Motivation Matters

What drives thousands of people to explore career options every day? What’s their motivation?

  • Dissatisfaction.
  • The ability to envision something better.
  • A bad experience at work.
  • Envy.
  • Boredom…

The list goes on.

Are they all equally powerful? No. Some constitute minor irritations while others are fundamentally life-changing. Here is a short sample of several executives who approached us this week:

“I’m not miserably unhappy. You know, I’ve just gotten to the point where I need to go. I’m annoyed at myself to some degree because you know, in order to really progress, you have to go out and build a big book of business and I am not by nature a self-aggrandizing, push myself to the front of the line person.”

Summary: Wrong Role for My Personality

“My ex says, ‘you probably should have somebody help you because you’re just kind of floundering out there on your own.’ My job search is really just kind of scrolling through LinkedIn.”

Summary: No Idea How to Look for An Executive Role

“The next step would be becoming a managing director. But the positions for that are limited and it would just take more time. I don’t think it would fit. And just from a personal point of view, I would like to relocate to another city in the US.”

Summary: Role No Longer Fits Personal Requirements

“I’m working currently here as Director of Finance. I’m more or less doing the same thing over and over and over again. And I would like to do something which actually helps me grow both from a professional standpoint and also from the standpoint of compensation.”

Summary: Bored and Underpaid

“We are in the midst of a centralization that is going on. The headquarters is looking to consolidate operations and probably will start transferring people to Saint Louis. And as that is happening, my role is beginning to get marginalized. So, I’m looking to get out of the organization in an effort to continue my career as a general counsel.”

Summary: At-Risk / Being Proactive

This is a fairly typical list of the motives candidates share with us each day. And as usual, it ranges from the ephemeral to the existential. We never judge. We just listen empathetically and provide very effective guidance. During the first five weeks of 2022, we have already helped 45 clients land their targeted roles.

Our career change process begins by helping clients actually understand themselves.

For example, the executive above who is in the wrong role would benefit greatly from the Clarity Program©—our Targeting Step. This step helps clients figure out from a personality point of view what gives them joy or what wears them down. The prospect who is “floundering” in his job search would also benefit from this step. The outcome of the Targeting Step is a five-year personal strategic plan. It provides clear direction, including the stepping stones that lead to that longer-term goal. Clear goals greatly reduce floundering.

The candidate above who appears to be bored and underpaid would benefit particularly from the Packaging or Personal Branding step of our career change program. Here we help clients isolate and extol their achievements in such a way that they are clearly transferable. Whether they lead to a new role, new industry, and/or new geography, we help them achieve a favorable transition in the process. Not to mention they bypass potential gatekeepers (whether algorithmic or corporeal) so as to reach actual decision-makers.

The Market Access step in our process helps clients navigate the recruiter market, the published market and the unpublished market. Exploring each of these requires skill and foreknowledge because each of them has its own obstacles and opportunities.

Recruiters, for example, typically have a job specification that candidates will either fulfill or not and this will dictate their relative interest in any given candidate. Choosing the right recruiters who have a specialization can help improve this otherwise relatively hit-or-miss situation. On the other hand, the published market is visible to everyone, so there is normally a lot of competition. Standing out from the crowd is critical, as is navigating the ATS and other gatekeepers we mentioned above—something we help our clients do routinely. But the unpublished market is the real gem—where fully 75% of our clients land—because typically the role has not even been fully defined so there is less competition and higher potential compensation. Our clients learn how to discover these opportunities in part by reverse engineering their social capital.

All of the candidates above would derive advantage from the Preparation step of our career change process where they learn how to interview effectively (whether virtually or in-person) and to leave no money on the table during the negotiation process. We typically can add $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or even more in total value during this stage as we have done this literally thousands of times before.

And then there is the onboarding step.

You may remember when you last entered a new company or a new role how the opportunities to put a foot wrong were myriad. We help clients identify potential pitfalls in advance and thus prepare for earlier performance reviews with corresponding salary increases and/or promotions.

So, as you see, motivation matters, but what matters even more, is choosing the right partner to help you progress rapidly in today’s executive market. As we said above, during the first five weeks of 2022 we have already helped 45 clients land their targeted roles. How long will you continue to put up with your sub-optimal situation? There is an alternative. For thirty years we have reliably helped executive clients discover new opportunities and we can help you, too.

Peter Irish
The Barrett Group

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