The best defence – The Tim Show – S01E07

What do you call a penguin in the Sahara desert? Lost.

I’m Tim, a product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model. I’ve been selected to participate in a 1 to 2 year leadership development program in the APAC region. A year passes both quickly and slowly; this show is a way to both share what I’m learning and see how far I’ve come.

This episode is all about how the best defence is taking creative initiative.

Unexpected change

Earlier in the year my team went through an unexpected organizational change, and my fear of the unknown went into overdrive. To cope with that uncertainty, I imagined a bunch of scenarios that might happen, and started planning on ways that I could defend my position against potential adversity.

My coach asked me whether my defensive guerrilla tactics were going to get me what I wanted. He was right; defence is a delaying tactic at best.

Reactive skulduggery

What I really wanted was to regain some sense of control. For the record I am well aware that i am stardust on stardust hurtling through stardust at a terminal velocity and in general control is an illusion at best. That being said, i still want to feel like I’m in a position to provide for my family and add value at my workplace.

What I want to call “reactive skulduggery” is a pattern for me; an unexpected change will often set me imagining worst case scenarios and how I could out maneuver “them”, whoever “they” are. But time spent defending your existing position could usually be better spent creating something awesome.

Almost none of the stuff I like about my life came from hanging on to stuff I already had

Trebuchet++

Instead of digging a moat and stockpiling soap (or the corporate workplace equivalents) I kicked off a bunch of initiatives that I’d been thinking about for ages. Instead plugging gaps in my armour, I looked for innovative ways to solve business problems for my employer.

In doing that not only did I come out stronger, better, faster, but my stakeholders and employer did too. At the same time, by focusing on the output that I could uniquely provide I regained some of the sense of control that I’d lost.

A challenge I’d set for future Tim would be: look out for early stage scheming, and turn that energy to something creative and valuable instead.

 

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