The Big Picture of Business – Developing The Talent for Business to Succeed

A Primer on the Workforce, Levels of Jobs, Plateaus of Professionalism

It’s lonely at the top. Corporate executives must develop themselves for the next level and to be useful to their companies and communities in the future.

This is a primer for executives and the heirs apparent to company leadership. Critical topics include leadership development of executives, mindset changes in the evolution from manager to executive to leader, executive mentoring, insights into how top professionals evolve, plateaus of professional accomplishment, developing a winning work ethic, lifelong learning and the accrual of business wisdom.

Many books have been written on the subject of leadership. They came from training, team building and people management perspectives. I see the leader from the big picture perspective and how he-she paints career panoramas by interconnecting the pieces.

My own philosophy of leadership starts with the premise that every dynamic of a successful organization must be in some way aimed towards its stakeholders. While all good leaders must keep the company’s internal operations moving forward, the very best ones must also be looking outside the company towards the customers, clients, financiers, volunteers and the organization’s entire affected constituencies.

If management is complacent or is not outward looking, then the same attitude and resulting behaviors will be held by employees who render the services. Failure to keep a clear focus upon the product, its marketplace, its customers and people who influence the company’s ultimate success will eventually do great harm to the company.

7 Basic Categories of the Work Force

  1. People who only do the things necessary to get by. They hold just a series of jobs… no more, no less.
  2. People who are managed by others. They meet quotas, schedules, procedures and statistics. These are the people who do and make things.
  3. Administrative, managerial support. They keep the boat afloat. Push paper, systems, technology. For them, the process is the driving force.
  4. System upholders. They go out of their way to not rock the boat. They maintain the status quo. They resist change and surround themselves with like minds. They are motivated by survival.
  5. People who sell something. Most companies have revenue-sales as their primary objective and measurement. To them, everything else is really secondary.
  6. People in transition. They are forced by circumstances to change (career obsolescence, down-sizing, marketplace factors). Some voluntarily effected changes, to achieve balance or new direction in life. Some do better in newer environments. Others cannot weather changes because they are too tied to staid corporate orientations.
  7. Idealists… out to do meaningful things. Deeply committed to accomplishing something special… beyond basic job requirements. They adapt to and benefit from change. They learn to take risks. They are motivated by factors other than money.

Classifications of Jobs and Workers

  1. Unskilled Labor
  2. Basic Jobs
  3. Apprentices
  4. Semi-skilled Labor
  5. Helpers
  6. Servers
  7. Entry-Level Worker
  8. Base-Level Sellers (door-to-door, telephone, clerks and checkers, retail sales)
  9. Support Staff
  10. Journeyman laborer
  11. Technician
  12. Administrative
  13. Entry-Level Professional
  14. Mid-Level Worker
  15. Mid-Level Sellers (consumer services, multi-level marketing, retailers, vendors)
  16. Tradesman, Skill Provider
  17. Craftsman, Arts and Humanities Provider
  18. Science-Technology Provider
  19. Mid-Manager
  20. Mid-Level Professional
  21. Career Worker
  22. Professional Sellers (business-to-business, professional services, financial services)
  23. Career Manager
  24. Career Professional
  25. Consultants (for every level to this point)
  26. Senior Professional
  27. Executive
  28. Seasoned Professional
  29. Beyond the Level of Professional
  30. Knowledge Creator – Inspiring Force – Thinker – Wisdom Resource

7 Plateaus of Work Ethic

  1. Just Enough to Get By. Getting paid is the objective. Don’t know or have not learned anything further.
  2. Taking Advantage of the System. Coffee break mentality. Abuse sick day policies, health benefits, etc. ‘Never gonna be’ syndrome.
  3. Inside the Box. Follow the rules but never consider formulating them. Subscribe to the philosophy: ‘There are no wise decisions… only activities carried out according to company procedures.’
  4. Don’t Rock the Boat. Interested in remaining gainfully employed. Look forward in the short-term to the next paid vacation, in the long-term toward retirement.
  5. Professional Is As Professional Does. Daily behaviors, achievements speak for themselves. Consistent in approaches. Never stop learning and growing.
  6. Change Agent. Either forced by circumstances to change (career obsolescence, down-sizing, marketplace factors) or thrive upon change. As time progresses, become a mentor and champion for change.
  7. Deep Commitments to Body of Work, Professionalism, Ethics. Don’t know what a coffee break, sick day or vacation is. Give their lives, souls, expertise to careers… and the lifetime results show positively. Profound influence.

7 Stages in People’s Willingness to Learn New Perspectives

  1. Cluelessness-Apathy. Henry Ford said, “90 percent of the American people are satisfied.” Will Rogers said, “Mr. Ford is wrong. 90 percent of the people don’t give a damn.” Content with the status quo. Taking a vacation from thinking. Not interested in learning more about life or seeing beyond one’s realm of familiarization.
  2. Basic Awareness. Latent readiness. Not moved to think differently, take risks or make decisions until circumstances force it. 90 percent don’t care about specific issues until events that affect their lives force them to care about something. 5 percent affect decisions. 5 percent provide momentum.
  3. Might Consider. The more one gathers information, they apply the outcomes of selected issues to their own circumstances. Begin learning through message repetitions.
  4. Taking in Information. Something becomes familiar after hearing it seven times. Gains importance to the individual through accelerated familiarity. The more one learns, the more one realizes what they don’t know. At this plateau, they either slide back into the denial level of cluelessness or launch a quest to become mature via learning more about life.
  5. Beginning to Form Opinions. Triggering events or life changes cause one to consider new ideas, ways of thinking. Survival and the need-desire for self-fulfillment causes one to form strong desires to learn. Cluelessness and inertia are no longer options and are now seen as backward and self-defeating.
  6. Thinking and Analyzing. Changing paradigms. Behavioral modification ensues. There are ways we used to think and behave. We do these things differently now because we have learned preferable ways that cause better outcomes. Thus, we don’t revert to the old paradigms.
  7. Behavioral Change and Commitment. Advocating positions. Creating own original ideas. Holding and further developing insights. Commitment to change and personal growth. Willing-able to teach and share intellect and wisdom with others.

As people progress in their careers, the most valuable ones to the companies are the number 6 and 7 professionals. Professionalism works in organizations where career paths all progress toward the number 7. Valuable people make for valuable companies. The beneficiaries are their customers.

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.

Talent Management Best Practice 3 – Know the Organizational Value of Each Employee

Identify the value contribution of your employeesIt’s become cliché to say employees are an organization’s most valuable assets.

Do you really know the organizational contribution value of each individual working for you?

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Knowing Your Value

Knowing Your Value Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth
by Mika Brzezinski

About the Reference

Knowing Your Value by Mika Brzezinski is a self confession and personal growth story about how a now prominent MSNBC morning show host discovered, demanded, and won compensation more inline with that of her peers. The story is complimented by the personal value stories and insights of over a dozen other leaders.

Why You Should Not Buy This Book

StrategyDriven Contributors dislike Knowing Your Value for several reasons. First, the book lacks sufficient method for actually determining your personal worth to an organization. Its premise is that an individual’s value contribution should be based on the compensation of others in similar positions. The shortfall with this argument is that each unique individual contributes differently to the organization and so offers his/her own value proposition. Additionally, there is an underlying assumption that the comparison employees have accurately identified and won their value – a premise that is often not true. Second, the book maintains a foundational assumption that the author was treated differently because she is a woman. While this may or may not be true, the comparison employees identified were noted as contributing significantly greater intellectual and creative works to their organization; suggesting that they were rightfully compensated more. Brzezinski discounts the fact that men, minorities, and other classes of people may also be undervalued, for the reasons she presents, and that everyone should methodically seek to identify and demand their value from employers.

For its shortfalls in revealing how to calculate one’s personal value contribution and its faulted underlying logic and assumptions, StrategyDriven Contributors recommend that our readers not purchase or invest time reading Knowing Your Value.

Alternative Recommendation

StrategyDriven Contributors believe it is highly important for an individual to know his/her value and to aggressively seek it. Identifying one’s worth is not a matter of simple comparison with others or a fight against perceived discrimination but rather a deliberate methodological evaluation of the value contribution of the individual to the organization followed by the positive assertion of that value to those who can correct any imbalance. Such a methodology is presented by Larry Myler, Chief Executive Officer of By Monday, in his book, Indispensable By Monday: Learn the Profit-Producing Behaviors that will Help Your Company and Yourself.

Click here to read a review of Indispensable By Monday and listen to our StrategyDriven Podcast interview with Larry Myler on determining your organizational value.

Recommended Resource – The Executive Guide to High-Impact Talent Management

The Executive Guide to High-Impact Talent Management: Powerful Tools for Leveraging a Changing Workforce
by David DeLong and Steve Trautman

About the Reference

The Executive Guide to High-Impact Talent Management: Powerful Tools for Leveraging a Changing Workforce by David DeLong and Steve Trautman provides a complete talent management program blueprint covering:

  • Diagnosis of talent related organizational risks
  • Evaluation and measurement of talent management initiatives
  • Acceleration of leadership development
  • Transference of individual and organizational knowledge

This blueprint provides the details needed to institute each of these programs and achieve real, measurable results.

Benefits of Using this Reference

StrategyDriven Contributors like The Executive Guide to High-Impact Talent Management because the blueprint provided is implementable, actionable, and based on many of the practices endorsed by StrategyDriven. These practices focus on continuous programmatic assessment and performance measurement to drive superior results. If we had one criticism of the book it would be that the solutions presented appear too academic and unaltered by the realities of the business world.

The Executive Guide to High-Impact Talent Management provides a thorough, implementable talent management program based on sound principles of accountability; making it a StrategyDriven recommended read.

Talent Management Best Practice 2 – Maintain Up-To-Date Job Descriptions

Today’s fast moving marketplace demands that companies be in an almost constant state of change in order to remain competitive. Subsequently, businesses reorganize, new roles are created, and existing positions eliminated on an almost continuous basis. Throughout these changes, it remains important to keep all organization members well aligned and focused on achieving the company’s mission goals. To do this requires ongoing retranslation of these goals to the day-to-day activities of the workforce. Often overlooked but important to maintaining alignment is the updating of job description documents.

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Additional Resource

The link between job descriptions, employee behaviors, and performance reviews is further highlighted by Garry Ridge in his book, Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called “Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A”. Listen as Garry shares his insights on improving workforce performance with us during his StrategyDriven Podcast interview.