Portfolio Not Pipeline: Career Success- Margaretta Noonan


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2013 Women Leaders Conference

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  • I’m a “recovering” corporate executive, turned entrepreneur with my own firm and business partner on a couple of other ventures. My slogan is “reaching remarkable”. That’s what I help companies do and it’s what I want to do with you today.I hate the image of a “pipeline”. Definition of a pipeline: a conduit, a chain, a set of processes. A pipeline places a limitation on capacity.Implies no spills, no leaks, no diversions
  • Because those would equal a disaster
  • I far prefer the image of “portfolio” – a portable collection of competences, experiences and preferences
  • The world is changing.Discuss each point
  • These changes are particularly evident to millennials who see economic and governmental upheavals and no “contract” with employers. They feel they’re building their careers on sand
  • And women keep getting told to find “balance” between work and life…how can a “pipeline” sustain that? We’re supposed to be able to balance the world on our little finger – while standing on pointe! A more realistic aspiration – rather than “balance” is a state of equilibrium where our priorities are in their right places – something that changes over time.
  • So let’s go back to the portfolio concept for a minute. What does it mean?
  • A thesaurus will give you many similar words but my favorite simile is “collected works”. What are the collected works that make up your life? When you think about the “works” that are most important to you, they’re probably a mixture of paid work, family “work”, volunteer work, learning, etc. These all go into filling your portfolio. And filling your portfolio with things that matter to you will lead you to a feeling of success.
  • To really explore what you want from your career (and your life) – how you want your portfolio to fill, I think you need to begin with a definition of success. This is a very personal thing – what is success for you, may not be success for the person sitting next to you. INTERACTIVE EXERCISE: Think about the past 2 weeks – what the best thing that’s happened to you? Now turn to one of your neighbors and tell each other your story.Some of you had personal things, some professional things – some with athletics or your family or culture.The point is: What is YOUR success?
  • In “Just Enough” by Harvard Business School professors Laura Nash & Howard Stevenson, identified 4 components to enduring success. (Walk through the model)
  • My friend, Jon Glesinger, founder of gleXnet and Expert Alumni, has a simpler list of the essential elements for work – and life – satisfaction. (Define elements.)
  • Now that we’ve talked about pipelines and portfolios and how we each might define success for ourselves, let’s take a look at this picture. This represents the standard definition of “success” – at least as it applies to or careers. In the ladder model of career success, the only possible way is up. It gets more precarious the higher you go – and there’s only room for one at the top. If I get there – you won’t. Not a very pleasant picture and yet that’s the definition of success that we’re indoctrinated with.
  • The other way is to think of your career – and your life – as a flowerThe petals are an overlapping sequence of experiences – and every experience in your life matters. The center of the flower is your self – something strong and constant from which these petals flower. As you move around your flower, things become richer rather than more dangerous. And there’s plenty of room for “success” for lots of people. INTERACTIVE EXERCISE: Let’s try that exercise again – turn to your neighbor – perhaps the person on the other side – and share a couple of things that you feel successful about – things that make you feel achievement, happiness, significance or legacy.
  • Many of you manage other people. Many of you are in organizations that think of career success as a pipeline or as climbing a ladder. Many of your employees carry those same expectations – they want a career path, they want to climb the ladder. (And if you manage millennials, they want it last week.) But organizations have flattened – there aren’t as many rungs on the ladder anymore. Funding for formal career development paths may have been cut in the past few years. So how do you help the people in your workgroup find success?
  • Discuss each possibility
  • The same fundamental principles apply with helping your own success – be honest with yourself about your goals, capacity, skills, drive. Embrace your own definition of success – not someone else’s. And consider a variety of options for approaching your career – options which may shift over time.
  • Corporate successEntrepreneurial (tell my story)Expert Alumni
  • Even with a shifting foundation, you have the ability to develop competence and experience while deciding what matters to you in terms of preferences (what kind of work do you want to do?) and availability (how much do you want to work? Where?) (what is YOUR success?)
  • The flower model offers more choice – but also means that you have to be more thoughtful – you’re in chargeWhat criteria can you use to make decisions about your career?
  • Refer back to “reaching remarkable”Look carefully at this flower – can you imagine your success? What petals are you pursuing right now? Are you letting yourself really blossom? For those of you that manage others, what opportunities are you providing for others to blossom? (pause 15 seconds) Thank you.
  • Portfolio Not Pipeline: Career Success- Margaretta Noonan

    1. 1. Portfolio Not Pipeline: Career Success Margaretta Noonan
    2. 2. What are the external factors driving this?• 10,000 baby boomer turn 65 every day• 1.5 million too few workers with college or graduate degrees by 2020 (Americas)• the trend to disaggregate jobs( breaking jobs down into specialized tasks) will pick up speed• there is unprecedented value placed on talent as the driver of business success which increases the competition for proven, talented employees
    4. 4. “Success is not a one-liner or a headline, it’s a novel you write over time.” Laura Nash & Howard Stevenson
    5. 5. Just Enough, 2004 (Wiley)Laura Nash & Howard Stevenson
    6. 6. “Portfolio Life” Pay, Purpose, Play Jon Glesinger Founder, gleXnet and Expert Alumni
    7. 7. How do you help others?• Be forthright• Help them reconsider success• Offer portfolio building opportunities
    8. 8. How do you help others?• Cross-train• Rotate assignments• Put people on special projects• Share leadership duties• Support them outside your workgroup• Support their outside interests
    9. 9. How do you help yourself?• Be forthright• Define your success• Increase portfolio enhancing options
    10. 10. What might those options look like? Hear them roar: Global 500 women CEOs
    11. 11. • Are you building  Competence? Experience?• Have you defined your Preferences? Availability?
    12. 12. • Is it within my values?• Does it allow pursuit of my passions?• Does it create options for me? Tess Mateo Founder, CX Catalysts