My Scaling Up Lessons Learned
When I was 15, my first job was to bake bagels in Connecticut. My family moved to Arizona one year later. I started bagging groceries and stock shelves until high school. I then went on to sell clothes while I was in college. My degree was awarded, and I joined Arthur Andersen & Co. in Phoenix, Chicago, Seattle as a management information consultant. After eleven years, I moved to Microsoft, where I worked for nine more years. Then I left to homeschool my son. I am now an author, consultant, publisher, and advocate for disability inclusion. It was a challenging journey, but I am grateful for the life lessons it provided me.
Over the years, I have had many bumps and bruises. I also made many mistakes and experienced some successes. My most significant growth area was my ability to scale up as a leader. Much of the knowledge I gained was from making mistakes rather than learning from others. I have compiled a list of some of the most important (and painful) lessons that I have learned to help you avoid touching the stove. I hope they are helpful.
When in crisis, lean in.
Use the phrase “I’m focused” instead of “I’m anxious.” Others want to see that you are in control.
Keep calm even when others are panicking.
Sometimes, your best option is the one that’s least bad.
Do not be vague or elusive. If you don’t give them the truth, others will find their own answers.
Even if you don’t know the exact steps, align yourself immediately on the goal and what next.
You must act quickly to meet the urgency of the situation.
Follow your purpose
You can be a madman about bringing order to chaos.
Don’t try to fix the problem.
When asked for assistance, respond. But make sure that others are also helping.
Make sure you are clear about what, who, and when. Hold others responsible for getting things done.
Be determined, but also be open to learning from your mistakes.
Follow through with difficult decisions with empathy and intention.
Do not let the urgent overshadow the important.
You can schedule everything, even downtime.
You must be accessible and not closed-off; you also need to get the job done.
Respect the time of others as you would want your own.
Genuinely seek out and share wisdom.
Do not delegate tasks, instead empower people to solve problems.
Expect others to do what you promise.
Make it easy for others to ask for help.
Be a great communicator.
High value per word (Two ears and one mouth).
To ensure understanding, ask clarifying questions.
Ask tough questions to challenge your thinking.
Pay attention to the nonverbal cues of others and adapt your actions accordingly.
You should behave as you belong in this position
Talk and walk with purpose.
Political awareness is better than political driving.
Do not do anything that could cause someone to doubt your integrity or principles.
What is life satisfaction? Personal, professional, and financial? It is possible to find your life contentment (personal, professional, financial) and then work towards it.
Do not make your situation so complicated that no one would want it—no 2 a.m. email.