I closely remember a case concerning the stagnation of senior team members, in a leading new age services company. The business was in the area of technology and telecom, and the team members sitting as functional heads across the key domains in networks, technology, commercial etc. were all seasoned, well qualified experts. These professionals had been in a similar role for over 5 – 6 years, and despite the fact that the business was growing, and setting up new units, new lines of business – these professionals were stuck in their respective jobs.
Well, not a bad idea – they were making good money, had a nice designation but well they were “stuck”, with no growth opportunities within the group.
On digging deeper for a better understanding of their profile and their background it was realised that they were great at what they did, great performers but they did not have the “potential” for moving on to senior roles.
- Some employees who reported to these guys at some point had also progressed well, and were due for possible growth and promotion.
- Also, employees who were a part of other functions were progressing well and moving on to become CxO’s etc.
All this was bound to create a decent degree of negativity around the whole scenario. I mean, how would you like to see a person who has worked under you, and has about 5 – 6 years lesser experience , move to a higher designation while you stick to the same old routine, same role. This can be more pinching if the organisation realises that you are knowledgeable, and are a great performer – but well still there are no growth opportunities for you.
You may also have seen or experienced some thing like the above case and others, where in senior professionals had to quit because they were tired of “no growth” syndrome or stagnation syndrome. The worst part of the story – after quitting they were not able to get another “good” job, and finally had to start playing around as an independent consultant and like wise – not out of choice but plain compulsion.
There can be lots of justification to the case, but one aspect that hits me first is the fact that in our normal course of working – we get too lost in our delivery aspects, routing work, operations etc. We don’t have the time, willingness to think on our own development and our own up gradation on knowledge, skills, personality, and behavioural competencies with our future in mind.
Most of our learning comes from experience, and what we have been doing so far – this thought is appropriate and relevant, will continue to be relevant for years to come. But this thought is also the root cause of problems and issues that people start facing in their careers, when they cross the middle management levels and start engaging at senior management levels. One fine day we realise that we have hit the ceiling as per our capabilities, and may not be able to move forward.
Organisation’s and HR experts would call such people as – Low Potential, specially with respect to behavioural and leadership competencies.
Word of advice:
If you are already facing above mentioned issues, or feel that you have not been doing justice to yourself in form of self development, up gradation of your skills, knowledge, and behavioural aspects, one simple word of advice:
Take Charge !
Don’t get into the trap believing that you are on an unending growth path, and don’t have to worry about growth or job, and there will be line of offers waiting for you. This might be true , but what if it’s not true ?
Do an introspection, get some feedback from your seniors, bosses, industry colleagues, peers, juniors or avail some counselling and coaching from professionals coaches.
Identify, your future goals and see if you are on the right track and are well equipped.
All, of us have developmental needs and gaps in our capability. It’s best to understand our gaps and see if we can work on the same, else we may have issues with our expectations vs. reality in future. If any corrective action needs to be taken, better start early.
Your career, and your self development is in your own hands
Some companies, have processes to assess potential, identify gap areas and implement development plans for employees. Our arrogance, ego and feeling or superiority may not always allow us to participate fully in the development planning activities. Start Participating. No Harm taking new learning’s and developing your self.
- Participate in cross functional projects.
- Take initiatives to pitch yourself for new projects, don’t try to fall in – “not in my KRA” syndrome.
- Read on upcoming developments, business environment.
- Network with industry associates.
- Participate in training programs / seminars and conferences etc.
- Experiment with new ways of doing things.
- Listen to the ideas of your team members / juniors / fresh hires.
Keep your eyes and ears open:
Keep track of industry happenings, new developments, new technologies – and these may not just be about your work area. Try to expose yourself to newer learning’s. Keep a watch on the future.
Start Learning – Unlearning and Re – Learning.