A few years ago, I wrote about a stale cliché that refuses to die, “We have to do more with less.” Since I wrote that piece, I feel like I have heard the phrase more than ever. I want to offer an alternative way to think about achieving greater results with fewer inputs that can actually be valuable and energizing to a team.
When I talk about how important attitude is to the team, this is really what I have in mind. Of course I want smart and talented employees. But all the intelligence and skill in the world is next to useless if the employee does not put it to use in service to the team.
A good manager helps the team understand when “good enough” is just that and when it is time to put “pencils down.” The quest for perfect often thwarts the more important goal of simple completion. I coach colleagues on this all the time.
With depressing frequency, I find that too many smart and capable candidates derail themselves by making some elementary mistakes. Give yourself every chance to stand out and succeed by following these simple rules.
Go ahead and play your strongest cards. Give yourself permission not to be good at everything. Find your lane and become exceptional at something that fits you. That’s what leads to real growth and the best and happiest career.
This is an exciting time. Companies that embrace change now by reimagining the future of work from the ground up, and building equity and flexibility into every aspect of the employee lifecycle, will be the big winners. Ultimately, we all stand to gain.
Leaders need creative destruction in their toolkit. This is not about fixing something that is clearly already broken. This is about shaking things up by disrupting something familiar and causing discomfort in order to force new thinking.
It is up to each of us to define and enable a corporate culture in which integrity is recognized and rewarded. Just as critically, that culture needs to condemn exploitative and abusive behavior, even when it is profitable.
I recently celebrated my 10th year as NetApp’s general counsel. Of all the things I could have imagined when I started at NetApp in 2010, leading an organization during a global pandemic certainly was not one of them. As we navigate this massive dislocation, I wonder: What advice would I give to my 2010 fresh-faced, eager self?