Ever so often I am taught a lesson or have an experience that reminds me never to get complacent in pursuing excellence in my personal and business ventures.
I had the most interesting experience attending a taster session of a peer group membership club. Full membership to this peer group offered CEO’s a supportive and challenging environment where they could share best practice and ideas with other CEOs. The goal was to bring together CEOs from really diverse backgrounds and industries to gain fresh perspective and insight from their peers. This diversity would avoid the usual insular discussions that go on in most boardrooms today.
On this occasion a lot of attendees had failed to show up at the meeting so I agreed to sit in the hot seat to be questioned about a business challenge I was facing and offered objective advice from peers. I agreed because I thought the experience would be enlightening – and it did not disappoint.
What seemed like a perfectly enjoyable experience gradually turned into one of the most unnerving experiences I’ve had in a long time – it felt like a bad job interview without the hope of a new job!
Suffice it to say, I learnt a lot from the experience and I thought I would share the main lesson with you.
There were several reasons why I was unhappy with the outcome or at least felt that I didn’t put my best self forward. I know I’m constantly being told that I’m too hard on myself but I have to be! I have to strive for excellence. The competition out there is tough and I’ve to strive to better myself in every way possible so that I can make the best of opportunities when they come along. I don’t think I made the most of this one though.
As difficult as the experience was. I learnt a lot about myself and I’d much rather go through the discomfort and challenges that growth brings now when I’m still “youngish” ☺ rather than later when I’m too set in my ways to change.
I digress, going back to lessons learnt, the main learning from the experience was that lack of preparation really makes you look like an amateur.
Lack of preparation, discounts and discredits all your achievement and hard work.
You couldn’t sabotage yourself anymore when you fail to prepare for meetings.
To be prepared I could have been 100% clear on:
- Why I was there? (Sitting in the hot seat was not part of my reason for being there!)
- What I wanted to get out of that meeting?
- What I was offering this group of peers?
- What problem my idea or offering solved?
- Why they needed to buy it?
- Who I was, what my competition was and how I was different from them?
I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been and it cost me my confidence.
I just wanted to share this so that you could learn from the experience.
Once in a while we all have experiences that make us reflect on how we do things. Have you had any similar experiences of being in a hot seat? How did you deal with it and what was the outcome?