In French cooking the chefs use this phrase Mis-a-Place (miz plas), Meez for short, which conveys how, in a professional kitchen, the initial preparation of equipment and ingredients is carried out before the commencement of cooking. French chefsand other good ones, tooare quite fastidious about planning, organizing, and mentally getting ready for their cooking endeavors, not just in the kitchen as they are cooking, but even when they are shopping for utensils, tools, ingredients, and kitchen equipment. They show a good design-thinking mindset when they adopt this approach. In this approach the end game is to create an exceptional customer experience while maintaining their brand, business reputation, and profitability. Nothing they do is casual, by trial and error, or by accident. Any modifications, including initial preparations are diligently noted in their journals so that the experience can be repeated without guesswork. It is a mindset that separates top chefs from all others.
Career management, too, is like cooking up your future with a methodical approach, Meez, and with a tried-and-true process that is more likely to produce the right outcomes than if done by adopting trial and error and without any planning and preparation. Here design thinking is more likely to pay rich dividends in every aspect of your life than just a great job with the right earning power: job satisfaction, work-life balance, and earnings that let you pursue your lifestyle and acknowledgment of your status within your ecosystem. All of these can happen as a result of executing this design-thinking mindset throughout your career. In my coaching practice I find more prospects use trial and error to how they manage their career and then come to me when things are not working out for them or when they get into trouble.
Although not every prospect falls in that category and not every client continues to operate in the ad hoc modethen they do not need me; they can continue to do this on their ownmost are able to change their errant ways after understanding the discipline of career management and knowing what some of the codified principles are that I have compiled over the years after working with more than 6,000 clients in 23 countries. So, what are some of the tried-and-true principles or practices that work for managing a career on a sound footing? Here is my partial career management Meez list:
- Choosing your path: The earlier you choose the path that brings you joy in your work the more engaged you will be in your work and the more youll be able contribute in return. When you pursue your love work ceases and joy begins. Remember in the phrase Pursuit of happiness, most often think that to pursue means is to chase something. Although this is one meaning of it, but it also means to attract. If you follow what you love to do youll attract the right opportunities that bring you joy and happiness in your career pursuits.
- Personal Mastery: Ive emphasized this throughout my writings. To master something you love to do is much easier than to struggle to achieve mastery because your pursuits are mercenary. Many pursue a career because it pays good money, even when their heart is not in it. If you really love something it is much easier to master something without struggle and then spending 10,000 diligent hours of focused work that it requires to master it is no longer a burden. So, developing personal mastery in your pursuits and surpassing the 10,000-hour floor (not ceiling) can happen without your having to keep looking at the clock!
- Building a brand: Much has been written about building your brand around your core value proposition. If you achieve personal mastery and keep pushing yourself to excel it is natural for others to see you as the brand in what you pursue.
- Pursuing challenges: Surveys after surveys have shown that nearly 80% of the employees are not engaged in their jobs (with nearly 30% actively disengaged). They get used to taking orders from their higher-ups without seeking some control over what they do. There are plenty of uncharted challenges in any role that go beyond the scope of that role. Identifying those challenges that show your business insights and taking charge on your own to make some change in the status-quo can be a great way to make a mark in how you deliver your value in any endeavor in which you engage.
- Aiming high: Surrounding yourself with the top achievers in your own field will create an environment of action for you to excel in all your endeavor and to become a top achiever yourself. This is why vigilant network building and participating in the right forums where you stay visible are so important in your career growth.
- Challenging yourself: Instead of competing with someone else you admire, compete with yourself. Learn how to do better in each action you take from a similar action from the past. This is a sure-fire way to beat even your most fierce competition.
- Mentoring others: If you want to be mentored by someone you admire, become a mentor yourself first and learn from mentoring. Approach your mentor and ask for them to mentor you by showing how you have already made a difference in those you mentor.
- Learning to tell your story: Most professionals focus on their rsum by crafting bullets of their actions or activities. They fail to see the underlying leadership story of their success and how to narrate that story in a compelling way. I call this your leadership narrative. Learn how to plan your next task (remember Meez?) so that when you are done you have one great story that becomes the next bullet on your rsum.
- Learning from the past: No career paths works out per plan and setbacks are inevitable as a result. It is learning from these setbacks that insulates you from future mistakes, which can be repeats of your past. So, keep a vigilant eye on any setback and learning from them, as you aggressively navigate through your career plan.
- Pivoting at the right time: No career is forever. As new frontiers appear that present new challenges learn how to make the best use of these opportunities by pivoting, sometimes even preemptively, going in a new and exciting direction. Seek advice from those who have done this before or who know how it works. Always keep your passions fresh and your work energized!
Career management is a process based on a methodical approach much like what the French and other master chefs use. You, too, can use their recipe and become a master career builder for yourself and please your most ardent critiqueyou!
Dilip has distinguished himself as LinkedIn’s #1 career coach from among a global pool of over 1,000 peers ever since LinkedIn started ranking them professionally (LinkedIn selected 23 categories of professionals for this ranking and published this ranking from 2006 until 2012). Having worked with over 6,000 clients from all walks of professions and having worked with nearly the entire spectrum of age groups—from high-school graduates about to enter college to those in their 70s, not knowing what to do with their retirement—Dilip has developed a unique approach to bringing meaning to their professional and personal lives. Dilip’s professional success lies in his ability to codify what he has learned in his own varied life (he has changed careers four times and is currently in his fifth) and from those of his clients, and to apply the essence of that learning to each coaching situation.
After getting his B.Tech. (Honors) from IIT-Bombay and Master’s in electrical engineering(MSEE) from Stanford University, Dilip worked at various organizations, starting as an individual contributor and then progressing to head an engineering organization of a division of a high-tech company, with $2B in sales, in California’s Silicon Valley. His current interest in coaching resulted from his career experiences spanning nearly four decades, at four very diverse organizations–and industries, including a major conglomerate in India, and from what it takes to re-invent oneself time and again, especially after a lay-off and with constraints that are beyond your control.
During the 45-plus years since his graduation, Dilip has reinvented himself time and again to explore new career horizons. When he left the corporate world, as head of engineering of a technology company, he started his own technology consulting business, helping high-tech and biotech companies streamline their product development processes. Dilip’s third career was working as a marketing consultant helping Fortune-500 companies dramatically improve their sales, based on a novel concept. It is during this work that Dilip realized that the greatest challenge most corporations face is available leadership resources and effectiveness; too many followers looking up to rudderless leadership.
Dilip then decided to work with corporations helping them understand the leadership process and how to increase leadership effectiveness at every level. Soon afterwards, when the job-market tanked in Silicon Valley in 2001, Dilip changed his career track yet again and decided to work initially with many high-tech refugees, who wanted expert guidance in their reinvention and reemployment. Quickly, Dilip expanded his practice to help professionals from all walks of life.
Now in his fifth career, Dilip works with professionals in the Silicon Valley and around the world helping with reinvention to get their dream jobs or vocations. As a career counselor and life coach, Dilip’s focus has been career transitions for professionals at all levels and engaging them in a purposeful pursuit. Working with them, he has developed many groundbreaking approaches to career transition that are now published in five books, his weekly blogs, and hundreds of articles. He has worked with those looking for a change in their careers–re-invention–and jobs at levels ranging from CEOs to hospital orderlies. He has developed numerous seminars and workshops to complement his individual coaching for helping others with making career and life transitions.
Dilip’s central theme in his practice is to help clients discover their latent genius and then build a value proposition around it to articulate a strong verbal brand.
Throughout this journey, Dilip has come up with many groundbreaking practices such as an Inductive Résumé and the Genius Extraction Tool. Dilip owns two patents, has two publications in the Harvard Business Review and has led a CEO roundtable for Chief Executive on Customer Loyalty. Both Amazon and B&N list numerous reviews on his five books. Dilip is also listed in Who’s Who, has appeared several times on CNN Headline News/Comcast Local Edition, as well as in the San Francisco Chronicle in its career columns. Dilip is a contributing writer to several publications. Dilip is a sought-after speaker at public and private forums on jobs, careers, leadership challenges, and how to be an effective leader.
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