How to make the most of your background in 3 easy steps

I have been with my current employer for 20 years now.  I’ve had several different roles during that time as I like to be challenged and once I feel that there is nothing left for me to achieve in that role, it’s time to move on.  The result of that is that I have a very different background to a number of my colleagues, and because I’ve met and worked with a lot of different people around the organisation, I can generally find the right person to deal with a problem, or at least someone to start with.

Something happened in the office building that sent everyone else into a bit of a tail spin.  It had people for upstairs coming down wondering what to do, and those that were downstairs looked at me and decided that as I was the most senior person there (apart from one but she was on a call at the time),  that I should be nominated to deal with it.

It meant that I had to take some sort of charge, but also decide what to do and who to contact.  Luckily, my 20 year background meant that I knew who to call and what to ask for and where to go if it didn’t happen quickly enough.  Within the space of half an hour the problem was being dealt with. The situation will have ongoing implications for the following day and I won’t be there but the next part was to ensure that anyone else was informed about what was going on and what the situation the next day would be.

Calling on my previous knowledge of the organisation, different staffing groups, and former colleagues, the situation was brought swiftly under control in three steps.

Step 1 – take charge.  Stop anyone getting hysterical (ok, it wasn’t quite that bad), decide what needed to be done immediately and delegate some tasks to others.

Step 2 – contact other people who I knew would be able to help resolve the problem.  When I couldn’t get hold of them directly, try other people around them, and keep trying until you get through.  Once through to someone, tell them exactly what the problem is and what is required to help resolve it.

Step 3 – inform others who might be impacted the following day. Make sure that everyone who needs to know what’s happening, what the next stage is and what to do.

I suppose it was lucky that the issue was something that I could call on my former background knowledge for, it might have been different otherwise, but I would still have been looked at by the others as being the one in charge.

I may have been around the block, but I know people when its needed.


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