The other day I had a very valuable conversation with a colleague about an initiative that I had been working on for the past couple of years. What I learned was that although I had worked very hard to develop it, with notable success, the initiative itself did not quite sync with the direction that the college was trying to go in, in terms of institutional priorities.
Surprisingly, I found myself excited by the challenge of re-evaluating my work and making the necessary course correction. I saw it as my opportunity to show my colleagues and superiors that I could in fact take in feedback, dissect, digest, and re-tool the project that had grown so near and dear to my heart and make it relevant to the current priorities of my institution. So, with that said, I pose the question to you. Have you ever devoted a significant amount of time and energy to a project, only to find that it wasn’t quite where it needed to be? Tempted to throw in the towel? Well don’t! Here are a few tips that can help you think more constructively on how to reshape your approach.
FOLLOW-UP: Once you have devised a plan of action, if possible, schedule another meeting to discuss your plan and to get feedback. With your boss, develop a timeline for implementing the new changes. It’s best to take initiative and schedule the meeting yourself rather than to wait for your boss to follow-up with you. This will demonstrate that you are serious about continuing to develop as a professional and that you are willing to be flexible in meeting the needs of your institution.
Now don’t be surprised if even after you follow these steps, you still receive requests to make changes. That’s just part of life. We are constantly making changes and re-evaluating where we are and where we need to be. How successful you will be is going to largely depend on your attitude toward adversity, criticism, and correction. If you constantly run away from difficulties or give up when you experience rejection, you will not grow personally or professionally. But if you can weather the storm and learn to embrace the challenges that come, it will not only earn you the respect of your peers, but it will build your character and enhance your professional reputation.
For more great info on how you can earn your problem-solver badge on your job, check out What Every Employer Desperately Wants: A Problem-Solver.