Of course I remember you! You were that wunderkind in your early work days who plowed through tasks and got things done at an amazing pace. As an individual producer, you stood out among your peers. While you were a little narcissistic we looked past that back then.

You later learned how to see the big picture, and to understand the cultural and political realities inherent in that larger frame. As your job got bigger, you discovered you couldn’t do it all by yourself anymore so you figured out how to enlist others in your cause, idea, or course of action. Collaboration and teamwork. Wielding influence across organizational boundaries. Impulse control. Conflict management.

I remember when you began to really feel some stress at work. You couldn’t get it all done everyday. There just weren’t enough hours. Work and life balance became harder. You had to learn how to prioritize better than ever before. You even had to say “no” sometimes, without sacrificing a relationship in the process.

So here you are, at that point, that transition point where what got you here won’t get you there.

There are more dilemmas to manage and less problems to solve. There are no perfect solutions. Therefore, judgment is a premium, nay, mandatory attribute. Your ability to craft and cast a vision that people will willingly follow is paramount. Control is out (things have gotten too big and too complex for you to control them). Influence is in.

Remember, at this level of play, everyone is good, very good. They are talented, technically competent, and tough. The road to the top is narrow and getting more so. Tactics are still important, but a strategic perspective and cultural fluency almost always trump tactics. The job is much more nuanced now.

I know you well. You’ve grown a lot. You’ve learned a lot. You’re a difference maker. Good.

So, what else have you got?

In Other Words…

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.” ― Sigmund Freud

“This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.” ― Martin Luther

“My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing.” ― Marcel Proust

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.” ― Thomas Paine

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” ― Henry Winkler

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ― George Bernard Shaw, Leadership Skills for Managers

“We meet no ordinary people in our lives.” ― C.S. Lewis

In The Word…

“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. “- Proverbs 9:9 ESV