Valley of Despair
Not everyone seeks out and embraces change. Our desired end-state is an overall increase in our Knowledge+Enthusiasm. Over time our Knowledge increases however our Enthusiasm can wane.
When we choose to engage in new projects, we set off a Chain Reaction of Change. There are a series of steps that occur; be prepared for steps 3 and 4.
- Here I am at the beginning. Very knowledgeable about my current world, but it is a bit dry; I am ready for something new.
- A new project begins (or a new job, city, ect.). Enthusiasm soars!
- Then something happens and I do not know the answer. My Knowledge about the new world is a bit light, so Enthusiasm drops.
- I start to wonder why I started this new adventure – I was so comfortable. Here I am in the Valley of Despair. (This stinks.)
- Then comes the first big win. I know the answer! My confidence is back and my Enthusiasm grows.
- A new high of Knowledge+Enthusiasm.
Sure glad I chose to start this project!
The Valley of Despair is out there…I hope to enter into it because I choose to not remain static. I also plan on reaching new levels of Knowledge+Enthusiasm.
What are you trying to attract? Whether a target customer or high performing employee, consider the Habitat. Any particular Habitat will attract certain inhabitants and be repulsive to others. Be intentional about the environment you build or be prepared to change the Habitat.
From College to University
I was talking with a leader at higher education institution in the process of making the change from college to university. The process is complicated and takes significant resources - time, money and focus. The trustees decided the benefits of making the change warrants the investment.
The accreditation organizations for universities have defined requirements to earn the designation of “university”. Colleges need to have a diversity of programs leading to undergraduate and post baccalaureate degrees. Other requirements include support for research and faculty with expertise recognized beyond the institution.
Habitat and Inhabitants
The university could hire faculty known for leading research in their respective fields or create an environment that attracts the desired faculty. The anticipation with the first method assumes the faculty will thrive in the new Habitat. Simply hiring new faculty and not changing the environment will result in unhappy employees.
Habitat, over the long term, will determine the inhabitants.
We can look at two different recreational environments and the inhabitants they attract. The first is a playground. If we start in the local park and install swing sets, slides, and teeter-totters, we can expect to find a certain type of inhabitant: human mothers with their young children. Should we decide to build a concrete skate park in the same location, the attracted inhabitants would be quite different. The skate park would find the dominant inhabitant to be human males ranging in age from 12-25.
One location with similar usages but different environments will result in the attraction or repulsion of different facility users.
Culture is Organization’s Habitat
The most challenging item to change in your organization is culture. The culture may be attracting the desired customers and employees; or not. Should you desire to change culture you will need patience and persistence. The process will take time – it could be years; and, the process of change will need constant attention. There will be pain as the Habitat is changed. The current inhabitants will either: 1. Find the new environment a welcome change; 2. Discover they liked the former Habitat and do not care for the change; or 3. Adapt to the change.
The university mentioned earlier will need to change the culture to be the Habitat which attracts the desired faculty and students. The existing personnel and students will adapt, change or leave; Painful, but necessary.
Create a Habitat that Attracts
There are actions which can be taken following the three step Educate-Evaluate-Remediate model. Take time to understand the current environment and determine if it is the Habitat which is best for the organization. Make plans which support the aspects you want to maintain or a path to drive the necessary changes.
Recognize the Habitat will attract or repel specific inhabitants; make the changes you need and enjoy the benefits.
Managing Your Business
You have a great market, thoughtfully created products and services. You are as busy as ever.
Is your business doing any good?
Business guidance can be challenging to any organization. You track the P&L each month, the numbers look good and it appears the business is operating to plan. Financial reports do not tell the entire story; there are aspects of guiding your business that go beyond those found in a spreadsheet. There are tools available to define and measure the effectiveness of your organization to grow your business.
One tool to provide structured guidance for several key aspects of your business is the Balanced Scorecard. This tool uses the concept of ”Metric-Target-Initiative” to each section of the Balanced Scorecard to track your business plan and progress. The four parts of the Balanced Scorecard are: 1. Customer; 2. Employee; 3. Operations; and, 4. Finance.
The goal with any measurement is to drive action and activity. Examining the Balanced Scorecard on a monthly basis keeps you focused on the important items and make appropriate course corrections. I encourage sharing the results with your staff and employees; it is the reward for the efforts put forward. The Balanced Scorecard also provides a concise, equitable tool have discussions which may be difficult – a discussion you may need to have with yourself.
Metric – the measure you use for items within each of the four sections. Keep the Metric simple to obtain; having a simple process will encourage the required discipline to maintain the Balanced Scorecard. The Metrics could be raw numbers, growth rates, ratios, or comparisons to industry standards.
Target – is the desired goal for each Metric to meet your objectives and plan. The Target could be a range or specified number. You could be looking to grow sales or manage expenses - every item in the Balanced Scorecard will have a Target. Each month compare the Metric with the Target.
Initiative – projects or programs in place which drive the business. The results of Initiatives are measured within a single segment of the Balanced Scorecard, but generally impact the whole organization. A sales training program may be measured under the Employee section and will also impact the Financial reports.
We know there is no business without the Customer, so here is where we start. In the early stages of the business or when a significant redifinition of the company is occuring this section may be defining the target market and how they can be reached. Measures for customer satisfaction, speed of service, cross-selling ratios, or other measures can be included for the monthly review.
I am intentional about placing the Employee section in the second position, just after Customer. Business reports often lead with the Financial results; comments about Employees appear as an after-thought. In this section, review training programs, staffing plans, or performance review statistics.
“The immediate pushes out the important.” The tasks of running a business can overwhelm the long-term view; setting aside time each month to review the Operations ensure actions and activities are driving the business toward the objectives. In this section review efficiency, process controls, quality, and other indicators of process.
The bottom line is still the bottom line. This is true of not-for-profit organizations as well. The key to understanding the profit and loss is defining which components require additional examination. Units sold and to which demographic, or which channels favor certain products are areas to include when measuring the Financial results.
There are no short-cuts, success takes work. I am a big believer in Incremental Improvement – the first pass at creating the Balanced Scorecard may not be elegant, but it is a start. Begin with at least one simple to measure item for each of the four Balanced Scorecard sections. Track the results each month, and the results will guide the definition of the future Metric-Target-Initiative.
Interested in developing a Balanced Scorecard for your business? There are many resources available. The Balanced Scorecard Institute can help: www.balancedscorecard.org. You can contact me if you are interested in personalized assistance.
I have been impressed by the time vision of Maurice de Sully. The Bishop of Paris saw the need for a replacement cathedral to house the growing population of his city. In 1160 the original cathedral on the site was demolished, and three years later the cornerstone was placed. Twenty-five years after the start of the building program, the sanctuary of Notre Dame was dedicated (but not completed).
And the building continued:
In 1196 de Sully died, but the work continued . The work on façades started in 1200 and were completed in 1225; the West Tower and Rose Window are completed 25 years later; and by 1345 the cathedral is complete. It was six generations after de Sully launched his vision before the iconic building was completed; and now, 852 years later, Notre Dame is still relevant.
Where does our vision end?
I ask myself if I am willing to take on a project that may not benefit me, my children, or even my grandchildren. Every person has a personal time horizon which impacts decision making. This time horizon is reflected in how much we are willing to give up today for a potential future benefit.
Leaders reach out and grab hold of the future and make it real today, communicating it to us in such a way to allow us to know our actions today can bring the about the envisioned future. The understanding that we can have an impact on the future motivates us to action, even though we may not personally be a part of that future.
I am preparing for the 22nd Century (88 years from now). There are many notable items that started eighty-eight years ago in 1924: IBM was founded; the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was presented; the first Winter Olympics were held; and, Edwin Hubble announced the presence of other galaxies. An individual had a vision of the future, communicated that vision to others, and 88 years later the result of their choice and action still has an impact.
My choices may not result in a work of art or an impressive event or organization; however, I do impact the lives of people every day. Co-workers, peer, friends, and family – I make a difference. I choose to make a positive impact, to leave a lasting legacy.
Integrity, loyalty, friendship, kindness, honesty, and love: although difficult, I want these to be my measure. I am fortunate to have leadership positions with several organizations, and I approach my work with these groups to emphasize long-term organizational development and structure. And more importantly, building of persons and impacting their lives.
My projects may not take 185 years to complete; however I want to inspire others to continue beyond my involvement. The grandchildren of my children will be the Leaders of the next century; I choose to be intentional on my impact to define who they will become and how they will Lead.
You are Remarkable.
The year 2011 is winding down. It seems the change to a new year is the time we pause and reflect on the past year & anticipate the future. I want to take this moment to share my commitment for 2012.
My commitment for the New Year: Let you know you are Remarkable.
I have found, that when you have a skill – which may have taken years to acquire – it becomes a part of who you are. In your mind it may no longer be Remarkable. But to someone looking on, it is indeed Remarkable.
I have a friend that has owned his plumbing business for 30 years. When he completes an installation, he does not step back and say, “Remarkable”. It is. If you have attempted any home plumbing projects you know exactly what I mean.
In this coming year, know you are Remarkable. What you have to offer is valuable. We can retain humility, knowing it has taken hard work and likely a few mistakes along the way to come to this point of knowledge. When you share what you know (even if you charge for sharing), you are providing significant value; the years of learning & experience prepare others to be successful sooner; you accelerate their learning.
Have fun & do good every day.
This post also appeared as a guest blog at Leadership Done Right.
Management or Leadership? Both!
Are you a better Leader or Manager? Is one better than the other? You’ve heard, “manage processes, lead people” seems simple; yet defining a Manager is relatively simple, while defining a Leader is like putting words to emotion. If Management is prose, Leadership is Poetry. Much thought has been poured into the definitions; pounds of books have been written to define & develop Leaders. We need practical applications of the concepts to make our businesses & organizations better. Gleaning from the works of others we can compile practical & workable definitions.
The goal is to run solid organizations; Management & Leadership are tools to help us fulfill that goal. It is a natural conclusion that we need to understand the tools and how we (personally) use them. You might have strengths in one over the other; in that case you can develop your own ability to wield the tool, or if you have the resources - hire the skill. Conducting a personal evaluation requires the specific skills of Managers & Leaders be defined. The definitions provide a framework for us to gauge our relative abilities and determine where to find opportunities for improvement.
Plenty of books and websites are available which provide definitions of Management. Standard definitions of what it means to be a manager are clear & generally accepted. The four basic functions of Management: 1. Plan; 2. Lead; 3. Organize; and, 4. Control.
- Plan: Deciding what will be accomplished and how to measure results;
- Organize: Deploying resources to meet the plan;
- Lead: Implementing or executing to meet the plan, follow-up to ensure the goals will be met;
- Control: Monitoring progress of the actions, making adjustments to resource utilization, or the plan.
The definition of Leadership is elusive; business books do not have the functions simply & clearly defined. Many great minds have put thought into capturing qualities, traits, or actions of leaders; but not always practical. We need intentional Leadership. Dictionary definitions become circular, using the term to define the concept, sounding something like: a Leader is a person who Leads; or, Leadership is defined by position: the Leader is the one in front.
These explanations leave us wanting more substance, something we can identify & develop in ourselves to be more effective. We need clearly defined functions we can apply to our lives & businesses. Here are definitions which resonate with my experience:
Leadership is about articulating visions, embodying values, and creating the environment within which things can be accomplished. (Richards & Engle, 1986, Transforming Leadership)
Leadership is the lifting of a man’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a man’s personality beyond its normal limitations. (P.F. Drucker, 1955)
The capacity and will to rally people to a common purpose together with the character that inspires confidence and trust. (Field Marshall Montgomery)
The simple and practical functions of a Leader are: 1. Communicate Vision; 2. Inspire Greatness; 3. Build Trust; and, 4. Move to Action.
- Communicate Vision: It is not necessary for the Leader to create the Vision. This particular skill is the ability to reach out into the future, grab hold of the possibilities and bring them into the present; to let the team members understand their actions today make that imagined future possible by their work today;
- Inspire Greatness: The Leader is going to push, like a coach pushing an athlete to ever greater achievements. You have the responsibility guide people to do more than they thought they were capable of accomplising;
- Build Trust: The responsibility does not end when trust is built between the Leader and the team; rather, when the culture of the organization fosters trust between all team members;
- Move to Action: This is your report card as a Leader. The final step is moving from a concept or idea to an action; if people are not Acting & Executing, you are simply an inspriring speaker. As our friends in the Angel Investment world note, they do not invest in ideas – without successful implementation the idea is worthless. Edison is often quoted on his formula for success, which is heavily weighted toward action (by 99 to 1 of Perspiration to Inspiration).
Are you a better Leader or Manager? Large organizations have the ability to hire for a specific skill or need; small companies rely on the multi-dexterity of the senior team (which may be a team of one as a solopreneur). We also understand Leadership is not reserved for owners or executives – every person has a Leadership role at some point in their organizations.
Be intentional. You already create a process to manage your business, department, or other area of responsibility; you are intentional about Planning, Organizing, Leading, and Controlling. We can also be Intentional Leaders at any level. Everyone has the opportunity to lead; being intentional about Communicating Vision, Inspiring Greatness, Building Trust, and Moving People to Action will help you be an effective Leader.
Intellect & Emotion
There are two types of Opinions: 1. Opinions of Intellect; and 2. Opinions of Emotions. When you are presenting with an intention to persuade or negotiate, you need to know what type of Opinion your hearer holds. You have an opportunity to change one and will likely fail against the other. This is important to note for your business - knowing at what point you need to disengage and move to the next prospect
An Opinion of Intellect has a basis in a series of facts. I know 2+2=5 (Opinion of Intellect). You walk me through the process, taking 2 groups of 2 units; we count them. I change my Opinion. I was certain 2+2=5; your argument was successful in leading me to a new understanding: 2+2=4. This simple example shows how this type of Opinion can be changed by following a step-by-step process to lead the holder to a different view.
Substitute products often appeal to the Opinion of Intellect. Generic ibuprofen is clinically proven to relieve my pain as well as Advil. In the store I compare the name brand product with a generic option – dosage is the same, active ingredients are the same; since I am price sensitive, I make my selection and opt for the less expensive solution.
Your client has been using a competing product and is satisfied with the results. In their Opinion there is no need to look for an alternative. They feel your product is no different than their current choice. Listen to them, find the point of pain; are they sensitive to cost, delivery method, timing, or convenience? Ease their pain and address their concern. Show how your product is more convenient and as effective – truly better for their needs.
Bring them to a new understanding and change their Opinion.
Opinions of Emotion are challenging to address with a logical argument. Your message may find no home in their world. Taking them step-by-step, gaining agreement on your reasoning, bringing them to the obvious conclusion. No, they are not interested.
I believe waste water is disgusting and would not drink it even when purified (Opinion of Emotion). No matter how clear, logical, and scientific the argument – I won’t drink it. You will frustrate yourself trying to change my Opinion. The science is sound. I might even have tasted the water in a blind test and am in full agreement with you - the water is safe and tastes great; but I would not buy it.
The best choice may be to move to the next prospect. It is a big world. Even with a great product, it may not fit everyone.
Dr. Max Bazerman (famous for his auction of a $20 bill) notes in his 2000 paper, Negotiation, that research “has ignored most emotion-relevant variables”. However, the little research conducted concludes (not surprisingly) positive moods tend to produce cooperative decisions; while “hot” emotions can result in the person making “self-destructive choices”. We need to consider if the pursuit of conversion for this prospect is worth the effort.
I have invested time with clients, crafting arguments to defend my point in light of their Opinion of Emotion; convincing them to make the purchase. It did not end there – I created a needy customer. Following the sale I am continually putting energy into maintaining a tenative relationship when I could be investing time into my other customers or prospects.
Can you detect early if the Opinion is one of Intellect or Emotion? Taking a moment to reflect on the type of Opinion will help you be more effective in educating clients and prospects on your business offer.
Change is not merely necessary to life – it is life.
It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
-W. Edwards Deming
In late 2000 I was leading my group through a major software transition to an industry standard package, SAP. We were part of the supply chain responsible for logistics in a product manufacturing & development site of a multi-national corporation. The arguments were clear to the leadership as to why SAP benefitted the company, such as the integration of various functions, ease of reporting, and the ability to coordinate with suppliers & customers. However, I met many arguments from employees as to why the new software was such a bad idea.
The system being replaced had been in use for 7 years. I was new to the team, and many of my employees had been in the section for 10–15 years. The long-term staff remembered when the current legacy system was installed.
The transition to the new system required closely coordinated cooperation between many departments. Cross-functional teams were created to address implementation issues and ensure a smooth transition. Product development and manufacturing had to continue without significant disruptions; transactions were run simultaneously on the legacy system and in newly created SAP test systems. The company was serious about the success of the installation and had committed a budget of $20 million to the project.
The system made sense for the company, but the front line employees were less than enthusiastic. Informal discussions by the staff centered on the downfalls of SAP and how the legacy system was superior. Even valuable meeting time was used to berate the software package and the selection decision. In the estimation of the employees, the Change would not be good.
Change and the Brain
In May of 2006, David Rock and Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz published an article in Strategy+Leadership titled The Neuroscience of Leadership*. It resonated with me; I have used the information and shared the article with many, to include my staff, colleagues, and leaders of other organizations. The article emphasized how to effectively motivate employees; however, the aspect I most often reference relates to Change, specifically the physiological impacts of Change in the brain.
Let me quote from the article:
- Change is pain. Organizational change is unexpectedly difficult because it provokes sensations of physiological discomfort.
- Behaviorism doesn’t work. Change efforts based on incentive and threat (the carrot and the stick) rarely succeed in the long run.
- Humanism is overrated. In practice, the conventional empathic approach of connection and persuasion doesn’t sufficiently engage people.
- Focus is power. The act of paying attention creates chemical and physical changes in the brain.
- Expectation shapes reality. People’s preconceptions have a significant impact on what they perceive.
- Attention density shapes identity. Repeated, purposeful, and focused attention can lead to long-lasting personal evolution.
Reaction to Change is Physiological
The brain can handle large amounts of information yet filter that information to keep us from being overwhelmed. Medical science has mapped sections of the brain responsible for various tasks – and, using tools such as the fMRI, certain sections of the brain become activated as a result of specifc stimuli or activities. The four sections of the brain relevant to Change in this discussion**:
- Prefrontal Cortex: our working memory, high user of glucose;
- Basal Ganglia: handling routine, familiar tasks, lower energy consumption;
- Orbitofrontal Cortex: expectations & error reporting, value reporting, and decision making;
- Amygdala: regulates emotions – primarily fear & aggression.
New tasks, situations, and learning is handled by the Prefrontal Cortex which is our active or working memory; it is energy intensive while in-use, consuming high amounts of glucose – the reason you are so tired after a day sitting in a classroom being filled with new information. You burned off a lot of glucose working your Prefrontal Cortex.
Tasks that become familiar & routine are “hard-wired” into your Basal Ganglia; these tasks do not require conscious attention and therefore less energy. You leave work for the day, get in the car, and the next thing you notice – you’re at home. You are pretty sure you stopped at that 4-way Stop, but just don’t quite remember doing so. Your Basal Ganglia working without conscious attention.
Our everyday, familiar tasks require little energy – we like the easier path and do not want to have to use more energy than required. Our tendency is to avoid change, to remain with what we know and stay comfortable.
Emotional Response to Change
The Orbitofrontal Cortex houses our expectations and is activated when our expectations are not met. Change is often a deviation from our expectation.
It’s break time, an opportunity to wander to the break room & read an article in the magazine you’ve had for several days. You are casually reading the article on your way (active learning, using your Prefontral Cortex, walking without thinking about the route, using your Basal Ganglia). There on the counter – a box of donuts. Taking one from the box, you’re looking forward to the soft freshness of the first bite and the slight rush from the sugar and carbohydrates. It’s stale! hard, crumbly, and you cannot even finish that bite.
Your focus on the article you were reading is gone. All the energy went from your Prefrontal Cortex right to your Orbitofrontal Cortex when reality crashed into your expectations. The result is an increase in electro-chemical activity in an area right next to the Amygdala.
The Amygdala is essential in regulating emotions.
The Orbitofrontal Cortex & the Amygdala being physically located near each other within the brain lead to a possibility for cross-connections to occur. This of stimulation of the Error Detection Unit of the brain may trigger a response in the Amygdala. Change, being a deviation from the expected, elicits electro-chemical activity in one area of the brain and activates another portion of the brain. The individual is presented Change and responds emotionally.
Synethesia results in mixed sensations in those with the condition. The Synethete will see color associated with numbers or letters, or sounds will elicit a taste sensation. The studies indicate separate sections in the brain, each with a different function (for example - one for color and another for numbers) are physically close together. The neural connections between them cross-link to create the association of a color when presented with a number. The PBS program NOVA has a segment on Synethesia in the series on How Does the Brain Work. Triggering an emotional response from the Amygdala (fear or anger) when the Orbitofrontal Cortex is active may be due to cross-connections.
Emotion is a physiological response to Change.
Change will be presented continually. Our goal is to manage change by keeping it in the Prefrontal Cortex (learning) and away from the Orbitofrontal Cortex (error reporting) and the potential of an emotional result.
In managing our software transition, I needed to bring my team to an understanding that met with their expectations, showed them the Change to a new solution was not as radical as it appeared. We worked through a short history of the prior software transitions. They admitted the current software package they love was the villain when it was first being introduced; they did not accept it then - now they did not want it replaced.
We were making progress – resetting expectations to keep Change from activating the Orbitofrontal Cortex (and potential emotional reactions). The brain could focus on learning.
We the focus to the elemental purpose for the group. Starting with the Warehouse function, we stated the elemental purpose in a way each person understood and that the new software did not change what they do – it did not impact their fundamental expectations.
Receive – Store – Deliver
Warehousing has a simple Purpose: Receive – Store – Deliver. Whether the organization is using SAP or clay tablets, the essential work is the same. The team understood – this was not changing expectations or even a fundamental change to their work. The new software was just that: new software. With time, the new process steps in SAP would become routine, moving to the Basal Ganglia. However, it would take time & energy to learn; for some time they would be more fatigued at the end of the day as they were in a learning mode, burning glucose.
The overall implementation of the software was successful (and under budget). SAP is still being used in the operation, and one day it will be replaced and the Change process will start all over again.
* Two links related to the article by Rock & Schwartz: first – the Strategy+Leadership site (you will need an account); second – a link to an Acrobat file of the article. I recommend you read the article and keep it for reference.
** A fun resource on the functioning areas of the brain is located at The Brain from Top to Bottom
Let me start with my purpose for this site in light of the work I do with individuals and organizations. I am all about the practical applications of theory to our lives and workplace. My intent of these posts will always be to understand how I apply concepts. I certainly enjoy theory – one of my favorite radio shows is Philosophy Talk, and I find the topics intriguing – though, the bottom line question is, “What do I do?” This follows the tagline on the masthead: Educate. Evaluate. Remediate. We must have an understanding of the need; clarify the current & desired state; and finally, apply a practical solution.
Simply stated, my purpose for this site and my consulting practice is, “Help people discover & apply practical solutions to their career, organizations, or business”.
Purpose –> Vision –> Mission –> Goals –> Objectives –>Programs –> Projects -> Tasks
Each organization, business, department, program, or project must start with a Purpose. Once you clearly understand your organization’s Purpose, choices are simplified. Mission & Vision statements are fine & helpful to guide your team; and, they are easier to craft after you can articulate the Purpose – the reason your group exists. Can you answer the question, “What would the world be missing if your organization did not exist?” The reason should be straight forward and easy to communicate.
Several years ago I was a board member for the Community Alliance for Diversity. We were having challenges around project selection…as with many not-for-profit organizations: plenty of needs and finite resources. I led the Board through the discovery process starting with Purpose. The organization included employees and resources from large organizations in the community – organizations with resources to support paid staff to promote Inclusion. These large organizations included government, medical groups, and large corporations. There was also representation from small organizations; those without resources to sponsor speakers or community-wide programs. Examining the makeup of the group, it was clear we were able to access the resources from the large groups to provide for the small groups & the community at-large.
This purpose statement is still a part of the organization. “Uniting people from public and private sectors in supporting and valuing all members of our diverse community”. The clarification of the Purpose made it simpler to make project selection practical. We were able to leverage opportunities – such as prominent guest speakers – not only for the original sponsoring organization but for the entire community. Resources from the large were made available to all through the coordination of the Community Alliance. We can answer what the world would be missing without this group – those with substantial resources expand the impact of their investment to the benefit of smaller organizations and the community.
Individuals Need Purpose As Well
This afternoon it was my privilege to talk with a person who earned an advanced degree within the last six months and has been presented with a dilemma of choosing between a promotion within her current company or a higher paying position in a new company but doing the same type of work. She is skilled in her current role and has been receiving promotions and pay increases in her job for the past 5 years. Now she feels ready to move to the next challenge – and what should that be?
There are some logical steps which might be recommended: people management, project or program management. She might be tempted to take the money at the new company, or she might take the “safer” route of accepting the promotion. Dick Bolles’ advice from What Color is Your Parachute is still valid even in job change: don’t choose your first job, choose your first boss. Every job has a balance between Cash, Benefits, and Experience. She needs to decide if the increase in Cash & Benefits outweigh the Experience of doing the same type of work at the new company or if the Experience derived from the promotion will be more satisfying than an increase in salary.
We discussed her personal Purpose and where she felt she made the best contribution. She determined she was most productive & satisfied conducting investigation and problem solving. She knows she does not want to be a people manager; however, she could see the benefit of being a program manager – where that complements her long-term vision. Her essential purpose is, “Pulling together necessary information in an understandable fashion to make recommendations & decisions.” Without her, we would be missing the application of her creative collation & innovative solutions.
She will follow through with interviewing for both opportunities, in a two-way look: she is determining if either of these will better position her take on projects requiring deep analysis and the development of solutions. Because she can articulate her Purpose, the decision will be easier (not easy).
Purpose is a Simple Statement
The discovery of Purpose is simply stating what you already do and does not (and should not) require the word-smithing of Vision or Mission statements. You want to communicate the essence of your organization – the wording may be a bit different from time-to-time. It should be a sentence or two. In my organizations, our Purpose ensures we are correctly using our resources & energy to move forward, and allows us to focus on the correct programs, project, and product development. If we had a multi-page, complicated Purpose Document – we would leave it on the shelf and it would not guide our activity. It would be impractical.