Stop Assuming; Start Asking

…if you want top talent

(One of the 83 quick and practical life & work lessons from Sh*t Sandwich: Quick & Practical Success Lessons for Practically Anyone.)

assumed cartoonStop Assuming; Start Asking

Are you hoping to improve yourself by moving up or moving out? Are you a leader hoping to improve your team by adding someone else’s top talent?

It seems that many of the business leaders I respect the most are also the most timid when it comes to attracting what they consider to be talented leaders to join their organizations. They assume, incorrectly, that talent will come to them when ready.

At the same time, some of the most talented people I know do not outwardly display their ambitions.

Regardless of which side you’re on, believe it or not, the rest of us can’t read minds. It’s time for you to stop assuming the rest of us know what you want and start asking us directly.

Letting your boss know – in clear terms – that you feel you’re ready for a promotion and that you would like to be considered for advancement is often a critical first step toward moving up within your company. Similarly, if you’re interested in growing your career elsewhere, it’s important that someone other than you know this. (Say, the hiring managers of the companies where you feel you are a fit.) Don’t assume they know you desire a role with their company – ask them what they have available for someone with your skillset.

I Assumed You Were Happy Where You Were

This same need to ask applies to leaders looking to attract top talent. Let me give you a real world example:

Within 30 days of leaving an executive position to create my own business, I received three exceptional offers to help turn around struggling companies. (Challenging positions I would normally covet if I had not already invested so much in building my new venture.)

Three times I asked, “Why didn’t you come to me sooner with this offer,” and three times I heard, “I assumed you were happy…”

It’s a true statement that the best available jobs are not advertised; and business leaders won’t argue that fact. It’s equally true that the best available talent is not advertised; though this fact escapes most everyone seeking real talent.

Stop assuming and start asking.

Sh*t Sandwich is available in paperback at and is free on Kindle Unlimited.

From TheManager