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Archive for November, 2007
Recently I attended an all-day workshop with Seth Godin in New York City. Seth is the author of several books that include Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, Prize Inside and The Dip. He is known for his contrarian wisdom – seeing things in new and innovative ways. Thus the title Purple Cow. Seth says brown, white or black cows don’t grab our attention – but a purple one would. His challenge – what are you doing in your work or business that is remarkable – that would get attention?
Here are some thoughts shared during his unusual workshop:
• People who go to the edge grow – average is just average
• If you’re not offending people, you’re not telling a story that will be retold
• Don’t lead with how you are better – lead with how you can help
• Most people excel because they had the guts to risk failing
• If you try too hard to make money as you help people, you will fail at both
In his latest book, The Dip, Seth destroys the commonly accepted statement, “Winners never quit; quitters never win.” He says that’s rubbish; winners know when to quit and start in a new direction.
I seek out books, seminars and workshops that challenge my thinking. Maybe I’ve been wrong on an issue or belief. What about the commonly accepted business practice that “the customer is always right?” Have you ever questioned that piece of wisdom?
Do you welcome having someone challenge your beliefs and practices? Or do you defend your current knowledge and understanding of most issues? What have you done this year to force yourself to grow philosophically, psychologically and spiritually?
In doing research on current job trends this week I came across this notice to job-seekers from probably the best-known outplacement firm in the country.
”In order to enter one of our outplacement programs, we require sponsorship by an employee’s company. The reason we cannot accept people without corporate sponsorship is that we cannot overcome the awkward ethical/functional dilemma inherent in working with an ‘unsponsored’ individual. Good outplacement requires the freedom to counsel the client even when their wants conflict with their needs. In a ‘retail’ relationship, both parties are either consciously or subconsciously prone to define the client as a customer and therefore the ultimate arbiter of what is right or wrong tactically.”
It appears pretty obvious that they don’t expect you as a job-seeker to be qualified to be in the driver’s seat for any of the process of getting a new job. So please allow me to interpret their message for you.
To start with, you certainly can’t afford the $4000-$6000 we are going to charge your company to hold your hand in this process. Secondly, you really aren’t smart enough to know what’s best for you. And thirdly we are really good at simply duplicating the miserable life you had previously and don’t want to be bothered by taking the time to hear about your personal dreams and passions at this stage of your life. We don’t have the experience or the inclination to help you create your own unique and perhaps non-traditional work path. Don’t bore us with terms like personal fulfillment, finding your mission in life, or having work you love. We’re pros at putting your behind in the next cubicle in this non-ending series of boring chapters in your life.
I certainly hope this approach would make you run the other way. You most assuredly should be in the driver’s seat for any transition in your own job/life. No one knows as much or cares as much as you. Yes, you may be able to benefit from a coach but you don’t want an organization to take over and treat you like a robot. 85% of the process of finding proper direction and fulfilling God’s purpose comes from looking inward – only 15% from looking at work history and credentials. Only you are qualified to see these subtle patterns that embrace your passions, your relationships, and the things that give you a sense of joy and meaning. Don’t allow circumstances or a prescribed “outplacement” plan make decisions that you deserve to make. Some fancy organization may be able to squeeze you into a “job” but they aren’t likely to help you create the “life” you want.