Secret Sauce For Your Career

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It was one of those arduous, multi-day, painful quarterly reviews.  Our Chairman and his executive staff had flown in as usual.  As the leader of my organization, I was feeling pretty cocky, thinking this should be a walk on the beach.  It was the end of the third quarter; we were 140% of our annual revenue plan to-date with a stellar fourth quarter in front of us.  We were on pace to crush the year.
But of course, our chairman had other thoughts.  Almost dismissing our ballistic our performance, the guy was all over me.  At one point he stopped the whole meeting and asked me a very pointed question –
Him:  “Dave, what would it take to triple your business?”
Me:  (Laughing)
Him:  (Not laughing.  And obviously serious…)
Me:  (Deer in the headlights look and huge pause as I mentally said “Oh crap” and scrambled for an answer).  “Well, I don’t know….”

And with that, I may as well have been defending an organization that was so far behind its plan there was no hope.  It was time to find a foxhole to crawl into while the bullets whizzed overhead!
Him:  “Why not?  Why aren’t you thinking in those terms?  Why aren’t you thinking big?  I want a plan by end of week as to how you’re going to do that”  (Words I would find myself using later in my career when it was me and my staff flying in to conduct reviews LOL). 
And, he was right.  I was settling.  I wasn’t pushing.  I wasn’t trying to see just how great we could be.  I wasn’t thinking big!!
What about you??  Your management didn’t hire you to simply make your plan, objectives or goals.  That’s merely doing your job.  They’re hoping for more.  They’re wanting to see you exceed expectations.  They’re hoping you’ll think big!  It’s also the “secret sauce” to catapulting your career!
In order to think in these terms though, there’s some principals you need to follow:
*Refuse To Accept Conventional Wisdom – Question why things are done the way they are.  Don’t accept when the dweebs in your office say, “because we’ve always done it this way” for an answer. 
*Treat Your Job Like A New Job, Every Day – Make the decision that every day will be a new day in your job where experimenting and innovating is your norm.  Don’t be a prisoner to process.  Look for new approaches, embrace new trends early and stay ahead of the curve. 
*Practice High Speed Decision-Making – You don’t have to wait to have 100% of the facts to make a decision on something.  In business today that’s simply too slow.  Shoot for 80% confidence as being enough to act.
*Be Nimble And Quick With Course Correction – Inherent with making decisions much faster is the fact that its OK to be wrong, as long as you quickly change courses and right the ship.  Be on top of things after you make a decision and closely monitor its progress and results.
*Know That Failed Experiments Are Necessary – Failing when trying new things is a necessary evil to achieving big success.  Your new thinking may fail nine times out of ten, but now and then you’ll hit a home run that in business terms is like 1,000 runs.  That’s a ten percent chance of a 100 times payoff.  I’d take that bet any day!  The moment you stop taking bold bets, you stop thinking big.
*Grow A Thick Skin – Don’t listen to those annoying naysayers.  Be willing to be misunderstood and questioned when you’re trying new things.  Stick with it and have conviction with your ideas. 
*Act Now – In thinking big, speed is of the essence.  “Wait” is a four-letter word.
So here’s the net, net.  Those who hired you want you to think big.  It’s also the key to moving up rapidly in our career.  And here’s the kicker – it’s not a gift you’re either born with or don’t have.  It’s a skill that anyone can develop! 
So just settle.  Don’t just go through the motions.  Start thinking big.  Now.

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Dave Weir is a career coach and the CEO of Leadership Optimized.  He specializes in helping you find and land the job you’ll love and helps you outperform everyone in sight in the job you’re in.

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