The successful professional person takes the time and appropriates the resources to develop a Body of Work, rather than just hold jobs. Business is approached as a lifetime track record of accomplishments. This sophisticated and vital category includes:
- Building a clear, cohesive, operational Vision for the individual.
- Conceptualizing a specific action plan to be effective on all branches of the tree.
- Facilitating programs where progress is measured and maintained.
- Attentiveness to company obligations.
- Maintaining a well-earned reputation.
- Contributing much to the economy and communities in which one lives and works.
- Taking concepts (quality management, ethics, outside-the-box thinking) out of the esoteric and into daily operation.
- Recommending new ideas and business practices which surpass the niches of others.
The Big Picture provides leadership for progress, rather than following along. The successful person develops and champions the tools to change. The quest is to manage change, rather than falling the victim of it.
Body of Work encompasses leadership development, mentoring and creative ways of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change, rather than feel as they’re victims of it.
Executives’ value to organizations, employees, customers, influential constituencies and ascendancy to management is a direct reflection of mastering the life skills.
Organizations are populated with individuals who possess a plethora of education, skills and talents. Companies are comprised of human beings, who bring their culturalization (or lack of it) to the job. Thus, they set the pace for the tree (company) in question.
Business professionals are the sum of their life experiences. People, like organizations, develop, grow and thrive. If not, they are of little market value in a career.
Core Values Worksheet: Criteria for Basing Your Professional Vision
- Core Industry… The Business You’re In.
- Rendering the Service… Administering Your Work.
- Accountability… Qualities with Which You Work.
- Your Relationships-Contributions to Other People… Colleagues, Stakeholders.
- Professional-Leadership Development… Your Path to the Future.
- Your Contributions to the Organization’s Overall Goals… Your Place in its Big Picture.
- Body of Work… Your Accomplishments to Date vs. Anticipated Future Output.
Characteristics of a Top Professional:
- Understands that careers evolve.
- Prepares for the unexpected turns and benefit from them, rather than becoming the victim of them.
- Realizes there are no quick fixes.
- Finds a truthful blend of perception and reality… with sturdy emphasis upon substance, rather than style.
- Has grown as a person and as a professional… and quests for more enlightenment.
- Has succeeded and failed… and has learned from both.
- Was a good ‘will be,’ taking enough time in early career years to steadily blossom… realizing that ‘fine wine’ status wouldn’t come quickly.
- Has paid dues… and knows that, as the years go by, one’s dues paying accelerates, rather than decreases.
Here are some characteristics of young people (rising stars) will make it as professionals and business leaders:
- Act as though they will one day be management.
- Think as a manager, not as a worker.
- Learn and do the things it will take to assume management responsibility.
- Be mentored by others.
- Act as a mentor to still others.
- Don’t expect status overnight.
- Measure their output and expect to be measured as a profit center to the company.
- Learn to pace…and be in the chosen career for the longrun.
- Don’t expect that someone else will be the rescuer or enable you to cut corners in the path toward artificial success.
- Learn from failures, reframing them as opportunities.
- Learn to expect, predict, understand and relish success.
- Behave as a gracious winner.
- Acquire visionary perception.
- Study and utilize marketing and business development techniques.
- Contribute to the bottom line… directly and indirectly.
- Offer value-added service.
- Never stop paying dues… and see this continuum as ‘continuous quality improvement.’
- Study and comprehend the subtleties of life.
- Never stop learning, growing and doing. In short, never stop!
And, If They Don’t…
Here are characteristics of ‘wanna-be’s’ who do not choose to view their apprenticeships as a mode to grow, viewing it as a burden or unnecessary time. They think the dues paying process is for others, never themselves. Such persons will undoubtedly become stuck in the land of ‘never-gonna-be’ because they:
- Perennially want the status that others have.
- Will not go the distance or see their career as a longterm set of challenges.
- Seek to become a carbon copy of someone else.
- Fail to do adequate research into their industry and its business challenges.
- Fail to pay sufficient dues.
- Want a job, not a career.
- Have poor people skills… and fail to improve them.
- Show an unwillingness to learn beyond just the sheepskin on the wall.
- Fail to show proper respect to their elders.
- Assume they’re a senior member of the profession when they never mastered being an effective junior, let alone mastering the middle career years.
- Constantly whine and say they are trying when they are not.
- Use, abuse and knowingly waste the time of others.
- Always have an excuse.
- Skillfully learn to cover tracks and justify excuses.
- Contend that it’s always someone else’s fault.
- Maintain that ‘I can do that’ mentality… challenging seasoned professionals.
- Don’t learn how to be a joiner.
- Cannot ascend as a leader.
- Always looking somewhere else, without appreciating the opportunities at hand.
Differences Between a Career and a Job
- Possession and nurturing of a dream.
- An interest in pursuing and achieving, versus just doing something.
- 20 hours a week.
- Not knowing what a coffee break is.
- Working smarter hours, not necessarily longer.
- A career is not something that one retires from or puts on the shelf temporarily.
- Thinking like the boss, whether or not you are it at this present position.
- Money is not the dominant driving influence.
- Training and professional development are rewards… not punishments.
- The more you know, the more you realize what you don’t know…and proceed to learn.
Truisms of a Career… and Life:
- Whatever measure you give will be the measure that you get back.
- There are no free lunches in life.
- The joy is in the journey, not in the final destination.
- The best destinations are not pre-determined in the beginning, but they evolve out of circumstances.
- Circumstances can be strategized, for maximum effectiveness.
- You gotta give to get.
- Getting and having are not the same thing.
- One cannot live entirely through work.
- One doesn’t just work to live.
- As an integrated process of life skills, career has its place.
- A body of work doesn’t just happen. It’s the culmination of a thoughtful, dedicated process… carefully strategized from some point forward.
- The objective is to begin that strategizing point sooner rather than later.
The Moment of Truth
There comes a point when the pieces fit. One becomes fully actualized and is able to approach their life’s Body of Work. That moment comes after years of trial and error, experiences, insights, successes and failures.
Young people think that they can ‘have it all’ overnight. They don’t know how much they don’t know. Many aren’t willing to pay sufficient dues to ‘get there.’
As one matures, survives, life becomes a giant reflection. We appreciate the journey because we understand it much better. We know where we’ve gone because we know the twists and turns in the road there. Nobody, including ourselves, could have predicted every curve along the way.
However, some basic tenets charted our course. To understand those tenets is to make full value out of the years ahead. The best is usually yet to come.
Your output should be greater than the sum of your inputs. This is accomplished by reviewing the lessons of life, their contexts, their significances, their accountabilities, their shortcomings and their path in charting your future.
Alas, all of us practice Futurism. It is not an esoteric concept. It is a potpourri of where we’ve been, why we’ve done well and what we’re going to do about the lessons learned. That’s the wholistic, common-sense approach to Futurism.
About the Author
Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.