Thursday, June 26, 2008

With the First Pick in the 2008 Leadership Draft...

A medium sized (and quickly growing) medical technology firm chooses, Robert Mitera, project management subject matter expert from the University of Notre Dame and University of Missouri.

Today is notice day.  I'm leaving in 14 days to accept a position in leadership of another company.  I'll still be in Illinois - for now (they - or should I say we - have an office in Glendale, California).  In my new organization I will have responsibility for 36 people (and all their work), but I have already been told that my job in the next 12 months is to triple that.  Maybe I can race in the CEO division of Ironman now?  (Honestly...I'll have to look into that.)

This was a bit of a difficult decision even though I'm not happy in my current role; mainly because my work has started to be noticed by VPs here in other areas.  It is pretty nice to have a VP from a different division of the company ask you to speak at his organizations meetings.  However, I spoke to to my VP friend Tony and this is what I came up with.

Goals and the Master Plan for my Career: 
"If it is a great role and great organization - Don't pass it up!" - Tony  It is a great role and the leadership team wants me to join them.  I like them.  They work hard and make things happen. My current company is S-L-O-W in moving people into leadership.  You are waiting for people to die or retire.  I was asked, "So, how long are you willing to wait for this organization to recognize your skills and work?"  Well, with another company (three actually) calling me daily saying, "We want you to work here in our leadership team - NOW!" It is time to go.

Three years ago I solidified my goal of where I wanted to be at this time...and it happened!  (This is exactly what I was talking about to one of my triathlon blog friends (about goal setting) who is probably covering his/her face right now in surprise!)  My goal was to find a growing, medical industry company that does medical technology work and get a leadership position.  Check!  Three years ago I had never heard of this company.  I didn't know they were looking for someone like me.  We both set a goal to find each other and now are on the same team.  It works!  Goal setting with deadlines works!

Getting off the Dime
I sorta was looking for this role, but kinda not really.  Then my friend (and US Xterra Championship bound friend) Dean Hewson said, "Why do you work there?  You're too smart to be working there.  You need to get the hell outta there if you don't mind me saying."  I don't mind at all Dean.  You're right and in my tell it like it is communication style - you accelerated my search for the right place.  *Actually, Dean and I both found roles we couldn't pass up.  When I grow up I want to be a bit more like Dean, and Jenny, and Liz, and Jim U., and John, and Russ.  We really are a bit of who we hang out with and it is really apparent to me now.  You have to be around people who are going places and leave behind those who aren't.  This is why change is hard in life.  People don't want to leave anyone behind, but they must.

As I'm approaching the not-so-big a deal four - zero, it is time to work into leadership of an organization.  I'm not a "worker bee" any more.  I set the direction of the organization.  The work environment is very much like I enjoy working - FAST!  This is what I really needed to advance my career.  The best part is that these people and this company have similar values to my own.  I also like the fact that management can no longer say, "If we screw up nobody dies" because where I'm going...if we screw up...people could die.  BRING ON THAT PRESSURE!  I haven't lost anybody yet and I'm not going to start now.  

Will it be hard to leave where I am?  Sure it will; just like leaving high school for college or college for the real world.  There are very good people here.  

Change can be tough on people but here is how I look at it.  Change is the only constant in the world.  You can do two things: 1) run and hide from change until at some point in your life change grabs you from where ever you were hiding and does a number on you, or 2) you can embrace the chaos of change and seek it out.

Que The Rolling Stones, Start Me Up and bring my car around...
(I may return if I get an executive role in the future...but the competition is getting stronger all the time.)


  1. Bob! GOOD FOR YOU and congratulations. I have thought you should have moved on too. You does shake your life up a bit to make big changes, but it is SOOO good for you. And, you deserve it. Nothing is worse than living everyday NOT doing what you want. Jen H.
    PS We missed you at LITH!

  2. Hi Jen - I'll call you.

    I need to get my swimming in gear. This has been a very busy week.

  3. Congratulations and good luck. I have no doubt you belong in a smaller environ where you can have a bigger impact and use that charisma to lead/grow the company.

    Love your blog and your attitude.

    Nice ride to Lake Geneva! I was up there for Bigfoot and it was beautiful

  4. If you go to California, I'll have the perfect reason to move back there. It will always be my home.