Leadership Part 1 (4/3/2015)

I have been on the most amazing journey for the last 2 1/2 years.

Before I explain the journey, I need to give a little background.
I switched from Accounting (CPA) to Information Technology in the late 70's.
You might say I was an early adopter. We worked a lot closer to the CPU then (machine language and assembler code).
And it was important to me to be the best.
My earliest mentor was a young man who was a GURU in the language we were using (RPG).
He was a patient teacher and taught by example. He stressed things like:

I studied constantly to be the best technically, and my career potential seemed infinite.
My positions included the Senior IT position at several local and regional companies and we gave our customer exactly what we thought they needed.
And then I was invited to join larger companies, and couldn't make any career headway.
It wasn't the constant changes in technology because I kept up with all of that.

In 2010 I started working for Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated as a Director, reporting to the CIO.
The entire management team at Consolidated practices real leadership.
It is ingrained in their culture. And I didn't fit in.

The CIO and I had known each other for a long time.
We were having breakfast together one morning and he asked me what my career goals were.
I told him that I wanted his seat when he left the company.
He sat there quietly for a minute, trying to figure out the best way to tell me.
Finally, he said "That is never going to happen. You don't have the necessary skillset".

I was 57 years old, and nobody had ever said that to me before.
You can probably imaging the complete shock to my system.
We finished breakfast and nothing more was said about it.
About a week later I had internalized his statement and went to see him in his office.
I asked him what I needed to do to become a better leader.

He sent me to an Intentional Leadership course. And my life has forever changed.

I was offered the opportunity to step down to a Manager position, reporting to another Director.
Fortunately for me, this Director is a MENTOR.
He coaches me often, and in terms that I can understand.
We have an open and honest relationship, and he tells me when I do something well, and he tells me when I can do something differently to achieve a better result.

At our annual Celebration of Success in December last year, I received the CIO award for Leadership.
One of my team members also nominiated me for the HDI (Helpdesk International) Manager of the Year award.
She worked with my boss and they put in a lot of work on my nomination, which resulted in me being selected as one of the 3 finalists.
I didn't win the award, but what a fantastic honor to make it that far.

I still have a long way to go on this journey, but I am enjoying everything so much more.

I love going to work in the morning!