Management of changes, management of life.
So much has been written, so many courses to teach people how to apply this concept in real life.
Just a few days ago I was having a conversation on the subject and how things changes. Then I start a more introspective trip relating to my life.
I was ready to conquer the world and make the difference some seasons ago… (just not to say many years ago!) at least that was the feeling and the intention.
I can’t recall a strategy, a real plan on where I was going or how to achieve it. It was more of an exploration. Was a mix of fun, frustrations, achievements and failures!
You have to start from somewhere, so I have accepted any kind of possible jobs to gain experience and some money. Some of the people I have met were a waste of space. Bad bosses, incompetent colleagues, but they taught me a lot. Bad bosses imprinted on my mind the sense of unreasonable requests, bad management and unfair treatment, abuse of trust (both clients and employees). Still today I remember the names of my incompetent colleagues, they have been so good teaching me about the culture of the blame, backstabbing technique (there must be a sort of school where you can learn and master that) and any sort of possible dirty attitude.
What a great school!
So first change was in targets: to find a company with experienced and valuable colleagues and a good Manager. Was that easy?
Yes and no. I met two particular guys while I was experiencing and learning how to deal with the real world. Two very different characters. The first one dealt with me as a father does with his son. He taught me honesty, integrity and respect for the people that work hard. Still today, 28 years later my path is following his teaching.
The other one was a paranoid workaholic entrepreneur engineer. I learnt from his consistency, method and possibly the most important lesson: nothing is unachievable if you commit to yourself.
The second change was in attitude: commit to me and be honest, methodical, respectful and integer; there is nothing I cannot achieve virtually.
Now the hard will come, what to do. I didn’t know at that time, I probably do now or better I am in a position where it makes sense keep doing what I am doing.
Opportunities drove me to the Oil and Gas industry. I did stay with my two first commandment:
- Work with people better than you
- Commit to yourself and be honest and respectful
A bit of luck helps sometimes and I have been lucky to work with some good companies in the sector. I have always been a long term employee. Diverging from the original subject I believe a young worker should change companies at the begin of his career to learn and be able to compare, but after a while, he should decide an organization to grow with. It did work for me.
The company that employs me now did open the doors and the opportunity and I didn’t think a second to say yes I am down for it. Not because of the name, size and reputation of the organization, but more because I knew the people that were working in the office that offered me a job. Respectable managers and competent personnel. So my first law was met!
I had to do the rest, with commitment and honesty and having had the opportunity I reached a senior manager position.
I look back now and I barely see the path, the steps that drove me here. Probably I could have landed in the same position from hundreds of different angles. The only constant was me.
How much behaviour is important, how many time as kids we managed to change? Changes are always there, the difference is the way we deal with them.
I see life as a drive, you drive for thousands of miles, but you never really reach a destination. The road always ends on an overhanging rock, like a cut, is called death. No matter what you do, no chance you can express all your potential, at a certain point regardless of your will, you have to interrupt the drive.
Some people drive for short time, others longer, some slow and cautions, other full speed. If you project yourself at the edge of that cliff, turn back and look at the tarmac’s strip rolling back to the past; that is all you have driven. How many times you adjusted the speed, how many times you diverted for alternative roads, how many time you looked for a shortcut. You have managed all those changes that we call life and you are nowhere.
Someone else will take the drive from here, maybe your son heading in the same direction or maybe not. The way you behaved yourself will probably influence his driving. Anyway, he will be only able to cover a certain amount of miles, as you did, as your father did.
In business is not so different. I always use to say to my people when we have a problem: what would you have done if this was your family? Maybe a too simple approach for whom who likes a more academic approach, but always works for me.
We do our job, not always seeing the big picture. Sometimes is not necessary for us to see it. But what we have to do is move in a direction. We work, we produce and we try to build something; there are many ways to achieve a target and during the execution, many factors may lead us to change procedures, approach and methodology. Is not a problem, it can be done, but in the same way, your drive will affect your son, your changes will affect your colleagues and the one that will continue to do your job after you. Be focused, document your changes, leave a trace of what have you done to make it easier for the next to follow up on your job. Leave a sign of your existence, give value to your actions. Ensure someone can remember you for the good guidance you left.
Is the management of change that important? Yes, it is!
Keep your brain engaged all the time. For the details, you can enrol in any course, but none of them will teach you to behave. That is what makes you, yourself!