Journey into leadership: Introduction

New leaderThis post is part of a series that follows A.M. Starkin, a young manager taking his first major steps into leadership. Starkin writes here to share his experiences and to get input from others, so please share with him your thoughts and ideas. This post is the first in the series.

Hi, I am a young manager who has very recently got his first Profit-and-Loss responsibility in a large corporation where I have to turn around a small and loss-giving company rather quickly.

Would it be interesting and inspiring if I shared my thoughts and experiences with you on this task?

A lot of us – statistically at least – work for big corporations that may or may not share our points of view and our ethics. We all have the choice whether we want to make the best of it, quit or just stay passive. How do you make a difference if you are just a pawn in a chess game with 100.000 pieces?

That is what I want to explore and share with anyone, and that is why I agreed with Alexander to post those thoughts and experiences on his site, which is read and contributed to by a lot of inspiring people, who at least have in common that employees are real people, not “human resources”.

So, if my regular writings inspire anyone to comment, discuss, suggest, ridicule or whatever, I am sure this will help at least me and hopefully also you to be better at making our colleagues and ourselves happy at work.

And that’s the mission, right?

I am “orbiting the giant hairball” like an author of a book which Alexander recently recommended – which means that I am working for a big, global, conservative corporation that is stagnating these years and like so many other companies are turning to acquisitions to keep growing.

It is a company that I like working for in _almost_ any way, I am very proud of my company in many ways and now also very happy to be promoted to a position where I might just make a difference

My company actually does an efficient job of creating frustrated employees. No surprise – most big corporations are like that. I have simply been too lucky and happy to become as frustrated as many.

Half of my job is to head this department which provides services to companies in global commerce. We employ of a handful of people and I need to turn their business around by next year – they are loosing 300.000 USD this year which is a lot.

I have been shutting up, listening and learning for a couple of weeks and now find it’s the time to start changing things for the better.
This week, I am buying my colleagues lunch and on that occasion presenting my ideas for the future. I’ll let you know about those ideas in mroe detail and about the reaction next week.

The team is quite sceptical towards the mother company but otherwise relatively pleased in their daily life. What I am unsure about so far is whether there is too much or too little to do. How can that be? Everyone is complaining that they don’t have enough time – and they are building up piles of work in their inboxes. On the other hand the pace is far from hectic – more like my grandmother’s living room where the clock on the wall could always be heard: Tick, tock, tick, tock…….

Part of my plan is inspired by Lars Kolind (www.thesecondcycle.com): I am going to add a lot of tasks to what we do to day and let people choose more or less freely which ones they want to work on. As mentioned I will add more on that later.

Before this becomes a novel in it self I will simply consider this an appetizer for myself as well as for everyone else. Will it be interesting to see if I can turn this around and make money? Am I going to apply what I am learning from sites like Alexander’s – or will I grow supsicious and cynical and go back to the management style of the ’60s?

What would you do in my shoes? You’d probably need to know more – so please do ask me.

I plan on showing myself as weak and as strong as I can be while regrettably staying anonymous. This is absolutely necessary in order to stay good friends with my boss. But that’s up for discussion too – is it really ethical to discuss colleagues, company etc without telling them?

I am hoping for a lot of discussion and mutual inspiration!

A.M. Starkin

One thought on “Journey into leadership: Introduction”

  1. Dear A.M

    As managers or leaders we tend to believe that the solution to all problems should come from us. That is not how it works, is it? But we like to pretend that we are in charge, that we know, are the ones to go to, to ask for advice.

    It

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