If all good things come to an end, how will you know when your time is up? Reaching the end of the road will look different for everyone. Will you leave once passed up for the promotion you worked hard for? Is it after closing the biggest deal at the firm? Did the idea of retirement finally sound appetizing? Or, will it be the day you weren’t looking and a recruiter messaged you?
Whatever your path might be, just remember your current situation is not your final destination. Think about it this way:
The highest position in the US (actually, the world) allows a max two (four year) terms. Most US Presidents average one term. That's only 4 years!
How about business? The average tenure for a CEO (S&P 500) is about 5 years.
How about something more relatable… the average years you will pay a bill for your child-- 18 years… okay, Millennials have successfully stretched this throughout their 20’s. (#guilty)
I’m currently reading “Good to Great” by Jim Collins and distinctly remember the moment my jaw dropped in early chapters. What was said? I’ll tell you…
The moment Jim and his research partners corrected the very core value I believe, People are a company's best asset. I felt shook, ah-ha and DUH all at once. Mind you, if you think this statement is true - prepare yourself.
Different motivators drive people to work everyday - which trust me, there is nothing wrong with that. However, research shows that the intrinsic motivation to be humble and want success for your company coupled with the ability to execute your responsibilities (and beyond) makes for the RIGHT employee.
Therefore, the best asset a company has is not simply it’s People, but it's having the RIGHT People. Not just anyone. It's the combination of feeling aligned to the company mission, your team’s vision, and at the core -- having the tools to successfully fulfill your role.
Bottom line - there is a 50/50 agreement between you and your organization.
The organization should provide a role that fits your skill set, and be prepared to challenge you in your role and beyond. I have seen too many instances where a person was placed in a role with “sink or swim” expectations. This isn't fair to anyone.
On the other end, you are tasked with being self-aware and effectively communicating how you feel. Have you lost passion? Is it time for you to pivot your trajectory? And, most importantly, are you expired?
If any of these questions found a delayed response - you may find comfort in knowing all good things will come to an end. This doesn't mean the next and next and then next after next opportunities won't be desirable. Instead find comfort in knowing the work you do is not a game of jenga.
You will run out of moves. All tools in your reach will be exhausted. And, it will be time for you to take the next step. Being a great leader isn’t a game of jenga.