WHY ACCEPT A LOWER LEVEL JOB?

Posted on: July 3rd, 2018 by
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It’s always a difficult decision to move back a step in position or salary, but there are situations when your longer-term career is better served if you do. Here are a few examples of circumstances that you may want to consider moving back a step in order to accelerate forward later on.  Whatever your decision, think through the implications and strategy to make sure it’s the right thing to do.

 

  • You’re in the wrong industry, function or job– It’s easier to move out of the wrong job earlier in your career than later. Hiring organizations are typically looking for someone who has already achieved the objectives they want. You may need to move over and down a half step in a new organization in order to move up to larger responsibilities later.
  • Downsizing options – During a reorganization or acquisition, you may be given an opportunity to receive separation pay or be offered a different role. It’s usually easier to find another job when you have one, so think strategically, when alternatives are provided.
  • The organizational “fit” is incompatible – You may have a mismatch with your boss, the management style or your core values. Those issues will affect your performance.  It’s better to make the change before your results or reputation is affected.  Find a compatible organization and let your results move you up the organizational ladder.
  • Check out your “total compensation”, not just salary – Figure out how much your benefits are worth: All of them.  Now add it to your salary.  That’s your total compensation.  Sometimes the larger salary and bonus is less income to you after all benefits and taxes.
  • Your prospects for growth are blocked – Which alternative would you choose: A fast growth company with promotional opportunity, but initially at 10% less pay. or a company that is downsizing, but will pay you 10% more?  Tough call. The question to ask is, “Where will you be in 5 years and which opportunity will help you get there quicker?”
  • External factors dictate a change – Here are a few to ponder:
  • Family considerations – a working spouse, children’s schooling, proximity to relatives
  • Time demands/travel requirements – How important is quality and balance of life?
  • You lack company sponsored training, development, education or certification for your growth
  • Compatible management style is missing – What’s your comfort level?
  • Is your current industry, company or function going to accelerate, stabilize or decline in the next 5 to 10 years?

 

Career decisions have a different formula for each of us.  There are, however, three basic questions to answer:

 

  • What is my ultimate career destination and am I in the successful track?
  • How much time, effort and the number of steps needed? Do you have an overall plan?
  • What are the strategy steps at each stage in order to achieve each objective?

 

Sounds simple, yet life tends to get in the way sometimes.

 

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WHERE ARE YOU IN THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?

Posted on: June 26th, 2018 by
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There has been a digital transformation taking place in multiple sectors, industries, and functions.  Small, nimble and disruptive digital startups are successfully changing the business model.  Large established companies are re-inventing themselves by investing heavily in technology. Information Technology (IT) is no longer a department or cost center but a major part of a corporation’s business strategy, plus a major competitive advantage.   Approximately 5% of businesses have successfully made the IT transformation while 83% are beginning.   Clearly there are many career opportunities in all functions and industries if you’re prepared.

 

If you’re not digitally prepared, get there soon or you’ll play catch-up for a very long time, as the digital revolution is not going to slow down. Why is the digital tsunami upon us?

  1. Data is power and the world’s most valuable resource as the world is more data-driven than ever.There’s a need to manage data effectively, retrieve information efficiently, store massive and sensitive data, and then secure it in an automated way.  Cyber security and “Big Data “skills are in significant demand.
  2. IT needs to modernize their infrastructure to automate processes and support the business. Legacy systems are retarding many businesses. Changing to state-of-the-art equipment and know-how is difficult, time consuming, and costly, assuming your staff is competent.  If it isn’t, you’re further behind.  Seek out partners and vendors that can help.
  3. Migrating new technology from the old puts you in a holding pattern while your customers are waiting, the competition is gaining, and you’re vulnerable to predators. If you haven’t changed or upgraded your technology in the past 2 to 4 years, you’re exposed.
  4. Digital trends are accelerating the need for relevancy: Internet users represent over 50% of the worldwide population, with almost 2.5 billion social media users, while Smartphone users are almost 2.5 billion.  All sectors are growing dramatically.
  5. The generational gap between those who use and understand the digital transformation is wide and moving wider. It’s like running as hard as you can just to stay in place.
  6. Few senior managers understand digital and IT transformation. If you’re in middle management, seek out a visionary senior manager champion that can work with you to develop a strategy to make digital transformation happen.  This is a resume builder.

So, what do you do about it?  If you want to succeed and move up the career ladder:

  1. Take classes or get certified with the latest technology in your field. If you’re in a career track, make sure you are getting the state-of-the-art training.  If not, you’re already behind.
  2. Become an expert in the technology most used in your industry and function
  3. Become knowledgeable in managing the available technology and using it effectively
  4. Hire the right competence in technology. Strategic technology is critical beyond that point.
  5. Understand the value of training for your people to stay current, at the minimum
  6. Assess your organization’s needs, then determine the trends, direction and gaps in your functional technology and skills
  7. Prepare to lead the digital transformation in your function. Your reputation and future may depend upon your ability to be in the lead.

 

Throughout history transformational events have shaped the future.  The digital revolution is no different. Being prepared now is essential. Wait too long and the past will sweep you away.

 

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FIND YOUR SUPPORTERS AND ALLIES

Posted on: June 19th, 2018 by
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Few if any professionals work their way up an organization alone, with no help from others.  Even if your family owns the company, you are still dependent upon them to guide you up to greater responsibilities.  Who are the supporters and allies you need?  Mentors, peers and subordinates.

 

Mentors are critically important.  If you find one or two really good mentors along your career, consider yourself lucky.  Most mentors are organizationally above you, but they can be family members, friends or advisors of some kind. The best mentors are those with whom you work, because they can help you understand the work to be done, develop a strategy to achieve results, and guide you to the outcomes that will win you praise from the organization.  Your supervisor should be your best mentor, but don’t count on it.  Find those who are interested in you, your progress and can accelerate your learning curve.

 

Find out who your supporters and allies are among your peers and subordinates.  These are the people who believe in you, your competence and want to be part of your circle of influence.  When things are terrific, everyone is your friend, supporter and ally.  On the other hand, experience has shown that supporters are hard to find when events turn sour.  It’s only when things turn ugly that you’ll know who are your true supporters.

 

Developing subordinates is also critically important, both from a performance perspective and also as a long-term strategy.  Over time, subordinates move to other organizations and can refer you to senior jobs when made available.  It’s nice to have an internal champion singing your praises to the hiring organization.

 

There are other reasons why you need to continually develop your relationships and skills of subordinates. When the economy bends downward, training is usually the first to be cut.  However, when the economy moves upward, organizations have to play catch-up to the training and development that should have taken place beforehand.  If the competition is more prepared than you, it will overtake your efforts.  So keep your subordinates trained.

 

Why then, should you create and develop a following?

 

  1. You want those above you to help pull you up the ladder of success
  2. You want those below you to push you up the same ladder
  3. Relationships you build can potentially provide a return-on-investment over your career
  4. Those that leave may see you as a top prospect in another organization at a higher level
  5. Those that stay will want to see you succeed. As you succeed they will succeed.
  6. If others see you as a mentor, they will want to become part of your circle of influence

 

An organization that is full of mentors tends to have high achieving workers, where relationships and results are primary. Organizations that lack mentors, that are highly political and competitive, tend to be places from which to stay away.

 

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KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS?

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by
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A famous line from a classic Clint Eastwood movie, “Ya gotta know your limitations”.  Over time we think we know what our limitations are, but that could be the problem.  Thinking you know your limitations could be the reason why you’re limited.  If you perceive you can’t reach a goal or achieve a result, the chances are you won’t.  It’s self-defeating.

 

As youngsters we mostly learn self-limitations through parental expectations and rules, laws, proper behavior, and policies/procedures to name a few.  Some of you remember strict guidelines at school or the constraints of authoritarian teachers/bosses.  Behavioral modification is all about rewarding the positive and punishing the negative.  Over time it works too well: “Because I believe it can’t be done, I can’t do it”. Has that been your mantra?

 

Ever hear the comment, “that’s the way we’ve always done it”, or “we tried it once and it didn’t work”, or “you’ll get in trouble if you do it differently”?  On the other hand, we keep hearing about “thinking outside the box”, or “in order to be competitive we need to find a better way”?  Talk about conflicting directions!  Each of us has to decide which philosophy we follow in life and our careers.  Which one will it be?  Is it the self-defeating, can’t-do-it, limited philosophy or the ability to stretch your self-imposed limits to seek the next level of achievement?  Some companies encourage experimentation, while others build in a fear of being wrong and discourage trying an innovation. Which company do you work for and is it compatible with your own self-worth value to contribute more?

 

One of the telltale signs of your company’s behavior is to look at those who are promoted.  Are the promotions given to those who are limited in their vision, that “tow the line” and seldom if ever test the limits of what’s possible?  Or are promotions given to those who successfully take a reasonable risk to improve their results and the organization?

 

Organizations begin to fall behind when they continue to replicate what has been successful in the past, repeat how things have always been done and prevent seeing how they could be done better.  When the external environment changes and new ways of managing are the answer, do we set up impediments where there are none, or do we create a new level of excellence?

 

If you see yourself as an agent of change wanting to improve performance, you’ll find some people agreeing with your direction, wanting to make the change years ago.  Others will be neutral to your thinking until they see which way the wind in shifting.  And still others will point out the reasons why it won’t work.  Only your own view of the possibilities or limitations will be your guide.

 

You’re only constrained by the sense of what’s possible and your ability to manage the steps toward your next level of accomplishment.

 

For a FREEreview of your resume, send it to:  wkaufmann44@gmail.com


FALLING SHORT AS A FINALIST?

Posted on: June 5th, 2018 by
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Becoming one of the finalists while interviewing for a desired position is exhilarating. Falling short is disappointing. Continually being the runner-up is very discouraging.  So what can you do about it?

 

You’re the best – You may be one of the best candidates but not get the job because of internal politics, favoritism, a change of mind or a number of other factors you can’t control.  When it happens, don’t get discouraged.  If it happens too frequently, read on.

 

There are some common mistakes that put you in second place that can be corrected.  These are the items that you can control.   Some of them are:

 

PREPARATION – I’m amazed with candidates who go into an interview cold or with minimal groundwork.  You want to know as much about them as they know about you. Research the company, products/services, history, and culture through reports, articles and periodicals. Research the names of your potential boss, plus past employee comments.

 

ATTITUDE – If you’re unsure, it will show up in your interview. Play the role as if you really want the job and are fully qualified, even if you have qualms. The more you interview the better and smoother you become.  If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.

 

TOO ANXIOUS AND TENSE– Try not to have your first interview for a job that you really want, as you’ll be less skilled and more apprehensive. Confidence comes with preparation, practice and attitude.  The more prepared and confident in your abilities, your nervousness with diminish. Practice with a mentor or friend who is at the same level as the hiring manager.  If you’re the right person for the job, the interviewer will also want you to be successful.

 

DISCONCERTING QUESTIONS –  Some interviewers purposely ask stressful questions.  Don’t be alarmed, but be prepared.  Try not to say, “I don’t know” but rather a neutral response like, “I’m not sure, but I’d check out assumptions and dig into alternative solutions”.  When asked if you’re a team player or an individual contributor, say “ I’m a team player that likes to contribute my unique skills as an individual to the group result”.

 

THE HIRING MANAGERS PERSPECTIVE – If you’re the interviewer, you’re looking for two opposite conclusions:  1- Are there any knockout factors that will diminish the candidate’s performance?  2- Can this candidate perform at a high enough level to solve my immediate problems, plus grow into more responsibilities?  The hiring manager will bring on board the candidate that will fit the group in place, can do the immediate job well, and can assume more responsibility as time goes on.

 

The hiringmanager does NOT want to hire a disruptive employee, who needs an unusual amount of training to do the current job, and is questionable to take on more tasks.

 

If it’s not a comfortable fit for you, move on. You don’t want to be on the market again.

 

For a FREEreview of your resume send it to:   wkaufmann44@gmail.com