November 29, 2017

Case Study: Engaged Pursuit = Staying Put

Stanley thought he needed something new. Everyone seemed to be moving ahead. Little did he know his Engaged Pursuit was right in front of him.

This is the second in a series of case studies, highlighting different client scenarios I tackled in 2017. My intent – to get you (or someone close to you) inspired to think about your own professional experience through my client’s situations, struggles, considerations, and eventual wins.  Of course, I’m changing the names of folks to keep everything confidential. Feel free to share these stories with people who you know – a simple forward can go a long way!

This week, I’d like to talk about Stanley…

Here’s what happened:

Stanley found himself in middle-management in a big corporation here in Seattle. Direct reports, sizable budget, cool product(s) and a great boss. He worked hard for his current gig – making his way to Group Manager after 9 years working from an independent contributor role.

Stanley noticed all the new buildings in Seattle. Cranes everywhere.  Lots of hiring. He saw movement across his organization – people seemed to be leaving every other week. The grass seemed REALLY green on the other side.

He thought it was time to make a move across the lake…

Here’s how he approached his situation:

Stanley was super confident. 20+ years in tech. The most recent in a well-known company. Senior title. Lots of responsibility. He knew doors would open immediately.

He did what most of my clients do – got his resume in order (added a couple bullets from the most recent position), got Linked-In polished (again, added a couple bullets from the most recent position), and started applying.

Senior Program Manager this.

Senior Operations Manager that.

Stanley applied to dozens of opportunities across multiple companies.

Then (you guessed it) … crickets.

Stanley’s wife (who I worked with in the past) thought he might need some help. An independent, business-centric professional who could add value. Plus, super personality (if I don’t say so myself).

Here’s how Engaged Pursuit came into play:

I met with Stanley over a beer and we talked about his current situation.

“Everyone is getting these awesome roles and I want that too,” he said. “And I’m sure they are paying close to double my salary. I’ve been applying to a ton of opportunities, with no call backs.”

I started digging more around Stanley’s desire to leave. He seemed fixated on salary (and an increased salary at that). Not a ton around his current experience.  He really wanted to make more money and to do that he had to get out (or so he thought).

Here’s what we did:

As with most clients, we started with the Professional Dashboard, which led to Stanley’s Professional Story and Elevator Pitch.  Stanley was excited to see his professional experience in one place. The Professional Dashboard was perfect and the Professional Story really articulated where he wanted to go. He was ready to start hitting the pavement.

I, however, thought Stanley should stay put.

After completing the Professional Dashboard, I evaluated Stanley’s current experience against what he wanted in another company. He wanted a great boss. He wanted a supportive team. He wanted to work on the coolest products. He wanted a great culture with flexibility.  He wanted more money.

I asked Stanley if he could make more money, would he feel that sense of engagement again? Everything seemed REALLY good, except for the money.  His answer – absolutely.

Here’s our results:

We turned Stanley’s external search to an internal focus on promotion. Stanley was on the cusp of a Director-level title (and salary), so more money was absolutely within reach.  He just had to start working his magic internally instead of externally.

The two of us came up with a game-plan around his promotion.  Highlight the results. Focus on impact. Strong feedback. Huge scope. Great potential. All that corporate stuff. Then the hard part – push, push, push. Management needed to know this was his path. He had intent around making Director.

It was hard work, but after 6 months, Stanley received that promotion, got a (big) increase in salary and is back to fully engaged on the job. The opportunities across the lake can wait.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Grass is not always greener (how many times have you heard that??)
  • Submitting applications into the “black hole” doesn’t work. Even if you think you have tons of experience (and company’s want you), it’s hard to break-through this way
  • If you want to join others as they leave, make sure you ask yourself what’s really motivating you. The Professional Dashboard is a great tool to use as a resource
  • You could have a really good thing in front of you. Having an independent, third-party to help validate (me) is really valuable
  • You have to have intent around promotion. Tell people you want it and shape your own justification in partnership with your manager.

Your homework this week: Think about your own situation. Is your Engaged Pursuit right in front of you? Instead of a massive change, could you just maximize your current opportunity and get back on track? Think so? Let’s chat!

Coming-up next week:  Organizations need an Engaged Pursuit push as well! I’ll write about my partnership with a Fortune 100 company and the results I brought to an entire team next week. For you managers out there – you won’t want to miss this!

Here’s to your Engaged Pursuit!

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