Everyone has a professional expiration date. That date marks the distance between the start and end of your tenure with an organization. How long is yours compared with the rest of the folks seated around the table?
Not only does a professional expiration date reflect individual performance. Employee churn, based on average expiration dates of each function, impact overall company performance, especially when it comes to retaining newly acquired customers.
Taken within that context, professional expiration dates are not just a human resource responsibility.
They also become a team leadership responsibility, when setting realistic deliverables for each other and for clients. Why? Because team members are not equally engaged and committed to client outcomes when their professional expiration dates vary all over the place.
Here’s the scenario. Cross-functional collaboration brings your team together with your client’s team. For starters, these decision makers live in various departments, across the organization. Then, there’s a communication disconnect. Not everyone grasps what your team is trying to communicate because everyone uses a different professional language. Based on team composition and facilitation capabilities, these meetings either are great or they are tortuous.
However, something else is impacting the dynamics of successful cross-functional meetings. And it is so subtle, that you often fail to pay attention to its impact on meeting outcomes. Everyone seated around the table has a different professional expiration date.
When your professional expiration date is out of sync with your cross-functional colleagues’, proposed solutions fall short.
Let’s say the operations or engineering team is weighing in on a company-wide project. This cost-saving initiative will reduce waste and downtime. Their proposed timeline is 2 years. From their perspective, that timeline is reasonable and feasible. In fact, they may think it is an accelerated timeline.
However, the rest of the folks seated on the business side of the table are not so jazzed. Why is that?
Well, for starters, they may not be employed by the company by the time the project is fully-executed. In fact, they may leave the company, either intentionally or not, in 12 months or less.
Why? Because they have different KPIs (key performance indicators) governing their professional expiration date.
The average tenure of a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is anywhere from 18 months to a little over 4 years compared to the rest of the C-Suite, averaging around 5 years. Anywhere from one-quarter to one half of the sales force can turn over every 12 months, if that long, because they aren’t making their numbers.
A software engineer has a fleeting professional expiration date, lasting 2 years, if that long. In general, management, legal and engineering professionals have longer tenure (average of 5 years) with their employers than other occupations. Older employees have longer tenures with private companies than do younger employees.
You get the picture.
Whether voluntary or not, many professional disciplines have an extremely short trajectory to prove their worth to the organization.
The context of team membership is everything. When proposing solutions to clients, do not overlook determining the tenure of the team you are working with. While they may be there at the start, they may drop out somewhere between start and project completion.
Interruption in team composition can disrupt the timeline and success of a project, both positively but mostly negatively. Especially when team leadership composition is disrupted. Different perspectives and professional agendas can stall or derail successful project outcomes.
It’s a matter of risk versus opportunity. Something to chew on this week? Click here to learn more about fresh team convergence and collaboration strategies. Then, you have a choice. Do nothing or take action. What will you choose?
Next steps towards collaboration strategies to improve client outcomes:
- Read these related posts on professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer retention.
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Babette Ten Haken serves organizations as a corporate catalyst and innovative speaker, strategist, coach and storyteller. Babette’s One Millimeter Mindset™ Workshops and Speaking programs leverage collaboration to catalyze professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer retention, especially in challenging digitally transforming environments. Babette’s playbook of industrial IoT team collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. She is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association.
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