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Kat Cole: Before Switching Jobs, Ask Yourself This

"I needed to prove to myself that I was a good leader." Kat Cole was at Hooter's for sixteen years before moving over to Cinnabon.

Here's how she knew it was the right choice—and what you should ask yourself before switching jobs.

Some of our favorite excerpts:

On knowing when to switch:
"It's tough to know. You know, I was recruited to leave Hooters several years before I actually did. And part of what kept me around was that the company was just so interesting from the outside and I had a very deep connection with the franchisees and the people there.

Over time, though, the offers got more interesting. And I started to grow up as an executive and ask myself, "Do I wanna spend the rest of my life here?" And I also asked myself, "Are you really as good as you think you are? You've been doing this in one company for 16 years with a lot of great people who've given you chances. Can you duplicate these results?" And I needed to prove to myself that I wasn't just good because I had great relationships and had grown up in a company that appreciated me, but that I actually was a good leader, a great brand builder and someone who could serve a different type of industry segment or a brand.

And so I had an inner fire to leave by the time that I did. And the stars aligned to meet a private equity group that I really believed in how they approached investing and their portfolio companies. And the leadership that was at Focus Brands at the time, which owns Cinnabon still today, was a group of people that I could learn from and they are a huge reason that I stay there today."

"I think other people should weigh their options. You know, what are you gonna get out of it and what are you going to be able to offer to add value to that organization?"

What to ask yourself:

"So the question I've learned to ask is not, "Can I do it?" I should know in my heart that I'm capable of doing things, because ultimately if you can lead people and serve them and understand the basics of business, that translates in almost any industry.

The question is, is the company I'm going to and the leader that I'm going to work with, is that group going to give me the resources that I need to be successful? It's not that I have a question as to whether or not I can. The question is, "Am I gonna have access to what I need to be successful?" And if the answer to that question is yes, then you should jump."

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