Friday, October 8, 2010

Careers Weekly Updates - Justmeans

Career Advice from Jullien "PurposeFinder" Gordon - Mrim Boutla

Many of you read our responsible career section in hope to gain career advice on how to build a career that successfully blends financial return with social impact and environmental responsibility.  Well rejoice, because today, you will be able to learn more about how to do exactly that by getting career advice from Jullien 'PurposeFinder' Gordon.

Jullien Gordon is an impressive 28-year old social entrepreneur who has turned his passion for helping others make informed career decision into a variety of business ventures.  Originally from Oakland, CA, Jullien earned his BA from UCLA with Majors in Business Economics, and Education.  Furthermore, in 2007, Jullien received two masters' degrees from Stanford University—his MBA and Masters in Education.

Post continues:

When You're Career Planning, Does the Idea of "Networking" Make You Cringe? - Ritika Puri

You've heard it from your mentors, college counselors, colleagues, friends, and family: when you're career planning, networking is the single-most career planning step that you can take. Especially in this economy, a personal connection can make or break a person's candidacy for a position. Even though it may seem unfair, it's human nature.

As employers and as people, we want to find someone who we would enjoy as colleagues in a professional environment. We're more likely to reach out to our social circles instead of strangers. Developing an awareness of this trend is one of the most important career planning steps that you can take.

Post continues:

Social Intrapreneurship: Your Best Responsible Career Choice? - Mrim Boutla

Business as usual is unsustainable, and you are surely reading this blog because you want to learn more about career choices that will enable you to build a career that will allow you to do well while doing good.  There are of course many ways to 'do well while doing good'.  The vast majority of people in industrialized countries choose to do so by generating their income from business as usual positions, and use part of their income to make donations to causes they believe in.  Others choose to donate their time and volunteer to contribute to a cause they believe in.

But that might not feel like it is enough to most of you.  Indeed, many of you are driven by what Cheryl Dorsey and Lara Galinsky elegantly termed your 'Moment of Obligation'.  While conducting research by interviewing 12 social entrepreneurs that won the prestigious Echoing Green Fellowship,  they observed that many socio-eco innovators (SEIs) got started on their path to socio-eco innovation after facing their own 'Moment of Obligation'.  That 'Moment of Obligation' generally comes from wanting to help a friend, patient or someone the SEI knows is experiencing something that the SEI feels is not 'right'.  From that feeling, the SEI takes action to help that person.

Post continues:

Career Planning for College Seniors: An Argument Against Using Grad School to Hide From the Job Market - Ritika Puri

As you read this article, many college seniors are in the beginning stages of career planning. This time of transition can be difficult, and the economic climate isn't helping already-tough circumstances. Regardless, it's important to stay positive because a good attitude will be your #1 best friend as you muddle through confusion, or options that may be too many or too few. A few months from now, many of you will be happily (or not-so-happily) employed in your first real-world jobs.  Some of you will be in graduate school, and others will accept fellowships. Others will still be job hunting, while some may decide to take a break, volunteer, or travel. No matter where you end up, it's worth putting in a good try -- after all, your post-college future indoctrinates the rest of your life.

Post continues:

Share and Enjoy:
Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Blinklist Reddit Furl Yahoo Spurl Simpy

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Career Management: How to Ace Your Annual Review Meeting (Part 2 of 2)

5 Tips on how to prepare, manage, and follow up after your annual performance review meeting.

For most professionals, an annual review is as pleasant as a root canal.However, your performance review can provide an amazing opportunity to review your career development plan. By using the 5 tips discussed below, you can turn this around and instead use the time of your annual review to have a constructive conversation with your boss about your achievements and your future goals.

In my
previous post, I discussed three tips:

Review your projects and articulate your contributions
Make your department (and boss) look good
Send your list to your boss ahead of the meeting

Today, let’s focus on two more tips to help you make the most out of your performance review:

Design your career development plan for the next year

Based on the past year, you certainly have ideas about projects that might be of help to the department, or specific skill set or technology you would like to learn more about. Have a list of talking points ready to deliver about the past year, and your ideas for the coming year regarding your projects and your career development plan. For each idea you have, rank the risk factor in advance. Is this project a low hanging fruit that would probably get implemented anyway? Would this project be a major stretch for the department? Evaluate the chances of each idea, and rank them from easier to harder. During the meeting, start talking with your boss about an easier project (rank 1or 2), followed by a more challenging one (rank 6-7). This will enable you to test the waters while maximizing the occurrence of a consensus by the end of the meeting. Your goal is to show that you are a team player who is engaged and wants to contribute to the department.

Have multiple mini-reviews throughout the year

You might think that one review per year is more than enough, but each review does not need to be a meeting in person. Instead, send periodic emails. A good trigger for an email is completion of a project, or when a major milestone has been reached. Articulate what the value of the project was and what your contributions, as well as those from key team members, have been. These quick updates could also be about proposing several alternatives for next steps to your boss. Again make it easier on your boss by offering two or three alternatives on how to approach the next steps instead of asking how to proceed in general. This will enable your boss to ‘vote’ for one direction that you are prepared to take, instead of having your boss figure out what next steps are needed. These mini-reviews will also help you emerge as a professional that is open to coaching and is engaged in his/her career development.

What other strategies or tips do you have to make the most out of an annual performance review?
I look forward to your comments!

Photo Credit.

Share and Enjoy:
Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Blinklist Reddit Furl Yahoo Spurl Simpy

Friday, April 23, 2010

Career Management: How to Ace Your Annual Review Meeting

Tips on how to prepare for your annual review meeting with your boss.

For most professionals, an annual review is as pleasant as a root canal. However, by using the 5 tips highlighted below, you can turn this around and instead use the time of your annual review to have a constructive conversation with your boss about your achievements and your future goals. This is especially important if you would like to develop key skills and knowledge that will help you emerge as a future CSR professional.

Tip#1: Review your projects and articulate your contributions

Your boss will talk at you if you let him/her. Like you, your boss has been asked to do more with less for the last 2 years, so chances are that your boss is not aware of all the projects you were involved in and of all the value you added to the department and the company. Instead of waiting for the annual review meeting, proactively construct your own agenda for the review meeting. Build a list of all the projects you were involved in. For each project, create three columns: the number of hours it took, the value you added to the project, and the results generated by the project for the team and for the organization. For example, if you volunteered to help the team with a new direct mail campaign, you can list that you proactively contributed 10 hours of your time (column 1), that your contributions included suggesting a new client segment to target based on your past experience on another similar project, helping with the design of 3 coupons, and contributing to the logistics of the direct mail campaign launch by distributing coupons through relevant local non-profits (column 2). Then list the results of your contribution to the direct mail campaign in column 3. These can include the % increase in coupon distribution or the % increase in responses as compared to the average the company usually get from similar direct mail campaign. Of course, if you have been involved in projects that had a social or environmental impact in your company, make sure to list these and indicate how much you learned and how interested you in these projects. This is the best way to plant a seed in your boss’ mind about your career development goals and project preferences.

Tip#2: Make your department (and boss) look good

Clearly show how your projects aligned with the company’s goals and values. Also show how your projects added value to enable your department and team to learn new things or approach challenges in innovative ways. We have all been asked to do more with less in the past two years. By showing that you thought about how you could do so as well will demonstrate your loyalty, as well as your abilities as a team player and a problem solver. I remember an administrative assistant, let’s call her Diane, who made an amazing contribution through a simple change. Diane was managing multiple projects across departments, and found it difficult to keep track of who was supposed to do what by when. She came across and attended a training program on a new online project management tool. She proposed that the teams she was working with use an online to coordinate each project separately. They could each work on the project from wherever they were, and could also send emails to one another about the project through the platform. She talked about it with her boss, who was skeptical but let her try. After an initial adaptation period, everyone was on board, and Diane was able to keep everyone on track more effectively, leading each team to decrease project completion time by 12%. Diane’s work became easier, as was that of her colleagues, and her boss. You can innovate and help your department in a number of ways. Think about your projects and how you can make them better. Then make sure to mention them during your written review and your actual review meeting. Projects that save paper, save energy or can be co-branded with local non-profits are great ways for you to gain experience and contacts within and beyond your company.

Tip#3: Send your list to your boss ahead of the meeting

In order for your performance to be fairly evaluated, send your list of accomplishments to your boss ahead of time (e.g. 4-5 business days before the meeting). As mentioned earlier, it is likely that your boss does not know all of the projects you contributed to. Set a positive tone by indicating that you look forward to your meeting with him/her. Your constructive approach will help your boss get a better sense of what you have accomplished and might help him/her realize how much you have done that he/she is unaware of. Also clearly highlight the projects that you participated in that had a positive social and/or environmental impact. This will help you establish yourself as an innovative team member that knows how to measure the social and environmental impacts of his/her projects. This will be remembered over time and might open doors for you in the future.

In the next post, I will add two more tips on how you can manage the review meeting itself, as well as on how to proactively build momentum from the meeting to emerge as an innovative team player. Your annual review is a unique opportunity for you to be recognized as an engaged team player with a clear career management plan.

Photo Credit

Share and Enjoy:
Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Blinklist Reddit Furl Yahoo Spurl Simpy

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How Do You Make Informed Career Choices?

Career choices depend on your definition of career success. Career success is personal, about more than money, and best defined by the legacy you want to build.

Making informed career choices are key to career success. While attending the Indiana University Entrepreneurship Connection Conference, I was fascinated by Mark Albion’s keynote address. By gathering information through hundreds of interviews and conversations he has had with MBAs and other business professionals over the past 30 years, Mark Albion has written seven books that outline frameworks and provide insightful stories to help students and professionals articulate their own career success definition, and secure opportunities that align with their definition of career success. In addition, Dr. Albion has co-founded seven social ventures to help students and professionals connect with like-minded professionals around the goal of using business skills and principles to alleviate our world’s suffering. The most recognized social venture that Dr. Albion co-created is Net Impact, a network of 15,000 MBA professionals and students that currently include over 279 chapters around the world.

The panel followed Dr. Albion’s address. The panel, moderated by Dr. Kuratko, included faculty (Siri Terjesen and Jeff McMullen) as well as Dr. Albion, and Susan Maupin, Marketing Director at Stonyfield Farm. Many of the attendees’ questions gravitated around a definition of career success. What is career success? What choices would be best to you to reach your career goals and achieve career success? From Mark’s keynote and the panel that followed, here are a few tips for you to best articulate your goals, and create a career development roadmap to pursue values-filled professional opportunities that align with your definition of career success:

  • Success is Personal – One of the most common ways for professionals to define their career (and life) success is to answer the question ‘how do you want to be remembered?’ By defining what you would like people to say about you went you are no longer there, you can really get at the essence of who you want to become. The definition of who you want to become then becomes the goal that you want to reach, and any career decisions you make along the way becomes a matter of deciding whether moving (or not moving) in a specific career direction would bring you closer to whom you want to become. The combination of reflection to refine your goals, and discipline to take steps to move towards your goals will help you fill the gap between who you are and who you want to become.
  • Is About More Than Money – Many cultures around the world have built a definition of success that centers on high salaries or working for a prestigious organization (e.g. you would rather work for Google than a startup nobody knows, or for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation than for a non-profit no one has heard of). When it comes to money, MORE is what we all want. Moving from a MORE approach to a JUST ENOUGH approach might enable you to really understand that money masks other needs you have, such as the need of being respected and valued. By highlighting what you want to be remembered for, you can take ownership of your career (and life) success definition, as well as free yourself from societal pressures. Of course you will need to generate enough revenue to meet your financial obligations. Sit down to create your balance sheet and objectively evaluate how much money you need to meet your obligations and have a little more for savings and fun.
  • Success is Learning from Others – When considering our career decisions, we might tend to believe that we are unique and have to learn on our own. Nothing is farther from the truth. Indeed, we can always find professionals that have had similar goals than ours. Learning from these professionals by reading about their work, or by connecting with them online or in person can tremendously help us learn about ways we can reach our career goals and get closer to whom we want to become. Fortunately, it is now easier than ever to identify these like-minded professionals. Through social and professional networks such Justmeans, Net Impact, lifeworth, or, you can considerably accelerate your learning, and gather information faster about the good, the bad and the ugly that each career move is sure to bring your way. From this information, you can better assess your fit, and make a better decision in terms of whether your next career move would bring you closer (or not) to the legacy you want to build.
As you go through this process of defining what success means to you, remember that this definition will change in each of your life chapters. By having a direction to move towards while being open to the twists and turns that life is sure to send your way, you can take ownership of the process and make informed career decisions that will lead you to your own career success!

Photo Credit: stephwereley

Share and Enjoy:
Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Blinklist Reddit Furl Yahoo Spurl Simpy

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Career Management Success for Socio-Eco Innovators

Career management success emerges from level 5 leadership, discipline and a sustainable resource engine.

You might have heard before that career management is very similar to being the CEO or Me Inc. In fact, when managing your Me Inc, you will have to hold all the roles of the company, including CEO, head of marketing, head of operations, and head of organizational development to name a few. So how do you transition from good to a great at Me Inc? How do you achieve career management success?

Any Me Inc can tremendously benefit from operating by the principles outlined in Jim Collins’ “From Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t”. In this context, career management success will be based on (1) Level 5 Leadership (the leader remains humble, disciplined and ensures that decisions are best for the business), (2) bringing the right people on the bus and sitting them on the right seat in the bus, and (3) creating sustainable transformations through a long and arduous buildup hopefully followed by a breakthrough that will lead to sizeable financial rewards and organizational prestige.

However, socio-eco innovators (SEIs) might find the ‘Good to Great’ principles impossible to apply because they only focus on financial results. While running their Me Inc, SEIs are of course going to have to meet their financial responsibilities. But they will also want to measure their positive impact on people, and the planet. In addition, they do not see others as competitors, but as partners that can help them reach a common goal.

The good news is that Jim Collins also published a lesser-known monograph titled ‘Good to Great and the Social Sector’. Based on his conversations with mission-driven organization leaders, Mr. Collins revisited his principles and offered outstanding advice and frameworks that any SEI can use to manage their 3BL Me Inc. Here are some highlights:

  • Level 5 leadership: In contrast with executive leadership that works best in the private sector, legislative leadership and building consensus are critical to success in the social sector. Leadership is defined as ‘getting people to follow when they have the freedom not to’. This applies whether you are trying to change the way some things are done where you work, or whether you are in the process of convincing a recruiter that he/she cannot afford not to hire you.
  • Creating a culture of discipline: No matter what you decide to do, when it comes to the quality of your work, always go the extra mile and get the best possible results in your projects. You must demonstrate that you are pulling your weight and that you are at work to contribute to the best of your ability. This attitude will earn you the respect of your colleagues, peers in other organizations, and supervisors.
  • Building a sustainable resource engine: The goal of social sector organizations is to generate a sustainable resource engine that includes three elements – time, money, and brand. How much time will be volunteered to help your mission, how much money will sustain your operations and impact, and how much your brand equity will inspire change and in return contribute to sustain your resource engine? By assessing your resource engine, you can tremendously improve your ability to make decisions about how to invest your time, money and manage your brand to create sustainable value as a professional SEI.

In sum, when formulating your goals as an SEI, read the ‘Good to Great’ principles of Level 5 leadership, creating a culture of discipline, and building a sustainable resource engine. They are sure to help you achieve 3BL career management success!

Photo Credit: CIO Innervoice

Share and Enjoy:
Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Blinklist Reddit Furl Yahoo Spurl Simpy

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Career planning across sectors: How can 3BL businesses attract the best values-based talent?

How career planning programs and internal innovation attract and retain talent in 3BL businesses.

When it comes to career planning, many triple bottom line (3BL) businesses want to attract and retain the best values-driven talent available. A way to do this is to attract graduating seniors and young professionals that are committed to social and environmental responsibility. At the same time as 3BL businesses are implementing strategies to do so, college graduates and young professionals wonder whether their best career planning strategy to pursue socially and environmentally responsible job opportunities would be in the private, public or non-profit sector. The good news is that students and professionals have more opportunities now to align their values with their paycheck across sectors. Indeed, through stronger public-private partnerships, social entrepreneurs, and increased strategic corporate social responsibility efforts, boundaries across sectors are blurring. Does this mean that more students and professionals are going to pursue job opportunities in the private sector? Or will students and professionals gravitate towards the non-profit sector? Or will they want to be of building a more equitable and environmentally responsible society through Federal, State or Local government work? Let’s investigate the current trends for insights on these questions.

First, what are graduating seniors doing? The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted a survey of graduating seniors across 750 schools. Based on the answers of 16,5000 graduating seniors, the report indicated that, compared with the graduating class before them, graduating seniors were less interested in pursuing jobs in the private sector. Instead, more college seniors were primarily focusing on finding jobs in the non-profit and in the government sectors after graduation. From this data, it seems that recent graduates are more attracted to jobs in the non-profit and government sectors.

However, interesting insights can be found among reports from the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN). In their 2010 strategic report, they cited an internal survey that indicated that 45% of respondents stated that they were considering leaving the nonprofit sector for their next job. While many respondents cite low wages and burnout as main drivers of their intention to switch sectors, 70% of respondents indicated that the lack of clear career ladder was key in their intention to switch to the private sector. Furthermore, the report cited a survey from CommonGood Careers that converged to show that the perceived lack of career ladders within the nonprofit sector was a big barrier for young professionals to stay in the sector. These results indicate that young professionals find it easier to develop their career planning strategies in the private sector, where the visibility of career advancement trajectories is higher than in the non-profit sector.

I believe that these trends suggest that 3BL businesses are offered a unique opportunity to engage young and seasoned values-driven leaders from the nonprofit sector to their business. To attract and retain talent, 3BL businesses will have to integrate career planning and skill development programs into their DNA. Strong organizational development and succession planning will be key to retain values-driven professionals that want to work for a company they can believe in. In future posts, we will focus on organizational development and succession planning strategies that 3BL business can implement to become a magnet for professionals that want to do business - better.

Photo Credit:

Share and Enjoy:
Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Blinklist Reddit Furl Yahoo Spurl Simpy

Friday, March 26, 2010

How do you integrate a triple bottom line approach to your current traditional job?

While reading “The 21st century corporation: Ceres roadmap for sustainability”, I felt both inspired and a bit daunted by the realization that there are still so many companies that either do not define their sustainability goals, track them, report them, or engage internal and external stakeholders in conversations around their sustainability goals. One of the roadmap key messages is clear: the purpose of all companies remains to maximize shareholder value. The roadmap attempts to provide ways by which companies can redefine the notion of ”value” as the integration of financial return, social impact and environmental responsibility.

For this to happen, I would argue that two enormous paradigm shifts are needed:
  • Public Policy: New standards of triple bottom line (3BL) reporting are to be created and implemented as a global standard for companies to operate by. A 2008 KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting (cited in the Ceres roadmap) showed that only 4% of the biggest 250 corporations integrate their sustainability goals and performance in their annual report. The encouraging data are that another 79% of these corporations do issue an annual sustainability report. Extensive changes in international business law are needed to embed 3BL measures in annual reports and, as a result, into the DNA of global and local companies. Based on the latest Copenhagen and Davos meetings, I don’t envision this happening in the near future.
  • Internal Company Changes: The best way to embed a 3BL into a company’s DNA is to instate new policies to measure employee performance (and compensation) based on 3BL results. Tying performance to 3BL goals should be implemented from the C-Suite down to all employees. This is most likely to happen in the 4% of the 250 corporations mentioned above. In addition, you can find such companies on our JustMeans company directory, as well as on the directories available on B-Corps, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and the Green America's National Green Pages.
However, these are a minority of companies. Many of you are currently wondering: ”If you are a socio-eco innovator currently working in a business unit in which triple bottom line approaches are not discussed, what can you do?”

My answer to this is “help your supervisor and colleagues understand how to make sustainability one of the main forces for innovation and long-term profitability”. The mark of a true leader is to effect change within what they can control. No matter whether you are an executive or a junior analyst, you can choose to walk the talk as a socio-eco innovator and positively contribute to change the definition of value for shareholders.

Easy to say, but how do you do that? Here is a roadmap that can help:

Leverage like-minded professionals within and beyond your company
  • If your company issues a sustainability report, look at the authors of the report. Leverage the acknowledgement section of the report as well as the company’s directory to find out who actually did the analyses for the report.
  • Do the same thing with the sustainability report issued by your direct competitors (leveraging the acknowledgment section as well as LinkedIn).
  • Connect with these like-minded professionals – Understand the frameworks they used for their analyses, and learn who provided them with the data they needed for their analyses. Ask about the current sustainability goals they are working on, and the trends they are seeing for the next couple of years.
These conversations and contacts will help you learn more about the methodology currently used by your company (and your competitors) to measure the socio-eco impacts of their projects. These conversations will also give you the methodology and vocabulary you need to articulate the benefits of 3BL over the single bottom line approach you have been using.

Apply your new knowledge to your own projects

Knowledge without action is useless. You need to have the courage to apply this knowledge to your projects in order to be the change you want to see. Try the following:
  • Leverage the web of people and resources that helped your contacts in their previous analyses.
  • Make a stellar business case for how integrating sustainability goals and measures into a specific project will help your supervisor and colleagues. To do so might require a bit more work – namely drafting two proposals
  • The first proposal will be the ‘business as usual’ proposal. It is designed to demonstrate that you are a great contributor who can generate results within the company’s current procedures and priorities.
  • The second proposal will be the ‘innovative 3BL’ proposal. In this proposal you will make your move and add a few (one or two) modifications that will lead to better 3BL while preserving the results that would have been generated through the ‘business as usual’ proposal. Make sure to also integrate how your competitive advantage will increase over your competitors based on the business intelligence you have gathered through your contacts at other firms. This innovative 3BL proposal will show your boss and colleagues that such measures can increase your competitive advantage without compromising your financial results. This second proposal will also show that such 3BL measures are currently readily available and that you can help them implement them within your business unit.
Bridging the gap between intention and action

I can hear you from here – Mrim, you are nuts, don’t you know how busy I am? For the last 2 years, I have been squeezed right and left, and feel lucky to still be employed! I don’t have time to draft even a first good proposal and you want me to draft two? Where am I going to find the time to connect with these like-minded professionals and learn more about these measures?

My answer: Goals we set are goals we get! As an emerging socio-eco innovator, you will have to be the change you want to see. Moving past inertia and business as usual and putting the time and energy to train yourself and to go the extra mile are part of the journey, as well as taking risks, and learning from the failures that are sure to pave your way to success!

To emerge as a leader in socio-eco innovator who knows how to take risks, you need to stay informed and show to your supervisor and colleagues that doing business as usual is actually hurting competitiveness. Go the extra mile, leverage new people and resources to present how achieving 3BL results will lead to long-term competitive advantage for your business. Beyond your own team, make sure to also let others know within your company (and among colleagues who work for your competitors) how much you have been enjoying developing these skills and knowledge, and how much value these could add to the business.

And remember: If you try this 4-5 times and your supervisor and colleagues turn you down each time, by then you will have plenty of contacts in other business units or among your competitors that can facilitate a switch towards a different role or a more innovative company where your newly developed skills and knowledge will be valued and rewarded.

As always, I am looking forward to reading your questions and comments!

Share and Enjoy:
Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Blinklist Reddit Furl Yahoo Spurl Simpy