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The Great Experiment – A Lesson in taking a risk

I’ve been away for a while.  For those of you who followed my blog, I apologize.  I made a shift in what I was doing, and I wasn’t sure or comfortable that I should share what was going on.  As someone who is typically transparent, it seemed like an all or nothing proposition, and I went with nothing.  But, I embarked on a pretty neat adventure, and in retrospect, it would have been beneficial to share it with you as I went.  Now, you get the recap with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

Back in February of last year, a former colleague that I’d worked with at two companies and had known for thirteen years called me out of the blue.  He said he’d just taken over a team at his company and things were bad.  Really bad.  Highest attrition rate in the company bad.  Poor quality of work bad.  To say morale was low and attrition high was an understatement.  He said he knew I wouldn’t be interested in coming on board with them because of my work at Vivid Epiphany, but he needed someone just like me…. someone with a strong IT background who could build teams, increase engagement, and build leaders.

Now, why the strong IT background, you might ask?  They didn’t want to hire someone like me in a consulting role.  They had an open IT Director position and wanted to leverage that role.

I said I needed to learn more about what they needed before I could make a recommendation.  I went in and met with my friend… and somehow managed to negotiate and accept an offer!

There are dangers inherent in accepting a position in this way.  I left Information Technology for some fairly important reasons.  I am interested in people, not so much in things.  I probably don’t look a whole lot like the other managers there.  (Boy, did this turn out to be true!)  The question becomes, would my value proposition as a grower of talent be recognized long term?   That’s an important point, because in order to accept this role, my involvement with Vivid Epiphany was necessarily going to have to reduce.

There was also strong upside.  I would have the opportunity to continue to run my Improve Performance NOW!™ program and witness first hand the results.  One of the challenges of being a coach hired by the individual is that any reporting I am getting is skewed by the filters of said individual.  And, I’d have the bandwidth and wherewithal to do more targeted development for people.

Here was an opportunity that fell out of the sky.  My first instinct was to play it safe and say no.  It meant trading my independence for a commute, and I wasn’t sure I could work for someone else again.   They also offered me the flexibility of continuing to coach external clients, and there was the possibility of using their name in my marketing material in the future.  I will not lie to you… I was terrified to say yes.  But the yes came out of my mouth.   And I’m going to ruin the ending… it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  Not for the reasons I would have predicted.

Stay tuned…. it’s been an adventure.

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