I recently did some work with a company where the CEO was relatively new and after about a year on the job, realized that he had no choice but to terminate the VP of Human Resources. Why? For eight years that VP of HR had done a fairly good job of executing the performance appraisal system, meeting the recruiting goals that were set out by the divisions, and having HR specialists in the divisions to deal with particular personnel problems. That’s what the VP of HR thought his job was.
The new CEO believed that besides those standard duties the person was executing, the most important job of HR was to make sure the company had very talented people in the critical jobs at every level and to assist/push the CEO and the management of the company to make that happen. The new CEO repeatedly tried to explain this to the VP of HR but it simply did not sink in.
The lesson here is very clear: when a person begins to feel comfortable in their job, it should be a signal that they are not being as aggressive as they should be in seeking ways to increase their impact. All of us need to keep in mind the following points:
1.) What’s Next? – Even though you may know well the elements that make up your current responsibilities, you should be constantly pursuing new ideas and approaches that will increase and broaden your impact.
2.) Sometimes Bosses Aren’t Helpful – At times when you uncover new ideas that you believe can have a big impact, your boss might not agree. Sometimes this is because the boss is threatened that part of his or her fiefdom is going to change. Other times, the boss may actually have some good points that you should listen to carefully and modify your approaches accordingly.
3.) Don’t Give Up Easily; Seek Input and Then Refine Your Thinking – If you have a bright idea, bounce it off of your peers as well as your boss and any other individual within the company who you believe could potentially add valuable insight.
Business is fun if you view it as a challenge of constantly trying to increase your impact, while executing your current responsibility well. It will be drudgery if all you are doing is protecting the status quo and battling those people who come up with bright ideas.