Have you ever wanted to apply for a new role, approach a new challenge, or even step into a new industry, yet were unsure how to defend your lack of direct experience?
Alan Mulally was confronted with this situation many years ago. Mulally had left Boeing and had just been named the CEO of Ford Motor Company, the first true outsider as a Ford CEO. Reporters challenged his lack of experience in the complex and competitive automotive industry. Mulally acknowledged the complexity of an automobile, noting it had about 10,000 parts and many technical issues to manage. Mulally then added, “And the Triple Seven (Boeing’s 777) has about four million parts, and we kept it in the air”. Needless to say, Mulally’s competence as the Ford leader didn’t come in question again.
All of us have a unique and special set of skills and experiences that we bring as an outsider. Don’t let being outsider be perceived as a liability, use your experiences and imagination to create your own rationale about what you bring to both inside and outside situations.
Many years ago, as an optimistic and recent university graduate, I had a “Mulally Moment” during an interview process, potentially my first step into the corporate world.
Towards the close of the interview, the Regional Sales Director turned to me and said, “Dan, I’ve already interviewed a half a dozen other people this week, some with up to five years of experience, and honestly speaking, you are fresh out of college with no business experience, why should we hire you?”
I paused for a moment, leaned forward, and said, “Rick, this is exactly why you should hire me. You see, I have no bad habits, everything I learn from you and from others in the company I will execute with perfection. I am a fresh talent, ready to learn your way of doing things and you won’t have to waste time sorting out bad habits I learned somewhere else.”
The interview was on a Friday morning, the following Tuesday I was offered my first position as a sales specialist.
Develop your Mulally moment and don’t let novel opportunities pass you by.
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