Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been mapping out the most important parts of a successful career transformation, using my own experience as an example. Read back for tips on getting unstuck, getting real and getting help. For my last post in this series, I want to think through finding your groove and staying there.
When I first started my new business, I had a lot of motivation to hustle. Sitting at my kitchen table in the middle of a recession with an empty inbox offered just about all of the sales incentive I needed.
Any small business owner that expects sales to come from somewhere else while they “do the work” is living dangerously. I knew that and I have made business development the central focus of how my day is organized. When I first started out, all of my time was focused on sales.
Sales isn’t second nature to everyone but developing your communication skills with a stronger sales orientation will help you navigate your work more effectively, build better relationships and manage career transition successfully.
Today, even with a full calendar, I still devote time to business development every single day. I absolutely love that part of owning a business.
I also hired Lynn Mandinec, the best salesperson I know. In 2011, with Lynn on board, we made the decision to wind down our management consulting work and focus our time and energy on building the learning component of our business.
Making that transition meant saying no to paying work, which was hard. It was also the right decision and we’ve more than doubled the size of our business. Now we routinely turn down work that doesn’t align with our strategic plan. At the end of every year, we devote a block of time to auditing the year and preparing for the next phase of growth in our business. Every year looks a little different, because we’re evolving in lock step with our customers. That means that we don’t build, develop, create or invest in work unless we know that we can sell it. It’s a whole lot easier to grow when you develop solutions around your customers’ needs.
I often use the word “retirement” to describe my career transformation because lately it just doesn’t feel much like work. I study business. I interview progressive leaders, successful producers and people that make a difference inside some of the world’s best brands. As an outsider I have the unique privilege of going on the inside to help teams address challenges, drive collaboration, fuel innovation and grow. I get to share the knowledge I capture to help other people. I was fortunate to deliver 79 live events in 2013 and I feel like I am just getting started. Work is a whole lot of fun again!
This is the work I’ve always wanted to do. When it feels that way, I know I am in the groove. When it doesn’t, I’ll shake it up to get back to where I want to be. Having that freedom and control is priceless.
Looking back on my career transition, I was never as far as I thought from where I wanted to be.
Neither are you.
If change and transformation are top of mind, I am hoping 2014 is the year you make it happen!
Ryan Estis & Associates is a training and development organization helping companies, leaders, sales people and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance in the new economy. We offer keynotes, live classroom training and online learning that blends interaction, energy and actionable content designed to elevate performance. Contact us for programming inquiries and assistance determining the curriculum that could best support your learning and development objectives.