Think back to a time when you were about to quit your job but hadn't yet told your boss, your board, or your company. I call this the pre-quit-power-zone, because knowing you will soon be out of the door usually provides people with an explosion of self-confidence and power. Suddenly you find yourself giving feedback that you've previously withheld to your peers, telling the truth about misguided strategy, and offering your team parting words of wisdom about what they should do with their careers and lives.
An executive recently shared with me that in the weeks before she finally handed in her resignation, she stopped pulling all-nighters to prepare for board presentations, shut down her voice of self-doubt, and started saying what she really thought about the company strategy. She was overwhelmed with the positive reaction and said she wished she had changed her behavior years ago. She figured she would have tripled her earning potential.
What if you could harness that power for yourself and your team without actually quitting your job?
Here are three simple ideas to help you create genuine truth-telling without the need to walk out the door afterwards:
- What Do You Really Want to Say?
Self-doubt is the greatest cause of self-editing. We commonly worry about how someone will react, whether our opinions are valid, or whether there will be consequences for being "contrarian." All are a complete waste of mental energy. Start being more candid and transparent. When you are already halfway out of the door, it is easy to stop worrying; the trick is to stop doubting and say what you really think right now--before you are ready to walk out the door.
- Share Your Thoughts and Your Intent
Crossed wires and misinterpretation happen when others have to guess your thoughts and intentions. When you are listening to someone else and a thought comes to you, do you share it, filter it, or mask it in another question? Don't be so confusing. Share your thoughts and your intentions clearly to achieve crystal clear communication.
- Encourage Speed in Your Team
When the countdown to leaving is ticking, you accelerate your plans and decisions and take bets on people in new roles. What if the next 30 days were to be your last at the company? What would you eliminate, accelerate, and decide? Which of these could you implement today without needing to write that resignation letter?
There is power in winging it--in not over-thinking and being absolutely ruthless in a thoughtful way about where you spend your time, energy, and resources. Write your imaginary resignation letter and live the next 30 days like they are the last in your company.