I have the privilege of talking to people on a daily basis about their careers and what they want to do next. Normally the conversation starts with a thumbnail sketch about a position we are recruiting or a brief skills profile of the person seeking career advice.
Next comes the question; “Magic Wand In Hand, the Sky’s the Limit, What Do You Want to Do Next”? Then comes a moment of silence…some stammering, followed by a few guarded attempts at an answer. This is a tough question that requires a lot of thought and soul searching. It normally takes asking at least three iterations of the question to start to “Peel the Onion” and begin the process of getting to a real answer.
We all have traits, skills, experience, and a record of performing roles in a particular organization, industry, or vertical market. These are great things that represent many of the assets we bring to any team/organization. This career DNA will guide you down a predetermined path to what seems like the logical next steps, the next position. Are you on track, excited about the future, hyper-motivated, and a top performer?
I encourage you to take a step back and truly engage in some soul searching about what you really want to do. Magic wand…The sky is the limit…What do you want to do next?
I have spent a good part of my career leading large Information Technology support teams covering multiple states and large geographic territories. Early on, I learned to appreciate the overall effectiveness of the people I had supporting the remote areas. These were normally one to two person support teams located in remote, isolated areas like Amarillo, Tyler, Midland, etc. I have had the good fortune to work with some really great people out there and they typically knocked it out of the park!
What was it that made these people so effective? I think it was their ability to flourish in a remote area, “Remote Mentality”. They totally owned their turf and took responsibility for everything that went on in their territory. When needed, these remote specialists would escalate and engage other resources to help. Through these challenges, they served the mission and owned the outcome.
I also realized that I was a much more effective leader when managing the remotes. By nature, I had to get out-of-the-way, empower these people to run their turf and let their “Remote Mentality” thrive. My job was simple. All I had to do was articulate the mission, define turf, (areas of responsibility) and support each person when they needed additional resources or help.
Here is a path to get this going in the right direction
- Start with yourself. Make sure you fully understand and support the mission of your organization. Walk the walk, talk the talk.
- Make sure that everyone on your team understands and supports the mission.
- Clearly define areas of responsibilities, turf.
- Get out-of-the-way and empower your people to own their turf. Support them and get them resources and help when they need it.
- When things go wrong look at them from a “Remote Mentality” perspective. Did we lose sight of the mission? Did we own the issue? Did leadership get in the way?
I know this sounds very idealistic and simple. Certainly, there will be bumps along the way. Engaging a “Remote Mentality” will give your people and your organization a great chance to develop and flourish.
Bernard Beaullieu is the founder of Beaullieu & Associates, Inc., a San Antonio Information Technology Staffing & Recruiting firm. We believe the most important decisions a leader makes involve selecting the best people to join their team. Why not hire the best?