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After coming across a 1999 Harvard Business Review article written by Peter Drunker on professional development, it got me thinking: how have things changed in terms of developing oneself for the ideal job? Has the journey to professional candidacy changed in the last 20 years?

The article’s headline reads, Managing Oneself, with the quotation, “Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves – their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.” The article is still useful 20 years later. It resonated with me in 1999, as I coached many individuals to truly manage their careers – too often I found with my clients that they had let their careers manage them. It’s an easy way to move through a career until you hit a roadblock, job loss, new boss, reorganization or a buyout. All of a sudden, the rules of the game have changed.

At Crosworks we have spent over 35 years working with individuals and businesses to guide our clients to truly understand what might be their “right job.”

The right job is so much more than the job. As Drucker details in this timeless article, it’s about self-examination of YOU. Our Career Assessment and Appraisal process include all the steps necessary to truly learn what can bring you not only success but also genuine job satisfaction.

The process begins with self-reflection: where have you been, what have you done, and what have you accomplished that ignited you passion. From this self-reflection your strengths can be determined naturally; it is not dependent on what we believe about ourselves, but the innate characteristics that shine through our responses. It is also important to reflect on experiences throughout life, school, and volunteer activities to get a true picture. Examine what you do best. As Drucker states in this article, “It takes far more energy to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.”

The next step is sorting through a list of values. What you value today can be different tomorrow. For example, I had a client who listed his top 3 values as,

Wealth, Expertise, Independence. Over a five-year period, his life changed with marriage and children. The values realigned to Family, Wealth, and Security. We found his current job offered a good income, but the organization had been purchased and no longer reflected his value. The new owners no longer valued his expertise nor independence. The client returned to Crosworks due to his dissatisfaction with the new owners and updated his assessment. With the self-knowledge check-up, he went on to find a new role in a different organization.

It is not only the What you are doing but the Where that is crucial. Organizational fit is vital for satisfaction and success. At Crosworks we use the Birkman Assessment to help our clients determine their ideal organization fit.. We work to determine the optimal work environment, structure, and culture. Concepts to consider include:

  • Do I need a role where workers collaborate daily or work independently?
  • Do I work from a specific set of rules or do I create outside the box?
  • Will I have to make very quick decisions on the spot or will have I have time to review data, research, past performance and more to determine the best decision?

Often this exercise results in a client determining that the Where is more important than the What in the job search. The work environment truly does determine how we can perform at our best.

I often use this analogy: How do you grow a rose in the North Pole? Replant it in a warmer climate and it will bloom.

If you find your skills are not being used in your work, your values are not aligned or you cannot grow in your current work environment, reach out to Crosworks. We can help.

Harvard Business Review, March – April 1999.


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