Square peg, round hole.
That sums up how I felt day one at my previous employer. Knew it the first day. Figured I could beat it. Felt bullish! After all, I had conquered the franchise/dealer world. This would be piece of cake.
Lasted 15 months. 9 of them hell. Couldn’t get a handle on the client. Despite my best efforts. Challenges with the internal team in terms of getting them on side. Roles duplicated and not clearly defined. I was in a marathon and the company was running sprints.
It was uncomfortable. But there was learning. Lots of it. Steep learning curve. Very steep! Unfortunately the learning didn't help with the work situation, but it led to a brave new world for me...
It began with Alan Kay of the Glassgow Group http://www.glasgrp.com/ . He was brought in to lead a series of cross department training sessions. How to implement change within an organization. Nothing new here. What was new to me was the approach: breaking down the goal into smaller ‘baby steps’. Won't get into the details, probably mess them up. Check it out for yourself. My takeaway:
- Define the goal (s) you would like to accomplish
- On a scale of 1 – 10, rank where you currently stand on each one
- Then ask the question, “What would it take to move to a 10?”
The answers are the ‘baby steps’.
What appealed to me most though was focusing on solutions. Never liked 'analyzing a problem to death'. Negative energy! Solution-approach: positive energy! Felt right for me. Embraced it. Then forgot about it.
Layoff in August '08 galvanized me into action. But not until I had spent months playing the blame game.
Bad timing. Not only were agencies holding off on hiring, most of the ones I wanted to work for were downsizing. And crazy me, I wanted to work in the automotive category based on my previous experience!
Blamed everyone and everything. “Poor me”.
Finally in early December a friend (thank you EI and I don’t mean Employment Insurance) suggested I participate in a teleconference hosted by Jack Canfield of ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ fame http://jackcanfield.com/intro_audio_thankyou. It was the catalyst I needed to get going again.
And once I added the ‘baby steps’ process, positive things started to happen.
Set my goal: work. Simple, I was unemployed.
Rank: about 4 out of 10. Maybe even lower. Middle age ad guy looking for work in the advertising business north of Toronto as we sink into recession! Tons of experience though, smiles a lot and likes selling.
“What would it take to get to a 8?” OK, had to be realistic.
First step, decided I wanted to work with a small firm with direct contact with Creative and clients.
Second step, wanted to be close to home. Looked to Barrie.
Third step, contacted all the ad agencies and design firms in Barrie. Cold called them actually.
Got response from 2. One was interested and ‘put me on file’. Next.
The other was interested but was busy with work. Understood that. The mad rush to complete work before the end-of-the year. Set up a meeting for early January.
And after a 3 week courtship of emails, telephone conference calls and late afternoon meetings at the Williams Coffee Pub in Barrie, we closed the deal. Result: started working on new business with alteredperceptioninc on January 27. Check them out at http://www.alteredperceptioninc.com/. They do great work and I am excited to be working with them. I know, I know…shameless self promotion :)
And the best part of the experience? I blog about it. Now, that will get me to a '10'
Goals. Baby Steps. Positive Energy. Moving forward. The story continues…