Living on Purpose: Take charge of you
Vail CO, Colorado
As we began our coaching session, my client expressed her frustration at work. A sales representative for Casey Pharmaceuticals, Carol had worked diligently for five years to develop her territory. The company was growing and changing, and Carol felt pulled in many directions.
Carol explained, “A year ago, Casey Pharmaceuticals hired Jack from our biggest competitor to operate our local plant. Although I had worked independently in this area for several years, I was relieved when he took over the administrative functions of my job. I’m paid on commission basis and need to be out selling.
“Jack has recruited several employees,” she said. “From the company’s perspective, I understand this philosophy, but each time they add an employee, my job changes.”
“What are the benefits and costs of having these people on staff?” I asked.
“There are more people to share the work,” she said. “And as the team grows, there is more support from our home office.”
“As for the cost,” she continued, “more people means more chaos. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, which is trying for everyone!”
“Your frustration level seems higher. What’s happening?” I asked.
“When our largest competitor went out of business, Jack immediately hired their top salesperson who covers the same territory as I do. He started with Casey two weeks ago and there haven’t been any formal discussions on dividing the territory. To make it worse, the owner asked us to work it out. It puts everyone in an awkward position.”
“What can you do to make this transition smoother?” I asked.
“I want to make it smoother,” she said, “but I feel unappreciated. “I have given everything to this company and the owner doesn’t seem to care. He’s more interested in growing the business. My brother tells me, ‘it’s just a job,’ but it feels like more than that.”
“On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest, how much of your emotions are tied up in your job?” I asked.
“Eleven,” Carol answered. “I know Casey’s owner is looking at this from a business standpoint, but I have a hard time separating myself emotionally. On the upside, I just got a job offer from another company that seems to appreciate my skills. Maybe I should quit,” she said.
“Before you do,” I said, “step back emotionally and look at this from a business standpoint. Imagine that you are the CEO of ‘Carol, Incorporated.’ Your job is to make decisions that are in the best interest of your company. From the CEO’s perspective, what is the best move for Carol Inc.?”
She spoke in an authoritative voice, “As the CEO of Carol Inc., I will stay at Casey during this transition, but I’m not ruling out other options. Too much time has been invested in pharmaceuticals to switch industries at this time.”
She smiled and continued in her normal voice, “It feels less personal when I take that stance and I’m able to make decisions that are not emotional reactions. If I were to leave Casey now, it would feel like an emotionally driven decision.”
“What action steps will move you forward?” I asked.
“I’ll identify warning signs to help me recognize when I’m taking things personally. I’ll also brainstorm ways to make business decisions from my CEO perspective first and take my emotions into account second.”
She continued, “As the CEO of Carol, Inc., I’ll work hard to create solutions at Casey. I’m not willing to throw away five years of hard work. In the next week I’ll set up a meeting with Jack and the new sales person to determine how this will work.”
Hearing the determination in Carol’s voice, I knew she had officially assumed the CEO’s position for Carol, Inc. and would move ahead from that perspective.
Coaching Challenge: If you find yourself emotionally connected to and/or frustrated at work, step back and name your emotions. Before making any decisions, assume the role of CEO of YOU, Inc. ” your own company. Analyze the situation from a business perspective and create options that are best for YOU, Inc. Next try on the options and notice what emotions each one evokes. Use a combination of your business sense and your emotions to make a decision and move forward.
Sheri Fisher is a Life Coach who lives in Grand Junction. Her practice, Living On Purpose, focuses on personal and professional coaching. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. Sheri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information, visit http://www.coachwithsheri.com.