Tag Archives | Brand you

Caution – This Post Is About You And It Is Really, Really Weird

A colleague walked into my office a couple of days ago and told me something so weird it inspired me. And here’s the secret- it’s about him, and it’s about you. And you won’t like it. Here it is. Read it and you will never forget it.

He once described me as a ‘tricky character’ to an external supplier who was about to deal with me. I did not like that descriptor, but with time accepted it. Why did I accept it? Because it is true, dammit. I was reminded of this when he shared with me (“Hey- you could use this for Possums”) an insight in to human nature he’d just heard at breakfast from a Northern Englishman supply chain expert (I was having voluntary root canal work done so could not attend).

It’s an old expression that I have never paid attention to. But in its telling, this colleague reminded me that it is one of the most critical insights we need to know and accept if we are to work with and lead people, and manage ourselves. This is what that Northern Englishman said about you, about the colleague, and- yip- it’s absolutely fair to say, about me.

Do Not Leave Your Job Without Reading This First

My colleague sat across the table from me last week. He’d just resigned. “I’ve loved my time here. I want to leave without burning any bridges,” he told me. And then said he wanted to depart within a very short time frame, which would leave his business leaderless and seriously destabilize staff and clients. He was about to commit one of the biggest career stuff ups we can make. Get this wrong, and it haunts you forever. Here it is.

I am a great believer in trying to make the grass greener on this side of the fence. Work hard to get your current roles better for you before jumping ship. But sometimes a move is the right course. Of course it is. The trick is to make an elegant exit.

When my colleague told me he want to depart very quickly, I shared a piece of advice with him from my heart, and from 30 years of experience in business. I can’t recall where I heard it, and I can’t find it online. I also don’t know whether I am articulating it correctly here. But frankly, it does not matter. It’s magical advice for protecting our reputations, our personal ‘brands’ and ensuring we don’t burn bridges. It’s very simple.

If You Don’t Want To be a Loser-Do This-Often

I have just done something so extraordinary for me that I am in shock. When I realized I’d done it, I was embarrassed, for a moment. Ok- in truth I usually do it at night. But today I did it in broad daylight, and in public! Have I gone absolutely fricken mad? No- and here’s why.

I think it was in John Grisham’s ‘The Firm’ that I read about the crazy world of high powered, dog eat dog lawyers, where each tried to out-do the other by billing more hours. No-one went on holiday because someone would knife you if you did, and take your job. Or was it a ‘Wall Street’ era story? Does not matter. Point is, if you are as paranoid and insecure as me, you’re always petrified that unless you put it in relentlessly, and kick goals constantly, you’re somehow going to be found out as a pretender and get the big boot out the door, into a world of selling bananas on street corners.

And that’s why I was so shocked when I realized what I had done, in bright sunlight, just an hour ago. . I quickly comforted myself with this reassurance, given to me by a media tycoon three years ago. It’s powerful. And so basic.

Want An Awesome Career? Buy A Pair Of Ataturk’s Binoculars

I just read a biography of great Turkish leader Ataturk, instrumental in the defeat of Australian forces at Gallipoli in World War 1. And it was at the most decisive moment of that battle that I learnt a lesson from Ataturk that is vital if we want robust, opportunity filled careers. Weird, but true. Here it is.

Ataturk was a mid-level commander at the time. He arrived at Gallipoli soon after Australian forces had landed, were streaming up this key hill, and with Turkish troops fleeing in panic. Within moments the Australians would have triumphed and history’s course changed forever. Ataturk ordered his men to stop, fix bayonets and drop to the ground. The approaching Australians saw this and, anticipating a Turkish charge, also dropped to the ground, and waited. In the ensuing lull, reserve Turkish troops arrived- many with big machine guns- , and the battle turned to a massive Australian defeat.

So where’s the lesson for our careers? Here’s the key sentence that provides the compass point:

5 Golden Rules For A Longer And More Vibrant Career

I’m 52, and usually the oldest guy in the room whenever I meet with colleagues at or our industry more broadly. How has this happened? How have I survived and prospered in a so-called ‘young person’s industry’? Here’s the answer, in 5 simple Golden Rules. They worked for me. Will they for you?

First, not a rule. Just a reality. To survive in business and ensure your career keeps evolving and remaining relevant, you have to work on yourself as a project. You have to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. Seriously. Get very serious about yourself and working on improving and developing yourself.

If You Want A Great Next Role Get Ill First

“It took me 130 coffees to land the ideal next role for me,” said my breakfast companion on Friday. 130 coffees, hey. Now that would make you pretty ill. And that’s the point of this story. You need to get ill if you want to secure the very best role you can. Here’s why.

I am a huge fan of making the grass greener on this side of the fence; to try to fix your current role so it is inspiring and great. But sometimes the reality is that we need to move on- and finding that outstanding, insanely perfect next role can be a daunting challenge.

As your career evolves and you get more senior, it becomes tougher for the perfect opportunity to ‘land’. And that’s where the ‘Get Ill First’ strategy comes into play. This is what it is and how it works.