What if you knew exactly how long you had left in your current position? Would you prioritize differently?
A few weeks ago, during a one on one conversation with my boss, we talked about how long I thought I might stay in my current role and where my interests potentially lie afterwards. This isn’t the first time I have done succession planning or thought about what my next career steps might be, but this time was different. The timeline felt more real….more precise.
For better or worse throughout my career, I was able to move to positions and projects at a fairly regular pace to challenge my personal growth and leadership. So admittedly I have never had a “5-year” plan, per se. But as I just mentioned, this potential transition, whether it happens in 3 years, 4 years or whatever, the feeling of a real deadline really set me to thinking….how can I make the most of the “limited” time I have left. Again, my time frame is years, so some would argue that the “limited” description is a little dramatic. But I would argue if you care about your team and are engaged in building a team, transforming an organization, and helping a business grow, that limited time will go by in a flash.
So here are some of the ideas I have been thinking about when I think about giving everything I can before moving on:
- Lead with priority
- Anyone who works on launching projects knows that everything gets real once a ship date or deadline is put in place. Real decisions get made about features and commitments when there is a line in the sand. For me this helps, because while I often brainstorm about various strategies and ideas I would like to test with the team, this deadline puts priority on the structure and culture I need to focus on with the team.
- Lead with intent
- With a hard deadline, and with firm priorities ahead, there is urgency and intent in everything we do. Projects, and gaps, gain clarity when we are focused on making a difference and delivering on projects or implementing ideas. Again with the boundaries of time and priorities, these constraints may reveal new solutions that allow you to explore better ideas by embracing constraints.
- Lead with (even more) care for the team
- One of my biggest regrets in a previous role, was that I wasn’t planning to move on and a great opportunity came along that forced an abrupt change. I want to not only leave my team in good hands, but I also want them to be prepared and even excited for the future transition. I am already very passionate about developing each of our team members, but again priorities and time, help to bring clarity on how to advance their development.
- Lead for the future
- Too often our own preparations fall to the wayside of the short terms needs of “now” and “busy”. Having some runway before a potential change allows time to consider where else my own passions and skills might be of use to helping the company. One of the most challenging aspects of the possibility of this transition is what is truly possible as a next step. But, my thought is this…..if I take care of the first three things, then ideally this last point will largely take care of itself, or at the very minimum present clearer choices.
I love the opportunity to lead. The chance to build our team and the individuals that make it up is what gets me up in the morning. Knowing I have “limited” time only raises my urgency to give them everything within my power and at some point leave the team a little better off.
Here are this week’s 5 for 5 articles:
Which Will Get You Further: Fitting In or Standing Out? – by Eilene Zimmerman
- SO WHAT: Best thing I read this week. A great question to assess where you sit within a team or organization?
5 Super Common Email Lines That Make Us Cringe Every Time We Use Them – by Jenni Maier
- SO WHAT: Guilty of these. Good suggestions on alternatives that make sense.
Secrets Of People With All The Time In The World – by Laura Vanderkam
- SO WHAT: All great advice. The “Don’t Rush” section particularly applies.
6 Habits Of Trustworthy Leaders – by Gwen Moran
- SO WHAT: I have found that “Give Context” is critical.
The opposite of the freeloader problem – by Seth Godin
- SO WHAT: “Every member of that community comes out ahead.”
all the best, kevin