Provoking Serendipity

Some years ago I was rushing from one business obligation to another, winding my way on icy, winter roads through northwestern Germany. My mind was on the business, the challenges, possible solutions, and, of course, on the road. Suddenly, as I rounded a curve and started down a hill, I saw movement through the snowy woods on my right in the corner of my eye. I couldn’t actually look at it right away because I had to focus on the road. But it continued to parallel me as I drove, looming in my peripheral vision and somehow keeping pace—a large, grayish, heaving snake of some kind.

Finally, we came to a straighter stretch of road. I could now afford to glance at it and was astounded to see a train of wild pigs ploughing through the snow. The larger tuskers at the front were followed by ever smaller pigs. The piglets brought up the tail. There were perhaps 30 animals in all, chugging along like a locomotive through the winter woods.

I have to admit, I had seen furrows in the snow before while hiking. The sides becoming smooth and rounded while the bottom was churned by myriad little feet. Clearly, it was the work of some animals. But now I understood the what and how. I stepped on the brake, slowed, and stared in open-mouth wonder at this incredible sight until the train rounded a corner. It was lost from view but left the lingering image of tiny piglets bringing up the rear, curly tails wagging.

Why was that encounter so profound?

Perhaps it was the sheer unexpectedness and indeed almost uncanny nature of the phenomenon I had the good fortune to witness. It was a rare gift that I might have missed had I not been exactly there at that time.

Call it serendipity.

So often in life we chug along following our course.  We do not take the time to look left or right. Personally, I am very guilty of this extremely focused mode of living, as I’m sure are many executives. But here’s a reason to re-examine your behavior. Picture a cart horse with blinders on the sides of his bridle so that he cannot look right or left or be startled by sudden movement. Makes perfect sense for a carthorse perhaps. But what about an intelligent, independent executive?

Should you really be wearing blinders?

And yet, so many professionals do just that. They chug along in their track, neither looking right nor left. They are unaware of the missed serendipity all around them. It is easy to stay at the same company, doing similar work, climbing the ladder. But it’s not necessarily smart. Frankly, judicious career changes (not job hopping) will earn you more money over time. [Read more.]

We have evolved a way of provoking serendipity that greatly benefits our clients. In a nutshell, most executives think about the published job market and about executive recruiters when they want to make a change. And it’s true that these strategies can indeed produce results if you know how to improve your chances. But they also represent only about 25% of our executive clients’ landings. The vast majority, 75%, discover opportunity through what we call the unpublished market—positions so new that they may have not yet been shared with HR, perhaps no profile has been written or compensation parameters defined. They are a veritable blank slate for our clients to help define.

We, of course, help clients add compensation by virtue of our 32 years’ experience. Our career consultants know what is possible and where to give or take in the offer negotiation. We can virtually always help our clients add $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or more in total compensation.

But long before that, we help clients take off their blinders. They are able to look at their lives and their careers in a new light. Our Clarity Program© takes nothing for granted, letting clients rethink their future trajectory whether in another industry, a different role, a new city or country…

Here is how one recently landed executive client described his Clarity Program© experience:

“Clarity was incredibly eye-opening to me. I loved it! My coach, Lisa Levesque, had very positive energy and was so helpful. I had never taken the time to do a deep dive into myself and explore what I am really looking for. Things are so much easier after that. The Clarity exercises focused me. Before I started the program, I was considering numerous things that I might do. By the time I finished, it was really clear to me what I wanted to do.” [Kia Banisadre, Vice President Sales and Business Development, Read more.]

And clarity about your career is doubly important when you consider that, frankly, your skills and experience may now be more valuable elsewhere.

Let’s find out.

Let’s provoke serendipity together. Give us a call.

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

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