I was inspired by the interview in the NY Times with Julie Greenwald, Chief Operating Officer of Virgin Records. When asked about handling the transition into management she replied that she out-worked and outhustled everyone. A number one lesson for all of us.
My biggest inspiration in this article however, was from her boss. Old fashioned hard work and determination helped Julie excel at the job and justify the opportunity but he took the initial risk. He said, "you've earned it and I know you've never done this before but I think you deserve a shot." it was a calculated risk I'm sure, but a risk none-the-less.
The article states that when she was promoted to marketing and expressed fear in not knowing about marketing, she was told to "learn it". Same held true when she was transitioned to video. In a different life, I was in purchasing. My boss thought I could handle the a whole new market of high tech data. I expressed fear of not knowing and he replied, "you better figure it out, because that's where we are heading--I know you can get us there." I've had two opportunities like that in my career. Like Julie, I worked my ass off and made sure no one would ever regret giving me a shot, and as a result more opportunities opened up.
Do you remember who gave you your first shot? I do, and it's never left me. At Sea Bags, we now have a team of amazing talent. Amy, our Wholesale Manager started with us cutting sails. A single mom, supporting her children she's smart, organized and efficient. It quickly became apparent she could excel in other areas- experienced or not. Carrie, fresh from a mid-eastern stint with the National Guard serving our Country, came to us to sew. Independent and living on her boat, she's a great relationship manager and negotiator. She's also now our Sails Acquisition Manager. Sokunthy, our Finance Manager from Cambodia, was an administrative assistant. Armed with an undergraduate degree in finance and mostly through her MBA, she couldn't get a job in finance. She deserved the shot and is great at her job. Who gave you your first shot? Pay it forward.