The Presenting Problem

Max (a pseudonym) is a seasoned technical leader in his early 50’s. He was hired 18 months ago by a major technology company that was changing their core business and go to market strategy from manufacturer/distributor to business and technical consulting.

The company described the position as an opportunity to lead major technical consulting projects (strategic customer engagement) and act as a trusted advisor with Fortune 200 customer leadership teams.

In reality, he was relegated to technical sales support. career_investments

Due to family considerations, Max decided he had to stay with this employer (in the short term) rather than actively searching for another role in a different technology company.

“I really don’t have any short term options other than to stay with this company because they offer outstanding benefits and a flexible work from home policy.”

Adding to his frustration, in this short timeframe Max suffered through three organization restructuring attempts; three different bosses (the last two had no clue as to Max’s strengths); downsizings; a series of new initiatives that were announced with great fanfare and then rescinded, and loss of peers (Max’s personal “swamps and deserts and chasms”).

In addition, there was a rival internal division that was known as the premier division specializing in his technical area of expertise.  The internal rivalry prevented Max from requesting a transfer to this division – or so he thought.

The Career Coaching Program

I began coaching Max a month after he accepted the role.  After gaining an understanding of the organization and assessing Max’s competencies I asked him to describe the role that would best utilize his considerable talents.

With this information, we designed a multifaceted approach to: 1). change his negative view of the company, 2). extend the ‘perceived’ boundaries of his current accountabilities, 3). identify opportunities for him to make contributions that would result in increased revenue, and 4). establish a platform for Max to demonstrate the breadth of his skill set.

The approach we designed was a customized career do over program that created opportunities for Max to:

  • Identify reputation enhancement actions (on a weekly basis) to add-value or be a resource to major stakeholders: the boss, sales leaders, technical advisors, heads of sister organizations, customers, and other staff groups
  • Mentor others
  • Interact with internal and external decision-makers and embody the new distinctions associated with trusted advisor positioning
  • Engage in a written and oral communications strategy by creating training programs for salespeople who were unfamiliar with his specialty, authoring and delivering customer presentations, and updating his company bio, LinkedIn profile, etc.
  • Volunteer (outside of his division) to get in front of customers and identify needs and opportunities
  • Establish his leadership brand as an expert in his area and as the best person to “get in front of customers”
  • Connect with industry thought leaders through involvement in professional associations
  • Network with internal “influencers” who were connected to the rival division and who could make a referral
  • Reach out to his network to assist search firm partners in filling openings
  • Volunteer to participate in company product and service updates and development programs
  • Ask for cross-functional and project team assignments
  • Work in the local office one or two days per week in order to develop more relationships outside of his division

The Result

Max was offered and accepted a promotion in the rival division in a role that was more closely aligned with his skill set.  The new division has an aggressive growth strategy and considers Max a remarkable, underutilized talent.

The Lesson

Making career investments will pay handsome dividends.  There is always an opportunity for you to change your career trajectory if you take the initiative to increase your level of contributions and look for openings and problems to solve that enhance your professional brand.


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© All rights reserved.

Christine M. Glasco, Career Coach – consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on career management, career transition and strategic leadership development solutions.  To request a complimentary copy of Five Tips to Transform Your Executive Career  and to receive Who Needs a One Page Career Plan? You Do!   Website:   Email:  Phone:  1.940.367.0837

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