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House of Cards: Microwave Success

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Christopher H. McKinney Sr.
May 26, 2023

In today’s world, with numerous technological advances, many things move quickly. Artificial Intelligence (AI) helps write marketing pitches in minutes. Computers enable AI to analyze data rapidly and identify trends. And microwaves continue to provide hot food on demand. I don’t know about you, but this speed aggravates my propensity towards impatience, which often shows up in the workplace for many people.

If you are in a hiring role, you have likely seen it. Chris is hired and expects to receive all the senior staff’s responsibilities and salary even though I still need the work portfolio and the tenure. This is a microwave mentality towards success instead of a crockpot mentality. Crockpot meals are savory and provide sustenance. Microwave meals are a quick way to satiate hunger. Long-term career success is better built using a crockpot approach.

“Success that you have not been groomed for is like birthing a baby prematurely.”

I have seen it and personally experienced it; a person obtains success quickly and lacks the character strength to sustain it. Gaining success too quickly is similar to doing 100 pushups to look pumped up instead of having a workout regime that gives you strength. Now I am not advocating moving slowly just for the sake of moving slowly. Still, I am emphatically saying do not skip steps in the process. Each step is critical to long-term success; there is NO WASTE!

The crockpot method allows you to gain the mentorship and experiences needed for long-term success. Bishop TD Jakes said, “Success that you have not been groomed for is like birthing a baby prematurely. The chances for survival go down the earlier it is exposed.”

Here are six thoughts to help you embrace the process.

  1. You Gotta Earn Your Stripes
  • Learn, learn, learn: Whether you are new to the workforce, recently transitioned into a new career path or started a new position work on becoming a subject matter expert (SME). You are only beginning your “work education with your certification or degree completion.” In addition to performing your work, spend 1 hour each day reading something new about your field, and in 5 years, you will become a SME.
  • Operate in excellence: Do not half-do anything. Even if the task is menial or tedious, execute it with excellence. You must understand that how you do anything is how you do everything. Be faithful over the little to be later trusted with more.
  • If you are not early, you are late: Get into the habit of always arriving early. Even if it is only walking down the hallway, get there early. Senior leadership usually pays attention to who is consistently early, late or just in time. It is not a major thing, but it does leave a tick mark on the score sheet in their brains in the wrong column if you are in any column other than consistently early. This also applies to meeting your deadlines for projects or correspondences.

“How you do anything is how you do everything.”

  1. You Are The Brand – Most people do not know anything about you, so ensure their first impression is the right impression, and, by all means, make it consistent.
  • Do excellent work.
  • Be respectful.
  • Be a good team player.
  • Do what you said; your word is your bond.
  • Be the SME.
  1. There Is No Waste
    • It does not matter how much you do not like a task; if it is assigned, get good at it; become the best at it. You never know when that particular skill will be needed, and it is not your business to try and figure out when you will need it. Just get good and be ready. If you stay ready, you’ll be ready!
    • Try lots of new things and fail often. Failing often and early will be critical later when aspiring to lead innovative teams. It also helps you learn that failure is the path to success. Additionally, it is a shorter fall at lower levels of your career.
  1. Character Matters – I elaborate on this in the article “Character Matters: Inside Out—Doing Out of Being,” but here are a few things to keep top of mind.
    • Own your failures; don’t make excuses.
    • Don’t lie.
    • Don’t gossip.
    • Don’t steal.
    • Pay your debts/bills.
    • Keep good credit.

“Go slow to go fast.”

  1. Clap For Others While You Grow – Do not sit on the sidelines sucking your teeth when a colleague experiences a win. Celebrate them genuinely. Clapping for others speaks volumes about your character. Additionally, you will want others to clap for you when your time comes, and we reap what we sow.

If you utilize the crockpot approach, your longevity is increased exponentially. Moving too fast to get promoted is like building a house on sand. The odds are very high that it will eventually collapse. In closing, Bishop Jakes also said, “When you are strong enough to withstand the elements to which you will be exposed, you will be revealed.”

Do not rush the process. Enjoy the journey.

Author: Christopher McKinney is CEO of 10X Leadership Consulting. 10XLC is a premier consulting company that helps businesses and organizations identify and rectify issues that impede revenue and growth. Chris also served as CEO of a Regional Planning District (COG) supporting 12 cities/towns in South Carolina. He also retired from the USAF after 30 years as a Command Chief Master Sergeant overseeing an 8,500-person workforce and the welfare of 31,000+ families/retirees. Email:[email protected]; Twitter: @10XLC; LinkedIn: christopher-h-mckinney-sr; website: www.10XLC.consulting

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