Signs – walking in or out?


open door

It is a long time since I started to be an independent consultant. Linked-in reminded me that there are 7 years already, this October (2015). During the lapse, I took, temporarily, various positions with several companies, on management service contracts, so that the experience I had gained to be shared, while the experience to be gained was a motivational factor of my decision. Some of the contracts were slightly longer than 2 years, some vaguely shorter than 6 months. Some gave me huge satisfaction, while some disappointed me so much that returning to my private desk seemed to be a blessing.

When you receive a compliment from a high ranking senior of the council of a listed company saying ‘you will be missed’ it soften the feeling of disillusion heaped up during the contract that you have just resigned.

When you are lucky to say, that going to work every morning is satisfactory, it is the best compliment an employer could receive (idea confirmed by an acquaintances that alleged: ‘ Sunday evening I am happy, even if knowing that Monday I go to work. This thought is not stressing me, annoying me or making me sad!’). Be more employers receiving such compliments!

If considering 3 galling things in your daily working flow, which might these be? Please comment!

Mine are:

  1. Potential partners/ clients that, after several meetings during minimum 2 -3 weeks, while exploring, proposing, building the collaboration frame, simply disappear when it comes to contract feedback. No phone answers. No email answers. Nothing. (This category includes those under contractual success fee structure).
  2. Potential partners/ clients who are literally killing you with phones, emails, when in need to obtain something, 99% cases for free. They won’t stop unless get it. Afterwards, complete silence. (This category includes friends who benefit of you).
  3. Potential partners/ clients calling in for meetings with no purpose. While crossing half a town, in rush-hour traffic, to reach their office, priory setting up an agenda suggesting some objectives, they look at you and say nothing relevant.

A mature, in all senses of the term, manager, running his/her own business or representing a company, should be able to show at least half of the following characteristics:

  1. Be sincere. Saying the truth all the time. Towards employees, partners, suppliers (extended to family, friends, neighbors). Should you be embarrassed to do so, it means you can’t handle lies told to you by others. Exercise on form. Those who lie or say half truths are not going to positively contribute to growth.
  2. Be transparent in decision and actions. Towards the team and yourself. Learning from mistakes is more valuable than the illusion of being incapable of mistakes at all. Don’t let your team find out of actions you’ve done from the press or strangers. Communicate and build connections make you successful.
  3. Act. Avoid procrastination on decisions. Waiting for the right moment, the right person, the right budget instead of setting the actions and doing things is not bringing any ‘right’. Time is the most valuable attribute we have. Don’t waste it. Once lost it cannot be saved or reclaimed, as money do.
  4. Be present. Always looking as if you are a very busy person is a lie. Go back to Be Sincere and share your priorities list. A person who’s constantly full of activity has weak planning and time management abilities.
  5. Be polite. Answering calls, returning calls, answering emails, even with delays shows respect to yourself and others. Be present.
  6. Assume. As in Be responsible on your actions. This cannot be or go wrong. Be transparent.
  7. Try and adjust. Insecurity in taking decisions and actions is sometimes not a weakness but a learning tool. Let your team know better than you, it shows respect to specialists who worked and trained hard to excel in their job. Be sincere.
  8. Team play. Team work is the key to a successful business. Create a compensation scheme valuable to all members. This is a guarantee to a long term flourishing company, with or without you in the next decade. This idea leads me to the example I read in Simon Sinek book, Leaders eat last (http://www.amazon.com/Leaders-Eat-Last-Together-Others/dp/1591845327, pg. 293, Romanian Edition at Publica). America Online (AOL) created a compensation system for the Sales Department based on tactics of selling more fees to users, up to offering 1000 hours free a month. Do you know how many hours a month has? The tactics where mainly focused on new clients. The Fidelisation & Retention Department role was to keep and bring back those clients cancelling their subscription after a month or two (sic!). They were as well compensated on results. The two divisions worked independently caring only on their own indicators, ignoring the other or the company financial results. So, the leaders of the organizations encouraged actually their team to increase the costs of the company. Couldn’t know how this worked out on employees’ retention, trainings, wages, etc.
  9. Admit the fears. Being afraid is only biological. Losing didn’t kill anyone, unless fighting for your life literally. As Karim Rashid (http://www.karimrashid.com/) said during his conference in Bucharest “If you feel that, involvement into a project is bringing you the satisfaction of a real contribution, changing a bit the industry of the company you’ve been asked to work for, then do the project. If not, refuse it. Some will not accept your conditions and reject your offer. That’s ok. Move forward.”
  10. Be the model of a constructive environment. This will last long after your departure. Same Karim Rashid explained: “We are all creative but: We do not strive enough to be more creative and b. We do not believe we are creative. We do not trust our creativity. There are two ways to save the world: procreation and creation.”

Credentials to Cristina Bazavan (http://bazavan.ro/) and Monica Jitariuc (http://www.monicajitariuc.ro/) for Karim Rachid conference posts that enlightened my yesterday and Liviana Rotaru for reminding me what going happy to the office means.

Photo credit: sodahead.com