The simplest definition of an organizational sweet spot is that it’s the kind of place in which you’re the most comfortable and have the highest probability of success. That could mean a lot of different variables along a number of decision points. For instance:
Size: Are you better suited in a large complex organization with multiple subsidiaries, a large single product organization, a mid-sized company, or a small entrepreneurial business?
Industry: The mining industry is a far cry from consumer products. An industry selection will constrain your alternatives if you stay in it for too long and make it difficult to jump to another.
Vertical or Horizontal: A vertical organization has many layers and fewer direct reports. Horizontal organizations have fewer layers with many direct reports. Which do you best fit?
Product or Service: Product-driven companies are focused on making and distributing a physical item, while a service company is focused on providing a customer benefit that is not product driven. Both are customer oriented, but the service sector is much more highly attuned to customer service.
One location, multiple or field: Is the business in one location or does it have multiple locations? A field organization tends to be fragmented into smaller pieces and requires travel.
Management style: Are you more comfortable with a strong central direction or are you highly spontaneous wanting more individual freedom? Which style do you excel or shrink?
Business cycle: Do you thrive in turn-around organizations or do you want the security of a slow growth organization. Performance is dictated by the requirements of the business.
Domestic or International: Global companies are run differently than domestic companies due to culture, language, laws, and distribution-channels. You’re affected by all of these.
Primary or secondary driver: Is your function connected with the main business line or a side business within the main driver business? Is your function the “Big dog” or “little dog”?
And so on: The variables are almost endless.
Which variables are most important to you and how does it affect your search parameters?
Some people do better in an entrepreneurial environment while others thrive in a big bureaucratic corporation. Neither is good or bad within itself. It either fits your comfort zone or it doesn’t. Which do you prefer and why? The answer will help you sort out job opportunities where you have a higher probability to succeed.
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