Reports from the Knowledge Labs about our recent findings, research topics, and interviews with lifestyle leaders who are creating their own futures.

How to stimulate your own powers of foresight. Consider the following thought provokers. Ask yourself, in these categories what are the brand new trends and forces? Which are the ones growing in importance? Which current forces are loosing their steam? Which have peaked or are reversing themselves? Which are the "wildcards" about to disrupt us in the future? POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL thought for food: Electronics, Materials, Energy, Fossil, Nuclear, Alternative, Other, Manufacturing (techniques), Agriculture, Machinery and Equipment, Distribution, Transportation (Urban, Mass, Personal, Surface, Sea, Subsurface, Space), Communication (Printed, Spoken, Interactive, Media), Computers (Information, Knowledge, Storage & Retrieval, Design, Network Resources), Post-Cold War, Third World, Conflict (Local, Regional, Global), Arms Limitation, Undeclared Wars, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governments (More/Less Power and Larger or Smaller Scale), Taxes, Isms: Nationalism, Regionalism, Protectionism, Populism, Cartels, Multinational Corporations, Balance of Trade, Third Party Payments, Regulations (OSHA, etc.) Environmental Impact, U.S. Prestige Abroad. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Food for thought: Labor Movements, Unemployment / Employment Cycles, Recession, Employment Patterns, Work Hours / Schedules, Fringe Benefits, Management Approaches, Accounting Policies, Productivity, Energy Costs, Balance of Payments, Inflation, Taxes, Rates of Real Growth, Distribution of Wealth, Capital Availability and Costs, Reliability of Forecasts, Raw Materials, Availability and Costs, Global versus National Economy, Market versus Planned Economies, Generations: Y, X, Boomers, Elderly, Urban vs. Rural Lifestyles, Affluent vs. Poor, Neighborhoods and Communities, Planned or Organic Growth. Got Knowledge?

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The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Sunday, September 24, 2006  

CNN with Your Six Thumbs Agenda

Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

By Steve Howard, CKO
The Knowledge Labs

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Basecamp
Chapter Two: The Ridge
Chapter Three: The Outpost
Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

"Proper characterization turns service activities into memorable performances. No element is too small to contribute to contribute to the creation of character. Getting into character provides a sense of purpose. Acting 'as if' goes to the heart of characterizing a role. Understand how to turn every interaction into an experience. The act of acting differentiates memorable experiences from ordinary activity."

B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, “The Experience Economy”

DOUBLE NICKEL RANCH. Whether you want or need to create a position or just want to gain the upper hand on your competition, pay attention to the career needs of the people in your survey. Find ways to circle back with progress reports and information – and better yet – inside business intelligence they might find valuable.

Journal of 2020 Foresight: If you are going after a known title, for which you might have any number of internal candidates targeting it as part of their succession and developmental plans, you lower your odds of succeeding, right?

Explorer: Not only that, but you face competition from any number of professionals -- hundreds or thousands -- searching for similar positions in the public job marketplaces.

Eagle: So, while it seems logical you spend your time more efficiently going after known positions, the odds are stacked against you.

J2020F: That’s why every traditional career manual and coach extols the virtues of networking.

Eagle: But, most people use that approach pretending not to be looking for a job, when in fact they may be desperately looking and hoping. How does your survey approach differ?

Explorer: Well, you get a better understanding of the marketplace. Think of it as being more like a CNN reporter on location following a story or like conducting a marketing focus group.

J2020F: In what way?

Explorer: Our survey helps define how you might fit the requirements as defined at other companies, so you have a thorough understanding of how to sell yourself.

Eagle: Of course don't overlook referrals from each of your interviewees, and do promise to circle back with the results of your survey, so they may benefit in their own career too.

J2020F: Circle back with business intelligence?

Eagle: If you pretend you aren’t looking for a job, you tend to think only about yourself and your immediate needs.

Explorer: That’s the fatal flaw of most networking schemes.

J2020F: How is the survey approach different?

Eagle: Remember, no one has all the time and energy to stay on top of their own daily problems and challenges and the time to get inside information from other colleagues in their field.

J2020F: So you represent an easy way for them to accomplish both?

Explorer: Right. And you have a reason to re-contact them even though you haven’t found a job.

Eagle: Which is a problem most people encounter with the flawed networking approach.

J2020F: What do you mean?

Eagle: I mean, most people feel uncomfortable calling people back when they haven’t found a job – which is the answer to the frequently asked question by someone – how’s your job search going?

Explorer: Contrast that to suggesting you meet again to update them on your survey, and to share some information they might find valuable because they told you about their career hopes and dreams and current challenges.

Eagle: And, when you return with your proposal, you can pitch it to them indirectly by asking for their opinion and advice.

J2020F: Why?

Eagle: Who knows, they may hire you. You are already a known commodity. Especially if you have been forwarding interesting articles and news items about your mutual interests.

J2020F: That seems like a more authentic approach.

Explorer: It is, and in the course of your survey it becomes easier to gather information about detailed needs and problems facing the type of organizations you target from people who know and trust you.

J2020F: What kind of information are you going after?

Explorer: Here are some rules of thumb to keep in mind. If it is a large organization that interests you, you don't have to discover the problems of their whole organization.

J2020F: You don’t?

Explorer: No. You only need to discover the problems that are bugging the person-who-has-the-ultimate-responsibility-to-hire-you.

Eagle: Don't assume that the problems have to be huge, complex or hidden.

J2020F: Really?

Eagle: Really. The problems bothering the decision-maker may be small, simple and obvious. All you may need to do is discover why the boss was dissatisfied with the performance by the person who vacated the opening.

J2020F: But don't have to educate the decision-maker?

Eagle: Instead your task is to read your potential boss or client's mind.

Explorer: Your bright idea may have already been tried and discarded because of politics.

J2020F: So the rule of thumb is not to assume anything.

Explorer: Right. You are there to test and to probe.

J2020F: So how do you do that?

Explorer: Here are six ways to discover what's top of mind. The first is by analyzing the organization at a distance and making some educated guesses.

J2020F: Tell me how you do that, and what you look for.

Explorer: If the organization is expanding, then they need more of what they already have; or more of what they already have, but with different style, added skills.

Eagle: Or other pluses that are needed; or something they don't presently have -- a new kind of person, with new skills doing a new function or service.

J2020F: That makes sense. What about the second?

Explorer: The second, if the organization is continuing as is, then they need to replace people who were fired -- find out why and what was lacking.

Eagle: Or to replace people who quit -- find out what was prized about them.

Explorer: Or to create a new position -- yes, this happens even in organizations that are not expanding due to old needs which weren't provided for, earlier, but now must be.

J2020F: Even if they have to cut out some other function or position or revamping present assignments?

Explorer: Stranger things have happened before.

J2020F: What about the third condition?

Explorer: If the organization is reducing its size, staff, or product or service then they have not yet decided which staff to terminate, i.e., which functions to give low priority to -- in which case that is their problem, and you may be able to help them identify which functions are "core functions".

J2020F: Really?

Explorer: Yes. Or have decided which functions or staff to terminate (in which case they may need multi-talented people or generalists able to do several jobs, i.e., functions, instead of just one.

J2020F: How about analyzing the problems of the decision-makers by talking to them directly?

Eagle: As we said earlier, you may place yourself in their path -- at a religious institution, restaurant, cultural event or recreational venue.

Explorer: You want to listen carefully and take what they say seriously as they discuss their problems.

J2020F: What else? I sense you guys are on a roll.

Eagle: How about analyzing the decision-maker's problems by talking to their counterpart in another organization similar to one that interests you?

J2020F: With your survey.

Explorer: Or, you might find the person who used to work at the organization and for the boss you want to approach.

J2020F: Obviously, nobody knows the problems bugging a boss so much as someone who works or used to work for them.

Eagle: If they still work for them then you need to be discreet.

Explorer: Ex-employees are not necessarily any longer under that sort of pressure.

J2020F: Can’t you use your network contacts to find someone who knows the organization that interests you?

Explorer: You can, or knows someone who knows; knows the decision-maker or know someone who knows; knows who their counterpart in a similar organization or someone who knows…. Linked In turns out to be a great source for this kind of sleuthing.

Eagle: Or who knows your predecessor, or knows someone who knows; knows your "opposite number" in another organization -- a competitor -- or knows someone who knows.

Explorer: Finally broaden your research from your target organization to one similar to it, the decision-maker, and their counterpart in another organization.

J2020F: So that leaves one more rule of thumb, doesn't it?

Got Knowledge?
Copyright ©2002 - 2006 Aarnaes Howard Associates. All rights reserved worldwide.

11:45 AM

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