

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Filed under Career Development, Derailment, Executive Development, Feedback, Hi Po, Learning, Personal Change

What Do You Do If You Get Fired?

Youre Fired

To Be Fired

It is said that the term “fired” came from the founder of NCR, John Patterson, ordering that the desk and chair of an executive who had displeased him be ‘fired’–set on fire on the company grounds. His actions seemed to be focused on public humiliation.  Luckily, today most firings/lay offs are NOT focused on humiliating the person being terminated.  (Oh, and by the way, another of John Patterson’s claims to fame was that he fired Thomas Watson who went on to run what was to become IBM–not such a great track record on management decisions if you ask me:-))

There is very little chance that you won’t be fired during your career.  Back in the day (a long time ago, because it was before my day), people only got fired because they did something wrong.  It is certainly still true that people get fired because they did something wrong.  Most people, however,  get fired (or the easier to swallow “laid off”) for lots of reasons and most of them have little to do specifically with the firee and much to do with the circumstances that the organization finds itself in.  While it doesn’t make it any easier to take, getting fired/laid off today is usually not about you–it’s about the organization.  You have every right to get angry about this.  It IS YOUR life.  Get it out of your head, though, that it is your fault.  It is so common now that most hiring companies assume it isn’t your fault too.

The normal human reaction to being fired/laid off is this:

Losing a job

The good news is that you come out the other side, almost always better.  I’ve had many people tell me that it was the best thing that ever happened to them.  They can see (in hindsight) that they never would have made the move themselves and that the reflection and activities that it took to find a new (and almost always a better) job was one of the most powerful learning experiences they ever had.  This is NOT to say that it isn’t painful.  You go down the left side of this curve and frequently people do things that make it worse.

Don’t Make It Worse!

You are legitimately angry, feeling betrayed, stunned, devastated, humiliated.  It would be nuts for you NOT to feel these things.  Make sure you don’t burn bridges initially, though, while you’re feeling these things at their most intense.  When someone tells you that you’re fired (and don’t assume that that person wants to be the one doing this–probably they feel almost as bad as you), LISTEN.  Ask questions.  Try not to say any of the angry things that come to mind.  You can say them later.  You can say them to your wife or your job coach or your best friend.  DON’T SAY THEM RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

If you are asked to sign something, it is perfectly ok to say that you’re not ready to sign it or that you want to consult with someone before you do.  Be careful not to sign away any rights you may have. Ask more questions.  Ask for details.  Ask if it is ok to record the questions and answers–you won’t have a great memory of what is happening.  They may say no and if they do, don’t record it.  Without permission it is illegal in several states.  Write down what they are saying about reasons (they’ll likely be light on that detail), severance package, insurance, outplacement, etc.  Writing it down can help to give you something to concentrate on while you are experiencing the confusion and shock of the experience.  Ask if you can call them tomorrow if you have questions–you WILL have questions because only a part of what is being said is going in.

It’s really important to get your head right:

  1. It isn’t your fault
  2. The company screwed up somehow to make this an organizational necessity
  3. Most people (recruiters, hiring managers, friends) assume it is not your fault

The sooner you can wrap your mind around these realities, the sooner you can more to the next step.  If you blame yourself and if you think everyone blames you, you will not approach your job search with the necessary clarity.  You are now in the boat with millions of other people.  And, yes, it is awful.  And yes, it is hard to find another job.  But it is possible and you can do it and you need to approach it like an adventure.  I know, I know, that sounds ridiculous.  You’ll be surprised what this journey brings.  And the sooner you get to it, the sooner you will get the job you need and the one that is better for you than the last one.

Quick! Quick! Build Your Network

LinkedIn:  Occupy your first couple of days–while you’re getting your head right–building your network.  Go to LinkedIn.  Connect, connect, connect.  Ask for references. Fix your profile.  You don’t need to change your job yet, but make sure your profile is as inviting and professional as it can be.  Make sure your skills are clearly listed, especially the ones that recruiters are out there looking for.  ASK people to endorse you–people who know you have those skills.

Reach Out:  It might be hard.  Do it anyway.  Reach out.  Call people.  Let them know that you’re looking.  Pick a very select few to whine to.  To the vast majority of your contacts be positive, open, cheerful and matter of fact.  Remember–not your fault.  They don’t think it is.  The more people who know you’re looking the faster the right match will happen.

Make Your Plan

Outplacement:  If you have access to outplacement, USE IT!!!!  Forget your pride, your anger, your embarrassment.  The faster you start with outplacement, the faster you get a job.  They will help you in all kinds of ways.  If you don’t have access to outplacement, then do it for yourself.

Create a project plan.  You know how to do this:

Set your goals–be specific:  NOT ‘Find a job’, but rather “Find a great job as a Business Analyst in a great company with more than 300 employees and a career path for me to move up.’

  • Identify your critical path tasks–for the above goal, you’d have to do research–
    • What companies fit your criteria?
      • What does “great’ mean to you?
      • What is your ideal career path?
      • What kind of culture do you want to work for?
    • Who do you know with connections into those companies?
    • Create and tailor your resume for those companies.
    • Skill development-what skills do you need?
    • How will you get it?
    • Etc.
  • Identify the resources
    • Whose help do you need?
    • How will you get it?
  • Set your timeline
    • Taking into account the items listed so far–the tasks and resources, what does your timeline look like?
    • How much time–each day, each week–are you going to focus your efforts on finding a job?
  • Do a kick-off
    • After you’ve created a plan–have an official start.
    • Have a way to measure your progress.
    • ‘Getting a job’ isn’t the only measurement you should use–identify ALL the measurements you should be tracking.  What are the things that fill up your funnel that get you to offers that get you to the RIGHT job
      • Network growth
      • Resumes sent
      • Recruiter contacts
      • Requests for references, endorsements, conversations
      • Phone interviews
      • Second interviews
      • Offers
  • Reevaluate regularly

You Will Be Fine.

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September 2, 2014 · 8:27 pm

Think Your Job Is Secure? Think Again. PLEASE.

Recruitment or Employment Issues Chalk Drawing

Think They Can’t Do Without You?

There are lots of reasons that we think we are indispensable at work.  We know more than anyone else.  We’ve been there longer.  We have a close interdependent relationship with the boss.  We’re way better than others who have been there forever.  Whatever it is that you think about why you are indispensable, you are wrong.  NO ONE is indispensable, not even you.  Think about it:

  • The boss who thinks you are the best thing since sliced bread could be gone tomorrow.  It is unlikely that the new boss will instantly see your worth and if you were a favorite, it is likely that your peers aren’t feeling all that warm and fuzzy about you.
  • You might have been the best of the best at one time, but does that still apply?
  • How expensive are you?  Are there new people (maybe straight out of school with more developed technical skills?) who are as good or almost as good?
  • Do your peers sing your praises?  Or do they try to scuttle your high horse?
  • Have you consistently over delivered incredible results . . . except for the last 6 months-or even worse-the last year?
  • Is the organization shifting its priorities away from your area of expertise?
  • Do you have a reputation of being negative? Or a diva? Or high maintenance?

They CAN Do Without You!

There are all kinds of reasons that organizations decide to part company with people.  SO MANY of those people are shocked because in their own eyes and mind they were indispensable.  The water closes over you head as you leave with barely a ripple.  People remember you and speak of you occasionally, BUT THEY GO ON WITH THEIR JOB.  They figure out workarounds to close the gap left in your absence.  And those gaps close pretty quickly.

So Why Am I Telling You This?

I’m telling you this so that you will come out of your delusion and will do what it takes to either prevent this situation or be able to deal with it if it happens.  I’m telling you this to get your attention before you find yourself on the outside looking in with total disbelief.

Do you remember what it was like when you started your first job, or your latest new job?  Do you remember how focused you were on understanding everything you needed to know.  Do you remember how careful you were in understanding what your boss wanted and in trying to deliver it?  Do you remember how much you tried to understand the unwritten rules of your organization? If you can re-achieve that heightened level of awareness and attentiveness, then you are much more likely not to take your situation for granted.  You are much more likely to escape being marginalized and finding yourself out the door.

What Should You Do?

Every week (yes, EVERY week):

  • Remind yourself to treat your boss the way you did in your first week in this job
  • Remind yourself that your peers can take you out faster than your boss. How are you helping them?  How do they perceive you?  What can you do to further their agendas?
  • Do something to build your network, both inside and outside the organization.  Who at the top of the organization outside your own management chain knows you?  Who do you know at other organizations that interest you?
  • Keep your skills current.  Get certificates.  Go to school.  Know the latest technology. Stay up to date on what is going on in your industry/field.
  • Ask yourself what you’ve done to add value THIS week.

And maybe then you’ll be indispensable:-)

 

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Filed under Bosses, Career Development, Derailment, Executive Development, Networking, Personal Change, Recession Proof, Reframe

Are They Discriminating Against You? Probably.

iStock_000011070043XSmall

Discrimination

Not only is it likely that someone (or several someones) are discriminating against you, it is also likely that you are discriminating against someone (or several someones).  It is human nature that we like/trust/believe in/select those who are like us more than those who are different from us.  So . . . Europeans choose Europeans, Americans choose Americans, young people choose young people.  Then there is the problem of stereotypes.  We believe them–without even being aware of them for the most part.  We believe that ‘old’ people aren’t as capable as people our age. We believe that young people aren’t ambitious (at least the latest generation).  Asian people are smart at math.  Women aren’t ambitious because they’re going to go have babies. White men are more ambitious than black men.  And on and on and on.  These stereotypes cause us to discriminate, sometimes without our even being aware of it.  Stereotypes are as  wrong as they are right.  In fact, those of us who are the subject of the stereotypes usually believe they are wrong–period.  I say all of this to acknowledge that discrimination is alive and well in all of our behaviors.   I’m not in any way defending it, just acknowledging it.

So what?

There are laws against discrimination.  There are rules against discrimination.  There are lots of reasons for all of us to struggle against discrimination by others and ourselves.  There are people whose whole existence is focused on the struggle against discrimination.

Can you wait?  Can you wait until everyone stops discriminating against you?  I can’t.  I think it’s time to take the battle on directly.  I think it’s time to work around/through/over and under discrimination.  Just because the decision makers at your organization think you are too old or too young, that doesn’t mean that that is the case at other organizations.  You have a responsibility to yourself to find a place to work that values you for who you are and what you bring to the table.  You need to find a way to make a living that values who and what  you are.

I talk to people who are absolutely sure that they are being discriminated against.  That makes them feel like there is nothing that they can do about it.  They are the age they are.  They are born black or Hispanic or Asian or female, and nothing can change that. True.  There are places, organizations, friends, decision makers, and opportunities where it doesn’t matter.  Go find them.  You are not sentenced to the status quo.  You choose it.

Do something different.

You are not stuck.  When you graduated from high school you didn’t think about this the way you do now (unless, of course, you just graduated from high school).  Life and your experiences have made you believe that people are discriminating against you.  Wipe all that experience off your radar and ASSUME that someone out there can and will believe in you and what you can do.  Go FIND them!  Where are they?  Make people prove that they don’t believe in you instead of assuming that they don’t.  To be clear, I’m not saying they AREN’T discriminating.  I’m saying, don’t let that rule your life.  Go work someplace else.  Go work for a different boss.  Find a way to make a living (including working for yourself) that doesn’t let those who discriminate against you prevent you from doing/being/having what you deserve.  I know that it might be hard.  I know that it would be a lot easier for all of us if discrimination wasn’t a factor.  Don’t let it prevent you from living your life, making a living, being successful.

And then focus on your own discriminatory behavior.

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Filed under Derailment, Diversity, Executive Development, Inclusion, Job Hunt, New Job

Who Are You And How Did You Get That Way?

In the mirror

Understand Yourself

One of the most important tasks of becoming a great leader and a successful Executive (and those things are not necessarily the same thing) is to REALLY understand yourself.  You need to understand what makes you tick–what motivates you, what slows you down, what scares you and what gets in your way.  You need to understand how others see you.  You also need to understand that what goes on in your head is absolutely invisible to those around you.  They don’t know why you do what you do and they certainly don’t know what you are thinking.  You need to understand your strengths and your weaknesses, your learning style and your interpersonal style.  And then you need to show enough of your internal workings and motivations to help others understand you.

We all think we know ourselves.  We are mostly wrong.  That is why it is really good to get feedback from others.  I highly recommend getting 360 assessments done–pretty regularly.  These are assessments that get feedback from you, your boss and your subordinates.  When you look at your opinion of yourself against that of your boss and your subordinates, you frequently get a surprise.   If your boss doesn’t agree with your opinion of yourself, then it’s important to note the differences.  If your subordinates don’t agree with you and your boss about your strengths–another important factor.  These instruments just measure behaviors, though–what can actually be seen.  When you get feedback that indicates behaviors that can derail your career, it is important that you CHANGE that behavior.  It is possible for you to change your behavior without understanding how and why you do what you do.  You just change.  Right?  Most of us can’t do that.

The Why of Your Behavior

When I identify that I need to change a behavior–interpersonal interactions, eating, exercising, time management–it really helps me to understand WHY I do (or don’t do) what I do.  For example, I used to get feedback that I was “unreadable.”  As I tried to figure out why people thought that, I also tried to figure out WHY I was unreadable.  What did they mean that I was unreadable?  I started asking people (not the one’s who had given the feedback, but others):  “What does it mean when people say I’m unreadable?  Why do they care? What could I do differently?”  The answers surprised me.  It turns out that I used few happy facial expressions.  I wasn’t aware of this.  Whether I was happy, pissed or someplace in between, I was using the same facial expressions. I had very neutral (or so I thought) facial expressions.   I really wasn’t aware of this.  When I thought long and hard about it,  I realized that some things had happened in my childhood that made me very guarded about my thoughts and feelings.  OK.  That was legitimate.  Then.  Those things no longer existed.  And not only that, it was interfering with my effectiveness as a leader because when left to their own imagination, people frequently assume the worse (that I’m pissed AT THEM).  I was able to (deliberately) change this because I was made aware of it, I asked about it to understand it, and then I could persuade myself that the coping behavior from my childhood was no longer necessary.  I was able to change more easily with this realization.

Some of the things that can impact the way your are and can shape your behaviors as a leader are:

  • Your birth order and your relationships with your siblings
  • Your relationships with your parents
  • Your beliefs about how things work (your mental models)
  • Your beliefs about the “rules” of organizations
  • What you believe about hierarchy and how that fits with your organization, your boss and your subordinates
  • Your beliefs about what makes people tick (Theory X, Theory Y)
  • What you believe about people’s responsibility to the organization and the organization’s responsibility to people

Start With Feedback

It all starts with feedback, though.  You can’t know what behaviors are really working and not working unless people tell you.  They probably won’t tell you unless you ask them.  Once you know the behaviors that you should address, think long and hard about where those behaviors come from.  Then do something about it.

Then Change

Sooner rather than later.

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Filed under Career Development, Career Goals, Derailment, Executive Development, Feedback, Personal Change

Are You Stuck?

Image converted using ifftoany

Have you noticed that you’re not moving up in your organization any more?  Have your last couple of job changes been laterals?  Have your last couple of reviews been ho-hum? Are you starting to get the message that you’re stuck in your career trajectory?  There are some common causes and, believe it or not, some things that YOU can do about it.

Are You Bored?

Do you find yourself finding other things to do (other than your job) at work?  Are you consistently late for work and early to leave? Do you think you can do your job in your sleep? Have you done it and done it and done it and don’t want to do it anymore? Do you remember when you were challenged by the tasks of your job, but that was a long time ago?  Boredom is a common cause of burnout and demotivation in a job.  And it shows.  You may be the most experienced, the one with the longest tenure, but if you aren’t engaged with your job, it shows.  People who aren’t engaged don’t get promoted.  People who are bored are obvious about being bored.  People who are bored don’t get promoted.

Are You Under-Performing?

Have you noticed that people are passing you up?  Are they getting promoted (or appreciated and recognized) when you sit there like chopped liver?  This is the time to be really honest with yourself.  Are you really performing as well as them?  I know you’ve been telling yourself that you are, but are you really?  Are you making deadlines?  Are you over-delivering?  Are you looking for ways to improve what you do?  Are you looking at what you boss (and her boss) needs and trying to figure out how to get that done in addition to what you’re supposed to work on?  If your peers are over-performing, then you aren’t making the cut if you are merely performing.

Do You Have an “Attitude”?  That Shows?

Are you pissed?  Are you aware that you’ve been treated unfairly, badly, been ‘wronged’?  If so it shows.  No matter how much you try to keep it under wraps, it shows.  If it shows, people back off from you.  They can ‘feel’ your anger.  They certainly don’t promote angry people-even people who are out-performing others.

Are You Falling Behind?

We are constantly barraged by new systems, new tools, new processes at work.  Are you up-to-date on all of them?  Even the ones that you don’t need to use very often?  These tools, systems and processes change the way our minds work.  If you’re not keeping up, then you mind is not in sync with your co-workers’ minds.  Or your bosses.  People who can’t do the latest systems and tools rationalize it–I can do the same thing–the old way.  That may be true.  For a while.  Then others can take it to the next level and then the level beyond that.  And you can’t go there with the old way.  You may not even know what you can’t do if you don’t understand the new way.  Think about the things that you don’t do.  Texting?  Excel Pivot tables? Macs? Photoshop? Prezi? Dropbox?  Get with it. Do it.  Keep up.

Are You Being Rigid?

This is somewhat related to the item above, but that is more about tools and systems.  This is more about the way you think.  Are you open to new ideas?  I do organizational change management for major organizational changes.  I do a lot of ‘readiness’ workshops.  I see the rigid ones.  They are hard to get to the sessions.  They sit in the back and glare.  They bring up all the ways/reasons/causes that this won’t work.  My personal favorite, “We tried this before.”  Everyone resists some changes–that is completely normal.  If you resist all changes, if you are the one who knows all the ways and reasons this won’t work, then you aren’t fun to have around.  You certainly aren’t likely to be promoted.

Are You Not A Good Fit For Your Organization Anymore?

Organizations change.  People change.  Just like with marriages, sometimes you’ve grown apart.  Sometimes it’s time to move on.  The hard part is knowing when.  I used to work for an organization that was fairly small when I started and very large when I left.  It was a midwestern company when I started and an European conglomerate when I left.  It had one kind of product when I started and lots of kinds of products when I left.  Over the course of time from when I started and when I left there was an ebb and flow to the ‘fit’ for me.  Some management changes made it worse and some made it better.  Some positions were good fits for me and some were lousy.  In the end, it was me who had changed the most.  It was me who figured out what I liked about the work I had done for this company and figured out that I could find more of that kind of work as a consultant than as an employee at that company. It was a gradual evolutionary change in the relationship.  It happens.  It takes considerable thought and analysis to figure out whether it is a normal ebb and flow in the relationship or time to move on.  When it is time, either for you or the organization, then it isn’t likely that you will keep moving up.

What Do You Do?

Even if you decide that the fit isn’t right, there are things you can do in the mean time.  You have to really be honest with yourself.

  • If you’re bored, figure out how you can start to out-perform your peers.
  • Figure out how you can over-deliver.  Figure out how, in addition to your normal responsibilities, how to deliver something that your boss really needs.
  • If you’re angry, get some professional help to understand where it is coming from and to decide what to do about it.
  • If you are behind on the technology or systems or processes in your organization, then dedicate yourself to catching up and becoming an expert.
  • If you’re rigid, start to experiment with loosening up.  If you find yourself having a negative reaction to an idea, explore–privately at first–what would actually be the worst thing that could happen if the event took place.  Little steps can take you a long way to letting go of your rigidity.  Once you’re comfortable with letting go a little, then start to be more vocal about that openness.
  • If you are not a good fit for your organization, figure out why not, what you need in an organization and then GO FIND IT.
  • Any and all of these will relieve your boredom.  When you are experimenting with new behavior and thinking, it is really hard to be bored.

When your boss and peers see changes in you, it is highly likely that your upward trajectory will restart.

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