Managing You

With the death of the “job for life”
we’ve got to get little smarter. We no longer “own” our position within company, nor can we expect an automatic annual pay increase. Today we change roles, jobs, companies and careers in fluid workplace that guarantees only one thing. Survival and success is up to you.
Knowing your strengths, your values and how you best perform takes bit of soul searching but is the key to success in the knowledge economy according to Peter Drucker in Management Challenges for the 21st Century. He says most people don’t even know what they are good at and claims the only way to find out what your strengths are is through feedback analysis. Whenever you make key decision or take key action you should write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later you should then compare the actual results with your expectations.
Organisations, like people, have values and Drucker says that to be effective person’s values must be compatible with those of the organisation.
Once people know the answers to the three questions — what are my strengths, how do I perform and what are my values — they can then decide where they belong.
New Zealanders are generally taking more responsibility for their individual career development and management according to Duncan Holland, manager of career management for Morgan and Banks in Wellington.
“We start by identifying people’s hidden skills, confidences, values, what drives and motivates them, and what creates satisfaction so they can make quality decisions about their next job. That’s going to benefit the employer and the employee,” says Holland.
Looking at jobs online is necessity today and like many other recruitment and career management companies Morgan and Banks is moving its recruitment services in that direction.
“The whole process of job application and career options has changed. It’s very hard for people, especially those with high level of skills who haven’t had to apply for job for some years, to suddenly find themselves in situation where they need to have an updated CV and go through new interview process. They need help to get through the gates and it’s worth investing in career management advice so they’re not restricted to the same competencies,” says Holland.
According to Janet Macaskill, associate director at Sheffield Consulting Group in Wellington, Kiwis are more outspoken about what they want from their careers today — especially generation X. “They’re not expecting to stay with one organisation and be told by that organisation what their next step is. People are more likely to say ‘what do I want?’ — they look at values. We find that generation X employees want challenges and personal growth more than they want money — money is always important but they want balance between work and life,” says Macaskill.
Downsizing has destroyed the loyalty employees used to have. They now say — “I’ll do it if I enjoy it,” according to Macaskill. Sheffield’s method is to ask clients why they work, what challenge, stimulation and companionship do they get out of it, and to find out what the purpose of work is in the person’s life.
Carol Dallimore, general manager of Executive Searching Selection at OPAL Consulting, says ripples at executive level have made companies more aware of putting too much pressure on their key personnel. “Women are driving some of it by showing they can deliver just as much by working less hours and many men too are not prepared to do hundreds of hours anymore. This is all part of managing your career,” says Dallimore.
Looking after your people is big in John Cupples’ view as well and as managing director of Hay Management Consultants which has 70 offices in 34 countries worldwide it’s successful philosophy. He says his company believes in people before strategy. “We have the view that people create strategy. If you are talking about the brand ‘you’ you have to think ‘what does it look like?’, ‘what does it enable you to do?’ ‘how will you market you in the workplace?’”
“We talk about emotional intelligence which is the capacity to organise your own feelings and those of others. It has an impact on the result of superior performance in your job. Think about it as running your own enterprise — the more you know about your clients and customers the more chance you will have of delivering valued service or product and the more profitable it will be. You’ve also got to think of your boss, your fellow colleagues and workers as clients as well as your customers and clients outside your organisation. The more emotionally intelligent you are the more chance you have of managing yourself in relation to your boss and working successfully with colleagues and peers.”

Mentors and coaches
An increasing number of business people now look for support from mentors and coaches and it is accepted that everyone from the CEO to new company recruits can benefit from sounding board. Sometimes the help comes from someone within your organisation but more often than not, particularly for senior executives the preference is to be mentored by an independent, off site.
Companies providing coaches and mentors report increased business since many large organisations are now scaling down their own HR departments. Morgan and Banks’ Holland says coaches and mentors are now regularly used by top executives because as they get higher up the corporate ladder they become more isolated in their environment. Topics for discussion aren’t always work related and can be personal, relate to organisational issues, work and home balance or career planning. But he says managers who are looking to help staff also employ mentor when someone is not performing to capacity. “In the past they would have got rid of the person but quality candidates are short and the cost of replacing someone can be huge.”
John Nevill of Gaulter Russell in Auckland believes getting mentor has considerable advantages. “The worst person to decide on your career path is you. You need neutral perspective and people benefit in career development from more objective view. We advise people to look for environment and opportunity rather than glitz and glamour.”
Gaulter Russell specialises in sales and marketing consulting and Nevill says it’s an important area for careful career management. “These people don’t necessarily burn out more quickly but they often burn out from stress or poor performance. The best thing anyone can do to be successful in their career is to be honest with yourself,” says Nevill.
Viv Poppelwell, recruitment consultant with Wallace Evans in Auckland, agrees.
“I have people coming to see me who aspire to being something they don’t really even understand. They know all the buzz words like ‘I’m team player’, ‘a people person’, ‘I have great customer focus’ — but there’s nothing to back that up.
“Recruitment consultants will never know candidate better than they know themselves nor will we know client’s business better than they do. However we are objective people who in busy world can take the time to carefully probe and screen, and be thorough in matching two sets of people who should be able to communicate and work well together. I don’t take the view that we put people in jobs — you can pick up the paper, ring up or knock on doors and get yourself one. Our job is to develop or improve career but you need to know yourself and have some clear goals first,” says Poppelwell.
Aside from guidance from recruitment consultants, advice from mentors, coaches and career consultants there’s raft of help available for people wanting to manage their careers successfully. That of course includes help for those wanting to learn and continually upskill. Books, courses, online training, distance learning, universities, technical institutes and other training organisations have variety of specially crafted options for candidates at all levels.
Melanie Hobcraft, of Auldhouse Computer Training, says there

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