Most of us have past failures. I am a failed pilot. I was in the Royal Navy training to fly helicopters. Two years in, they decided I didn’t have the right stuff, so I hoisted anchor. Whilst not destined to become the next ‘Maverick’, I did learn a lot from my aircrew training.
A time to fly under the radar
As pilots, we were trained in ‘escape and evasion’ in the event of landing behind enemy lines. We were shown how to live off the land, skin rabbits, arrange secret rendezvous and generally disappear. We were also taught how to respond if captured by ‘the enemy’. The basic (cunning) plan was to merge into the general prisoner population and not let on that we were pilots (with valuable tactical information). This was called ‘playing the grey man’. Flying under the radar was a good approach in more ways than one.
And a time to stand out
Last week, one of Australia’s most profitable businesses, the National Australia Bank, announced it is making 6,000 redundancies over 3 years. Whilst one would expect the cutting process to be a fair one, there is no doubt that NAB managers across the country will soon be drawing up lists of the staff they want to keep and the staff they want to lose. This is no time to play the grey man or woman. If you work in one of the areas under threat, you want to stand out as a talented, energetic and influential team member. You want your name tattooed on as a ‘keeper’.
If the same thing were to happen in your business, where would your name appear?
NAB - the canary in the mine?
Whilst you may not work for NAB, or a bank, or even remotely near the sector, this question is worth asking. At the same time as announcing the redundancies, the bank also posted a $6.6 billion profit. The message is clear. If NAB - one of the most profitable businesses in Australia - is shedding staff, others will follow. Whether it’s down to A.I., off-shoring or robots, chances are your job is also at risk.
Your Time To Shine
Whilst there are no guarantees, it’s smart to do everything you can to ensure you sit securely on the ‘keepers’ list where you work. That’s why building your influence
is now vital. Being good at what you do is great – but no longer enough. You need to do, be and contribute more. I recently wrote that humanity is your point of difference
. The NAB redundancies simply reinforce the point.
You need to bring all of you to the table; to show how much you have to offer – to your customers, your staff and your peers. You’ll enjoy the process and position yourself as positively as possible. Whether that’s to avoid redundancy, or get the next promotion, there’s no down side. You just need to decide to shift your influence dial
The good news for you is that most of your peers will do nothing (making it easier for you). They’ll carry on playing the ‘grey man’, hoping that things will turn out OK. But hope is not a strategy! Committing to systematically building your profile and influence is a far better plan.
What’s the plan?
The NAB redundancies are a clear signal that the ‘future of work’ has arrived. What are you doing to make sure it’s a bright one?