CAREER-VIEW MIRROR - biographies of colleagues in the automotive and mobility industries.

Side Mirror: Don't quit your job until you've done this.

August 29, 2022 Andy Follows Episode 79
CAREER-VIEW MIRROR - biographies of colleagues in the automotive and mobility industries.
Side Mirror: Don't quit your job until you've done this.
Show Notes Transcript

With lots of people leaving roles, this episode covers how you might approach such a decision. I encourage people thinking of leaving a job to take a broad and measured view of the components that go to make up your current situation. Before you bet everything on a completely new set of circumstances, have a look at how you could keep all the best bits of your existing role whilst seeking to improve on the weaker components. 

This episode of CAREER-VIEW MIRROR is brought to you by Aquilae. Aquilae's mission is to Enable Fulfilling Performance in the auto finance and mobility industry. We use our very own Fulfilling Performance Paradigm to help you identify what steps you need to take to Enable Fulfilling Performance in your business.  Contact me directly if you’d like to know more. My email is 

For details of our forthcoming guests follow us on Instagram @careerviewmirror 


Episode recorded on 10 August 2022 

Ed Eppley:

I am sitting in lovely Siesta Key Florida.

Sherene Redelinghuys:

I'm coming from Bangkok in Thailand

Daniel von Treeck:

Prague in the Czech Republic

Osman Abdelmoneim:

Cairo in Egypt

Holger Drott:

Auckland, New Zealand

Shannon Faulkner:

London, England.


Welcome to Career-view Mirror, the automotive podcast that goes behind the scenes with key players in the industry looking back over their careers so far, sharing insights to help you with your own journey. I'm your host, Andy Follows Hello, listeners, and welcome to Career-view Mirror. When he was 13, my son Tom took up skateboarding. Now there's a certain image associated with skateboarding and hanging around skate parks that maybe means it's not every parent's first choice of pastime. We've always looked to support our kids in their interests, and he needed transport and given my fears, and I'm going to confess prejudices I hung around to watch. And I'm glad I did, because what I witnessed was growth mindset in action. So hours and hours and hours of repetitive attempts to land tricks. That's what was going on there. And when he was talking to me about teaching his friends, he sometimes said, his issue is that he won't commit and he wasn't talking about committing to turn up. But apparently, if you want to successfully jump a set of concrete steps, or drop into a quarter pipe, he explained to me you have to commit. So the point of sharing that little story is to be honest about my prejudice, and share the epiphany I had about what a hotbed of growth mindset behaviour the skatepark was. If you want to know more about growth mindset search Carol Dweck, and her book Mindset, The New Psychology of Success. I avoided playing golf when my children were younger, I hadn't caught the bug, and I thought it would take me away from my family for too much time at the weekends. But one time, while we were living in New Zealand, Tom came back from visiting friends and family in the UK. He'd been to the driving range with his Uncle Scott, and enjoyed it. Scott had given him feedback that he had some potential as a golfer. And so I asked him if he wanted to give it a try with me. I was always looking for things we could do together and this sounded like a good opportunity. I could learn a new hobby, and it would give me one to one time with my son. So we had some lessons, we went to the driving range, and we had a few rounds of nine holes at what I think proper golfers would call a pitch and putt in Auckland. But I still didn't catch the bug. And he admitted that he was finding it all a bit slow. I was still keen to find something we could do together and there was no way I was going to take up skateboarding. So he said how about snowboarding? I was already 45 at this point, and it wouldn't have been my first choice but he tried golf so I said okay, let's give it a go. We went indoor snowboarding in Auckland. The first few sessions for me were a brutal series of falls either onto my backside or onto my face depending on which edge I caught. At 13, not only did he grasp it quickly, but he was able to transfer his skateboarding skills onto the snow, which he found a lot softer than the concrete that he was used to falling on. We would go up to the indoor snow centre from time to time, we'd share a lesson with an instructor to make sure that we were learning some good habits from the start. He progressed well and even I eventually learned to stop without crashing and started to enjoy myself. We finally took a trip to the real snow on Mount Ruapehu, on New Zealand's North Island shortly before we moved back to Europe. Then back home in the UK, my wife Julia took up skiing lessons so that this could become a family activity. And she also started indoors. We booked a trip to Italy for the three of us. For some reason my daughter Hannah was not getting involved in this new hobby, but she has since come on board. So I found myself age 47 with a new hobby as a trainee snowboarder on holiday with my wife and son in the Italian Alps. On the first full day, Julia had a pretty spectacular fall and tore her ACL, that's the anterior cruciate ligament and had to be stretchered off the mountain to spend the rest of the week with her leg in a brace back at the chalet hotel. Next day, I caught an edge on my snowboard, gave myself a nasty whack on the back of the head with the side of the mountain. The rest of the week passed without drama. I've shared that with you mainly because of the transition that Tom made from concrete to snow and from a skateboard to a snowboard. He still had to take onboard new knowledge and develop new skills for what is a different discipline. But he was able to build on a foundation of transferable skills and behaviours like the ability to balance on a board whilst travelling sideways at speed, and the mindset to commit. I've noticed that often my guests careers feature similar transitions, they move into a new role or area, which they know will bring some new challenges for them, as well as an opportunity for them to grow. Often this new area could be described as adjacent to an area they're already familiar with, it may even literally be to a team that works alongside their current team. For example, in 1999, I moved from Rover Corporate Sales, where I was selling vehicles to large fleets to Rover Corporate Finance, where I was an account manager looking after the leasing and fleet management needs of large fleets. I've also noticed people sometimes agonising about what role they should be aiming for and how to get there, especially if the role is not adjacent to what they're doing now. And recently, we're experiencing the great resignation where people are choosing to leave jobs seemingly without too much concern about the consequences. When I'm coaching people about their next career move, I tend to urge some caution and circumspection before making a significant leap into an area where the knowledge, skills, experience and mindset required may differ widely from what they're used to, and where the new role may not allow them to leverage enough of their existing capability. I ask them to consider the extent to which their current role is a good fit for them. Often, even if people feel that they've not been particularly deliberate in planning their careers and say that they have more or less stumbled into roles, there will be elements of what they're doing, that are a good fit. It's as if they've subconsciously made some good choices for themselves. We can learn a lot about what we like and don't like from our early jobs, as long as we take some time to reflect on them and identify the component elements. We can then build up a list of requirements that we want from our next role. It's a bit like each time you move house or apartment, you get wiser about looking for aspects that you want in your new place. After working out the components of the current situation, and there can be many of these, I'll give you some examples. This is not an exhaustive list, please do add your own. I'm talking about things like the quality of leadership, degree of autonomy, working conditions, opportunity to learn, organisational culture, team structure, affinity for the products that your company sells, locations, opportunity for career development, the daily nature of the work that you do, and this should get a heavy weighting, diversity, the brand you work for, the pace of change, the level of innovation, the organization's mission and purpose and how that aligns with your own mission and purpose, the company's values and how they align with your own values. And I almost forgot this one, the remuneration and benefits you receive in return for your contribution. After we identify those, and whichever ones you want to add, we can start to build up a picture of what is important to us, how well or not our current situation is serving our needs in those areas, what we want to retain in our next role, and what we want to dispense with or improve. Completing that exercise might lead to a wish list of attributes for your next role. It will hopefully also give you some clarity on what you appreciate about your current situation and allow you to make a more carefully considered judgement about which areas specifically need to improve. My paradigm is that when you make a career move, there's an element of risk. To use a casino analogy, imagine each of the components of your current role is like a poker chip. And you might want to assign some of those chips like the quality of the leader you report to a higher value. When you make a career move, you take some or all of your current chips and you place a bet that the elements of your chosen new role, when added up are going to constitute a win for you personally. The bigger the move you make the more elements you place at risk, and the higher the likelihood that you land in a situation where you're not actually any better off ,maybe even worse off. I'm not looking to discourage anyone from getting out of their comfort zone. Quite the opposite in fact, and I certainly want to encourage people to move away from genuinely poor leaders or cultures that conflict with your values. I do want to encourage you to reflect on all the components of your current situation when choosing to make a move and manage the risk so that you get the benefits of moving that you're looking for, whilst minimising the risk that you lose what's already working for you in your current position. Tom's still an undergraduate, so he's not yet making the sort of career moves and decisions that I'm imagining you might be deliberating over. But there's still an interesting example of transferable skills, and the concept of adjacency showing up in his story as it developed. After a few more years of school and college, Tom took a gap year before starting university. He'd secured a place at his chosen University to study Sport and Exercise Science. Whilst at college, he'd qualified as a fitness instructor and worked in a local gym to earn money to support his year off. This involved leading some circuit classes and having to stand up in front of a group of adults and teach them the exercises and run the circuit sessions. He enrolled on a course in Austria to become a snowboard instructor. And when the time came to go, my wife Julia and I dropped him at the airport, we weren't allowed to come in, turns out 18 year olds don't need to have mum and dad with them at the airport. He was heading off to do a six week course in Austria, which would be followed by an exam to qualify as an entry level snowboard instructor. By this time, he had had about two and a half weeks experience on the snow, which turned out to be about 50 weeks less than the next experienced boarder on the course. So many of them had grown up having snow holidays every year since an early age. He also spoke no German, and to pass the test after six weeks training, he would be expected to deliver a lesson in German. At the end of the six weeks, he messaged us, he said he'd failed and would be coming home. We were heartbroken for him. We knew how much he'd been looking forward to the season in St Anton. We also we couldn't believe our own overconfidence as we'd booked a holiday to go out there and visit him taking his sister and his girlfriend and another couple of our friends too. Now he wasn't even going to be working there. So Julia and I spent a miserable evening reflecting on that. It wasn't such a miserable evening for him as he had actually passed the test albeit by a slim margin, he just thought it will be amusing to tell us he'd failed. Trouble was he then went out celebrating and forgot to reveal that we'd been pranked. I'm sharing this because I think you may find the next bit relevant when looking at opportunities that are adjacent to your current situation. So how come he managed to pass the test with so little experience on the snow or of speaking German. The final test to qualify as an entry level snowboard instructor required him to teach a lesson to a group of adults in German. We know from listening to my guests career stories that often luck has a part to play. And in this case, he was lucky and picked freestyle out of the hat. That meant he would have to teach his group of adults how to do a freestyle trick called an ollie on a snowboard. The reason that was lucky was that whilst he'd only had two and a half weeks experience on real snow on a snowboard. The first trick he'd learned on a skateboard when he was 13 years old was an ollie. And it turned out that he could do it rather well on a snowboard. When it came to the teaching part, he told me that some of the other students who had much more experience on the slopes were anxious and struggled with standing up and speaking to groups. The time he'd spent leading circuit sessions at the gym, explaining to adults how to do the exercises, had given him confidence in instructing groups. So if we think about his comfort zone, he was relatively comfortable with teaching how to ollie and he was also relatively comfortable speaking to a group of adults. That meant he could focus most of his energy on the element of the task that was new for him, which was teaching in German. For this aspect, having a good enough memory to be able to learn and recite the required steps to do the trick and having a strong desire to pass the test was enough. He was able to recite the steps required even if he couldn't understand much else. He passed the test and spent a season in St Anton snowboarding every day teaching different groups and having the time of his life. In Tom's example we can see how skills and experience gathered from different prior roles, I'm using the word roles loosely to include Tom the committed skateboarder and Tom the part time fitness instructor, combined with some good luck in pulling the freestyle example out of the hat, they combined to land him a job in which he could leverage his existing knowledge, skills, experience and mindset whilst growing those things exponentially. My guests have all moved around in their careers, some within the same organisation swapping roles departments and even countries and some moving between organisations and some doing a bit of both. Between them, they've left a lot of jobs to get to where they are now. Steve Jobs said, you can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. We've connected some of the dots looking back over Tom's short undergraduate journey so far. If you can't connect the dots looking forward, what can you do to make good career choices? I'm going to give you a sequence of 10 steps here, there'll be in the transcript so you don't need to write them down. 1. Reflect on the situation you're in, and how you came to be there. 2. Identify all the components of your current situation that make up your stack of casino chips. 3. Apply an appropriate weighting to those chips. They're not all of equal value. 4. Identify any chips that are missing completely from your picture that you want in your future. 5. Score your current role as objectively as possible, how well does it provide each component? 6. Consider what you need to do to improve your overall position. Which components do you need to improve, remove or add into your situation? 7. How could you improve each individual component without having to bet every chip on a totally new situation? 8. Who could you talk to who you trust and who would help you to get some additional perspective and insight? 9. What opportunities are adjacent to your current situation that would allow you to leverage your existing capability whilst providing opportunities to grow? And 10. Having done that, if the best option is still to cash in all your current chips and resign, then do that safe in the knowledge that you've made a concerted effort to maximise nearby opportunities and manage the risk that you're taking. You've been listening to Career-view Mirror with me, Andy Follows. With lots of people leading roles, this episode covers how you might approach such a decision. I encourage people thinking of leaving a job to take a broad and measured view of the components that go to make up your current situation. Before you bet everything on a completely new set of circumstances have a look at how you could keep all the best bits of your existing role while seeking to improve on the weaker components. We publish these episodes to celebrate my guests careers, listen to their stories, and learn from their experiences. This episode of Career-view Mirror is brought to you by Aquilae. Aquilae's mission is to Enable Fulfilling Performance in the Auto Finance and Mobility Industry. We use our very own Fulfilling Performance Paradigm to help you identify what steps you need to take to enable Fulfilling Performance in your business. Contact me directly. If you'd like to know more, my email is And remember, folks, if you know people who would benefit from hearing these stories, please show them how to find us. Thanks for listening.

Osman Abdelmoneim:

No matter how hard you try, no matter how hard working you are, you're never going to be able to do it on your own. It's just not possible.

Paul Harris:

You know, at the end of the day, you're steering your own destiny. So if it's not happening for you, and you're seeing what you want out there, then go out there and connect.

Sherene Redelinghuys:

Don't rely on others. You you have to do it yourself. You have to take control.

Rupert Pontin:

If you've got an idea, if you've got a thought about something that might be successful, if you've got a passion to do something yourself, but you just haven't quite got there, do it.

Tom Stepanchak:

Take a risk, take a chance, stick your neck out, what's the worst that can happen? You fall down okay, you pick yourself up and you try again.