Think back to a time when you were about to quit your job but hadn’t yet told your boss, your board, or your company. I call this the pre-quit-power-zone, because knowing you will soon be out the door usually provides people with an explosion of self-confidence and power. Suddenly you find yourself giving feedback that you’ve previously withheld to your peers, telling the truth about misguided strategy, and offering your team parting words of wisdom about what they should do with their careers and lives.
But why wait? What if you could harness that power for yourself and your team without actually quitting your job?
An executive once shared with me that in the weeks before she finally handed in her resignation, she stopped pulling all-nighters to prepare for board presentations, shut down her voice of self-doubt, and started saying what she really thought about the company strategy. She was overwhelmed with the positive reaction and said she wished she had changed her behavior years ago. She figured she would have tripled her earning potential with the faster promotions and larger bonuses that she would have received.
Here are three simple ideas that I use with the executives I advise to create genuine truth-telling without the need to walk out the door afterwards:
1. What Do You Really Want to Say?
That is a question I often ask exectuives who call me for advice on how to handle a situation. Then I reply “Just say that; exactly what you told me.” Self-doubt is the greatest cause of self-editing. We commonly worry about how someone will react, whether our opinions are valid, or whether there will be consequences for being “contrarian.” All are a complete waste of mental energy. Start being more candid and transparent.
2. Share Your Thoughts and Your Intent
Crossed wires and misinterpretation happen when others have to guess your thoughts and intentions. When you are listening to someone else and a thought comes to you, do you share it, filter it, or mask it in another question? Don’t be so confusing! Share your thoughts and your intentions clearly to achieve crystal clear communication.
3. Encourage Speed in Your Team
When the countdown to leaving is ticking, you accelerate your plans and decisions and take bets on people in new roles. What if the next 30 days were to be your last at the company? What would you eliminate, accelerate, and decide?
There is power in winging it—in not over-thinking and being absolutely ruthless in a thoughtful way with the truth you tell. Write your imaginary resignation letter and live the next 30 days like they are the last in your company.
Dedicated to growing your business,