Choosing a new role as an up and coming leader can be a very difficult process and is one of those areas where I notice often paralyses normally decicive people. Most leaders are very good at objectively looking at new roles in comparison to status quo but often leave out some critical objectives which may make the decision making process must more effective.
The comment that I provide all of my mentees is "make sure you are the dumbest person in the team you are about to join". We all know the retention statistics tell us that the number one reason for people leaving a role is the relationship that person has with their manager. However, did you know that if you only look at 'leaders' and retention then the second most documented reason for leaving is the intellectual challenge that the role provides.
If all of your colleagues are not challenging you or provide you little peer learning, then you will find yourself in 6 months looking again for a new role. It's fascinating how much you grow when you are surrounded by excellence - Make sure you add that to your interview questions!
A leaders role in an organisation is to make important decisions that will benefit the business moving forward. One of the most important decisions leaders make regularly is choosing partners and employees to work with to help successful deployment of initiatives being undertaken. These decisions are critical and take much courage and intuition as well as good solid process to maximise the success of the outcome.
As a coach of many current and future leaders, I am amazed of how poorly these decisions are made. Not only are they made in a rush and without a structured process, they are also made with very little factual information.
Recently I was working with a leader who was making decisions on a provider of consulting services worth over $1M per year. The process to choose this partner was to submit a lengthy tender document answering almost 30 different topics and then a short list was to present face to face their value proposition.
This process was moving fine when I suggested that the evaluation committee really knows very little about the companies they are about to choose. Was there really any transparency in what the experience would be like as soon as the contract was signed? Did the team really understand what the experience would be like? And more importantly, had they had a chance to view the people who would be doing the work and working with their high potential team?
You see, these days it is really easy to look professional and talk a good game. Its now very cheap to have a WOW website and a professionally bound proposal document. The clues that were available in the past to show whether a company has viable credentials are now gone - its now a level playing field. It may look like you are getting amazing resources to work with (with all this fantastic experience) however when the contract is signed, this may be far from the truth.
On my advice, the evaluation team asked for their tenderers to present one more time with the person that will be conducting the service. Well, wasn't this a eye opener. The potential companies that seemed so sharp and polished in their 'sales' presentation crumbled under the pressure of a simple presentation and showed that it really is about the person you work with and not about the company name that sits on the proposal cover.
So, if you are hiring a consulting company to work with you or hiring a new person to join your team, don't be fooled by the 'sell job' - make them perform for you - it will save an awful amount of pain and management in the future.
Being placed in a Leadership role is a real honour. Lets break it down, you are being now responsible for the development, direction and ultimately success of your direct reports .... how amazing is that. In most cultures and even in the animal world this responsibility is given only to the best.
One thing that just blows me away is how little we think about the honour that has been bestowed upon us. This is a big deal and many leaders really only see this as a wrung in the ladder to getting to the top (whatever that means). Being a true leader means making a difference to a whole group of others lives. The old adage 'its all about me' does not fit here - its all about them!
Imagine turning up to work tomorrow and the only thing that was on your 'to do' list was - Make a significant difference to the lives and careers of all your direct reports. I can tell you now, all the goals you have set or been set by your manager would be achieved twice over.
Real Amazing Leaders harness the skills and passions of their people and make them reach for the stars - its your job to allow them to do it.