Recently I joined a new, large project in a leadership role. I replaced another executive who had been there since the start. Joining mid flight, I found it hard to feel like I was adding value. Whenever I thought I saw a something needing attention, it was already covered by someone else who could confidently speak to it.
A bit lost, I confided in a mentor. Surprisingly, they said whenever they find themselves in the same situation they have small things they do to add value, such as simply taking minutes of a meeting, summarising and sharing. They also suggested that being in this role you’ll notice some things that people are concerned about but it doesn’t sit on a Gantt chart or any list. Grab those, get your head around it, and confidently talk to something that was vague.
I’m now focusing on being able to explain the entire solution end to end with simplicity, but accuracy. Being the person who can connect all the dots. This isn’t a todo item anywhere, but having someone simply being able to explain to any party the big picture and how everything connects together is valuable.
You’ll also notice some things that are a problem, grab it, get in the detail, don’t ask for permission, get it to done.
For me the power in the advice I received was that there was huge value in something as simple as paying attention in a meeting and sending out some notes afterwards. Something so simple, opportunity to help lurks everywhere.