In an article I authored for FastCompany.com called How Much Experience Do You Have?, I quoted my then CEO, Harold Pinto, who offered:
“Someone who repeats the same year of their life fifteen times doesn’t have 15 years of experience; they have one year of experience repeated fifteen times.”
Employees need to work with their leadership team to innovate processes, innovate products, and grow to make more profound contributions. Employees need to make themselves more and more invaluable by diversifying their experience and their ability to contribute.
Here’s an example in my life.
I was Manager, Customer Support Services, at a Silicon Valley start-up where the CEO left the company and the CFO was named his successor. The CFO had been responsible for all customer contracts and I believed that, in his new position, he would have to find someone to take over for him. My vision was I’d be his wingman through a couple of negotiations while he transitioned the function to me.
When I arrived at his office, I shared my vision. He smiled broadly, handed me a file folder and his plane ticket to send me to Rockwell International in Seal Beach, California, for a 3 pm meeting that day. He wished me luck. I was sent alone. So much for the wingman idea!
The CEO trusted me to unburden him and “do the right thing.” That’s what I did. I grew as a result.
There’s generally agreement that something is broken in a company and has been broken for a long time. What happens if you step up and try to solve this? When you fix it, you will have learned something. If you and your team fail to fix it, you will have learned something as well. There are ample opportunities within companies to “move the needle” on an annoying or non-existent processes. Become a standout by tackling the issues others aren’t willing to address.
What are you going to do to increase your value-add year after year?
Thought for the week:
“To the victim, adversity is bad. To the leader—and warrior—hard times are life’s richest times for growth, opportunity and possibility. Use them to fly.” — Robin Sharma, Author of The Leader Who Had No Title
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Dave Gardner is a management consultant, speaker, blogger and author based in Silicon Valley. He's been in the front row for the birth and evolution of Silicon Valley, the innovation capital of the world. Since 1992, Dave Gardner has focused on making the complex simple around people, process and technology. He can be reached through his website, www.DaveGardner.biz, or via phone at +1 408-475-7068.