W. Scott Greene returns to discuss how to prepare yourself for the next level of your career.

Prepare Your Fields for Rain to Advance Your Career BtR 328

The key to career growth is not only setting goals, but also having the right behavior competencies and taking on stretch assignments. As you move up the ladder, you will need to continuously develop these skills in order to be successful.

W. Scott Greene returns to discuss how to prepare yourself for the next level of your career.

Prepare Your Field for Rain

There were two farmers who would pray for rain daily.  One farmer would finish his prayer, then go back inside his home for the rest of the day waiting for the rain to arrive. The second farmer would finish his prayer, then go out to the barn to set up the plow, then till the fields, check the bags of seeds, fertilizer, etc. Which of these two farmers would be prepared to receive the rain?

That’s what we are discussing in this episode of Beyond the Rut, how do you prepare yourself to receive the next level of your career?

W. Scott Greene

Scott is a retired U.S. Air Force Senior Enlisted Leader with extensive experience in the healthcare community.  He is currently the Organizational Development Manager at the City of Corpus Christi. He holds several leadership and development certifications including Certified Mental Health First Aid Facilitator with the National Council for Behavioral Health, Shipley Communications’ Four Lenses, EI Learning Systems’ Emotional Intelligence Certification, and Facilitator for Satori Alternatives for Managing Aggression. 

You can connect with W. Scott Greene on LinkedIn.

In This Episode

Here are some of the topics discussed in this episode:

  • Having written goals that you discuss with your supervisor
  • Approaching your work with one-year goals that make impact
  • Taking on stretch assignments 
  • Dressing for the role you want rather than the role you have
  • Developing your competencies for the future job you want
  • Honing your character to be the “salt and light” in the workplace

Noteworthy Timestamps

[0:00] Preparing your fields for the rain.

[3:24] When you quantify everything that you’ve done, you are already prepared.

[5:53] Don’t dress for the job you have but for the one you want..

[10:00] Most people want to prepare themselves for the salary, not necessarily for the responsibility.

[12:44] The importance of taking ownership of your failures.

[16:37] The importance of setting expectations for your team.

[18:27] Being salt and light at work is not blowing them off.

Resources and Links

Listen to these past episodes:

How to Advance Your Career with ROI – BtR 327

[Blog] Is It Time To Change Jobs, Careers, Or Bloom Where Planted?

[Blog] 4 Practical Tips for Pursuing a Career in Something You Love

Episode Credits

Host, Editing, and Production: Jerry Dugan


W Scott Greene  00:00

So I’ll see, you know, you talk to the recruiters once in a while, and you’re looking at different executive level positions that are being posted. And you’ll see like, some of the applicants and you’re like, what? Well, you know, I appreciate the boldness, but they didn’t meet any of the minimum requirements. And so you want you want to, you know, but But I think what happens is, people will see that salary, and they’re like, hey, why not? I’m gonna apply for it. But what I don’t see a lot of people do is prepare for the responsibility.

Jerry Dugan  00:33

Welcome to another episode of beyond the rut, the podcast that shares encouraging stories and practical tools to help pull you out of your rut into a life worth living. I’m your host, Jerry Dugan. And in just a moment, we’re going to continue our conversation with Scott Green. He’s a director of organizational development, but also one of the hosts of the llama lounge produced by llama leadership. So he’s an Air Force veteran, retired senior noncommissioned officer, and he brings his expertise in military leadership, and an organizational development team development to help you advance your career. Now, in a previous episode, we talked about how you can advance your career by focusing on the return on investment on your salary. Now we’re going to talk about preparing your fields for the rain. So if you’re looking for that promotion, the next step up, but you haven’t prepared your fields to receive the rain you’re asking for, are you really going to be prepared to receive that next promotion. So we’re going to talk about some tips and tricks and ideas, and just really a way of living and working, that will prepare you for the next step. So sit back and relax. Unless you are I don’t know, trying to leave something on a construction site. In that case, you probably just need to keep paying attention to what you’re doing. But keep us in your air pods. Maybe not both ears, though, because you probably need to hear for any calls for safety issues, that kind of thing. Because we want to keep you on one piece at least. But in any case, here we go.

W Scott Greene  02:07

Yeah, I’m wondering what is the the the duration, the average duration that a person has with an organization now?

Jerry Dugan  02:15

It’s less now probably about three years or less? Right?

W Scott Greene  02:18

And so that reminds me of my time in the military. Right? So every duty station and every, you know, change of assignment was about three to four years. Yeah. And so my goal for each of those duty stations, when I when I was assigned to a new base, or I had a new type of responsibility was at the end of the year, what is my performance evaluation going to look like? And the more impact I made, the better that performance evaluation. Yeah. And so I encourage employees to put themselves in that mindset. Like if I only had two years in this department, right, two years with this organization, even even though you may stay there for 567 years, but we know that the average is about three, if I say okay, what do I want to accomplish in the next two years? Not that I just want to come to work every day? And just do these processes do these tasks that are assigned to me? But what kind of influence do I want to have? What kind of change? Do I want to see? What kind of impact do I want to have? It’s like goal setting, right? This is what I want to accomplish in the next two years, start working towards those goals. And think about how you want your evaluation to read at the end of the year. And that’s when you quantify everything that you’ve done. I worked with a guy just recently who has a military background as where I hired a former Army officer, very logistical thinking, very analytical. And every time each week, I’d go into his office, we’d have these conversations. And he had a Word document up on his on his computer. And he was just basically typed out every new thing he did in the previous week. So not necessarily the typical tasks that he did. But the new things like if I improve our website, if I found a quicker way to process, a vendor payment, and if you’re always on the go, looking for ways to improve things, couple of things happen. When they’re looking for someone to elevate to that next level, you’re not trying to prepare yourself, you’re already prepared. Exactly. You’re already you’re already demonstrating to your leadership and to your organization’s you know, C suite that you’re doing the work that it takes to fulfill that next role. And I what I see too many people do nowadays is they won’t take that extra step and that extra initiative, because they’re not in the seat at that moment. Like Well, why should I worry about approvement that’s the superintendents role that’s to the directors role. But if you take ownership over the improvement, when that directors role becomes available, you make it hard for them to deny you that opportunity to take that position

Jerry Dugan  04:54

Facing the Giants just popped in my head. And the story about the two farmers right the one On that they both are going through a drought. Every morning, both farmers wake up and they pray for rain. And you know, Dear God, you know, please make it rain today, let’s grow some crops, let’s make, let’s, let’s bring bread to the masses, all that good stuff. Then after that prayer, one prayer would sit back down on the porch and wait for the rain. The other farmer would go to the barn, hook up the plow, go out to the field and plow the field and prepare it. And then check the seeds to make sure there are plenty of seeds and check the soil and you know, do I need to get more fertilizer, all that stuff? And then so the question at the end of this analogy is, which of the two farmers was prepared to receive the rain god was going to send and it’s the same thing you’re talking about, you’re you’re wanting to move forward in your career. What is it you’re doing to prepare yourself for that next level, and one of the two things that popped into my mind is, the first one is a simple one. Don’t dress for the job you have dressed for the job you want. And, and I find myself not consistently fulfilling that, like, there are times where I dress like an executive at work. And then there are times where I’m like, I don’t feel like it. I just want to fit in with everybody else. And I take the jacket off and take the tie off and and my boss does a double take because he’s the vice president. And then there are days where I just throw the jacket on no tie, just the jacket he’s like, and it throws them off, which tells me Jerry, you went on too long without dressing up for the part. Now that you dressed up for the part, you’ve kind of scared him he thinks you’re interviewing for other jobs. So where are they? Yeah, and so it’s like just wear the jacket more often. Jerry it and you know, the executive start thinking you’re one of them. And then they start thinking of you for projects and things like that, because you just have this presence about you. The other way to prepare Oh, go ahead.

W Scott Greene  06:44

I was gonna say I’ve had that happen where so routine every once awhile, I’ll wear a suit to work. And then you have to have that one day your suit your boss sees you. You’re like everything. Okay? I might Yeah. Yeah, why? You weren’t? Yeah, like, I wasn’t at a job interview this morning. Don’t worry about it. I’m okay. Not going anywhere.

Jerry Dugan  07:03

Yeah, I told my boss the other day, because I keep a jacket. So I, you know, fan of the office. And some of the tips I learned about corporate life is, you know, from the office, like you always keep a jacket on the back of your chair. Because when your boss walks by early in the morning, and they see your jacket, like, wow, Jerry came in early, you’re not even there yet. You’re coming in at eight or nine o’clock like everybody else.

W Scott Greene  07:25

Or you could be like George Costanza and just leave your broken down car outside of the office. Wow, he’s really pulling the hours.

Jerry Dugan  07:34

Just push it into a different parking spot every every couple of days. And then leave your jacket there because then they’ll walk by at the end of the day when they’re leaving, like, wow, Jerry’s still in the building somewhere. You know, that guy’s really burning the midnight oil. Well, you know, this week, this past week, I decided, well, why don’t I just wear the jacket, you know, and actually play the part. And so I did, and my boss like, wow, you’re all dressed up and snazzy. And I’m like, and I had some appointments that day, you know that that day? There were medical appointments and like, it’s cool. It was truly a physical exam. That’s where I was going. And it’s like, oh, okay, good. I’m like, yeah, no, I love my job. So that was the first thing though, dress for the job. You want not the job you have. The second thing, though, that you can prepare yourself to receive that rain in a sense. You know, if your company has prescribed competencies, behavior competencies, you know, most folks look at those as just things you gotta go through during the annual performance review. But seriously, this is advice I got from my previous director before I came to my current job. She said, take a look at the competencies, not for the employee or supervisor, Jerry, because you’re an informal leader, why don’t you take a look at the competencies for manager slash director, pick one to develop and go from there. Right. And I looked at it, and it was different, like the competencies are way different i Some of them I was already doing. But then there was one around communication, communicating effectively, and talked about being concise and clear and casting vision. And I asked her what about that one? And said, that’s the one you want. Cool. And so we focused on like executive presence and how to talk in a meeting. And knowing my personality. So like using my wackiness in a meeting, but then also knowing when to tamper it down. Be quick, concise, sure went out and move on. I was promoted to a manager within like six months of that advice. And I was consistently every week getting feedback on how I was doing with that and never once asked her like, Hey, want you to promote me? When are you gonna promote me it was just like, there was a reorganization that came. And I was thought at first not just by her, but the other directors in the department and the vice president thought Jared be perfect for that role. Let’s let’s see how he does. And so I mean, the point I’m making there is I prepared myself for that role by looking at what is the next level of competencies and how can I grow up to those competencies, not just sit on my laurels for the current ones that

W Scott Greene  10:00

challenge with most people is they want to prepare themselves for the salary. Yeah, necessarily, not necessarily for the responsibility, right, actually, so. So I see, because my office is in human resources. And so I’ll see. So I’ll see, you know, you talk to the recruiters once in a while, and you’re looking at different executive level positions that are being posted. And you’ll see like, some of the applicants, and you’re like, what? Well, you know, I appreciate the boldness, but they didn’t meet any of the minimum requirements. And so you want you want it, you know, but I think what happens is, people will see that salary, and they’re like, hey, why not? I want you to apply for it. But what I don’t see a lot of people do is prepare for the responsibility. And so it’s like this in any any new job, especially for first, first time supervisors, new managers. First thing they do, when they get offered the promotion, they start pulling up the calculator, and they want to know what that next paycheck is going to look like. Yeah. What do they do they look at how many people am I now responsible for? How large is this budget? What other pain comes along with with this position? Yeah. What’s my leadership credo gonna be what’s Yeah, what’s, and who now do I have, sometimes it’s nice to not be so close to certain levels of leadership, right? Because you didn’t realize that person above you was often a buffer between you and that top leader. So now all of a sudden, you don’t have that buffer anymore. And so that you might have had that one leader or director that was sort of shielding you from some of the harshness that comes with being in that leadership role. And people. A lot of people want to be leaders, and I appreciate that. But it’s an unfair endeavor, right? No, it’s not. It’s not. It’s not puppy dogs and roses. And sometimes it’s, oftentimes it’s harder days more than it is good days. And so what I encourage people to do is if you want to do that next level, if you want to move up to that next step, don’t just prepare yourself and look at Oh, the reason I why I want to be at the next level is because I want to take care of people. Or the reason I really want to be at the next level is because the salaries better. You really want to take a closer look and see what does it really take? What are the what are the things that I’m not seeing the extra hours, the phone calls in the middle of the evening? And I’m not saying this to scare people from trying to step up and take on new roles, new responsibilities, but there’s a lot that goes with it. It’s not always as easy as it is most people see.

Jerry Dugan  12:27

Yeah, nothing’s more exciting than taking the responsibility for somebody else’s mistake, right? Absolutely. Yeah. I’m not even talking to my own people. I’m talking like another department makes a mistake. And somehow it’s my fault. I’m like, What? No, I’m not even. I don’t even know that job. Like,

W Scott Greene  12:45

if you just or if you just taken on the new role. Yeah. And there was a failure three months ago, and that department, and you’re, you’re the one why this happened to like, I don’t know I wasn’t here, then. But you still have to, in some ways take ownership for correcting that problem. I can’t just use the new guy excuse forever.

Jerry Dugan  13:05

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W Scott Greene  14:44

I will say this and it’s sort of a biblical viewpoint, be the salt and light, right? Be that person that’s dependable. Be that person that in a pinch, they can go to you. And when they do go to you’re going to have the great attitude about it, you’re gonna be that person that you feel like you pick the right person to go to in a pinch. Because it’s easy to haha, they’re always messing up and they’re always relying on me. Well, if you’re going to have that bad attitude when when your leadership comes to you for an emergency, if you’re going to have the negative attitude, the just sort of sourpuss, oh, they’re always bothering me about this, then they may be preparing you for that next level, and what to expect. So if you’re going to have a negative attitude, when they’re giving you the short notice taskings, short notice emergency situations, then they’re probably not going to look at you for a permanent role in leadership development capacity. So that’s, that’s why, you know, my, you know, you and I are both, you know, share Christian values. And so we’re probably the annoying ones at work, Jerry, where we’re there early every morning, smiles on our faces. But we want to know that we want people to know that you can have a great attitude at work, and you can be that dependable person at work. And even when things are bad. And even if things are not going the way it should be. Your attitude will get you through that, that tough time better than a bad attitude. Yes, so so. So dressing the part, building up your your resume, so to speak, as far as you know, quantifying what you do, find problems and solve those problems that maybe the leadership doesn’t even recognize as a problem. And then also, again, be that salt and light, be that person that people are willing to go to, when there’s a need,

Jerry Dugan  16:29

you don’t necessarily have to be the person that does the thing that’s being asked, at least find out who the person is and communicate to the person. So you set expectations as well. Because I mentioned earlier as a joke, like my department gets blamed for things that we don’t even do, like, it’s not even a responsibility area, and we just launched an ERP. And I kid you not, if I had an email, if I had $1, for every email I got that blamed my department for something else somebody else’s responsible for, right, I’d be taken out a lot of people to lunch to celebrate the implementation. And

W Scott Greene  17:03

to, for and for the listeners, ERP

Jerry Dugan  17:07

enterprise resource planning. So it’s a software system that integrates your human resources, finances, and supply chain all together into one system. So your leadership can actually run analytics much faster, and make decisions that are data driven, as opposed to just based on hunches or old information from reports. So that’s an ERP. So anyway, yeah, we would just get an email or a phone call that blamed us for something every single day. And you know, we could just simply say, hey, sorry, you got the wrong department, that’s not us. And leave it at that. I think something that has distinguished our department, from other teams and other departments is, we will actually connect that person, like, we’ll let them know, hey, you know, our department actually does not handle that we never send that email out. That’s not us. But I think I know who does, let me find out who it is, let me connect the two of you together, and give me some more information. So I can set this up with the other person. And within 30 minutes or an hour or the next day, there is now a meeting between the two parties that really need to have the meeting, and a solution is made. And when it’s all said and done. The person who started all this and blamed me or my team for the problem. Turns around says thank you so much. That’s exactly what I needed. But we never go out there and get defensive, we don’t cut them off. We don’t say you’re dead to me for blaming me. Like, none of that happens, we know that they’re frustrated. So there’s that detachment, like knowing that we’re like, it’s not a personal attack on me. The person needs help, and they’ve been getting bounced around before they got to us. And so let’s just help them. And so I think that’s the big difference maker, it’d be in the salt and light is not blowing them off saying, that’s not my job. Good luck. It’s being salt and light at work is hey, you know, that isn’t what I do. But let me see if I can help find the person who can help you. Yeah,

W Scott Greene  18:57

you know, especially in a hospital system, when you when you think who the ultimate customer is, right. So you have your internal customers, right. You have those departments, you have the nursing staff, the biomedical, you probably have facility management staff, radiology staff, they, I don’t know if you have oncology or anything like that, but they are routinely dealing with frustrated. clients and customers, right, people are hurting people. And so sometimes they will take, and I’m speaking from experience, because I work medical for a lot of years in the military, and they may take whatever issues they’re having out on you. Because you’re in that safe, lock behind HR closed doors deal with the frontline, like they do. And so and so it’s easy for them to get frustrated because they’re there. They may be trying to save someone’s life, you know, and they’re frustrated because they’re not able to do that. And so it’s about having empathy with people as well, right. I ran a one of my last duty stations in the military. I was in the Medical Group and And part of my responsibility was running the hospital dining hall. And we’re like, Yeah, we like it, that can’t be stressful. And I’m like, and what I would what I would tell the staff, those frontline staff, the cashiers, the servers, the folks that serve the food, is, you’re dealing with doctors who probably just gave someone a terminal diagnosis, you’re dealing with family members who are coming through to get something eat, because they’re stressed out, and they just maybe their family member just received that terminal diagnosis, I say it’s our job not to just put food on a plate, it’s not our job to just exchange money for you for food. But our job is to be that that smiling face that caring, having that caring attitude, and treating everyone, regardless if they come to us, disgruntled or angry, who knows what they just experienced five minutes before walking into our, our, our area. So it’s our job to make sure that we are presenting ourselves at our best and being empathetic to whatever they just went through whatever that is. And I, you know, I, my current, my current position, we have a lobby right before you go into HR, because HR is one of those areas in our building that’s locked behind closed doors. So there is a lobby area. And every time I walk through that, that lobby area, and if I see someone in the waiting room, even though they’re not here for me, because usually the folks in that waiting room are here to meet with one of the recruiters, I’m not recruiting. But I’ll always ask the question, have you been helped yet? Have someone we do have a receptionist, but there are times when that receptionist may not be at the desk at that moment? And so I don’t want that person sitting there coming, you know, seeing people go in and out. And they’re just kind of like, Is someone going to help me or not? And so just taking that that two seconds to go, Hey, have you been helped yet? Because here’s what I, I include myself in this one category that receives more hate, and more punishment, and more just sort of blood less than any other category. And that category is they?

Jerry Dugan  21:59

Oh, yeah, those guys.

W Scott Greene  22:02

Those guys, they are horrible, right? They, it’s always, it’s always that office, it’s always day, they told, so they did this, they did that they created this policy, they created this, you know, this mess. And one of the things I talked about with our brand new employees, when they come to work for the city, or municipal government is welcome today. So regardless of where you work in the city, you are part of they Yeah, so it’s important for you to represent they, to the best of your abilities. So regardless of love. So regardless of where you work, right, you, you could be the person that works streets, you could be the person that’s working sewage systems, or you can be that person that gets to sit behind a nice desk and sit in a nice air conditioned room. You need to represent at all times that you are representing not just yourself, but you’re where you’re presenting the entire enterprise. An awesome

Jerry Dugan  22:55

t shirt, by the way we are they just Yes, we are the capital letters, and then like the city a logo up there. And then for the left, and maybe it’s on the back, we are there. But whatever it is, I mean, talking about like team a spree decor culture, like they all understand we are they like when our residents are mad, they’re talking about us. And yeah, we got to change their attitude about us and let them say they’re awesome. And you know, they fix our roads.

W Scott Greene  23:21

And I talk about that too, with the first term supervisors, right with first term leaders for store managers. Yeah, is welcomed today. Because the people that are underneath you, who are looking for support are looking for answers and reassurance. They will throw the management team into one category. Yeah, they category. So Jerry, you and I are gonna write a book called welcome today. Yeah, it’s gonna be Yeah, it’s gonna be about how to turn day into a positive. There’s a whole workshop series off this, by the way, coaching and you just did you just created just like two seconds ago, or

Jerry Dugan  23:53

I’m jotting it down right now. Okay. Welcome to the

W Scott Greene  24:00

boot day.

Jerry Dugan  24:01

And we copyright. They Yes, on this day. This time we came up with this. Nice, nice, nice. All right. Well, we’re almost at a time now. He has just been listening to us. And maybe I said it in the intro. Who knows? Maybe I forgot when I do the intro. But Scott, by the way, he’s been on the show three times already. And this is now officially, he wanted to get in the lead of most appearances on BEYOND THE RED. He has finally achieved it guys. So Scott Green, he’s from llama leadership.com. He’s part of the show called The llama lounge. And both of our shows are part of the Lima Charlie network, which you can find more about at Lima Charlie network.com. And if you’re like What is Lima Charlie? Well, in military terms, it stands for loud and clear. I hear you Lima Charlie. So radio talk basically. So if you ever want to sound cool, like I hear your Lima Charlie. You can do that, guys. All right. Got any final words of wisdom for these folks before we head out?

W Scott Greene  25:04

Sure. First of all, so I’m in the lead now. Is it official? We’re

Jerry Dugan  25:07

officially Yeah, you beat sir McDaniel. So I’m gonna email Sarah and say, Hey, Sarah, you only been on three times Scott’s been on for when you want to come back on.

W Scott Greene  25:15

And I like I like, I like it. I like a dominant performance. So we’ll have to do this again very, very soon. I want to strong lead. I want to strongly Yeah, so check, check out beyond the runt. Check out the llama lounge podcast, and the llama Leadership website where we have weekly blogs, we have access to our podcast, all kinds of other nuggets. And check out the Lima Charlie network, which beyond the run as a part of the llama lounge podcast as a part of and we have other military, affiliated veterans and military supporters that have their own podcasts that are part of that network. And every day you get something different a new a new episode each day, from one of our

Jerry Dugan  25:58

affiliates. Nice. There you go. All right, everybody. Now, if you combine both episodes, you’ve heard Scott and I talk about how to discuss your salary in terms of return on investment. And then from there, how do you prepare? How do you prepare yourself for the rain? So if you’re asking for that promotion, if you’re looking for the next step up, how have you been preparing yourself for that next level? Now I joke a little bit about the office, you know, keeping a chair, a jacket on your chair and all that stuff. But other than that little joke, everything else is on par? What are the competencies for the next level? What are the skills for the next level? Are you dressing for the part in a sense? Are you carrying yourself in a way that is the next level? Or what’s your mindset shift going to be? All those good things. Now, if you like what you heard, hit the share button and send this to a friend, a family member, a co worker or that neighbor across the street. Now if you’re looking for a leg up and you have no direction, where do you want your life to go? Then I invite you to download my free tool, measure it to make it it’s a free goal setting tool that help you cast a vision for your life. And you can find that at beyond the rut.com/goals. Now just one more call to action here. It’s really not a call to action. But if you want to find some links that we reference in this episode, if you want to find the link to the previous episode, you can go to the show notes at beyond the rut.com/three to eight. Now. I’m glad you joined me this week and I look forward to joining you again next week. But until next time, go live life beyond the rut. Take care