Do you want to progress in your career? Do you know how to respond to your boss?
I’d like to tell you the story of a middle manager who was removed from his post and assigned another role following a reorganisation. Often, when they don’t want you around anymore in company, you will be promoted to a position abroad or asked to manage a vague ‘special’ project. It happens and will continue to happen.
But even if you’re starting out with a “compromised” position or one which appears weak, as a business coach, my suggestion is always to play your cards as best you can. I never abandon a cause so I support people by giving them the confidence and desire to do things well. That way, you can at least be satisfied with yourself, without waiting for others to congratulate you. This certainly contributes to the development of your competencies and capabilities, and even helps to strengthen your character: for example, don’t just resist (see “resilience”) but rather, react (see “antifragility”).
What did we do together in our Career Coaching process?
We got ready to approach the market to seize new opportunities. “Scholastic” response.
Unfortunately, even for people who are willing to put in the effort these are not easy times, so I suggested making the most of alternative 0 (that should never be ignored) i.e. remaining in the same company, perhaps by focusing more on yourself and what is best for you, rather than always naïvely thinking about the glory of the company you’re working for. But that’s another story.
What should you do? The CEO asked Carlo – not his real name – to oversee an “Open Innovation” project. Initially the project assigned to him happened to fit his competencies and potential, but it didn’t materialise. Then the CEO suggested that Carlo take care of a more technical activity involving the creation of an innovation workshop.
There followed a deadlock of several months.
What to do?
One option is that of waiting and wallowing in the silence of these weeks of little or no communication.
Another is that of moving on mentally and emotionally and training your thoughts on what comes next. That can be difficult to do until the split takes place and in this case the option didn’t make sense for Carlo.
Another possibility still is that of transforming the scraps you are being offered into an opportunity for performing the task as well as possible. How can the task be carried out in the best possible manner? By preparing a nice presentation (I’m a consultant…) about how to put together an innovation workshop starting from the basics, i.e. the technical infrastructure. It’s true that the design of the technical infrastructure is not exactly a job for a middle manager, but it’s also true that if you consider the activity more broadly, even this process makes sense.
Let’s take this opportunity to put together a project proposal starting from the physical and technical infrastructure, before looking at the people, organisation and issues to be examined: from the short-term issues to more medium-and long-term issues, how to involve the rest of the organisation and give the project visibility internally and externally, perhaps through posts and by attending conferences, and comarketing operations with a supplier of technology or a research organisation.
Carlo had his own idea about the type of input. He produced a Word document, even though I was expecting a presentation with slides – despite our comparable backgrounds, we have completely different visions. Carlo’s document was a research on how innovation labs are created, what they are used for, etc.
If I wanted to be harsh, I would say it looked like a research project people used to prepare at high school, where most of the content is copied from an encyclopaedia (before we had Internet).
This isn’t the way to impress a CEO.
In any case, it was a first step and an introductory document for establishing a common language.
Normally, however, bosses are not expecting a lesson on the theory of a subject from someone who works for them. They want a presentation of a project and its feasibility.
Therefore, if you are someone reporting directly to a CEO - therefore a manager in your own right - you need to decide or take a position and be proactive.
This means illustrating how you would do things in detail with a PowerPoint presentation that is well done, “sexy”, slick and detailed. Is that a waste of time?
I don’t think so:
- You will be satisfied with yourself
- Your boss will respect your professionalism and managerial approach
- It could be a good exercise for the future (maybe even the near future) when you approach the market.
So, get to work!
Use photos, videos, music, business models, tables, interviews.
As if you’re preparing a pitch as a start-up – after all you have to sell an idea by making it seem doable and tangible!
What about GoodGoing! ?
Our consultants and coaches can help you with your method, as well as the design, revision and finetuning of your presentation. Thanks to our backgrounds and experience, we provide a high level and comprehensive support. You are not alone! Call us or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.