By Tim Elgar
This post was originally published on Tim's LinkedIn page on 11th August 2021. Here is the link Coming up to 6 weeks in now in my new role and with my annual leave coming next week I thought it was a good time to reflect and share some learning.
The first reflection relates to being an ‘expert’ and this whole notion.
When you start a new job it is a clean slate. You have been hired through a robust (in Gradconsult's case) recruitment process, but the relationship is new and we have this natural curiosity about whether the skills and experience we have developed through our career to date, or previous approaches we have used will transfer to this new context.
I have been determined to learn from previous mistakes and use this change as an opportunity to embed new healthy habits. In a recruitment process you sell yourself about what you can do, demonstrating your expertise in your specialist area. In my case this relates to organisational culture, coaching, leadership and L&D.
Entering the consultancy space and helping other organisations means they are rightly paying for me to bring this expertise to the table. After all I am an ‘expert’. I am not going to lie, there have been many moments in the last 6 weeks where I have doubted my credentials despite feedback and progress reports being largely supportive and positive. So, how comfortable am I with this idea that I am an expert? Well, in all honesty it’s not something I am naturally comfortable with.
However, I look back on my coaching qualification and the years of reflecting on and reading around great leadership. I’ve needed to remind myself what that has taught me. Great isn’t defined by knowing it all, but it is characterised by my behaviours and approach. These are not always comfortable but include principles such as…. work hard and stay humble, be authentic, understand first, exercise radical candour, be proactive, ask for help and seek good feedback.
There have been moments where I have felt exposed or I am doing things for the first time and the imposter voice gets the better of me – in fact, it has exposed skill gaps I need to fill and areas I definitely need to learn and improve on. But what I am beginning to understand is what our clients value most; they want to see me working hard for them, taking the time to properly listen, being open and honest, being thorough, using the strength and experience of the rest of the team (who are incredible) and building an authenticity in the relationship. After all what they really want to be able to do is TRUST us to deliver. I can definitely try and do that! I have a little note next to my computer now that says ‘work hard and stay humble’ beginning to recognise that whether I feel like an expert or not I have the ability to be good value for money.
A motivator in changing jobs has been the opportunity for continual learning and ensuring I am spending enough time in my stretch zone (some would call it your learning zone). Rebecca (Gradconsult MD) refers to it as ‘scary good’. Scary bad is when this pushes into your panic zone.
After 6 weeks I have been able to transition a few things into my comfort zone and the scary bad moments are decreasing. What I am pleased about is that I have lots of ‘scary good’ stretching assignments. These can feel overwhelming, but if balanced then they are just what I need. We all need a healthy level of stress to achieve optimum performance (stress and pressure curve) but we also cant be there 100% of the time. The challenge to all of us, is where are you on the curve today? We all need a bit of Scary good. If you don’t have it – go seek it out!
Summary; 6 weeks in - is it a bed of roses? Nope, it’s pretty hard work! Am I pleased to be here and excited about where we are going? Absolutely. Am I ready for a holiday? – Yes I am! 😊