Are your feet on the ground or is your head in the clouds?
Are you in an office drawing on a white board all day or are you in the streets talking to clients?
So many of us start at the bottom, grinding out long days for little pay. We have all been in jobs and situations where we have no say and no one is listening anyway. Our job is one dimensional and we can’t influence change.
So we dream…
We dream of the day when we make it to the top, influence change and call all the shots; when we no longer have to do the dull, unimportant day-to-day grind.
Then we make it. We work hard and make it to the top (or near it). We have a nice office, big window, people under us, decisions that need our attention, meetings to attend, goals to set and more.
Have you ever had that boss who doesn’t seem to get it? They don’t get what you do? They just don’t understand what goes into making progress or completing the daily tasks you have.
What I am getting at here is that good managers don’t ever fully let go of where they started. You can’t fully understand the impact of your decisions if you’ve lost touch with the “real work” that makes a company successful.
So ask yourself the following questions:
- When was the last time you talked to a customer?
- When was the last time you saw how your product is created, displayed and sold?
- When was the last time you went out on a sales call?
- When was the last time you emailed a few random customers (or better yet, called them) to find out about their experience?
- When was the last time you listened in to your call center calls?
- When was the last time you learned something new?
- When was the last time you innovated, anything?
- When was the last time you did follow-up on high-level decisions you made to see how implementation went?
- When was the last time you had a meeting with a new sales representative?
- What did they teach you that you didn’t know?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then you need to spend a little more time with your feet on the floor.
We are all very busy (and happy) answering the hard questions and developing strategy, but it’s no excuse for losing touch with your company’s front line. All that leads to is poor decisions and bad leadership.
We can all be better than that manager we had way back at the beginning of our careers.