Are You Going to Get Cut, Traded or a Raise?

Accountability Organizational leadership Teamwork


Key Point: I hope you realize that you are being evaluated in your job today and literally everyday. If you were a general manager of a sports team, or a conductor of an orchestra, would you renew your contract (with a raise)? Why? Why not? In a somewhat related way, Jodi Glickman’s recent Harvard Business Review blog asks this question: “If you were a stock, would you bet on yourself?

Please understand that any effective team leader is asking these types of questions ALL the time: “How do I make my team stronger?” “What new skills do I need?” “How is my business changing?” “What does this mean regarding the competences and attributes of my team members?” If a leader/manager is not thinking this way, he or she will lose their jobs sooner than later. Perhaps you think that’s not happening in your world, but if not, I believe it will be shortly. Even concepts like university tenured positions are likely not sustainable. It sounds callous but unless we own our own businesses, we are all free agents on “contract.” And guess what? We actually do own our own business and it’s called “YOU Inc.” Now what?

This is not about whether you and I are likable or try hard. Organizations in almost every market and jurisdiction are continuously and rapidly morphing to offer better value others want to invest in. No institution can rely on past value. Present and future value is all that counts. Don’t take it personally, but your job is a sub plot in this bigger story.

Character Moves:

  1. Honestly answer the question. Are you solidly placed to continue or are you at risk? Would you invest in “YOU Inc.?” Put feelers into the market. Who wants your services? Are you an appreciating asset?
  2. Determine what you want to become a “master” craftsman in and continue to invest in that competency. But you have to put yourself on a continuous development program. And be sure that there is a future need for that skill. If you go home and watch a lot of TV every night instead of developing yourself, networking, etc… Say goodbye to your job. It’s only a question of when, not if.
  3. In addition to a set of master skills, your attribute and character needs continuous practice and development. If you are not developing your Emotional Quotient, some one with the same level of technical competence as you will have done so. That makes them more valuable than you. Become more self aware, and committed to personal emotional growth.
  4. Grow your own personal brand. Don’t be bashful about selling yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else likely will. Become an exceptional sales person and self-promoter. Get over it. There is nothing sleazy about this if its done thoughtfully and presented in the context of adding real benefit to others.
  5. Do not become complacent or think you’re not expendable. In every organization there are people on the “bubble,” at risk of losing their jobs and many are blind to it. Put yourself in charge by committing to a better, renewed and improved “YOU Inc.” Sell yourself everyday. By the way, if you did super great in the past, enjoy the plaque you received. It will be appreciated but you are being evaluated in the present.
  6. Attach yourself to organizations committed to your personal equity development, which treat you with respect and as a member of that team. Regardless of how the business model will change, that organization will consciously care about you as a team member. Even if you are asked to leave, you will be treated with fairness and dignity. (Remember that everything including the role you’re in ends… Be ready for the next great step for “YOU Inc.”)

Renewed contracts in The Triangle,