Letting Go

“I have gratitude for everything that has brought me to this moment.” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

I stand today at a crossroads in my evolution as a leader.  One filled with overwhelming joy and excitement of the next role, but also with sadness at the one I leave behind.  I’ve been asked to take the reins of Manpower North America, the signature brand of our company.  A business that represents the core of what our company was built around – making a difference by bringing meaningful work to so many.  The opportunity is tremendous, and the team I will be working for couldn’t be more talented. 

As leaders, we all strive for growth in our professional career.  To be given new responsibilities.  To be entrusted with a new role.  To leverage our past learnings as we address new challenges and opportunities.  To want more – not -for the sake of greed, but to know what you are capable of; to have the chance to prove your worth, your value, and your contribution. 

That is our journey.  Every experience, every challenge, and every lesson learned along the way are assets that strengthen us as we develop into leaders.  The successes in our lives embolden us to achieve more.  And so have the failures we’ve endured, and the resolve it took to pick ourselves up and get back in the game. 

I am personally humbled by that journey but grateful for the path and experiences that have brought me to this place.

“I didn’t have a hard time making it.  I had a hard time letting it go.” – Elliot Smith

But with this new opportunity comes a change I am still struggling to fully embrace.  I must leave behind a business I worked years to build – ManpowerGroup Solutions.  Within this business lie two of the company’s true hidden gems – our Recruitment Process Outsourcing and our TAPFIN practices.  Both represent the best of the best, thought leaders in their respective industries, and filled with the brightest, most professional group of individuals I have ever had the privilege of working with.

You have seen me write before about the importance of change in leadership.  We are taught not to fear change, but to embrace it; to seek it out; to chase it.  Organizations benefit from these new challenges.  Teams gain strength and confidence as they navigate them.  And as an individual, there is no better way to hone your skills than through change. 

Yet sometimes those changes come with significant costs.  Not necessarily literally, but figuratively, emotionally.  Through both TAPFIN and RPO I have poured my soul in to those practices.  To be fair and in some contradiction to the aforementioned quote, it was hard work.  But on the other hand, it was immensely easy.  Doing something you love is easy.  And when you are fortunate enough to work with a team so passionately aligned to that same cause, it becomes more than just a job;  more than just a team.  It becomes a family. 

This is the challenge I now face. 

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –  Maya Angelou

So how does one move forward to the next challenge?  How does one find the strength to “let go” and redirect the same passion towards the new role?  Knowing you leave behind a piece of yourself, how do you ensure that the next role, the next team gets every ounce of the same energy, passion, and commitment you gave in your prior roles? 

The funny thing is my stewardship over ManpowerGroup Solutions will soon fade into distant memories.  The decisions I made will be made just as well (perhaps even better) by my successors.  The business will go on.  The organization is stacked from top to bottom with incredibly capable people, and they will lead it forward to even greater heights.  

And so for me, I draw strength in the hope and belief that I have made a difference.  That those whom I worked for and with are somehow enriched simply through our interactions.  There is no greater reward – NONE – than to know you made a difference in someone’s life.

So I leave you with the simplest of advice when it comes to changes of this nature:

• Reflect on the past
• Learn from the present
• Embrace the future
• And make a difference in the lives of those you work with

That, my friends, is the true spirit of leadership.  And the very thing that allows me to move forward to the next opportunity.

2 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. This is an area I can identify with. I have been in the staffing industry for many years. There is not quite a challenge like it or a reward so warm and fulfilling. I have had a first-hand opportunity to impact lives, companies, and communities. When the FNS model was introduced within Manpower, our area was the first to step out into the unknown. It was a change greater than ever experienced by anyone in this industry and it will surely revolutionize the way staffing is done and perceived. Though there was a new excitement and fervor that was ignited within me, there was also a glimmer of sadness. Leaving behind a comfort zone that was built from hard work, failures, and much success was not easy to do. We all cling to what we know. There is always an element of uncertainty with change. Personally, I found peace between the old world and the new world by embracing the change and realizing, much as you said, “The business will go on”. I knew that I had set a good foundation for those that came behind me and I would do the same in my new role. The work I have done was not in vain, but was a building block for the success of the company and others that I share this passion with. I was able to remain focused on the proverbial “big picture” and realize that there was a need for my perspective, my personal efforts in this new role. There was a confidence that was placed in me to be able to drive success in our new model. As I tell my children, you have to always move forward in life. You cannot spend too much time looking back or you will miss what lies ahead. So thank you for sharing your insights. The point where the past and the future collide is where inspiration is born!

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