Death precedes burial.

The is almost always true.

In perhaps an unusual setting, talking about a corporate leader being “let go”, my colleague Marsha mentioned those words. We wondered when did that person’s leader know they would terminate that person. When I have interviewed clients about their career history, and they share being released, terminated, fired from a role, I usually ask: were you surprised? I ask that based on two assumptions: (1) death precedes burial, and (2) were you paying attention to the signals.

One significant category of signals is feedback. Some of it is generated by you. Some of it is generated by others including your manager.

Feedback from you: How passionately engaged have you been in your work? How much effort have you put into it?  When it went well what would you attribute to your effort? When it did not go so well, how much would you attribute to your effort? In hindsight, as the last shovel of dirt is landing, can you say you saw it coming?

Feedback from others: Did you get feedback from others? Not the luxurious warm shower of “you were great!” or “keep doing what you are doing”. Not the uncomfortable assertion that “you were not good” or “you need to make sure you don’t do that again!” Did you ask for specific examples? Did you dismiss the feedback or incorporate it into a plan?

Valuable feedback is developmental and directional. It not only tells you what you did, it also tells you can improve, AND gives you specific strategies to implement.

When you focus on your effort, intentionally gather feedback, and purposely implement strategies based on that feedback, you will be less likely to be surprised about what happens whether you are told to go…. or whether you are allowed to grow!

Find the hook in your work that keeps you engaged.

Seek and consume feedback.

Commit to doing something with it.


Like this. Comment on it. Share it. Give me a call and tell me whether you saw it coming!

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