That’s right, I said fire yourself! This act alone will probably be the best and most important thing you can do for your business or your career right now – at the start of a new year. In the process of firing yourself, make sure you do an indepth exit interview so that you understand completely the reasons for this harsh and necessary action.
Oh! Don’t forget to throw yourself a “going away” party and buy yourself a gift (not to expensive). You will want to take this occasion (the party) to tell the boss (you) exactly what you think about him…and what you would do if you were in-charge! And, when you’ve done all of these things, figure out what you need to do and who do you have to be to re-hire yourself.
At times business owners and leaders become so caught up in their own strategies and methods that they have great difficulty breaking free or letting go of what they have become very comfortable doing. They are so heavily invested in their “it’s my way or the highway” approach that they have become oblivious to the fact that the world has changed around them and it is time to do some things differently; or begin a dangerous downward spiral from which there may be no recovery.
All of us at some point in our careers were “new” somewhere. Back then it was easy to take a fresh perspective and challenge other peoples assumptions or thinking. It’s always easier and more comfortable to criticize someone else’s thinking as opposed to stepping back and taking a hard look at our own actions and ideas.
I read recently that Jack Welch, GE’s legendary Chairman would meet at the beginning of each year with his senior staff and instruct them to act as if they were brand new in their roles. During this process, he would ask them to act as if they had no pre-conceived notions or prejudicies and bring a fresh new look at their roles and the business.
The approach that Welch followed is very similar to what I ask my clients to do when we work on “watching the game films.” Simply stated, watching the game films requires that you use your past experiences to freshen or renew your perspective. If done properly you learn what you would do differently to prepare for the future. To leverage your knowledge you have to be brutually honest with yourself; questionning the status quo and letting go of those assumptions that are no longer valid. This exercise is not for the timid and excuses are strictly forbidden. The goal is to learn and not to justify your past actions. It may be painful to your ego but the stakes and rewards can be extremely high.
But let’s get back to firing yourself – if you have done the game films exercise properly you should have a better insight into what has not worked for you in the past and what needs to be done in the future. Here’s where you need to tell the boss (that would be you) what needs to be done. First, what areas or skills does the boss need to enhance or even develop to be able to lead more effectively? Is it leadership, delegation, better communications, etc. Next would be what things should the boss (still you) stop doing or do differently going forward? Could goal setting or having a clear business vision work here? Remember, the goal is to bring a fresh perspective to how you do what you do.
With the completion of this candid self assessment, you now have to ask yourself – what do I need to do to re-hire myself. This is where a detailed gameplan for your enhanced performance comes into the picture. The gameplan should be specific and goal oriented. Consider wht you need to do to prepare yourself to reapply for the job. What contributions or skills would you bring to the table to make a real and measurable difference?
In this procees, be sure that you can answer the question – are you the type of leader you would work for? If you cannot work for you, why would anyone else. It’s important that you create a work climate where others will want to work for and with you. Employees want to be lead, not managed. They are looking for someone to make them feel that they are making an important contribution. Are you that person? You must know the answer. If it’s “no”, then fix it!
People also want to work for a leader who holds himself to the same high standards to which he holds his team. In other words, are you a leader in words and deeds or just words?
So, with the coming of the new year you have before you a tremendous opportunity to assess yourself; refresh your perspective and think about what youy would do if you had the chance to start over. But you need to act boldly to re-shape not only your business but you and your future. You need to be fearless; step up and play big. No excuses; just focused action. It’s your future, what do you want to do about it?