Monday, July 19, 2010

The 3 Year Secret

By Dave Osh

Many people want to change jobs in order to become happier and successful. After the change, they find that they are still unhappy and unsuccessful in their new jobs. Then what? They start "shopping" for the next job believing it will ultimately make them more happy and successful. The rat race for the "perfect" job they will never find continues because they never ask "is it about the job or is it about me?"

New comers to an organization, at every level, tend to focus on the shortcomings of their new employer instead of their own. They do not think about the changes they need to make in order to be happy and successful. Yet, it is highly unlikely that an organization will change dramatically just to meet their expectations. It is their responsibility to Adopt, Adjust and Accommodate.

It is very hard, on any rung of the corporate ladder, to do this. The more senior the position, the more difficult it is. What do these people do? Do they quit their jobs and move on to another company or do they choose to Adopt, Adjust and Accommodate?
iveness on the job escalated exponentially. Other colleagues tell me they have experienced the same thing. It's as if after the 3 year milestone one breaks through all the initial barriers and begins fulfil
I have personal insight into this issue. After 3 years in each of my management positions, my effectling true potential.

What happens at this milestone of 3 years?

We know our business model to the smallest details, we know our customers' needs wants and desires, we know our markets and we know our industry. It is a combination of knowledge and experience. But above all it is the point when we fully assimilate our company's mission and values. We Adopt them as our own. We Adjust to the company culture and the unique way the business is run. We Accommodate the requirements of the stake holders - shareholders, board, top management, etc.

For this reason, I am reluctant to hire managers that do not break through the 3 year milestone. 80% to 90% of the resumes received by my office for new management postings are of people that have spent 1-2 years on their jobs. Some people have spent only a few months in a job and are already soliciting a new one. More astonishing, they claim achievements that most of us cannot claim in a lifetime. Should we take these candidates seriously? Is job hopping a life pattern that they will continue after they join us?

There are 2 lessons here.

The first lesson is for employees. We should stick to our employer for at least 3 years. During the first 3 years we will do our utmost to Adopt, Adjust and Accommodate without losing our ability to take initiative and add value to the company. At the end of 3 years, we are in a better position to judge whether our employer fits our life mission.

The second lesson is for employers. We should hire team members who have performed consistently for the same employer for more than 3 years. Five years is even better. These are leaders with stamina. These are leaders that will stay long enough to grow their personality and commitment to the organization through time. These are leaders that will stick to it long enough to make genuine and long lasting contributions to the organization and all who work with them.

Time is VALUE in leadership.