In my first post, I told you that I went from being an engineer to being a manager of 25 people. I should clarify that even when I was an engineer, I had a manager title, but I really wasn’t managing – I was still in the field day in and day out working with customers installing technology and making it work. There is nothing wrong with working with customers and I still work with customers today, but at a different level. The problem for me was that I was one of the founders of the company that I work at and the company was growing, but I was doing the same thing I did when the business started and I knew that I should be contributing at a much higher level within the organization.
In working with Christy Whitman, she taught me a process called the Desire Statement. In a Desire Statement, you become really clear about what you want and write what you want out clearly in as much detail as you can come up with. So, one evening, I got myself focused and really thought about what I should be doing in the company I was working at and as I got clear, I began to write everything that I could think about for the position that I felt I should be doing at the company. I wrote how the organization would look like under me, I would have a team of managers that reported to me and they would have engineers reporting to them. I wrote about what I would be doing for the team of people and how I would be leading them. I put as much detail as I could put into this statement.
And then, I put it away. It was a clear statement in my mind but I was not focused on making it happen, I believed that it would happen and focused on keeping it clear in my mind. Within three months of writing that statement, my role changed from being an engineer to being a manager of a small team and I was supposed to be managing, not doing the engineering work. Within three months of that, my team doubled and within three months of that, my team became what I had written down. All because I got really clear, wrote it down, and believed it would happen and I wanted it to happen.
One key that should be pointed out is that I not only believed it would happen, what I wrote was believable. It was a stretch for me, but it was not an unbelievable stretch and I believe that helped me attract the role.
Plus, I prepared myself for the role. I started listening to podcasts about management. My favorite management podcast is Manager Tools. Mark and Mike break management into simple manageable actions that you can take and they leave the theory out. Plus, I am an avid reader and included many books on leadership in the process.