Face it. You will eventually quit your job. It may be this year. It may be next. It may be ten years from now. But it’s inevitable. It’s only a matter of time. The only real question is: How do you pivot (professionally) without burning your bridges?
You may want to come back. I left one company, Thomas Nelson, and eventually returned and became the CEO. You never know. At the very least, you may need a reference.
Unfortunately, many people don’t always end their tenure at a company as well as they began. The key is to begin with the end in mind. As leaders, we should be intentional about everything we do—even quitting.
In my last post, I wrote about how to prepare to make a presentation to your boss. To get him to say, “yes,” I encouraged you to prepare a brief, written proposal. I even provided a template.
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Once you’ve done that, it’s time to anticipate objections and formulate talking points for each one. Don’t risk getting a “no” because you haven’t carefully thought through the questions and your responses.
In my last post, I wrote about the importance of seeing your boss as the customer. To get him to say, “yes,” you have to first understand his needs. Moreover, you have to frame your proposal in terms of how it will help him accomplish his goals.
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Then, you have to commit to success. You must be determined to get to “yes,” because your reputation depends on it—first with your boss and second with the people you lead. Once you have taken these first two steps, you are ready for step three.
When I was in corporate management, I spent a great deal of time listening to proposals. Those doing the pitching usually needed my approval to proceed with their project. Frankly, I was amazed at how poorly most people do in these kinds of situations.
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In fairness, most of us never received any formal training in this important skill. As a result, we flounder about, not knowing why it seems so difficult to get to “yes.”
About five years into my career, I found myself working for a micromanager. He drove me crazy. He wanted to know everything I did and when I did it.
He required me to furnish daily status reports. I had to document every call, every conversation, and every action I took on every project. It was oppressive.
I often write and speak on workload management. But even I occasionally get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of requests and assignments. I’m in such a state right now.
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In the last week I’ve attended board meetings for three different companies. Two were out of town. In addition, I have spoken publicly five times and am right in the middle of reviewing the copy-edited manuscript for my new book.
It’s easy to look at successful people and envy their situation. What you often don’t see is the pain they went through to get there. That certainly applies to me.
I didn’t eventually become a CEO because I made fewer mistakes than you. In fact, it’s probably just the opposite. I made more. In fact, I’ve been fired from three jobs in my career.
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Each of these was a very painful experience. But these experiences also taught me important lessons that I probably could not have learned any other way.
Recently, I had the opportunity to read an “advance readers copy” (ARC) of Seth Godin’s new book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Admittedly, I am a fan. I have read most of Seth’s books. However, this is my favorite so far. In fact, I would go so far as to say this is the most important book I have read in the last year. In a minute, I will tell you how to get a free copy.
The list I posted yesterday was so popular, I thought I’d post a few more items from the original one. So by popular demand, here they are:
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Thank God there is a filter in place between my brain and my mouth. If I said everything I thought, I would be in constant trouble.
Yesterday, while cleaning out my closet, I stumbled across an article I had saved. It is called “Things You’d Love to Say at Work But Can’t.” It had thirty-eight items. Here are the first ten:
Blame is the oldest game in town. It was invented by Adam who, after eating of the forbidden fruit, told God, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). In other words, it’s Eve’s fault. (And, by extension, God’s fault.)
Not much has changed since Adam’s day. Ask almost anyone why something bad happened and they will point to someone or something else. In my experience, it is exceedingly rare for people to stand up and take responsibility.