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Opportunities Will Pass You By
Let me tell you a story about an executive I have very high regards for. Respecting confidentiality, let’s call her Denise Smith. Denise works at a very prestigious Fortune 500 company and has a team of Directors that report to her.
One day, she and two of her Directors were having a conversation about what the next step in their careers might be. The two directors were very excited. Director “A” began, going on and on about what he wanted out of his career. He said, “I want to be Senior Director and make a lot of money and I want…” Everything Director “A” said he wanted was very self-serving and not very clear.
That’s when Denise, without being rude, kindly interrupted him, turned to Director “B” asked Director “B” what career aspirations she had in mind for herself. Director “B” paused for a few seconds…then said, “I’m not sure.”
With that, Denise simply said, “Well then, I suppose the opportunities I had in mind for you wouldn’t be a very good fit.”
BOOM!!!!!! BAM#### BONG~~~~
Could that have gone differently? Absolutely!
Why am I even bringing this up?
Because, this is not an uncommon story. Too many times highly skilled, high potential mid-level managers on up the corporate ladder get stumped when caught off guard in what appear to be casual conversations.
The fact of the matter is, even a casual conversation is a meaningful conversation when it comes to your career.
What do all wildly successful people have in common?
They know who they are, what their key areas of expertise are, and what makes them unique. That means they know the answer to the question- “Why would I hire you/promote you/put you on this team over anyone else who is qualified?”
They have an “I’m my own boss” mentality. Years ago it used to be if you conformed and did a good job, then you got that promotion, retired at 62, and collected a pension. Ugh, that model doesn’t exist anymore. As your own boss, you manage your career instead of letting your career manage you. What can you do this year that will help you get to where you want to go next year? Education, stretch project at work, connecting with people who could be influential in your career?
They build their personal brands. That’s’ right. Brands are not just for companies and products. You are the product! People say to me, “I don’t like sales.” I can understand comments like that but in reality we are all in sales each every single day. You need to know what you want and how to communicate it. You communicate the value that you bring to the table.
Can you answer these questions?
What value do you bring to your employer or your employees for that matter?
Are you visible? Do people know who you are and what you do?
Can you demonstrate the value you bring?