Important Consumer Note: If your laptop, printer, router, cable box, or smartphone is broken (facepalm), I feel your pain! But please note – this article is not going to help with your technology issues (rats).
I tend to write my blogs based on themes that emerge from my coaching and consulting practice. This past month I have seen a trend of clients talking about the need to repair broken relationships. They are curious about the best way to approach someone to restore something they believe has been compromised. For those wrestling with something similar, it may be helpful to understand the distinction between repairing a relationship versus hitting the reset button.
To repair a relationship suggests some wrong needs to be made right. There needs to be a discussion about what was said or done with the objective of apologizing, forgiving, rebuilding trust, and moving on. However, when teams want to do this work together, within a full-day meeting, I start to sweat (gulp). It is hard to keep the collective conversation from creating more wrongs. Often what is brought up can be unfiltered and tends to cause additional damage and resentment. We can spend precious hours admiring all the microaggressions we have passed back and forth in our professional relationships.
Instead, I try to get my clients to acknowledge the power of hitting the reset button. This means naming that relationships have not been optimal between people or parties for different reasons. Often people hold different positions that cause tension. There could be elements of ingroup versus outgroup dynamics that result in people feeling excluded. Sometimes, there is a long history of climate issues that leave people feeling devalued or unheard. Often relationships are threatened more by system issues than by the individuals themselves. When this is the case, repair is probably not the answer. Instead, a commitment to resetting the standards of professional engagement is the needed first step.
When someone asks for a reset, the following need to be present.
Sometimes a reset is far too simple and professional relationships need more in-depth repair work (like going back versus forward and sharing context to seek restoration). Before you dive into that work – try the reset approach first. It may be precisely what is needed and can save you time and precious energy.
What professional relationships need a reset?
Are you considering making a job change in the next 6-12 months? If so, this is the perfect time for a check-up. I consistently hear clients talk about how they cannot pursue new opportunities until they feel their resume is appropriately updated. The tweaking and revising of this vital document can sometimes become a barrier that keeps people feeling stuck. Here are five tips to get you ready for a change.
1. Get a nice photo taken of yourself. Don’t do a selfie. Have a family member or a good friend take your picture in good light and then do some magic and make that photo into a professional head shot. You will need it for a number of reasons. I recommend at least three different versions.
2. Stop thinking about it and do it. Pull out your resume and give it an update. Have you gotten new degrees, certifications or training? What major accomplishments deserve to be highlighted? Have you had a title change or restructuring in your role with new responsibilities? This is the time to make those changes. Then put it on your calendar as a repeating 1-hour appointment every six months to review and revise your resume.
3. Once your resume is updated, don’t delay updating your LinkedIn account. There are 433 million registered LinkedIn users – your new boss is probably one of them. The average user is on LinkedIn just 17 minutes each month. You have enough time to do the same. Ensure you have an updated profile picture (see #1); you are 14 times more likely to be viewed. Make it a monthly goal to post at least one interesting article and ensure you are connected with groups of professionals in your target career.
4. Identify six professionals in your network that you deem critical connections. These can be colleagues within or outside of your current organization. These are individuals that you believe to be successful, well-connected, and people that may have great advice for you. Even if you are not considering a change in the near future, do not wait. Cultivate your network and keep them close. Create a touch point with all six before the end of the year through either a phone call, coffee/lunch date, or at a minimum, an email.
5. Say yes to the requests that come from others when they reach out to you for career connections and advice. You may be on someone’s top six list. It can be hard to find time for everything, but it is never a waste of time. You also never know when a connection can become reciprocal in your career path.
If you do not have time in July to hit all five of these points – just begin. Do not wait until December or January to focus on a desired transition. Take advantage of the flexibility that summer months often provide and be a good steward of your own career. When that new opportunity surfaces before the end of the year, you will be ready!
What part of this check-up do you need to focus on first? When is your check-up scheduled?
Carrie Arnold, PhD, MCC, BCC
In no particular order: Author | Dog mom to Moose | Speaker | Reader Mom to human offspring Wife | Lover of Learning Leadership coach & consultant, The Willow Group | Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation | Program Director for Evidence-Based Coaching at Fielding Graduate University