As I prepared to leave an almost 40 year career recently, I thought about what I had learned. I learned things through trial and error and from seeing things common things in uncommon areas. It’s my lens on a bit of the working world. I talked about these things at my “Next Chapter” celebration and have had a number of people ask for the list. And so, take it or leave it, these are the ones that come most to my mind of lessons learned. What have I learned after almost 40 career years.
• Take chances, leave your comfort zone, take some risks. Failure and mistakes come with the territory….it was once said that those who never fail are those who never tried.
• Believe it or not, people don’t pay that much attention to you-so don’t get too full of yourself or think you are really hot stuff. Remember my Polish Grandmother’s saying: The higher the monkey climbs, the more you can see his ass.
• Don’t be complacent. On occasion in my working career my husband labelled me a chronic malcontent. I really didn’t mind. If I do the same thing too often I don’t stay fresh or have the zeal I should.
• Don’t avoid difficult decisions-take the tough ones along with the easy ones-if you don’t they’ll come back to haunt you. Make the decision thinking about the overall impact, weigh all the factors and make the decision and carry it out with purpose and respect.
• If you are privileged to be in a position of leadership, your role is to support those who report to you so they succeed and ultimately progress further than you.
• Give people a stage-a chance to demonstrate their potential and then sit back and watch what happens and cheer for them from the wings. It was once said “it is better to prepare a stage than to walk across it”.
• Create and nurture relationships-not only your own but link others together-for business, professionally watch the synergy, watch the good things that happen from getting people together.
• Have fun…have fun at work…be creative. Do things like dressing up, buying something from the dollar store for your team members, write a poem or a song, design a synchronized snow shovel routine and use play dough to visually demonstrate something at a business planning session. If teams are creative in fun, they will be creative in work.
• Finally, bask in joy of working with others.
What do you think? What have you learned? What did I miss?