When it comes to your career, getting on the bus is only half the battle!
I was recently thinking about the book Good To Great by Jim Collins.
A bestseller to be certain, there were a number of important revelations that stood out to many of those who read it.
Of these insights, it was Collins’ reference to getting the right people on the bus and then assigning them their proper seat that stood out to me on so many levels.
As a Communication, Image and Branding Specialist, working internationally with leaders of Fortune 500 companies, executives, managers, sales teams and entrepreneurs, I was often asked to align an individual’s unique ability with the goals of their team or organization. In other words, how could this one individual working from their strengths help their organization to achieve its objectives?
What is interesting is that in the majority of these situations, I was not dealing with a new hire and thus orientating them with their new company’s mission statement. I was usually called in to work with an established employee or executive to better position their unique ability or leadership brand in a new and more productive fashion.
If you think about it, this is a somewhat ironic scenario. After all, shouldn’t it be a given that someone who has been with the same company for a certain period of time already knows where they “fit in” relative to the organization’s goals? One would think that this would have been an issue that was addressed when they were first hired.
But here’s the thing, and as illustrated by the hit television show Undercover Boss, it would seem that while those who sit atop the corporate hierarchy may have a clear vision of where the company is going, this direction is not collectively clear enough or reinforced across the entire enterprise.
For those unfamiliar with Undercover Boss, the show’s premise is pretty straight forward. The CEO from a large organization such as a Waste Management or FTD changes their appearance and then takes different jobs within their respective company. The objective is for them to get a better understanding of how things work on the front-lines.
Now I am certain that when the show was first conceived no one really knew what the end result of a CEO walking a mile in different employees’ shoes would produce in the way of insights and entertainment. As it turned out, this venture into reality television for these executives provided both unexpected and even surprising revelations that they would otherwise never had known.
Humbled by their lack of true knowledge about the inner workings of their company, the executives discovered that the policies and processes they were introducing to help propel their organization to greater success was actually undermining their efforts.
Going back to the Collin’s reference to getting the right people on the bus and putting them in their proper seats, I cannot help but wonder how anyone running a company could do this without truly understanding the inner workings of their enterprise. Perhaps this is the reason why Undercover Boss is such a big hit! Perhaps this is the reason why senior executives are lining up to be on the show – which now has a Canadian and UK version offering business leaders in those countries with an opportunity to go undercover themselves.
This being said, communication is indeed a two-way street. Specifically, while senior executives are now making the effort to reach out to their general workforce to gain the needed insight that is essential to their doing a better job, it is incumbent upon those who make up that same workforce to simultaneously reach out to their senior management. The reason for doing this is quite clear . . . how can senior management put you in the right seat if they do not understand how your unique ability or brand can be best utilized to help the company achieve its goals?!
That is why in my soon to be released book How To Bullet Proof Your Brand, I talk about the need to move from backstage to front stage, and becoming remarkably memorable. I also share with you how to become your best PR person and why networking in both the physical and virtual world is an essential survival tactic.
In relation to today’s article, my point is quite simple; do not wait for someone to discover you and then assign you a seat on the bus. As many have learned the hard way, by not claiming your proper seat through being seen and heard in a positive light you might find yourself standing at the bus stop (unemployed) as the bus pulls away on its journey to success.