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The Journal Gazette

Friday, July 29, 2016 11:09 am

Work harder on yourself than on your job, author says

Lisa Green | The Journal Gazette

Change is inevitable.

Just think about technology, and how it’s changed how we do things and even what we do.

Now think about you.

Trying viewing yourself as a project -- one that needs to evolve, too.

“We have to work on ourselves harder than we work on our jobs,” said Chris Savage, one of nearly 30 people interviewed for Michelle Pizer’s “Crack the Leadership Code” summit, a two-week series of podcasts. Savage’s interview with Pizer, who is based in Melbourne, Australia, was called “How I Became The Oldest Person in the Room.”

Savage started his career as a junior intern with a public relations company and as his career evolved, he earned a VP spot by the time he was 25. He has a weekly “Wrestling Possums” blog with 11,000 subscribers and had a book, “Savage Oxygen,” published this year.

Savage often finds himself working with people 20 years younger because of what he calls a commitment to stay current and cutting-edge. That requires a consistent, structured plan to grow.

Emotional Intelligence -- being aware and sensitive to people -- is popular to talk about in leadership forums, but Savage said Change Intelligence needs to be a driving force.

Leaders should assess and think about how others view them in key areas including their expertise in delivering positive outcomes, what they “bring to the table” beyond normal leadership skills, and whether they are collegial and supportive. Leaders should also have a regular reality check on whether the role they’re in is the right role.

A few other thoughts Savage shared through Pizer:

* CEOS are generally good about saying everything has to change, but not about changing themselves.

* Be willing to take an exit door. Some people don’t survive a fire because they won’t go through the exit door -- not knowing where it will lead. You have to have the courage to face the unknown.

* Everyone wants to be part of a high-performance team. Hire people who hate losing. High performance teams have 10 percent more to do than they can get to -- not 30 percent more than they can get to. The 10 percent allows just the right amount of pressure.

* The keys to keeping the best people -- leaders worth following, work worth doing and a culture worth investing in.