Many things have changed in our work worlds and one of them is whether longevity at one particular organization is helpful in our careers. Does spending a large part of our careers at one place matter? Is it a positive or a negative for our career growth?
In a leadership program this week, I worked with leaders who had spent the majority of their careers at one company. They were actually deciding on their next crossroad and I was helping them with strategies for their Second Acts. For each of them, Act 2 was going to look a little different and we worked hard and also had fun dreaming about their next move.
How long should leaders stay with a company?
We can make a real impact on an organization
Spending many years at one company enables us to add a great deal of value and be a big part of the company’s direction.
We create family-type relationships
When a leader grows most of their career at one organization they are more able to form deeper work relationships. In fact, these connections often result in friendships for life. Longevity leads to being part of family life cycles and events.
We learn all aspects about how a company runs
If we are able to rotate through different job responsibilities and departments within one institution and we work there over a period of years, leaders likely will gain an enormous understanding of a company. This is a great plus in cultivating a big picture perspective.
We feel it is our home away from home
I know many leaders who feel so comfortable in their offices or workplaces that it truly becomes a home away from home. They connect to their familiar surroundings with ease and grace. Their work worlds and personal worlds intersect seamlessly.
We develop mastery over our jobs
When leaders have longevity in a particular position they can become extraordinary experts and resources to the rest of their team and organization. If they are givers, they become natural mentors for team members and colleagues.
We can get stuck and fail to grow
Of course the obvious negative in staying in one spot too long can mean we stunt our growth. This happens to leaders who aren’t open to trying new responsibilities or stepping outside to another organization. We can even become risk-adverse when we stay somewhere that doesn’t challenge us.
We can spend too much time there
Just as a pro for longevity was feeling comfortable, staying too long can alternatively entice us to spend too many hours in our work spaces. We can turn to our offices to escape personal challenges that can result in unhappy home lives.
We may not cultivate new relationships
Working with new people gives us new ideas and can even energize many of us. But when we stay on the same team with the same team members for a very long time we may miss out on the opportunity to meet new people different from us. We may get so used to hearing the same opinions that we forget there may be solutions we haven’t considered.
We may fail to see outside perspectives
If we aren’t peeking outside of our organizations through networking or conferences or reading, we will not be able to lead with fresh eyes. We may just stick with what we see in the company we’ve been working for many years and be blind to changes going on outside of our workplaces. Leading this way can bring down a team or an organization.
How long have you stayed with one organization? What were your pros and cons?