Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Congrats – now get to work

Tim was somewhat of a late bloomer in some senses. While he holds down a full time job and attends night school to achieve his bachelor’s degree now, it was not always that way. So when he announced he was selected for a big promotion to his first salary professional position, it was exciting and scary. What were going to be the differences in the expectations of him in this new role? What would separate him from the others?

My coaching to Tim for this transition was along three paths. First – think of yourself as a company. He was now the “product” that needed to provide value. The amount anyone will pay you is in direct relation to the amount of value you create. Increase your value and you increase your pay. Secondly – you work for yourself and you provide a product or service. You maybe have one customer (the employer) but do not confuse who you work for. You work for you. If you want to sell your “product” for more, enhance or improve it (via, added skills, content or education). Last – take calculated risks by setting goals early and make them public to your “customer” (your boss). Most co-workers will not take the goal setting and performance review process seriously and you will set yourself apart by doing so. This coaching should get him through his first couple months and then we’ll go to version 1.1.

How would you coach someone going into their first professional position?


Karl Waggoner said...

You are spot on about being serious in setting goals and communicating them to your boss. In my previous group, I was always proactive in documenting and communicating my career goals. This kept me at the forefront of my manager's mind when development opportunities arose in the group.

Those in my group that did not get the same amount or quality of assignments generally did not take the goal-setting process seriously. This created some tension with my peers from time to time. What made it easier was that I was able to point to my goals and ask them, "Have you documented your goals with our manager?"

Goals can be scary, but only if we view failure as negative instead of informative and opportunities for improvement.

J Wong said...

John has given me the advice of “think of yourself as a company” and it is absolutely true and very valuable!

My advice - I guess I would say that always be professional and treat people with respect because you never know when things will change. The business world is forever dynamic and interesting things happen rapidly.

In addition, always be in charge of your career. A company (or boss) may help you help yourself with your career but at the end of the day you’re in the driver seat. Don’t forget who is steering.

Last, socialize your ambitions with people, internally and externally. You’ll be amazed at how many people are willing to help a hard working individual realize their dreams and provide them with opportunities to shine.

Congratulations Tim and good luck!

John Bishop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Bishop said...

Dear J Wong,

I like your reminder to socialize your goals. A few might be private, but in general they are business goals to help the team and/or enterprise.

Another cool part about socializing during the goal setting process is that you can help others. It just may be that your peers do not know how to set "SMART" goals (Specific, Measureable, Achieveable, Relevant and Time-phased).

John Bishop said...

Dear Waggonerland - great insight. Thanks. I used to have a mentor who said telling your boss your goals at the end ot the review period was like throwing an axe at the tree and then painting a target around it! Anyone can do that.

It amazes me still today the high percent of professionals that do not believe or understand the connection between goals setting, accomplishments and ultimately pay.

Karl Waggoner said...

Great point about the S.M.A.R.T. goals. Saying you want to be successful is not nearly as effective as enumerating what success looks like and how you know you've achieved it.

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