“Transformation is normally painful because people don’t envision the outcome of it”
Transformation in my opinion gives an opportunity of multi leadership traits demonstration. It pushes an individual to manage multiple things simultaneously like it is said in V.U.C.A world. For those who don’t know V.U.C.A it is VOLATILE, UNCERTAIN, COMPLEX & AMBIGUOUS world or environment around you where nothing is right or wrong but confusing. And, you as an individual is expected to manage things well in this confusing environment.
The idea of TRANSFORMATION is to willingly or forcefully manage the change (s),
T – Train to face the change
R – Reinforce the purpose
A – Align the ideas
N – Navigate through ambiguity
S – Simplify the complex
F – Fearless to lead
O – Opportunity to improvise
R – Realize the potential
M – Motivate the team
Here, I will talk about an individual’s journey from his academic to professional life. I would break down this transformation process from a student to a business or people leader in 3 stages which is a long-term process and doesn’t happen overnight. Though, certain unexpected transformation triggers may be there to initiate these transformations.
3 states of transformation are as follows,
College to Corporate – Student to employee
Employee to Professional
Professional to Leader
STAGE 1: College to Corporate – Student to Employee
I think this is the most important and unacknowledged transformation which happens with all of us and we don’t even realize it as we are like a small fish in a gushy river of life and end up going with the flow. We go through all the aspects of this transformation but in an unplanned but natural way. Unplanned because we hardly plan for this. Ask yourself, did you go through any training, whether self of coaching by someone, where you could understand what is going to be expected out of you and what you can expect? At least I didn’t. For me, it was like I was pushed in to this river to learn how to swim.
So, could it have been better planned transformation? Sure, why not? I think it starts with awareness as the foremost requirement to have a successful and quicker transformation and start making a mark as soon as you get in to this transformation journey. Common sense says, in today’s age,
Talk to who already went through this transformation
In IT age, if you don’t read immense information in google, you miss the train
Possibly, go through awareness or professional grooming coaching or sessions to help you prepare well for the change.
Outcome of above is straight and simple. It is an old proverb, “First impression is the last impression”. I would tweak it though. I say, “First impression is the lasting impression” as wrong first impression will demand a lot of work to change the perception which you end up creating.
STAGE 2: Employee to Professional
A lot of people may debate, there is no difference in employee and a professional. To clarify, if you read the definition,
Employee – Someone who is engaged for salary
Professional - relating to or belonging to a profession
The hidden difference is the passion for profession. Without downplaying any of above words, you may feel connected to what you do or not.
When you join an organization as an employee, you are in the learning phase. Your impact is limited to your work. Though you have technical skills to start contributing as an individual, but you are learning the processes and eventually start taking care of work assigned to you well. Being an employee, you follow what you are supposed to and perform tasks ACTIVELY.
But, when you are a professional, you take the actions PRO-ACTIVELY as you are an expert in your field of work and know which the head is and which is the tail. This means you have great clarity with respect to expectations from you and you demonstrate your skills to fulfill those expectations. Here, you start contributing at a larger level in terms of impact of your work. As a professional, you start prioritizing and you start managing expectations most importantly.
Once you start getting a feedback and realizing that you have transformed in to a thorough professional, then you start thinking about next step.
STAGE 3: Professional to Leader
Once you know that you are ready to move up the ladder. There are 2 ways you see. Most of the people loosely see, being a manager is next level. Trust me, you are a manager even if you are an individual contributor.
Some people see their growth in terms of taking greater responsibility. They like being accountable for their and their team’s actions. There is a clear demarcation between being a manager and being a leader.
You ensure, work assigned to you for your team is done flawlessly and with absolute perfection which meets all the expectations. You are a perfect manager
If you question the status quo, you try to be experimental and creative, you identify team’s strengths and leverage upon them while pulling up the weaker section to do their best, when you think about next steps beyond obvious expectations from you and you can sell your thoughts. That is when your journey towards next transformation from a professional to a leader starts.
As a Leader you don’t want to fail, but you aren’t afraid of failing either
As a Leader you want to be popular, but aren’t afraid of being disliked either
As a Leader you want to get all opinions along but aren’t afraid of making choice when needed.
As a Leader you want to let people practice their skills with freedom but aren’t afraid of holding people accountable.
Therefore, this is a major transformation in one’s professional life. Though all would love talking about LEADERSHIP, but many would be confused.
If everyone, can’t be a great Leader, each one of us can be a great team-member at least.