I was in my office relaxing. Recovering. Last week was one of those weeks where it was very easy to loose track of what time it was let alone what day it was. I knew where I was by looking out of the window, but that only works in daylight. I had four different hotels, four different restaurants and four different dinner guests in four nights…and three time zones. I was awake each morning early – about 8:00am UK (or equivalent) each day.
It was a long week. But it was a great week. To that moment it had been exciting, enthralling and even inspiring on a number of occasions. I was sat checking email (and flight times), reflecting on both my presentations and on everything else I had seen, heard and read. I felt good. Definitely tired but definitely good.
I was joined by a colleague. Someone I have worked with regularly since my move last year and someone who I admire greatly and who impresses me immensely. We chatted about our respective days and weeks and schedules. I also received direct compliments on my presentation. This always feels good and I am always appreciative. I felt good after my slot on the program (a positive sign) but it is always nice to get feedback, and even better if that feedback is supportive.
The comment that made me think most though, was both complimentary and intriguing. That “the team were impressed at how much I had learned since my move”. I accepted the compliment and was very pleased. Any time any audience is impressed is praise indeed. How much I had learned about the business since my move. Intriguing.
The hardest aspect for me professionally about my move was leaving an environment where I felt that I knew everyone and – because of this network – knew how to make almost anything happen. I joined an environment where I knew no-one and felt like I had no idea how to make anything happen. My network was void.
This was an uncomfortable feeling. It was nothing to do specifically to the company I had joined, or to the aspect of our industry into which I had moved to. No this was simply a by-product of leaving one company (after 25-plus years) and joining another. But it was disconcerting. And still is. I have invested heavily in my emerging network. In person, by telephone, by email and by instant message. Over work, over coffee, over breakfast and over dinner. About work, about people, about family, about friends. About business and about beliefs. About achievements and about ambition.
Joining a company in the center of a different component of our industry was always going to mean I would know very little about the specific aspects – commercial, regulatory, human – of this different sector. But I never felt uncomfortable – and still don’t – about this aspect of my move. Perhaps I should? Or should have? Or will?
I always appreciate any compliment – direct, indirect, explicit or subtle. A positive stroke is always good. I am similarly always grateful for feedback and learning opportunity. Like most of us, I am sure I am more appreciative of feedback on aspects of my performance that mean most to me. I devour anything I see or hear or can interpret as being about my network.
The observation that I have learned so much was very good to hear. I would have been very worried if the opposite was the case. Who knows – perhaps it’s the ultimate compliment. After all, anything and everything I have learned since my move has come from my new network…