I had a pleasant call today from a fellow that was hiring one of my former employees. He was asking for my opinion about him. I get those calls from time to time and I was thinking I could share what these future employers ask about. In this way I hope I can give you a great motivation for why you should do your best at your current job. Everything you do at your current job is directly related to the next job in line. Let’s face it, not many people work crib to grave at the same place anymore, so the chances for you changing jobs is humongous.
I received the call today and was asked about tardiness, about the ability to handle stress, about social skills, about how he treated the customers and co-workers. I was asked about efficiency and quality of his work. He kept asking a lot of questions. He asked if he was motivated, and if he display high energy levels. How often is he sick? Do you think he is fit for this kind of work?
All these questions are pointers for you, remember that one day that your dream job employer might call your current boss and ask about you; Think hard on this question: Do you think that you would get the job?
The Sinking Ship Syndrome
I have employees from time to time that gets de-motivated and start falling behind. When confronted they state that they are sick of this job and they want to leave the company. Of course I first try to motivate them, some avoid the iceberg and some smack right into it. And the results are devastating, your morale drops, your results is suddenly below average, you do not care and you get sick a little more easily than before. You are tired and unfocused when new information or systems come along and you miss out. And you keep on looking for new jobs and somehow you cannot understand what the f**k is going on. Remember most leaders give honest feedback in these calls.
Ability and Motivation
There is four different categories you can be “boxed” in as an employee. I use this to determine what actions I need to take upon my employees.
1. High Motivation – Low Ability
As I new employee you will be placed in this category. Your drive and motivation is skyrocketing and you want to do everything to impress your surroundings. Well there is one problem, your ability might not be just as sky high yet. People in this category need more training and practice.
2. High Motivation – High Ability
Ok, you are getting a hang of it, you are becoming experienced and you love that the rookies are approaching you for the answers. You feel like the alpha employee and you ROCK all day long. You have the skills and you are motivated. The people in this category need appreciation and positive feedback. They need new challenges to keep them going.
3. Low Motivation – High Ability
You feel like you are stagnating, the job seems to become boring, your task is being completed on autopilot and you hate that people bug you with all their questions. Why won’t they understand what you are telling them over and over again? Getting out of bed is hard. Congratulations you have just become a veteran at this game. People in this category need a change. They need a lot of motivation and they need to see a purpose with their job. They might be ready for new challenges, if it is not to late already.
4. Low Motivation – Low Ability.
You suddenly wake up one day twenty minutes late for work only to realize that you do not understand what all the rookies are talking about. You hate your job, you hate your boss, the job is downright dull and all these customers that bug you all day long. This is the danger zone. High alert, you ought to get out of there fast or you will be fired soon. If you are placing any of your employees in this category you should consider firing them. It is too much work to save this ship, and you will be doing the employee a favor. If you feel that you belong in this category you should consider quitting your job because you have the wrong job at the wrong place, and you will not regret your quest for new glory elsewhere.
Coaching tip: Determination and ability – Read more about these four categories here.
So guess when it is time to apply for new jobs?
No! you should not do it when you are in category #2 – because you thrive at your current job and you might be doing it for years to come. You should apply for new jobs after you have been visiting category #3 for a while and you feel that it is impossible to get back to #2. But be open with your boss about it because, either you bounce back to category #2 or you will keep your boss happy with you until your next job is landed. But be careful because I have bounced good people from #3 till #2 several times, and up to four or five times with some that continue to work with their dream job today. Having some flirts with #3 is normal, just avoid the permanent relationship.
Tip: If in doubt about where you are. Draw a graph with your development over time. Time is the horizontal line and progress is the vertical line. Normally you will draw a steep upward pointing line and eventually it will become less steep and flatten out. This is critical, wait a few weeks, and feel is it going upward again or still flat lining? Ask for help and guidance from your boss. Give it some more time and it might suddenly skyrocket again. But if you keep it flat or even is starting to go downhill, this is a good indicator that you are entering the dreadful category #3. Take a decision and start looking for jobs. And boost your work morale until you have landed your next job.
As your career is progressing you will drift from high motivation – low ability to high motivation and high ability. If you don’t get appreciation or continue to develop you will over time slowly glide to high ability and low motivation, and this is a dangerous place to stay for long, because if your motivation is low, learning is harder. And if you fail to learn new stuff your journey towards low motivation and low ability has begun and this is when you will not be recommended for a future employer!
I hope you all manage to stay highly motivated and with great ability!