The more I read and digest the works of John Maxwell, the better I understand the nature of interaction and relationships. Wherever I choose to work, I use the following as guidelines in making the choice. If I don’t find the elements present, can I influence their creation in the future? If the answer is “no” to either question then I have to seriously consider my future in that location or firm. The key here is to be honest in your evaluation from both sides, personal as well as corporate.
1. Is it a place where others are ahead of me!
Are there people that provide a group from which I can learn and grow? This means I have a group to learn from and grow with which makes time and learning progress much faster and provides a lot more fun in the process.
2. Is it a place where I can be continually challenged?
If I am not stretching myself then I am not growing so any organization that I join should be able to challenge me in terms of expanding my skills & knowledge. Do they provide the tools to help me expand? Do they allow me to make mistakes, if necessary to grow?
3. Is it a place where my focus can be forward, not backwards?
Can I maintain a proactive and forward-facing attitude and precise focus on the future, while doing my daily work, or am I always putting out fires and focusing on past activities that need to be repaired?
4. Is it a place where the atmosphere is affirming, not negative?
One of the first things I look at is how does an organization treat problems? Do they shoot the messengers, or support them? Look for pointing fingers and blame passing when you are listening to those around you before you join.
5. Is it a place where I can get out of my comfort zone, on a regular basis?
Does the environment allow you to move out of your comfort zone and try new tools or processes? Do they encourage it by providing opportunities for to try new things or is it a hidden process? Ask the question?
6. Is this a place where I can be excited daily?
If you don’t sense the excitement when talking with the company representatives you talk to, ask to talk to a peer briefly. You should be able to gauge the amount of excitement around what the company does or products they provide. then think twice about how you would fit into the environment.
7. Is it a place where failure is NOT my enemy? Can I learn to fail forward?
If you ask some simple questions, you can usually determine how an organization treats failure. If they can’t remember that last time something didn’t work, then you might have a problem. No environment is perfect, so they need to provide some flexibility that will provide reasonable treatment of failure on new projects or products.
8. Is it a place where everyone is growing, not just some?
Is there an opportunity for everyone to grow or is training limited to one group? Express you desire to learn and grow and listen carefully to the response. What are your specific goals for growth? Can you articulate them for someone; include the benefits to your employer and their customers?
9. Is it a place where people embrace change? Is it a place I can embrace change?
Change in the market place today so this question is twofold. Both the environment and you yourself must be willing to embrace change effectively. Answer the question in your own mind first, then address it with the environment. If you’re not willing to accept change then you will not survive well in an environment that is rapidly evolving.
Do they have a requirement for continued growth of each person? Do they offer a career planning service through HR that is supported by the business? Do people have certificates of growth in their cubes or offices? All good questions with some very tricky answers. Listen and observe all of the signs around you.