You Say You Do But You Don’t

b11707When it comes to hiring you, CMO Laura Ching from TinyPrints.com says it all in Sunday’s New York Times:

“One of the hardest things to screen for is adaptability – just being able to go with the flow…things move so fast. You can come in and this is what the job description says today, but after a month’s time, it’s going to look different.”

You say you want to be entrepreneurial, you don’t want to be micro-managed, and that you want to be creative. But you complain that you are forced to stop a project and start another before the first one is finished. Apparently you don’t see or care that the finish line got moved, and that’s why your company is changing course.

Changing maps

Why would you believe the map never changes? Look at what’s happening in Egypt and the Middle East – and in Madison, Wisconsin. People are risking their lives for change – all we’re asking you to do is open a new job ticket.

Breaking news: When you sign on to company, it is no longer for a fixed job at a fixed salary in a fixed location for a fixed amount of time. You do not have the righteous obligation to bring up the problems and inconsistencies, and complain about a lack of clarity as roles and relationships change by necessity – or by your CEO’s reading of the company’s crystal ball.

Here’s the thing. Rigidity is a career ending injury.

You can never play in the NBA. You can never negotiate a treaty. You won’t survive a fall on the catwalk during fashion week, or do any of the exciting, highly paid jobs that required a change mindset. Great careers demand great improvisational skills – the first rule being to say, “Yes, and….” Successful people don’t continue to tango when the music changes to hip-hop.

Sometimes they’ll call an audible

I hear such frustration from my coaching clients. They feel they were guaranteed the job they won would be exactly the job they do. What they don’t realize is their boss wishes it were true. So do the investors, ad agency, product development people, logistics people and webmaster. Change is painful, expensive and necessary.

Do you say you do, but you really don’t want want to experience the realities of being successful in business? The excitement that comes with anxiety as your company attempts to innovate, iterate, invent, re-invent and take risks – including taking the company off one track and moving to another – and maybe moving back, or moving out of the sector.

Look at the success of Ignighter.com. In 2008, twenty-somethings Kevin Owocki, Daniel Osit and Adam Sachs launched it as a “group dating” site based in the US. It’s designed to help people avoid the one-on-one misery of a first date.  The site lets members create group outings so they’re mingling with a bunch of people at some fun activity. It took off all right but never grew much in the US, where the guys were hustling to make it happen. After a year, they looked at the stats, and even though they had NEVER been to these countries, their site was doing better in Asia, particularly well in India.

Guess what they did? They clung to their business plan and kept chipping away at the domestic market. No, just kidding. They moved the focus of the business to India, where there are now two million users. They are about to visit India for the first time, to open an office there, hire local people – and enjoy the venture capital they got from among others, Rajan Anandan, Google’s top executive in India.

The next time your boss calls an audible, run with it. Look in the direction you’re told to move toward, and find your way there, until you’re told to change direction again. Yes, that’s how winning teams win. You do want to be on a winning team, don’t you?

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One Response to “You Say You Do But You Don’t”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nance Rosen, laura hunter. laura hunter said: RT @nancerosen You Say You Do But You Don’t http://bit.ly/gZPU7D. Great post on being adaptable to change. […]

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