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This week I had one of my team members decide to move on to another company. While I supported and encouraged him to move on, I always analyze why people leave. There were two factors in this case. 1. He could not stand his supervisor – which was becoming a cancer to his work performance. 2. He felt he deserved more $.

I find it fascinating when people think they can perform at a C level and think they deserve more $. The thinking is simple, “I’m demotivated because I’m underpaid.” The faultiness of this argument is simple. You’re asking me to give you a pay raise based on average performance? Really?! So of course he didn’t get the “deserved” pay raise.

What was more concerning is the dislike for his supervisor was so strong that he allowed it to become a cancer to his attitude. This is career suicide. Why followers allow people over to have this much influence over their lives? We all have a choice and decide how we react to others. We cannot control what others do or say, but we can control how we react.

The real career killer mistake this employee made was he was so focused on his dislike, he pursued and accepted a job that had significantly reduced responsibility for a little more money. During my review of resumes, I always look for instances of people moving backward in their career. While it may not be a showstopper, it makes it easier to use that as the reason to screen them out. There’s always a reason for these things – sometimes valid – and why bother when there’s 50 other candidates without such a blemish?

Before cutting bait on your current job for another position that is a step backward, make sure you think through how someone will view it later on down the road.

What steps do you need to take to ensure you’re well positioned for your next job?


Consulting on the side is a way to make some extra money, build your network and create credibility as an expert in your area. Over the past several months, I have had a client I have been assisting in setting up a compliance program. I find it very rewarding to help someone solve a problem through my past experiences. The problem is I’m a consultant…

Being a consultant means you have a paying customer. They have demands, you’re expected to meet those demands – “That’s what we’re paying you for”. They have moving targets on timelines, want to change the scope, tell you what to do and how to do it, etc. after all, they’re paying for it! Not to mention the additional “work” required on top of your normal day job, which spills over to your personal life.

In the end, it all comes back to why most managers hire consultants: to be the bad guys and make recommendations that the manager does not have the guts to make. The idea is to bring in an “expert”, control the messaging, and get what the manager wanted all along.

If your considering doing some work on the side, be prepared. In my experience as a manager and leader, managers hire consultants to move their political agenda forward. Leaders hire consultants to fill a blind spot. Choose your clients carefully. Your reputation is at stake and consulting for managers only waters down your permission. Finally, make sure your family is on board with the decision. There’s a price to be paid for the extra income: less of your time. If they aren’t on board, do not make the engagement.

I’m lucky. My client is a leader and my family supports my efforts. I got lucky, but moving forward, I’m making sure I work with leaders and not managers.

Will you have the guts to turn a paying client down if they don’t pass the leadership sniff test or your family is not supportive?

The leadership challenge only grows with responsibility. I have found that as I mature in my faith and promote in my professional life, the burdens I face seem to grow.

Leaders save companies. This is not the sexy side of leadership. It’s the underbelly that few actually get to live through. When things are going down in flames, it’s those who stand and flight that make the difference. Those who make the hard decisions. Sometimes we can’t save them all, but we have to save as many as possible.

My life has taken a turn, and I find myself at this crossroad. Having to be truthful and honest with a few to save the many.

Anyone who thinks leadership is easy obviously isn’t a leader. With that big check comes responsibility. The responsibility to feed families, make decisions, and do what is best based on few facts and experience from past situations. There’s no short cut to becoming a leader. You have to get dirty, make tough calls and live with the repercussions of those decisions.

Before you decide you want it, you better take a look under the hood and make sure you really want it. There’s a price to be paid to gain the reward.

In the end, you have to know yourself and why you want it. If you want to get into leadership, then make sure your motives are based on helping others. If it’s $ that’s driving you, it’s not leadership you seek. It’s pride you look to feed.

Why do you want it?

I don’t lightly recommend people. In fact today I recommended my first person on LinkedIn. Simple because I believe recommendations are an extension of my brand and reputation and to give them out to everyone I know vs. the few who deserve not only protects my name, but also raises the credibility of the one I recommend.

When you ask for recommendations, please understand I give them rarely and purposefully. I hope you do the same. The challenge is saying no or never giving recommendations. Where’s saying no or ignoring a request leave you and the other person? You on your pedestal and them walking away – never to look back. Permission is delicate. Don’t abuse it nor ignore it. Nurture it and grow it. One recommendation at a time. Take a risk sometimes. You never know what impact you’ll have.

Make those recommendations freely, honestly and most importantly accurately. People are relying on your integrity in your recommendation to base their decision. Never underestimate the power in that…

If you’re the only game in town, and you create an organization that ranks the best teams in the game, and your company comes out as #1 in some obscure category in which you’re the only one who could possibly meet the criteria, are you really #1?

All marketers are liars. Be warned when someone is claiming to be #1 in some ranking system. While it may be legitimate, it’s likely a marketing ploy to make a company look better than they are. Why do you think there are so many ranking systems for MBA programs? Each system has a selection criterion which is not made public, thus giving more schools the opportunity to be #1. Otherwise wouldn’t the same school be #1 across the board?

This rule applies to church ranking systems, schools, universities, governments, cars… you get the point.

What do you do? Do your own research. Before you make a $100K investment in that MBA is it really worth it? Why? Do not get fooled by marketers. I have heard some of the scams universities pull to make it appear that they have really bright students in all their classes. Upon further examination, it’s a well thought out marketing ploy designed to give the appearance that the school is top notice.

What ranking system do you rely on? Is it honest?

On the re:create cruise Randy Elrod said it: Where passion and need intersect that IS the sweet spot. In that spot, you’ll find you’re always excited for work. In that spot, you’ll make money. In that spot, you’ll make a difference. In that spot, you’ll find your purpose. In that spot, you are creative…

We could have passion all day long. But if there’s little need, then we won’t be successful or able to sustain our effort. If there’s need and little passion (think 9-5), then there’s little satisfaction. The point where these two intersect is the sweet spot.

There are people in this spot. You know who they are. You admire them from afar. The question is: What are you going to do about it? Continue in your lost world or seek out the sweet spot. Be warned, once you find it, there’s little chance of going back. The status quo no longer is an option. IT will change you. IT will change your values. IT will change your schedule. IT will change how you think. IT will change how you see others. IT will change how you see the world. You’ll never be the same. But isn’t that the point?

Sheri and I found the spot a couple years ago. The result: Luminosity Global Consulting Group, Haiti missions, this blog, Sheri’s blog, other social networking, writing, books, speaking. This all stemmed from of our love for global business (passion) and desire to help others learn and grow from our experiences (need). Global Business is the passion. Engaging and empowering executives to achieve their impossible dreams is the need. Hence a coaching practice for global executives.

I loved that Randy captured this idea in words. We’ve been living it, but never thought of it in such a meaningful and pithy manner. Hence he’s the creative, and I’m a finance guy.

Are you heavy on passion but find there’s little need? Do you have a job that meets your need that you force yourself to every day? Maybe it’s time to seek your sweet spot…

What’s stopping you?