Your Career: Be All You Want to Be

Your Career … Be All You Want to Be

Mary, Vice President of Marketing, is promoted to CEO of your company. Dave, Director of Marketing is promoted to Vice President of Marketing. Four candidates, all product managers, are interviewed in hopes of becoming the next Director of Marketing.

HR business partner informs Mike, one of the product managers interviewed for the position, that he was not selected for the director position. He is informed that his qualifications for the position were excellent and that he interviewed well. However, the candidate selected had a better match to the position requirement of being able to work effectively with the Sales organization to achieve company revenue goals.

Mike hears that Laura, a fellow product manager, was selected to be the new director. Mike is disappointed. Mike had 2 more years of seniority as a product manager than Laura. He felt that he had a good relationship with Sales, just as strong as Laura’s. Laura and he were stellar performers being key contributors to the company’s growth in market share.

Mike will now report to Laura.

Mike invites Laura to lunch on him to congratulate her. (He really wants to understand why she was selected and not him.)

This is how the lunch conversation went.

Mike:  Congratulations! I look forward to reporting to you. (He had to say that.)

Laura: Thank you. Your support means a lot to me. We have accomplished quite a bit as members of the Marketing Team.

Mike: I must admit that that I am disappointed that I did not get the promotion. I included advancing to Director of Marketing in my PDP (personal development plan) that I shared with Dave. Dave told me that my goal was realistic. And, I was a product manager 2 years before you.

Laura: I included advancing to Director in my PDP which I also shared with Dave. He told me, too, that my goal was realistic.

Mike: What else did you do?

Laura: Do you remember when we both took the personal strengths assessment and related training?

Mike: I remember. I recall that our assessments were very similar. We both documented actions we would take to leverage our strengths.

Laura: Mike, I went further. I asked our HR business partner to share the position description for Director of Marketing with me. I went on our company’s portal and viewed Dave’s professional profile and the profile of his predecessor. I found that both of them had sales experience, something that I did not have.

I discussed Dave’s sales experience with him and asked how it prepared him to be Director of Marketing. Dave told me that the selection of the Director of Marketing was the decision of the Vice President of Marketing. However, the selection would be governed by input from the Vice President of Sales and the sales directors.

Mike: I did not know that input from Sales was so important.

Laura: Sales organization values Marketing executives who have a sound understanding of the salesmen’s experience. This includes firsthand knowledge of the challenges salesmen face to achieve their goals as well as the business challenges our customers encounter. The only way to get that understanding is by being a salesmen.

Sales organization believes that this knowledge is essential for the Director of Marketing to have for Sales and Marketing to work together as effective business partners.

That is why I took the assignment in Sales 3 years ago.

Mike: Laura, did you make a lateral move?

Laura: Yes, I did.

Mike: I thought that a key criteria for promotions was “progressive experience”.

Laura: I took a 5-year view of my career. I did this by using the Director of Marketing position description and the importance of sales experience to develop a “pro forma resume”.

 Mike: I have a great resume. What the devil is a “pro forma resume”?

Laura: A pro forma resume is the resume I wanted to have when the Director of Marketing position opened. I transformed my pro forma resume into the one I would have when the opportunity evolved. I determined and executed actions that would prepare me to be ready.

Mike: I should have done that.

Laura established The Business of Laura.

Laura knew products are that the foundation for operating a successful business. She developed her personal product prototype, her pro forma resume, to prepare herself to be ready when the opportunity to be Director of Marketing (Target Position) presented itself.

Laura was a salmon in her organization’s talent pool. Set determined where she wanted to go and plotted the course the course to get there.

The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes. – Benjamin Disraeli

Did this week’s article generate Aha Moments?

How concrete are your career goals?

Do you have a personal development plan?

If so, are you executing it?

Have you experienced “I should have” moments in your career?

What have you done to avoid these moments?

I invite you to share your comments, experiences, and suggestions.

Your career is your most important economic asset.

Next week’s article will cover Develop, the 5th step in the Personal Product Development Process.

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 and information resource designed for today’s business professional. Since 2008, Linwood has enabled business professionals to manage their most important economic asset—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.