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Career

70 SAVED IDEAS

Employee departures are common

Millions of people voluntarily leave a job every month, we still consider it taboo.

Many companies still think that employees will stay for 10, 20, or 30 years if they take care of their employees. But it is a myth. Today's workforce doesn't just show up to pay the bills. They're working toward bigger career goals that will eventually lead them elsewhere.

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Career

And seasons change. When companies react negatively to an employee leaving or take it personally, they do a disservice to that person's work and makes the end of that season seem like a failure instead of an exciting step forward.

Companies have to normalise employees leaving, starting from the top down.

To help normalise departures, establish transparency around the employees' career goals in relation to the organisation's goals.

When a manager regularly zooms out and look at the big picture of what the business needs from the employee and where the employee wants to go in their career, they'll know when the person's career goals are diverging from what the organisation needs.

Many departures of employees happen when expectations aren't met.

Managers should clarify their expectations of the employee often, such as meeting deadlines or response time to client communication. Employees should also communicate their expectations of the job with their manager, such as not answering email after-hours. If expectations can't be met on either end, there's probably a better fit out there.

The point of a manager is to set your employees up for success. If you are an excellent manager, it means that your people will grow out of their current role and be promoted or take a job elsewhere.

To make employee departures a cause for celebration, we need to see them as whole people on their own journeys.

The exploration-exploitation dilemma

Great innovators are known for risk-taking and experimentation. But optimising needs a different skill-set that relies on refinement and efficiency. It is then rare to find people that can innovate and optimise.

A typical story is that a founder launches a startup, successfully grows it through the initial stages, then gets replaced by a more experienced CEO. However, the best results are produced when exploration and exploitation coincide.

  • Exploration: The focus is on experimentation, risk-taking, discovery, and innovation. People who thrive here are more flexible and comfortable with uncertainty.
  • Exploitation: The focus is on execution, refinement, and efficiency. Successful people are good at weighting options and making optimal choices.

Startups are in the exploration phase and change to the exploitation phase when they become mature businesses. It can be a costly mistake when they are unwilling to switch back when needed.

Many organisations focus on the exploitation of their historically successful business activities while failing to explore new territory to improve their long-term success.
Famous examples:

  • Polaroid didn't respond to the transition to digital photography. Another company that fell into this trap is Kodak.
  • Blockbuster was a home-movie and video-game rental service provider that did not respond to the rise of mail-order and video-on-demand services.

The key to success is to balance exploration and exploitation.

  • Conduct an ambidexterity audit. Consider how much time, energy, and money you are dedicating to exploration relative to exploitation. Ensure that you are not dedicating100% to one or the other.
  • How easy would it be to switch from exploitation to exploration? Rigid processes and legacy policies can interfere with switching.
  • You can also add more flexibility to your processes at an individual level based on your current goals.
Disruptive companies are gold

Disruptive companies are well-liked by investors and stakeholders, in this tough and cutthroat industry.

According to a study, 70% of startups fail, usually within two years of operation.

How to be a Disrupter

Four strategies for being a disrupter in this volatile industry:

  • Be ready to disrupt yourself
  • Don't get distracted by economic conditions
  • Harness the power of data
  • Understand that people are your biggest asset
Disrupt yourself

There was a time when Netflix used to deliver DVDs on mail, but now they have disrupted the digital distribution of content. Google didn't have a viable business model till 2002, but now Youtube, Android, and its ads businesses are shattering records consistently.

We need to disrupt ourselves instead of getting comfortable in what we do now.

Don't let economic conditions distract you

Just remember many companies started and flourished during economic downturns. If your idea is good enough, you don't have to worry about the economy and just keep building and refining your product or service.

Harness the power of data

Every company can benefit from big data, and insights using analytics. It is no longer a luxury option, but an important growth driver for the business.

Your company's life depends on market and customer data, and harnessing data can be its strongest asset.

People are your biggest asset

Have a concrete and compelling vision that attracts the right people who are smart enough to push it forward and turn it into reality for you.

Invest in people, give them the right skills, and build an environment of trust.

Disrupt

The companies which disrupt are the ones who adapt, remain agile, keep learning, and never get comfortable. 

The Perception of Ambition

A healthy dose of ambition and drive is no doubt the key to success.

Defined as striving of an individual for status and achievement, ambition is particularly rampant in the corporate world, with managers wanting to climb up to the top of the corporate ladder.

  • People with high self-esteem are more ambitious and confident to be able to rise in the ranks, regardless of the actual talent.
  • Family history plays an important factor, with successful parents having ambitious children.
  • An extrovert personality contributes to the ambitiousness of a person, and many countries specifically look at the personality of a candidate to suit their requirements, looking at the long-term aspects.

Ambition can be individual or collective, and while collective ambition is great if one is able to channelize the same, individual ambition at the expense of the organization as a whole can be counterproductive.

Being the knower

... or always being right is heavy armor. It translate into defensiveness and posturing. This is very common and most of us have some degree of knower in us.

Needing to know everything is a sad experience for the knowers and everyone around them, because it leads to distrust, bad decisions, and unnecessary, unproductive conflict.

For many people the need to be a knower is caused by shame and even trauma. Being the knower can get people out of difficult situations, and it’s easy to believe that being a knower is the only value we bring to relationships and work.

Knowing can also become a culture problem when only some people are valued as knowers.

  1. Name the issue. And discuss it in a gentle way:"I’d like for you to work on your curiosity and critical thinking skills."
  2. Make learning “curiosity skills” a priority. Don’t assume people aren’t curious because they don’t care. They may not know how to be curious.
  3. Acknowledge and reward great questions and statements like “I don’t know, but I’d like to find out”.
Brené Brown
"We define grounded confidence as curiosity + the willingness to rumble with vulnerability + practice. While armor is our greatest barrier to being brave, grounded confidence is the heart of daring leadership."

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