Is your passion, something you love and are extraordinarily good at doing, something your company needs?
That’s Patty McCord’s “algorithm” for success, which she gives to employees who have grown complacent at rapidly growing startups. McCord has plenty of experience in this space, having worked as Netflix’s first chief talent officer for 14 years. At a Business Insider webinar, she mentioned that the problem with complacent employees is that they don’t wake up every day and ask, “What can I do better?”
“The sticking around thing is often about how this company wouldn’t be the same if I was here,” McCord said to Business Insider correspondent Shana Lebowitz, “but that fails to realize that in order for you to be here, you have to change too.”
McCord said that it’s not a universal issue that people stick to one place for too long, but most people experience complacency or discontent with their professional careers at some point.
The goal is to maintain a constant stream of self-reflection to trace the peaks and falls of your career. That introspective landscape takes conscious effort to maintain: People get busy and have outside lives and aren’t always thinking about what they can do to make themselves, their teams, and their company better. But, according to McCord, you have to do it in order to keep progressing in your career and detecting complacency within yourself.
A Gallup world poll demonstrates that people need to be more active about their careers: Only 15% of employees around the world are engaged in their work, with the percentage rising to 30% for US workers. Engagement means following McCord’s algorithm and aligning your passion with the work you do.
Managers should think about this algorithm in terms of whether they have the right employees for the job. Employees should think about it in terms of the functionality they bring to the company and the satisfaction they derive from their own careers.
“It’s that 50/50 equation,” McCord said. “It’s not just the company that takes care of you, it’s you that takes care of you and your own career.”
If you enjoy building products, for example, and now the company asks you to do maintenance work, you might not be happy. McCord said that in that instance, you’re responsible for pinpointing the root of your unhappiness and acting accordingly.
That action might take the form of moving away from a company you’ve worked at for a while.
“Sometimes when you’re unhappy at work, a really good thing to do is go interview somewhere else and find out what it is you love to do,” McCord said, “and if it’s somewhere else, then you should go somewhere else.”