Heidi, have you ever thought about being a designer?
Uh, Charlie, you know I work at the front desk and drawing stick figures is a struggle for me. You really think I could be a designer?
Heidi, I just want to make sure you feel like you’re reaching your full potential here at Punch.
I appreciate that. If that’s the case, I’d like to learn print production, media planning, proofreading, account management, manage about half of the staff, and then manage the company’s operations. And, here’s my plan of how I’ll do that.
I’m taking a few liberties with this conversation, but that is basically what happened over an 11-year period. Now I’m the Director of Operations. Through it all, I’ve had Punch’s support. Charlie checks in with me; gives me tips on how I could do things better; high-fives me when I make a bullseye. When he asked me if I wanted to be a designer, I knew I had a boss who wanted me to dream. I felt highly motivated to shape my career trajectory.
Now understand, some of the things I’ve tried fell flat and I was held accountable to these failures. But, I ask a lot of questions… A LOT of questions. Understanding Punch’s needs has helped me pitch each move I’ve made and why the move will add value to our company. Lately I’ve achieved more wins than fails.
I thrive in this kind of environment, and see others that I manage do as well. Employees who have come to me saying, I see X as a service Punch is lacking and here is my plan of how I’m going to do it, makes me sing with excitement.
Yes, I want our company to be better! Yes, I love that you want our company to be better! But most of all, YES, I’m excited you’re motivated to do that!
But now, how do I help you stay motivated? How do I help you hit the target more than the sand? I’ve learned that coaching is hard. I can give you the bow and arrow, but how to hit the target is going to be a learning experience for us both. There is no manual.
I have learned that defining the goal is crucial. But even more important is establishing a plan of how to reach the goal. Included in that plan should be check ins: has the target moved a bit to the right, left, up, or down? Restringing that bow gets tiring. And once you’re tired, motivation plummets.
I can tell you from experience that hitting a bullseye after earnest hard work feels amazing. Let’s figure out how to hit it together.