Archives for posts with tag: Chance

Nothing rankles more and is harder to dismiss than a missed opportunity, I find. More than that, to have had the chance to do something, and to have passed it up, is hard to take.

Years and years ago, I was attending the British Open golf event (is there any better value sporting event than the first 2 days of the Open, over 12 hours of sport where you can get out for a walk, see some amazing shots, savour the atmosphere and get close enough to see what the guys are thinking and feeling?) as a spectator and wandering amongst the masses when my mate pointed out someone famous to me that has just walked past us. ‘Look’, he said, ‘there’s Ian Baker-Finch.’ I turned round to look behind me, as I walked, at this legend who had won the event a few years before, and bumped into a bloke who was much larger than me, but who, for some reason, came off from the contretemps in a worse state, one of those kind of knee-to-knee bump situations where one person can be unscathed and another in a bit of pain.

As it turned out, the chap I had bumped into was none other than fellow fan Ieuan Evans, who was a British Lion at the time and arguably much more famous than Mr Baker-Finch. I apologised and that was that.

Years later, I was invited to a corporate hospitality event by a mate of mine who was himself a guest of a logistics company. The event was the Ireland-Wales 6 Nations rugby clash in Dublin. One of the pundits who was booked to provide pre-show analysis and mingle among the guests was Mr Evans. I met him briefly, and was working up to telling him my golfing anecdote when our little enclave was joined by the event host, Keith Wood, himself no slouch on the rugger field. Mr Wood is a very charismatic individual, pronounced the group he had joined a follically challenged one – which was true, me and Mr Evans included, and proceeded to lead the conversation. During this, Ieuan left our group and went to mingle elsewhere. I didn’t get another chance to catch up with him.

Missed opportunities. To have failed to take the chance is far worse than to have taken it and failed.

In a previous post, one of the 3 things I discussed that you need to satisfy in an interview scenario is ‘can this person do the job?’ If you want the job, and the company culture is right for you, how do you persuade the company that you’re worth the risk if you haven’t got the experience?

Every successful line manager, Director or CXO at some point was a first-time line manager, Director or CXO – the X of CXO meaning any C-Suite role, like CEO, CFO or COO. Someone had to give them their first shot.

If you’re interviewing for a sales manager role, and the company is looking for experience of having led a multi-million dollar sales team, and you don’t have it, it’s very hard to argue your case. What generally happens is that those people were top performers in that team and graduated to become the team manager, even though the skill-set required for a manager is completely different to that of a ‘sole contributor.’

When I look back at the jobs I’ve had, I’ve switched around quite a lot, and in quite a few cases my boss at the time decided I was worth the risk and – to adapt a well-known ABBA song – took a punt on me. Happily, I paid them back on their decision.

When you need someone to take a punt on you, you need to fall back on things that will make you successful in a new role, evidencing your adaptability, perseverance, commitment and enthusiasm, while drawing parallels from your career where you made similar leaps. Then, when you’ve presented your best case, relax, you’ve done all you can. They will or they won’t.