I have off late been insisting entry level executives to have these words on a sticky note at their desks at all times:
Learn for yourself, not for the clients you manage
If you are into Social Media, as an executive, you are usually bogged down by activities such as regular content creation, response management, idea execution, online reputation management, reporting etc. Doing this makes you operationally well-equipped but from a higher perspective you are simply a part of a bigger machine that is processing output without contributing anything to what you are executing. What this implies is that you have actually trained yourself to be a robot. Eventually you begin to realize this and plunge to take a break from the company or eventually quit it simply because you are tired of the monotony at work. You are tired of being a robot, a machine. You now want to be human. You want to break free. You want to enjoy your life.
Humans on the other hand enjoy work. They really do. No, I’m not talking about those workoholics. I’m talking about people who love what they do. The reason they love what they do is because they have a purpose, a cause. Their purpose is to learn for themselves. It is the same purpose you once had when you first joined that organisation. These humans (in the social media space) are the ones who use “brands” to learn for themselves. By doing so, it wouldn’t matter to them which brand they get to handle.
Help me! Tell me what do I do now? I want to be human again.
First we need to identify the problem. Then we need to answer it. (Answered by a Human in Italics)
The root cause of why you are acting & feeling the way you are, is because you have become dependent on someone for everything leaving the execution bit. Let me break this down for you.
- You have become overly dependent: You realise that someone up there is always available to help you when you have to face a problem. A Human believes in himself to find answers. He thinks, evaluates the problem. He never gives up searching for answers.
- You are too scared to make mistakes: You always depend on a superior which implies that you shift your responsibility onto the superior. A Human learns from his mistakes
- You are unwilling to experiment: You don’t want to evaluate anything new for yourself and depend upon someone else to do it for you. The person who does it, is the Human
- You have put on your blinders: You focus only on things that matter to your brand and are unwilling to explore any new project that are beyond the scope of your brand’s work. Humans are explorers. They don’t care what source they get to learn from; they are always hungry.
- You restrain from learning something new just because you have not been assigned the tasked. Humans ask their superior to involve them in newer project so that they get to learn something new
- You do not reason anymore: You now blindly follow orders without asking a question back to your superior. You seem to be no longer interested in know why you are doing, what you are doing? Humans crave to seek the reasoning from their superiors before executing an activity
- You are a copycat: You focus on copying a campaign blindly without reasoning. Humans steal concepts rather than blindly copying them, map them with their audience and create an irresistibly new campaign which earns them credit
- You have preferences: You say you can focus on managing a few brands better than other brands because you are interested in them. Humans don’t have preferences, they can adapt simply because they can & have learnt for themselves.
I’d like to repeat again what I initially insisted. (Place this quote as a sticky note, will you?)
Learn for yourself, not for the brands you manage
When you have succeeded in doing this, you will have overcome the fear of turning into a robot at your workplace. This will enable you to grow in your organisation. You will have become Human once again. You will have broken free.