Career Tactics: surviving and thriving in a difficult and unfair world


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A summary of a practical tool to ensure that individuals of character and capability are not out-manouevred by their more ambitious and manipulative peers.

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Career Tactics: surviving and thriving in a difficult and unfair world

  1. 1. Career Tactics Good tactics can save even the surviving and thriving worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy. in a difficult and unfair world General George Patton© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 1
  2. 2. OverviewCareer progression, impact and success are notsimply the result of talent and hard work, important as Be as wise as serpents andthey are. innocent as dovesResults do not always speak for themselves. And thecream of organisational talent doesn’t always get to Matthew 10:16the top.In a world of complex uncertainty, competition andconflict, Career Tactics - self management skills, aninsight into organisational realities and political savvy -are important to success.We summarise the world of Career Tactics anddescribe a practical tool to help ensure that individualsof capability and character are not out-manoeuvred bytheir more ambitious and manipulative peers.© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 2
  3. 3. Applications of Career TacticsCareer Tactics provides a better understanding ofindividuals and how they can maximise their currenteffectiveness and plan their future development.Career workshops and development centresWhich tactical assets and liabilities are highlighted? How doesthis stack up against assessment data and with individualaspirations? Which tactics can be deployed now? Which couldbe developed relatively easily in future? And which tactics maybe more difficult to draw on?Talent programmes and high potential programmesWhich individuals have lots of “career runway”, the personalresources - cognitive, motivational and emotional - thatprovide the full repertoire of Career Tactics? Which individualsmight be tactically exposed in different and more demandingroles?Executive coachingFrom the profile of Career Tactics, why has an individual’scareer stalled? Which tactics are being over used and arebecoming counter-productive? Which tactics need to deployedto a greater extent in future?OutplacementAn insight into what has and hasn’t worked in past careerdevelopment and the implications for future advancement andthe potential opportunities and risks of different options.© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 3
  4. 4. Career trajectories, success and failure Success why do some succeed and others fail? why do some successful people go on to fail? why do some apparent ‘failures’ go on to outperform their peers? Failure Time© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 4
  5. 5. No shortage of advice on career success Shopping lists that are a mix of: eminently sensible principles shrewd insights platitudes and tired clichés conflicting messages generalisations that lack relevance to the specifics of context© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 5
  6. 6. Is success the outcome of: luck and life as a lottery and the roll of the dice talent and brilliance and the cream rising to the top motivation and the power of persistence, perseverance and positive thinking experience through the university of life and the “hard school of knocks” Jim Carey, the out of proactivity and personal responsibility work actor, is sitting on Mulholland Drive, big dreams and goal setting Hollywood, writing himself a cheque for a “secret formula” that can be bought on-line $10 million. He was in a five DVD set penniless and out of work at the time. A few years later he cashes the cheque. Jim Carey is a success and he knows the “secret”.© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 6
  7. 7. Enduring principlesThinking strategically about the game what game is being played? what is “winning”? what are the rules of the game?Avoiding the stupid stuff knowing the obvious reasons for failure and the predictable hazards of success the “boring disciplines” of the practical measures to minimise the obvious stupiditiesRecognising the different routes to success applying the law of “if-then” to select different means for different ends the only “one thing” is that there is no one thingKnowing the hand to play the cards well self insight about strengths and shortcomings awareness of the dynamics of context to know what to do when© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 7
  8. 8. The dynamics of sustainable success The game of life is not so much in holding a good hand as playing a poor hand well. H.T. Leslie© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 8
  9. 9. John McEnroe’s Nightmare Gilbert, you don’t deserve to be on the same court with me! You are the worst. The ******* worst! I’ve used whatever talents and skills I do have in a calculated way that maximises their potential; that gives me my best chance to win. It’s why I’ve been able to beat players who are “better” than me. Make the most of what you’ve got. Brad Gilbert© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 9
  10. 10. Success as defensive tactics a recognition of our own personal constraints and limitations a shrewdness in recognising the nature of competitive life and identifying others’ strengths and shortcomings working to a game plan that manages around personal limitations and minimises the strengths of rivals© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 10
  11. 11. Success as proactive tactics optimising talent through a commitment to self improvement and personal development spotting emerging trends and possibilities the willingness to take risks to embark on new challenges Carnegie’s genius was an ability to foresee how things were going to change. Once he saw something was of potential benefit he was willing to invest enormously in it.© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 11
  12. 12. Success as a shift in tactics I was told over and over again that I would never be successful, that I was not going to be competitive and the technique was simply not going to work. All I could do was shrug and say “well just have to see.” Dick Fosbury doing something different to everyone else the willingness to experiment and find new solutions to problems© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 12
  13. 13. Career Tactics: another perspective on career successCareer Tactics was developed to complementcompetency-based approaches to assessment,talent management and leadershipdevelopment. Its focus is to measure those selfmanagement, organisational and politicalstratagems that help individuals advance in theworld of career realities.Career Tactics grew out of our realisation infacilitating succession reviews that talentedindividuals were often being overlooked byorganisations. Highly capable individuals whowere making a significant impact onorganisational performance, were being out-gunned by their more savvy peers - thoseindividuals with a shrewd sense of how life is,and how organisations operate.© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 13
  14. 14. Career Tactics: its developmentWe conducted a comprehensive desk top review,incorporating thinking and research from careermanagement, self improvement, organisationaltheory, and biographical, historical and politicalliterature.The aim was to develop a first cut conceptualmodel to balance credible and comprehensivecoverage of the tactical arena with simplicity ofquestionnaire design and report output.After piloting a range of different questionnaireformats and response tasks, we developed a workingversion for extended trialling across a variety ofdifferent sectors and industries. As part of this wereviewed the relationship between Career Tactics andoutcomes of performance and progression.The finalised version is based on a forced choiceformat, designed around the selection of thoseactivities that have helped most or least in therespondent’s career.© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 14
  15. 15. The “Is - Is Not” of Career Tactics It is: It isn’t: exploring one theme in management exploring one theme in management a comprehensive diagnostic tool of the a comprehensive diagnostic tool of the success, failure and derailment success, failure and derailment full range of success factors full range of success factors a description of what may have helped a description of what may have helped a psychological profile of deep-seated a psychological profile of deep-seated and hindered career success and hindered career success personality or motivational patterns personality or motivational patterns a tool to gain an insight to identify a tool to gain an insight to identify a psychometric test with ‘pass-fail’ a psychometric test with ‘pass-fail’ potential opportunities and risk for potential opportunities and risk for judgements judgements career development career development© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 15
  16. 16. Career Tactics: some key findingsAlthough patterns vary across organisations reflecting how He had every quality - passion,the “rules of the game” are played out within differentcultural dynamics, general findings include: sincerity, unstinted devotion, personal charm, a power of oratory - speed of progression: individuals deploying Career Tactics (and specific tactics in particular) reach higher every quality save one - the gift of organisational levels and attain higher salaries than their knowing how to succeed. age cohort peers. management impact and performance appraisal: AJP Taylor of James Maxton tactics are associated with more favourable evaluations of effectiveness by line managers, peers and team members (although the pattern shifts across the different stakeholder groups; the Career Tactics endorsed by line managers are different to those endorsed by peers and team members). career satisfaction: Career Tactics, contrary to the popular myth of the self-seeking but unhappy Machiavellian, support positive attitudes towards careers. identifying the psychology of Career Tactics through the analysis of the relationship with measures of cognitive, personality, emotional aptitude and operating style, indicates that tactics can be used defensively or proactively within career development.© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 16
  17. 17. Career Tactics: reportingA report output that: summarises the overall dynamic of the Career Tactics profile and identifies the specific patterns that represent potential opportunities and risks provides a detailed analysis of each tactical theme to highlight the constraints if low, the gains if high, as well as the risks of over- deployment incorporates a work-book format to encourage users to review each tactic, the possible underlying factors, and suggested prompts for development planning© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 17
  18. 18. Career Tactics: analysis of eight pressure pointsAn extended section that: highlights eight career situations with the potential to boost or undermine career progress identifies specific opportunities and risks for each pressure point from the respondent’s Career Tactics profile© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 18
  19. 19. Career Tactics is not the Way of the RatCareer Tactics is not the endorsement of “The Wayof the Rat” and other exercises in the expanding If you treat the peoplemarket of techniques of cynical exploitation to push around you with love andahead of others. The Way of the Rat is a careeroutlook of: respect, they will never guess that youre trying do what is best for me spot others’ weaknesses and organisational failings to get them sacked. to optimise my position look after my own interests David BrentCareer Tactics represents a perspective to conduct amature debate with professionals and managersabout life as is, and how to operate with talent andcharacter in surviving and thriving in the real world.© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 19
  20. 20. ConclusionsThe world of talent management has beendominated by competency frameworks, the listingof the skills and qualities of effective professionals,managers and leaders. And of course this hasprovided an important map to guide assessmentand development design and implementation.These maps however have not given sufficientattention to the world through “the eyes of theindividual”. We know that some individuals progressand succeed with a relatively limited “hand” of talentand skill. And others have failed or gone on toderail despite their intellectual, interpersonal ormotivational brilliance. And some simply becomeunstuck through a failure to appreciate the “rules ofthe game” and difficulty in deploying the repertoireof tactical responses required at different points incareer progression.Career Tactics is a powerful tool to help the“innocent doves become as wise as serpents”.© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 20
  21. 21. About Us:AM Azure Consulting works with a broad portfolio ofclients - the UK and internationally - in the design and we’re professionals but we’re not pompous. Weimplementation of services in management assessment, are at the edge of the latest research and thinking indevelopment and career management; on line leadership the field of people management, but we’re nottool kits, 360° feedback; and talent and succession precious about the “one thing”. We have some goodmanagement. ideas to help your organisation perform even better, but we know that you have some better ones, butTo access our products or find out more about how we want support in making them work. We don’t imposecan integrate customised versions within your talent the “solution”.management and career development processes,contact us: we design but we also implement. Our content, design and technology can build cost effective call: 44 (0) 1608 654007 solutions quickly. Our consultancy experience of “real email: world” implementation will move things forward from initial concept to results rapidly.Or visit our website: we start things to build momentum but we follow through. Results come from the discipline offor more information about what we do and how we do it. “making it stick”, of evaluation, learning and continual improvement. And we maintain ongoing relationships with our clients to keep achieving positive outcomes.© AM Azure Consulting Ltd 2012 21