Disengaging is a key step when switching gears

Time has come

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I am currently finishing an engagement. There, I helped the client in deploying a new way of working, namely a SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle) that was internally defined, with a special focus on system requirements specifications. I have been busy with that for about two years, obviously not full time. Truth be told, I am pretty happy with the results as a number of key analysts are now able to be exemplars of the wanted behavior and will for sure maintain some traction. It is not the same group, they really are now up to something great. We went through an assessment of their capabilities. It was interesting to experience. From both sides. From what I could see, they have a decent mastery of the trade. This needs to solidify somewhat over time, but the basics are in place. Today I discussed the results with the management. So, now comes the time to disengage. That's a great time, filled with a feeling for accomplishment, and a sad time, since it amounts to leaving a group of great people with a little pinch in the heart. Maybe we'll meet again in the future, this would be great.

Switching

When we switch gears, there is this in-between moment. A moment that is a great opportunity. The opportunity to switch to another speed, to another world. It is a time where one can escape the "success trap." The "success trap" being that place where you know that you can do it, and are recognized for your ability, and paid accordingly in the process. But it is like golden handcuffs. One day, the floor may well evaporate, or the context change, and you'll end up naked and cold. Better keep moving.

Targeting

That's a moment where it is important to reflect back on your top 3 outcomes. And get a sense of direction for the next moves. Some questions to get just that:
  • Where do I want to go from here?
  • How can I leverage this without ending up doing the same old again?
  • With which successful people and organizations do I want to hang out?
  • How can I satisfy my key values in the upcoming time frame?
  • What kind of new skills do I want to develop and add to my bank of talents?
Simple questions. Getting answers is harder. Well, there are always the easy, knee-jerk style reactions, like, search for cover, duck, and make no waves in safe nest in a well known place. This is not the answers you are after here. So, "where" may mean going global, "how" can mean how in a fearless way, "with which successful people" may mean insanely successful people. And with a close to perfect match for my values and in a super fast way. And in a way that will make my head spin due to the overload of talent addition. Oh yeah, now there is some drive! Of course, you'd better have some things in progress to avoid the feast and famine syndrome. I always have 2 or 3 projects running in parallel, for clients of for myself, client projects funding my own for the research and development part, until they can fly on their own. Waiting for things to go mainstream is a sure way to miss the train. While we are on the targeting, it is always better to a tad higher that you feel comfortable doing since it will stretch your skills. Remember, one's worst enemy is one's ego. And the ego doesn't like those stretches. The hell with that: stopping getting out of my own way is one of the best lessons I got in life. We are always better than we think. Go for it, don't be afraid to fail, and learn as fast as you can in the process. Staying put will only guarantee immobility!

Going forward

Time to go forward then. Full speed ahead. We are now entering turbulent times, be it economically or socially. But that's a great time since that's when the ones who will survive and prosper are those who will be able to harness talent, skill, and leading technologies to take an edge. That's what is so exciting about life: the future is no written on the wall. And if you are in great company with an insanely great project, I want to hear from you! Until next time, happy switching! Philippe