The airline industry is excited about recent tech developments made in weather forecasting which will save them millions of dollars a year. It was recently reported by the NY Times that Honeywell is rapidly selling their new IntuVue 3D radar system into many airlines hoping the captains can see dangerous weather ahead and make adjustments en route to their destination. This, of course, means a smoother ride for us and perhaps, less delays.
Reading about this in the NY Times, I got to thinking about how we manage our careers for turbulence. Best I know, there is no such thing as an IntuVue 3d system that will spot trouble ahead for each of us. And, nobody is immune to what comes down the road. After all, a certain percentage of you will... (fill in the blank: get downsized, get fired, work for a jerk, lose your edge due to health issues, be forced to move to another town due to personal issues, etc, etc).
A career is long in many ways, but it has to be managed strategically or it won't be as long as you want it to be. The best time to start asking these questions is when you're hitting your stride...which for most of us is in our early 30s. Challenge yourself when you're doing well and getting traction, and you might have the fortitude and vision to make it through another 3 decades of growth and prosperity with only a few minor cuts and scratches.
In honor of you being the Pilot of your career flight, I came up with a few items which I'll share to add insight on how to look for turbulence.
1. Do not think you're immune to curve balls. You're going to make a bad decision on joining a company. You're going to work for someone who starts out nice but turns out to be unsupportive. You're going to work for a company that hits some bad times. You're probably going to get fired once or twice...it happens. It's called reality. Be prepared mentally.
2. Plan for bad weather. Cliche, yes. But oh so true. Of course you want the new BMW 4-series. Yes, you love those shoes that you saw in the window. Yes, going to Turkey in the spring with your bestie sounds great. And you should have all those things. But it should not be at the expense of stocking away some cash. Some financial experts say you should tithe 10% of your earnings to a "can not touch account"...some say you should have 3 months salary in the bank. I say all of that is way too conservative. Put as much away as you can above 10%. Money equals freedom and independence and you'll want to have time down the road to make some important decisions about who to work for at any given time. Money in the bank will buy you that time.
3. Talk to others about their career path. Learning about what a career path looks like in your line of work is really important. Talk to folks about how they got to where they are, but more importantly, where are they going. Listen. Consider. And then, you can make plans regarding job pivots that need to happen to keep you going forward.
4. Be open to honest assessments about your skill set. Look yourself in the mirror and admit what you're good and not good at. Also, survey your co-workers. Not just one or two, and not folks who will tell you what you want to hear, but those who watch and see with wisdom and experience. Take it to heart and do something about it.
5. Consider a professional to help you navigate the decisions and skill development issues you need to address. The more you are in control of your plan means the better your reality will be over the long haul.
Numbers 1 to 4 you can do on your own, when you're ready for #5, call me. I've developed a lot of talent and know how to make you feel good about it along the way. Cheers!
(If you want to learn more about the Honeywell technology, click here - but be warned it's slightly strong on the 'promotion' aspect).
What we learn from watching top athletes like Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Lebron James, et. al, has never been so obvious...and fun. Many of us in business are sports fans and we watch on a couple different levels: the fun of seeing gifted individuals chase and hit balls, and, the fun of watching the strategy and determination of these physically gifted folks as they fight and compete for very large stakes. And we know the money is not what drives the top athletes because they have all the money they'll need; they're driven by trying to be the best.
It's the "drive to be the best" which is the focal point of this post. Training techniques and practice - the things we don't see on TV - are important drivers pushing these athletes to be their best. Let's look at a few examples, which most of us know about: 1. Tiger: friends and associates have witnessed his practice sessions and describe them as intense, focused and lengthy. According to Tiger's estimates, his practice sessions are from seven to eight hours.
2. Roger: he's a beast off the court. Check out this routine and you won't be able to get up for another scoop of ice cream.
3. What about roundball studs like Lebron and Kevin? Again, better put down that salami sammy and watch these.
UCLA famed coach John Wooden, and a huge idol of mine, preached 'fundamentals before creativity'. Coach Wooden believed the teaching of fundamentals, until they are all executed quickly, properly, and without conscious thought, was prerequisite to playing the game. Drills were created so that all of the fundamentals are taught to the criterion that players execute them automatically.
So what are the drills that you, the digital sales professional and manager, do to prepare for the most important part of your job? What does your training session look like to make you the best at performing when you're in the game? How do you practice the fundamental habits that illicit the results you want?
You can't expect to perform strongly in the game if you don't practice. And I know the keys to what 'practice sessions' need to look like for success in today's competitive environment. Good training/practice needs to be fun and challenging at the same time. But mostly, it has to be participatory because, if you're like me, you learn best by doing!
Gimme a call, I'll share my secrets with you.
Last night was a special night in the game of 'mental'. I tuned in to watch the Federer / Monfils quarterfinal match of the US Open expecting to see my favorite player of all time cruise easily, but instead, I was treated to one more lesson by the Master on what it means to be a Mental Giant.
I have been playing tennis for about 15 years and truly love the sport. I work very hard on all facets of my game and am pleased to state I have risen to a level of being highly below mediocre...but I swat at the ball with glee anyway.
I love playing tennis. I love talking tennis. I love watching tennis. And every year when the sun starts to dip a bit while the heat remains strong, I tune in as much as I can to watch the US Open. At the Open - and the other tennis majors - we can see the best of the sport at the pinnacle of their physical, AND MENTAL, prowess. While we stare in awe of their athletic abilities, what I now study most is their brains. And last night was a 'Super Bowl' type presentation of the best player's brain in action.
As mere mortals trying to understand how those we idolize think, we sometimes muse that "we'd love to see what goes on inside there". Well last night we did! Sport is the only thing I can think of that offers a direct view inside the brains of our idols because we see results - we see the results of decisions that are made (often times in split-seconds) and how it effects others. Sure, top musicians, artists and cultural thinkers are fun for us to study, yet they don't participate under the same amount of duress as do star athletes on big stages. Which brings us back to last night's match.
I'm sure you've heard by now, but Fed was down TWO MATCH POINTS in the fourth set against a younger, faster, exceptionally ambitious (and exciting to watch) Gael Monfils. Well of course you know how this ends: Fed won the match. He did it with guile, savvy, determination, and nerves of steel. (And extreme physical talent too.) But anyone watching that match would tell you that Monfils was outplaying Fed for most of the night.
So how did Fed do it?
His brain. When he was down, Fed did not allow his mind to dwell on anything negative. In the words of announcer John McEnroe, Fed has an incredible ability to forget the past and only see the potential of the NOW! There was no other way to explain how Fed fought through mental stress to turn defeat into a victory. Remaining resilient, resolute and aggressive while staying focused is an art form...and a winning combination in sports and business. Next post: taking this concept to the board room. Stay tuned!
(Here's a clip if you want to catch up on the match last night!)
Michael Hess is the Founder/Principal of Core 6 Management Advisors. Drawing on almost 3 decades of experience in Sales and Management, Michael shares his thoughts and opinions here for you.