Over the last few weeks, I’ve touched on a few of the mindsets that can keep you from moving forward in your career – and even make your job more vulnerable during times of crisis.
Sadly there are many of us that never get beyond the survival stage. And that’s too bad, because we all deserve more from our careers. We deserve to thrive.
If you remain in these three stages, you’ll be viewed as ineffective and incapable of dealing with adversity, especially in a leadership role. Your business results and the state of your team will reflect this.
Let’s consider the following scenario. Your company’s systems integration failure means you can’t route customer service calls to the appropriate service agents. You’ve been patching the systems issues and surviving with service levels much lower than targeted.
Your team is making it work, but it’s not the best you can do for your customers.
The company has invested millions of dollars in this new system, but you know the right thing to do is to redeploy the old system and roll the new system back until the issues can be adequately addressed.
This move will not only increase productivity, but, more importantly, reduce employee frustration and improve morale. Politically, this is a courageous recommendation to make. Are you up for the challenge?
If you answered yes, then you are ready to become the courageous leader your team, and your organization need. Your level of discomfort has gotten to the point where you’re ready to make the tough choices and change the conditions.
You’re tired of just surviving and feel unsettled enough that your emotions wake up your complacency. Something happens and sets off a spark inside of you that says maybe things don’t have to be this way. Nackia Salmon, Aviation Services Cost Data Strategy Leader for GE Aviation, describes this state of awareness as “when something hits a nerve and violates a promise you’ve made to yourself, or a core value, you just cannot be OK with the way things are anymore.”
The switch has flipped and you see the light. You experience clarity and hope for the first time in ages. You realize that you have more control over your situation than you thought. You’re not quite sure what the answer is, but you’ve got enough motivation to try and figure it out.
The path ahead begins to open up
When you find your courage you begin to consider what it’s going to take to change your current path. You imagine what could be in your future and what the first small steps should be.
You’re still apprehensive because you don’t know how things are going to turn out, but you are willing to give it a try.
The danger is that because of the ambiguity ahead, there is a danger that you return to the Surviving or Settled Stage.
One step at a time
This is your opportunity to springboard forward, if you don’t allow the negative self-talk and naysayers to get into your head. If something doesn’t go your way it can seem like a setback. You begin to dig deep inside to find courage and stay focused on what is possible.
There will be challenges and self doubt can easily trip you up.
But you will have fewer setbacks, as you’re being more proactive. And when setbacks do occur they won’t have the effect of completely shutting you down.
But you need to take it one step at a time.