Whenever people make a commitment to do something, my boss tells me there are 2 things to consider: Clarity & Competence. Clarity of objective, so you know exactly what you’re committing to, and a check on how much Competence you have, to do what you said you would. On the other hand, it also goes to say that if you don’t get to do what you committed to do, it could only mean one of two things: either there wasn’t enough clarity to the objective, or you didn’t have enough competence or skills to see it through.
His advice is something i constantly have to go back to, after one of the biggest commitments I’ve had to make in my work life so far. About a year and a half ago, my then direct boss and I were discussing our company’s bigger plans in his office. He started scribbling on his white board how he intends to grow in the next year, and the next thing I knew, I was tasked to start a brand new division – an in-house Marketing Agency that could potentially handle external clients in the future.
Any person with loads of experience in this industry would absolutely jump at the chance to take this on. After all, it was a great opportunity to lead a team, create a culture I was proud of and do some really amazing things. The only thing in my mind at that time was, “Wait a minute. Here’s little old me, with only 4 years of work experience and after taking an internship in an Advertising agency in college swore never to be in this very industry. Why on earth would I commit to something as big as this?” I had no real clarity on the how and where I was even going to begin this giant project, and I had very little competence on how to run a whole company, let alone be in an industry I only knew from my college majors.
I learned a little late in the game that there’s a 3rd and very important “C” that completes the things you need to have when you commit to something. That 3rd C is called Courage. When I look back on my decision to commit to that big task, I realize that the only C I had at the time was courage. Courage to push through with every single big and small thing I needed to do to gain enough clarity and competence so that I could do what I committed to.
It has been about one and a half years since that fateful day in my then bosses office. From a goal of being a team of 8 creative minds to execute on some in-house marketing tasks, to finishing this year with 15 amazingly talented individuals who now have absolute clarity over our company’s goals, and are armed with amazing competence on the skills required to reach our client’s objectives.
December has forced me to really look back on the year’s highlights and I can’t help but smile and be amazed at all the things my team has been able to achieve so far. We may not yet be experts at everything, but we do approach all our tasks with humble hearts and open minds. We are always in pursuit of discovery and we constantly ask ourselves how we can be better. More importantly, this year has truly shown me the value of good relationships with the people you work with. We asked one of our team members last week about why she consistently comes to work earlier than everyone else and how is it that she never takes sick leaves. Her simple response was, “It’s because I love my job!” That means going to work earlier than everyone else is not a chore, but a privilege, because she has an opportunity to finish a lot of her work before the deadlines, and so that she can always start the day prepared.
The end of the year also forces me to reflect on the 3 C’s again. 1) Have I gained enough clarity of the objective that I can lead the team in the right direction for 2015? 2) Have I gained enough competence on the skills I need to equip myself with so that I can be more confident in making decisions? and 3) Do I have enough courage to see things through to the finish – to do the simple and the hard things that come along with being a leader? I believe I am still on a continuous path to getting all the 3 C’s in order. I do know, however, that I have definitely come come a long way from where I began. Every day, I commit to making sure we are clear about why we do what we do. Every day, I commit to learning more skills necessary to be the leader I want to grow into. And lastly, every day I commit to having enough courage to wake up in the morning and go to work, seeing it as a great privilege to lead, learn and grow alongside my team.