It’s a common question on first meeting someone: What do you do? More often than not the answer you get is someone’s job title. Yet that doesn’t really tell me what you do, create, experience or bring to the world. The same job title in different companies can mean different things. Or the assumption I make about your job title might be based on my perception of how that ‘job’ role was done years ago and not reflective of how it works in today’s environment. In other words it can end up a quite meaningless conversation. I was inspired by this article where the CEO of the British restaurant chain Weatherspoons says he never says he’s the CEO – and prefers to say ‘he runs pubs’. That’s what he actually does every day. He’s known for being a very visible leader, regularly visiting and interacting with all his businesses. Coincidentally (or perhaps not) one of my clients this week had a breakthrough along similar lines. She suddenly got an insight that what lies behind her rather uninspiring job title (Senior Manager – doh!) is a more exciting purpose. She realised that what excites her is to ‘lead this business to international success’. That’s what gets her up in the morning, unleashes her creativity and drives her energy every day. And it sounds much more intriguing to me as well. Saying ‘I’m a Senior Manager’ doesn’t stir my interest much. Saying she is leading a business to international success is much more interesting and I’m completed to ask her ‘tell me more about how you’re doing that.”
Your Turn : What lies behind your job title? Can you describe in one sentence, the essence of what you do/create/contribute in a more exciting and inspiring sentence? How does it feel different to you? What do you notice when you use this sentence when meeting new people? I’m curious to hear how it shifts your conversation. #Lead Boldly.