Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
Many moons ago, when I had fewer grey hairs and more hair anyway, I had a job interview for a production manager’s role. I was young and eager and naive.
The interview was conducted by two directors who spent 10% of the time asking me questions and 90% of the time squabbling with eachother about the precise nature of the role and what my key tasks would be.
Impressed with my answers they offered me the post and I happily accepted.
Of course the job was a disaster. The directors happily pulled me in two different directions, disagreed with each other and made my life hell. The only decent thing they did was to fire me after six months, because they were fed up with all my attempts to improve their business.
Day one was instructive …my supervisor said ‘hello’ and then said…
‘Well now, you’re the fourth production manager here in two years. Good luck!’
A clear warning, which I happily ignored. Safe in my own ego, that I would be different. Be bold. Get things done. Not get fired.
Silly me. I learned the hard way.
I used to think that due diligence was a phrase that applied to business mergers and acquisitions.
Silly me, twice over.
It applies to buying a business, starting a new client, accepting a job offer, taking on staff, working collaboratively with fellow coaches and so on.
I could, and should, have spent time in the factory, getting to know the staff. Talking through the job in more detail. Asking myself if they really could afford me? Reading past accounts to see how the business was performing. Noticing that an interview squabble is a red flag even!
I did none of those and let my ego get the better of me.
There are two key things to remember when we check out a new opportunity:
1. Ego. Are we being flattered into a role that is too big for us, or that the business isn’t really ready for? What makes us more special than the last guy, who presumably was a sound person who tried their best? Where are we kidding ourselves?
2. Facts. What do we really know about the person, or the business we are going to deal with? What don’t we know? What have we been told and ignored, in our headlong rush to take advantage of this tantalising new opportunity? Who can we talk to, to get an objective appraisal of the situation?
When I started my coaching business, over 15 years ago, I was smart enough to be ignorant. As a result, I interviewed other senior managers and coaches and asked them what I needed to know. Then I pooled their answers and set sail and have never looked back.
Honest ignorance is the best defence against rampant ego.
Taking time to do our research gives us space to think and to assemble our facts.
We can all become experts in doing our own due diligence and effort today can prevent heartache tomorrow.
So, this week have fun being happily ignorant and see where it takes you!
Next week: Brand By Association
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