What role do you play in your organization? Where do you sit at the table when you attend meetings? Are you actually invited to attend these meetings? Do you run meetings? Or are you dealing with the results of these meetings?
Are you an order taker or an innovator? A technician or a thought leader?
I’m asking lots of questions.
The bottom line is: how are you establishing your value to your organization? How can the value you establish help you within your organization or as you move towards your next career?
Establishing your value to your organization can be a matter of differentiating yourself from the technicians in your organization.
Non-technical management may not make this distinction. Perhaps they do not understand the difference. How can you work with non-technical management so they understand how to use the various tools in their human tool set to implement revenue-driving solutions? And how can you assist them in understanding the differences between true technicians and engineers?
Establishing your value to your organization can be a matter of understanding the role of technical resources and recruiting their expertise to provide team solutions.
And this suggestion goes for those of you in a business development/ sales function as well. Your ability to lead others in disciplines other than your own and lead work teams becomes part of your expanding skill set.
Establishing your value to your organization can be a matter of identifying the learning opportunity in each project you are working on.
The most mundane project can provide an opportunity for you to update your knowledge base. How many projects can benefit from incorporating lean and green principles and new technology applications? How many projects potentially may require you to hybridize your tool set and assist in the sales and/or engineering side of the equation? The more professional languages you can legitimately “speak” help you provide simultaneous translation to your organization.
Establishing your value to your organization can be a matter of adding another area of expertise to your personal arsenal.
Researching particular topics of interest, and assessing their applicability to current projects, allows you to bring more information to the table during meetings. You may become the go-to guy or gal on specific topics as your suggestions create potentially proactive, robust solutions.
Establishing your value to your organization can be a matter of assessing the role you are comfortable taking and understanding the limitations and opportunities of that role.
Several questions you need to ask yourself are: 1) what is your current level of frustration in either attending or leading meetings when you don’t have the authority to drive change throughout your team, department or organization, and 2) what will it take for you to earn that authority?
- Bottom line: Do you want to assume that type of authority and responsibility? Is that one of your career goals? And if so, how great of a priority is this goal… to you and to your management?
- Bottom line: Will that opportunity/ career goal be available to you at your current organization? And if not, are you prepared to change jobs to achieve your goal?
- Bottom line: What gaps are present or absent from your skill set that will allow you to facilitate and implement your career goal?
- Bottom line: How practical, realistic and achievable is this professional goal?
Do they ask you “What do you think?” or only “Can you do this?”
Have you interpreted “Can you do this?” as a career move or opportunity? Have you accepted “Can you do this?” – and the responsibility involved – without asking for compensation or authority? Has “Can you do this?” resulted in your being seated at the table?
Whether you are comfortable, and satisfied, with remaining an order taker vs. an innovator is firmly in your hands.
It’s up to you to recognize the difference between being asked to take on additional responsibilities and being asked to take a different seat around the table.
Your ability to understand these differences can assist you in making productive decisions that lead to sound career choices over the long haul.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers by Top Sales World, 2013-2016. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools and is available on Amazon.