Jobs are owned by the company. You own your career. –Earl Nightingale, Author & Motivational Speaker
For the first time in his career, Steve is not performing well. No matter how hard he works, his performance does not improve. Steve never thought he would be a low performer.
Steve was one the top performers in the Business Planning & Analysis function for his business unit. His analyses and recommendations provided the foundation for business plans that led to significant increases in sales and profits for the business unit. Steve was designated in the organizational talent pool as a future leader, someone who could advance to Vice President of Finance for the business group and someday to Chief Financial Officer of the company. He was riding high.
Chief Financial Officer position at the company required experience in day-to-day transactions and financial support for operations such as variance analysis and the development of quarterly earnings forecasts. Steve did not have this experience and was never interested. He loved strategy development and execution.
The business unit of which Steve was a member did not have any open transactional positions. Jim, Vice President of Finance for the business group, asked Gene, his peer and Vice President of Finance for another business group in the company, if there were any transactional positions available in Gene’s organization. Jim explained to Gene that the move to Gene’s organization would be a developmental assignment for Steve. The assignment would be for a year.
Gene had an opening for a manager. Gene gave a resounding yes to Jim. He was very enthusiastic about having Steve join his organization. Gene had heard about the outstanding work Steve had done. This was a great opportunity for Gene to have an outstanding performer join his organization.
Steve joined Gene’s organization in the transactional role. After a few weeks, rumblings evolved about Steve’s sub-par performance in his new position. Lack of ability was not the problem. The problem was that Steve was not interested or passionate about performing the responsibilities for the position. Steve did not dive into his work. He did not anticipate what was needed beyond just getting the job done. Steve wore his passion mask to try to convince Gene and his colleagues that he enjoyed what he was doing. This did not work. Everyone could see through the mask.
After 3 months, Gene asked Jim if he would take Steve back into his organization. Jim agreed to take Steve back. Jim and Gene agreed that keeping Steve in his current position was not good for the company or Steve.
Jim assigned Steve to a position that matched his passion—strategy development and execution. Steve’s work resulted in the development of plans that resulted in the successful launch of 2 new product lines. Steve advanced to Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the business group and eventually advanced to Vice President and General Manager, the top position in the business group. The company sold the business group to another company. The other company consolidated the business group into its existing businesses. Steve was appointed President of the consolidated business group.
Steve’s experience taught him that Passion, along with the other Ps of Marketing, matters.
Steve also discovered that his company owns the jobs, but he owns his career. Steve came to realize that he was in The Business of Steve.
We will live according to a plan. Our plan or someone else’s.
Do you own your career?
Do you know your passion?
Do you know how you are positioned in your organization’s talent pool?
Have you talked to your boss about where you want to be positioned in the talent pool?
Do you understand your organization’s talent evaluation process?
Have you developed a pro forma resume—the resume you want to have in the next 2-5 years?
Are you living according to your plan or someone else’s?
Did this article generate an AHA moment for you?
I invite you to share your comments, experiences, and suggestions. This helps me provide information that may help you address your career opportunities and challenges.
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Next week’s article will summarize how you can apply the 6Ps of Marketing to experience the career you want to have.
Linwood Bailey is a career coach and the author of The Business of Me: Your Job … Your Career … Your Value. The Business of Me provides a career management process and information designed for today’s business professional. Since 2008, Linwood has enabled business professionals to manage their careers. Linwood, the been there coach, provides innovative career management solutions derived from his 34 years of experience managing functions and people in multiple industries, regions, and corporate cultures.
Founder, Fields of Success, LLC
Enabling professionals to convert career challenges into career success stories.
Our careers are our most important economic asset.