So, you’re in a job transition—or contemplating one. It’s time to have a good ‘ole fashioned “come to Jesus” staff meeting. One of the strategies I suggested in my post on detoxifying from a prior employer is to “own your own stuff.” As an employee its easy to abdicate the responsibility for your future to your employer. But now it’s time to mind your own business and begin seeing yourself as CEO of You, Inc. You can start by calling a staff meeting.
Here’s one way to conduct that meeting. Take out a piece of paper and draw six circles; five circles surrounding one in the middle. Each circle represents a different role within the company of You. Label the center circle “CEO” and each of the surrounding circles as VP of Sales, Finance, Marketing, Research & Development and Human Resources. Of course, as the sole employee of You, you get the honor of listing each of these titles on your résumé. Begin as CEO and ask the hard questions of each of your staff, writing the first things that come to mind next to their circle. If one of your “subordinates” has an objection or shifts blame to a peer, just pursue it with the other role and see where it takes you. Here’s an example:
CEO: Okay, team. I just got word that our only client will no longer be needing our services. The feedback I received from them suggests that we were not as indispensable as we may have thought. It appears we let our guard down and our attitude and quality of our work was not what it used to be. Now, I’m not going to dwell on the past to assign blame, but we need to learn from our mistakes so we can position ourselves better going forward. Let’s take a few minutes in this meeting to assess where we are. I’d like to start with Sales. What’s our situation?
VP Sales: We’re in a tough situation.
CEO: Why’s that?
VP Sales: Because we don’t have any active prospects. This kinda caught me by surprise. We’ve been so dedicated to our one client we haven’t been doing any networking or nurturing of relationships. I guess I didn’t think I needed to. It’s going to take some time to get that fired up again and with fewer buyers, it may be months, possibly a year, before we have another sale.
CEO: Disappointing, but I’m not surprised. I guess I knew that all along. Okay, Finance, how will that affect us?
VP Finance: Given our current expense run-rate and liquid cash assets, I estimate we have about 8 months to land a new client before we have to take some more serious action.
CEO: Okay. Marketing, what are you doing to generate leads for Sales?
VP Marketing: Um. Ah. I guess, not much. I’m not even sure where to start. The market has changed a lot since we got our last client. Our offering may not even be up to par right now. There’s a lot of competition better equipped than we are.
CEO: R&D, what are your thoughts on that?
VP Research & Development: I think he’s right. Our inventory is old and tired. We’re doing things the way we’ve done them the last ten years. I recommend we evaluate and attend some new training classes. I’ve always wanted us to do that but we’ve been so busy satisfying the client, or at least we thought we were, that we never made time to explore some new ideas and get trained on them.
VP Human Resources: I agree. One of my concerns over the last few years, and it may have contributed to our current situation, was that we weren’t really liking what we were doing. Much of what we did was by rote and resentment was starting to creep in. Morale was getting pretty low, especially lately when our client demanded more hours. I think the kind of change he’s suggesting could rejuvenate our team.
VP Marketing: And our brand.
VP Sales: It would certainly help me have something new to discuss with our network.
CEO: Okay guys. Let’s work this plan and see where it goes…
Of course a conversation like this could go on for some time. It could even turn into an all out brawl. In case it does, I suggest you do this somewhere in private where you can even talk out-loud amongst the roles without worrying that someone might think you’re a kook. Once you’ve recorded the notes from your staff meeting, find some friends whom you trust to review them with. They can add invaluable insights and suggestions to supplement those from your “staff.”
This exercise can reveal a lot about how you really perceive the business of You, Inc. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll quickly discover some things you may have been avoiding. Confronting these things with the authority of a CEO can help you address them and bring you closer to your next engagement. Earlier, I described this session as a “come to Jesus meeting,” and that’s what it is, for while you may be the CEO of You, Inc. you own no shares. There is only one Shareholder and one Chairman to whom you are accountable. And He paid a high price for you (1 Cor 6:19-20) because you are worth it.
Have you conducted a similar exercise and, if so, what was your experience?
Good stuff here. Similar track to Dan Miller’s 48 Days to the Work You Love.
Hi Brian! Thanks for the suggestion of Dan Miller’s book. Hadn’t read that one. Always good to add to the resource list!
Boy to do get this as I try to start a small business. Being the only person working on it besides my daughter doing my book keeping. I thought I should tell people that CBS called and wanted me to do Undercover Boss but they thought it would be to much camera work when they found out that I am the CEO, production manager, quality control and sales rep. Good Thoughts
Hi Dawson! That’s funny! I’ll bet they could do a whole series on one-man firms…”Bob, Inc.”?