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by Alan Royal
Apr 25 2016
In the 1980s, business publications took note that employers were making a fundamental mindset change as to how their employees are viewed due the shift from defined benefit to defined contribution pension plans. Employers who offered defined benefit pension plans encouraged and rewarded long-term career employment. In essence, the longer you remained with an organization, the greater your personal long-term benefits. In contrast, when employers shifted to defined contribution pension plans, this represented one of the greatest mindset shifts of employers in recent decades. Born was the age of employees as objectified commodities and employee free agency.
Business publications took note of this employer mindset, by putting forward the premise that each individual needed to define, maintain, grow and sustain their own job market-differentiated value proposition. Thus this article’s focus toward finding the right company fit and ensuring that you are working for the right company as you seek to drive your career forward strategically to achieve maximum employment value.
At your current organization, you should continuously self-assess your fit by being aware of your objective performance numbers. These could be job performance rankings, project completion rates, headcount reductions, etc. If these numbers are trending positively and you feel you are becoming a stronger personal performer, then you are in the right company and have to right role. In contrast, if you find the culture you are operating within to be challenging as well as your associated performance metrics, it’s time to exit.
Executive Job Search: Your Next Right-Fit Company
Virtually every individual in today’s market demands self-objectification and commoditization. Martin Heidegger, in his book Being and Time, argues that a “factual situation always surrounds an individual.” Thus an individual is “thrown into a situation that is already there.” This means that the individual is not the cause of the situation – in fact, “the situation becomes the ground upon which an individual ‘finds himself.’”
Metaphorically speaking professional sports players are an objectified commodity. They are objectified by their performance statistics, as well as their well-known subjective personality traits. As an executive, you should use this example as a reason to always maintain a job search mindset, self-assessing that your current position and those you are considering for the future maximize your performance metrics and evolve your personality profile in a manner which you want yourself to be seen. Far too often individuals accept positions with short-term win opportunities, which can diminish their personal long-term market value as a result.
When seeking a new executive position, part of your rational should be not only how you culturally fit into an organization today, but also consider how you will evolve during your employment towards your future career management goals and future positions. In any job search, you are an objectified commodity, like it or not. You need to self-identify and drive yourself as an employable commodity. Seek positions that are strategic vs. opportunistic.
A few years ago I heard a commentary from a colleague, which I rendered to my written archives and still consider today: “In every new assignment I assume what is described to me by my company related to the challenges of my assignment are never reflective of the reality. I always expect that what I was told in terms of the complexities of my assignment will evolve to solving problems that I initially view as unachievable. So I have come to understand that the unachievable is actually achievable over time.”
The global economy is moving at a faster pace, as the demands of organizations to become competitive require streamlined delivery to remain completive in the digital world. Competitive organizations are becoming more reliant on digitizing their external differentiation to consumers. In parallel, internal organizational digitization is occurring to optimize operational performance. As an individual, you can embrace this as a way to further your objectified offering to your next employer.