There are plenty of articles out there about recognising when to move on from a role or a company. Identifying when you are in a cul-de-sac and when you are on a dead-end street. However, there is another angle here which isn’t driven by external limitations (looking out) actual or perceived and this is looking in and recognising your role.
I’ve had the privilege to work on some fantastic programmes, with great teams, growth opportunities and constant excitement in my day to day role. However, in two scenarios I had to look in and recognise my role in the company moving forward and recognise if firstly it is right for me and secondly if it is right for the company and then make some hard decisions.
In the first scenario, the company was stuck in rut looking for the next route to finance. I proposed and developed strategies and examples toward commercial routes that weren’t typical to the existing business model. These were solutions that would enable change and a route to finance but required a change in terms of mindset, culture and practice. The company did not want to move from its existing model of practice, I couldn’t make a difference. For me, I go to work to bring ideas and extraordinary projects to life, I don’t go in just for a paycheck. In this scenario I made the very hard decision to move on – I recognised that my role and the value that I can bring wasn’t going to make a difference.
The second scenario was in a company that pivoted away from a commercial model to a research and development model. I market, I sell, I commercialise, I build businesses to bring ideas to life. The company didn’t want to pursue the commercial route to market but wanted to focus on grant-funded technology development. After much discussion, I again looked at my role, my skills, what I do and why I do it and recognised that I couldn’t add value to this company my role did not exist in the future envisioned by the company.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t just walk when you think your role is no longer there, you fight, create and innovate around solutions and routes forward. But as with the outward-looking recognition, so too when looking inward you need to be strong enough to make the hard decision to take a different step forward at the right time.
This is not just about survival. It’s about finding your role first and the environment in which not only you can thrive, but you can also enable the business to thrive.