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The Only Strategy That Counts – Yours

Posted on September 15, 2010 and read 2,731 times

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1cebd9d The Only Strategy That Counts   YoursHilton Barbour
Marketing Provocateur

Considering the fact the word Strategy is in my job title, you’d think I was adept at creating strategies, evaluating market conditions, making shrewd judgements and forecasts and developing plans to build brands. I certainly hope my colleagues and clients would give me a thumbs up for my efforts. Frankly though I’ve been piss poor at using those skills for the most important audience of all – ME.

If the last two years has highlighted (or reinforced) anything, it’s that no job is secure. Popular Seth Godin books aside, indispensable is an aspiration, seldom a reality for any employee. You can work your ass off and still find yourself out of a job. Take a moment to consider how many of your peers remain out of full-time employment despite being as good, perhaps even better, than you.

All that doom and gloom aside it struck me the other day that I’ve never really developed or executed a clear strategy for myself and my career. Like many (nay most I’d imagine) I’ve been drawn by opportunity – a brand or a potential boss – or the chance to work abroad and just gone for it. Some thought at the tactical end, whats the career progression, is the salary/pay/learning ratio aligned, but definitely never anything at the macro “whats the 20 year plan” level. That’s kinda dumb wouldn’t you say?

Whilst I may not have an iron clad strategy, I have developed several core principles that guide my decisions about the people and organizations I join;
Do they push me out of my comfort zone? If not, I guarantee you’ll never learn or develop. If status quo is what you seek then don’t be surprised if you stagnate or become obsolete.

Do they retain a child-like curiousity? One of my old clients Enron encapsulated their business philosophy as “Ask Why”. Despite the irony of that statement when applied to Enron, I’ve always felt that curious people retain an appreciation and love for life. Those are the types of people and places I want to be around.

Do they have compassion? I’m not talking about group hug Fridays or kiss your PA Wednesdays, I’m talking about the way colleagues treat each other. Are they respectful of people regardless of seniority or tenure? Do they try to make a difference to their industry and community? Do they step up without being asked?

Do they have integrity? Business often rewards those who cut corners, who say “we’ll only do it this one time”. It takes effort to say No. To have a set of principles and refuse to compromise them regardless of the short-term benefit. I deliberately use “short-term” because the attraction to take those short-cuts again and again can be so overwhelming that your original principles can quickly become a distant memory.

These points are not a strategy. I know that. Shockingly in the time I took to write this post a career strategy didn’t miraculously appear in my Inbox. ‘C’est la vie’ as they say.

What they are, are my foundation for my strategy. A strategy I’d urge each of you to develop for yourself and put the same effort into it, that you put into your day job. Scratch that. Put in more effort.

Although Hugh Heffner and Daniel Craig may have my dream job, there’s no reason I can’t create, build and deliver my best strategy for myself.




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