Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Who is the Boss of You?

"I just want someone to tell me what my options are!"

This was the plea of a friend I've known for almost 20 years.  "I know I'm demanding (then lists all the "demands") and I'm just not sure many other companies would offer that. But I'm not sure the next step for me is here either."

Sound familiar?

If so, let's think about what is really going on here.  Let's imagine that this is a CEO talking about their product.  The script might go:

"I just want someone to tell me where my customers are! I know we have an expensive product (list all the amazing things it does) and I'm just not sure many new customers would really want that.  But I'm not sure our current customers will carry on buying it much longer either."

Does that sound like a successful CEO to you?  I have worked with many individuals who aspire to be CTO, CEO, COO in their careers and have no trouble considering business issues and making business decisions.  But when it comes to making changes in their own lives, the CEO mindset is sometimes more elusive.

When I listened to my friend, I heard two versions.
I heard that this person is:
  • doubting their own value within the organisation (I'm not sure the next step is here)
  • afraid of not succeeding at landing the next level up (getting someone else to set out the options)
  • wondering whether this is as far they can go (having "demands" they feel might not be reasonable)

And also, this person is:

  • a high potential, high performing individual (they have high expectations/"demands")
  • is experienced (they have a reputation within their current company)
  • is ambitious (they want to move on and up to the next step)

Both could be true but which is the version where they are being the CEO of their own life?  By being the CEO of their own career, they will know what they are looking for, what they offer and who to speak to make the change happen.

If you find your inner CEO is taking a nap, here are some ways to wake them up again:
  1. Looking for someone to "tell you the options" for your next step?
    Write your own ideal job description - this will highlight what you're looking for without being restricted by an existing job title or department.
  2. Think you have too many "demands" to find a role elsewhere?
    Make a list of your achievements, experience and expertise that give you the right to have high expectations of a future role
  3. Not sure whether your "next step" is within your current organisation?
    Be clear about what you love about staying and what you want to be different
Being a CEO is not about having to do everything on your own but it is about being in charge.  Be in charge of you - because if you aren't your own CEO, who is?


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