Sunday, November 25, 2007

Are you playing it too safe?

There is a dilemma that nearly every freelancer and interim manager faces once in a while and that is having to take the decision to stay put and play safe or take a risk and try something new.

Anyone who is invoicing an attractive day rate fee to a client and knows that their current contract is likely to be extended and extended, simply because the client finds it convenient to keep them in a freelance position that could just as well be served by an employee, is bound become stale. The problem is that the sure knowledge of a regular income weighed against the uncertainty of something different, is often an all too easy option.

In my opinion, all freelance professionals should take risks with their careers. After 18 months of repetition they owe it to themselves to search for challenges new. Interim Manager’s need to shine and to breathe creativity into their environments. They do this by bringing in their own external focus and point of view and blend it with the culture in which they find themselves. They need to challenge their environments and offer solutions that only an external can offer. To that end, this sometimes means taking risks; trying new challenges that we have not tackled before. Only by taking chances can we get our adrenaline levels to the point where our clients can really benefit from the passion and expertise that we want to deliver.

If you are comfortable where you are and have decided not to take a risk by walking away from a repetitive and un-challenging assignment, then at least enroll for a course at a decent management school. Force yourself to think more creatively and broaden your horizons.

I can think of 5 good reasons why every interim manager should ensure their Continual Professional Development (CPD) is constantly maintained by registering for new challenging courses:

1. The thought processes required, refreshes our brains and prevents us from becoming too narrow minded
2. A well chosen course can allow us to take on assignments that can form the stepping stones to branching off in new directions
3. The interaction between class mates gives us an ideal networking environment
4. The cost is tax deductable
5. A really good course gives us something new to think about and stops us from becoming boring

So I ask you: when did you last go on a CPD course? When did you last take on an assignment that you were not 100% qualified to take on? How long ago did you gamble away an ‘easy option’ for something more risky and challenging? How long ago did you feel the excitement of doing something new, for the first time?

Interim Managers who feel the excitement of being alive, pass that energy on to their colleagues, friends and families. So don’t let yourself become a droid, be an enabler. Better be poor and interesting, rather than rich and dull.

1 comment:

Yves Hanoulle said...

I agree with this.
I spend at least 20% of my revenue (not of my profit) on courses, books, events...
It's the fastest way to improve myself.