Somewhere in our lives, we all experience a need to make career goals and plans for ourselves. Perhaps they are spurred by the need to fund a dream career, make more money to fuel retirement or to help pay for a child’s college education. The action could be promoted by the need for a more fulfilling job or one that has more career growth. The list can go on about our reasons for setting career goals and making moves.
Even when you are not focused on making career moves for yourself, if we are working for someone (and we all are working for someone in some fashion), we must stay abreast of our company’s (or client’s) goals and objectives. Being left in the dark and “out of the loop” is a very scary feeling. Decisions that can drastically effect you are being made at a level where you may not have visibility. Outcomes and resulting actions are not going to filter to you until initiatives are being implemented. Stay informed.
Scenarios to Ponder:
Consider that your company’s objective is to be bought out by the end of 2018. You may never know this objective because it was not relayed to you personally. Yes, being bought out might be a good thing for the company and maybe for you (stock options, retention bonus, etc). But it could also mean that the company will experience a layoff, or there may be a duplication of responsibility and some positions will have to be eliminated.
Perhaps you learn your company is spending a fair amount of research dollars and efforts to develop a new line of products. You are not in the area where company’s revenue is being invested. There is a chance you could become obsolete or devalued as the company's focus changes? Many industries and services have been obsoleted. Consider the film developing industry – gone! Phone books, dictionaries and encyclopedias – gone! All within the last decade.
How Do I Understand My Company Objectives:
To stay abreast requires being proactive. Schedule the time to read, research, and engage with others. Here is my list of suggested actions:
- Read/Listen to news articles (Reference USA, Hoovers, The Motley Fool, local online newspapers, HBR Ideacast)
- Read press releases and annual reports. Look for what is not being said or addressed. Consult with people in your network to fill in the information gaps.
- Flag and read all emails coming from your company’s communication department, marketing teams, president/CEO’s office. Set a reading time i.e. Saturdays 9 am over coffee in your favorite coffee shop/reading room.
- Attend staff meetings, functions involving higher level staff, gatherings involving partners, and suppliers. Meet someone and have a meaningful connection at each gathering. Do your best to stay in contact with each person periodically.
- Stay abreast of what other departments are working on. Note which technology, techniques, processes and staff have been obsoleted.
- Note who has retired and/or left the company. Are you noticing any departure trends? Can you explain their departure? Is it tied to any company objective/goal?
Understand Their Objectives & Goals - Now What?
Are the company’s objectives inline with your goals or some of your goals?
YES - Identify the skills, networking efforts, attitude adjustments that you need to continuously work on to be a part of the companies’ objectives.
How do you give yourself the training, experiences, and knowledge to be of value when your company makes a major shift?
NO – Identify your strongest skills and reflect on your level of interest in using them. If your interest is high, then determine the companies in your area or outside that value this skill set. Use your networking and begin to strategize on how to move. No company options, consider an entrepreneur/consulting launch.
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