Building Your Career
It’s the end of the year, and many of you are looking at building your career. Many of you will be getting performance reviews and feedback from colleagues. You’ll be reevaluating your life, and a lot of it is going to come down to your ability to have a conversation with someone in your company to convince them to support you, give you an access to a new role. You have to think about how to make that happen.
Usually, when you get to the point where you want to have this conversation about building your career, you’re upset with where you are. You are disappointed, you did not get the bonus you want, you are stuck at home with a virus. Things are not looking good. So you are a little bit agitated.
When you’re in that state, it’s difficult to step back and say, “You know what, this is the critical path to get me there, and I have no choice but to follow the critical path.” It’s often so difficult to stick to a strategy that we know is going to save our career that we back out of it and do something else.
Building Your Career – The Andrew Program Example
The Andrew program is one of the best we have, and it’s available to FC Insiders. In that program, I show Andrew that he must have eight interactions with a very important manager to get this manager to back him on a critical initiative. If this manager does not back him, Andrew’s critical path fails—he can’t move his career forward.
Obviously, having eight meetings to convince anyone is a lot of work. I don’t expect you to do that all the time. But if you really have only a few paths to change your career, and let’s assume you only have one path to change your career—we will call that the critical path—you have to do what you have to do to convince the people to support you without alienating them. And we teach that in our case interview programs as well, which is available to premium members.
But it’s not easy to do, and it’s not something that you do for everyone, but it can be done.
Building Your Career in Another Organization
When you’re facing a position where you have a choice to leave an organization you have to keep in mind that if you leave you will be abandoning all the IP, all the relationship you developed. It sounds exciting to start in a new company, but it’s not easy. Unless you are lucky enough to start on good footing and build your name rapidly, you start with a major deficit. In your current company, you likely don’t really have a deficit, but you don’t know how to move forward. There’s a big difference.
At that time, Andrew wanted to leave his company and go to a mid-tier professional services firm, from one of the largest in the world. But it didn’t make sense for me to encourage him to incur this deficit when he moved. What made more sense was to find the critical path for him to change his career and then teach him how to move past certain senior managers that were a barrier for him.
Dealing with Emotional Baggage
For many of you, you going to have emotional baggage when wanting to seat down with some of those people who control your career. But you need to move passed that.
No matter how bad your relationship with someone is, it’s almost always better to build your career in your current orgaization than to go somewhere else. When you interact with another company during recruitment, you interact with the people who like you, who want you to join. But when you join, you’re going to be working with people who didn’t recruit you, who didn’t like you, who didn’t wanted you to join and then you going to see how much deficit you have.
Build something of value where you are now
As you’re plotting out a career path, your first choice is always to build something of value where you are now. Find the critical path. There going to be people you have to work with that you do not like. And it may take up around up to 8 sessions of interactions to change their minds and you can do it.
When I was headhunted as a senior partner to head up a boutique consulting firm, it took me about eight meetings with a very senior partner, who had access to key clients, to convince him that the strategy I had made sense, and then he backed me and opened many doors for me. It wasn’t easy, but I had to do it or I wouldn’t have been able to turn around that boutique consulting firm. While it’s easy to leave, it’s usually much harder to start something new. So work with what you have, even if it doesn’t feel like the best option. In real terms, it usually is the best option.
This is an excerpt from Monday Morning 8 a.m. newsletter, issue #9.