Greatra Mayana

Career & Employment Opportunities

How and When to Disrupt Your Career, and Yourself (Quick Study)


So what do you do when you
are working at a company, and you’ve been there in the
same role for three or four years, and you
love this company. I mean, you believe
in the company. You believe in the mission. But the problem is, there’s this
creeping feeling that it’s time for you to do something new. You’re not really playing
to your strengths. You’re not getting to use
your strengths every day. Like, you wake up in the morning
on Monday, and you’re like, oh my goodness, I
have to go to work, sometimes maybe
even getting sick. That’s a signal for you
that, like, oh, maybe it’s time for you to
do something new. So what do you do? What do you do? [MUSIC PLAYING] One of the experiences I had is
I was working on Wall Street, and I had been an equity
analyst for about eight years. I was an institutional
investor-ranked analyst and really at the
top of my game. And it was like, it’s time. It’s time for me to
do something new. And I went to my boss. I said, hey, I want
to do something new. It feels like it’s time. And he said, really,
no, really, we like you right where you are. Within a year, I left. Had it been possible for me
to jump to do something new, to disrupt myself
inside the organization, I wouldn’t have left. I would have stayed where I was. And so that led me
on this journey of, how do I build out a framework
or codify a process so that people that are
high performers who want to stay at an organization
that they love will stay? What does that look like? You’re bored. Why? Because you’re no
longer learning. It’s not that I don’t
like this company. It’s not that I
don’t like this boss. It’s just that I am
not learning anymore. So that’s the first
thing that you want to understand is that
everyone’s on an S-curve. OK. Now that you’re at the
top of that S-curve, if you try to stay
there too long, your plateau will
become a precipice. [SQUEALING BRAKES] In a sentence, what
is the S-curve? OK. Yeah. You know what? No one’s ever asked me to
say it in one sentence. Isn’t that funny? So what is the S-curve? The S-curve is a learning curve. Everyone’s on a learning
curve, including you. It looks like this. There are three parts. Number one, there’s the low
end, or the launch point, of the curve, and it’s
characterized by inexperience. You’ve just started a new role. You just started a new job. Growth is going to be slow. And that means that
some days you’re going to feel kind
of discouraged. Then there’s a sweet
spot, or steep part of the curve, which is
characterized by exhilaration, and learning, and confidence. Things will be hard,
but not too hard. Easy, but not too easy. All of your neurons are firing. This is that sweet
spot of that S-curve. And then there’s the
high end of the curve. The high end of the curve is
where you become a master. You’ve mastered
your domain, which is characterized by boredom. But what’s encouraging
about that is then you can say to yourself, OK. That’s why I’m cranky. That’s why I’m bored. That’s why I’m feeling like
I need to do something new. And once you know
that you can say, all right, I need to do
something about that. You might be thinking,
all right, really? Like, I’m really enjoying
the top of this S-curve. It’s pretty comfortable. And for me to jump
to a new S-curve, it’s going to be kind of scary. It means I need to put
myself into a situation where things are brand new
and really uncomfortable, and I really don’t
want to do it. But it’s also scary
if you don’t jump. If you’re too comfortable,
we stop growing, and we get complacent, and that
is a huge, huge danger zone. Let me tell you, for anybody who
knows anything about mountain climbing, you’ll know
that when you get to an altitude above 26,000
feet, it’s the death zone, because you’re so high up, your
brain and body start to die. Well, when people are at
the top of an S-curve, it’s also the death zone. Because if you stay there too
long, your brain and your body, they start to die. You have to do it. OK. You’re at the top of an
S-curve, and you’re like, OK, I got to jump to a new S-curve. And it’s either going to
be at another company, but I’d like it to be here. Because I like this company. I like my boss. How do you craft that
conversation with your manager? You want to do everything
that I didn’t do. Like what I did on Wall Street. I’m bored. I want to do something new. In my naivete, expecting my boss
to just figure it out for me. I’ve learned some good lessons. Be very proactive. You want to go in and
say, it’s time for me to do something new. I’ve noticed that there is
an opportunity over here– meaning a problem that the
organization needs to solve over here– and I think I can help solve it. And so I’d like to go do that. What I will do is I
will commit to make sure that when I go do this, and
I hope that you will back me, I will make sure that I train my
successor so that you, my boss, are not left in the lurch. We sometimes forget
that our boss has a job that they
need to get done. And if we leave, then it will
be hard for them to get it done. But if you can find a
place for yourself to go, manage so that the person
who will fill your slot will be able to move
in very quickly, then there’s no
interruption of business, then you’ve solved a lot of the
problem or the challenge of why your boss might say, well,
I don’t want you to go. Well, you’re like, well,
actually, in the long run, this is not only
going to benefit me, but it’s going to benefit
you and the organization. [MUSIC PLAYING] You as a leader, you
as an organization need people who can grow. You need people who
learn, leap, and repeat. And so the challenge
for you as a manager is, if this person is
good at what they do, is to make sure that they
jump to new S-curves. Sometimes they’re going
to approach you and want to jump to an S-curve. And if you want to
retain them, then you got to let that happen. Sometimes they
won’t approach you, but they’ve been a high
performer in the past, in which case, you need to push them. Because if they’re at the top
of the curve and they’re bored, they’re either going to leave,
or they’re going to disengage. They’re going to be complacent
and stay, which is bad. It’s bad for them. It’s bad for you. It’s bad for the company. I have this hypothesis
that whenever people lose their jobs– I’ve lost my job before– my argument to you is
when you lose your job– hypothesis– you’re at
the top of that S-curve. It’s time for you to jump. You know it, and
you won’t do it, so the universe
gives you that nudge. Do you want to disrupt yourself,
take control of the situation and figure how, and when,
and what you jump to? Or do you want to get
pushed off the cliff? Your plateau
becomes a precipice. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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