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12/17/07
What\’s Driving You?
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 10:04 am


The following "food-for-thought" derives originally from an article by Susan Whitcomb (Career Masters Alliance) … enjoy, as you ponder the possibilities for 2008:

What’s next on the horizon for your career? Are you looking for greener pastures? It often pays to start by looking in your own back yard! A full-scale job search is a serious undertaking that, when done right, requires a great deal of work and a certain amount of risk. What many fail to recognize is that those greener pastures are often located in their own back yard … with their current employer. In other words, you have the power to create greener pastures by watering your own back yard!

As a career-minded professional, you know how to set goals. You know the "why" behind the goal, and the "how to’s" of execution. Have you considered the "why’s" and "how to’s" of winning an internal promotion? When it comes to getting promoted, there’s a tendency to focus on the how to’s. Some of those how to’s include deepening trust with key players in the organization, managing internal politics, proposing ideas and strategies that will boost net profit, and living out a clear value proposition 24/7.

It’s also important to understand the "why" behind your drive to be promoted. When you’re clear on why you want something and what it will mean to your life, you’ll have more focus and energy to go after it. It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of business and forget why you’re working. In general, the why’s for wanting a promotion typically point to three primal motivations:

1. Money: The desire for financial reward is a serious motivator for many, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A healthy desire for personal financial reward often goes hand-in-hand with an ability to make money for your company, and that’s a good thing. Profit keeps the company in business and you paid well. When it comes to your salary, however, just be sure to have answers to questions such as, "how much is enough" and "what do I expect my dream salary to do for me." A handsome salary will afford you the luxury of the latest toys and a lifestyle of ease, but it won’t reduce stress or improve your relationships with friends or family members.

Tip: When discussing a raise, leave any personal financial woes out of the picture. Your boss doesn’t care that you’ve got to pay off student loans for that new Executive MBA you just finished, or that your kid has chosen to go to an expensive college, or that you have alimony payments to make, or that you need to help pay for an aging parent’s move into assisted living! Salary negotiations must always be based on the value you provide to the company, not your financial needs.

2. Ego: Many people have a healthy, well-balanced sense of confidence and self-esteem, including a desire to be recognized for their contributions. At the far end of the spectrum, however, are those who lean toward egoism, with an excessive concern about themselves and an overzealous desire to impress others—their primary motivation for making decisions is whether other people will think favorably about them.

Chris, a senior executive for a major pharmaceutical company, has made hundreds of hiring and promotion decisions over the years. He offered an interesting insight on this topic: "When it comes to wanting a promotion, I see ego, and not money, as the primary push for most people. Salary increases are often minimal with internal promotions. The prestige of the title means more to them than the paycheck." A survey by JobFox, reported in a recent SHRM newsletter, reveals that advancement opportunities top the list of what candidates most often seek. The complete results are listed here:

  • An opportunity to advance, cited by 55 percent.
  • More leadership responsibility, 41 percent.
  • Work/life balance, 38 percent.
  • Leadership that is respected and admired, 36 percent.
  • A sense of accomplishment, 36 percent.
  • A higher salary, 28 percent.
  • 401(k) matching, 28 percent.
  • A flexible schedule, 27 percent.
  • A collaborative environment, 22 percent.
  • Performance bonuses, 20 percent.

As with the first motivator listed earlier (money), a healthy sense of ego isn’t a bad thing. It will serve you best when balanced with a commitment to growing your career and contributing value, which brings us to motivator number three.

3. Itch: Itch is the desire to be more, learn more, and do more. It’s the urge to stretch and grow … the hunger to create something new … the drive to contribute more significantly or leave a bigger mark on your corner of the world. Motivator #3, the itch, is the motivator that the "powers that be" will be most impressed with. Why? Because it answers your CEO’s or manager’s critical question of "what’s in it for me." The "itch" shows that you’re interested in the company’s overall success and not just your own. This builds trust and will go far with your team. It tells them that you’re going to make decisions and act in a manner that will be best for the company.

There will be plenty of obstacles on the road to promotion—politics to navigate, misperceptions of you that will need to turned around, pundits to be persuaded. The higher your drive for itch, the more momentum you will have to overcome any roadblocks to promotion.

Tip: Employers have good reason to put people into roles that satisfy their itch! The Gallup organization, in a survey on the impact of employee attitudes on business outcomes, noted that organizations where employees have above-average attitudes toward their work had 38% higher customer satisfaction scores, 22% higher productivity, and 27% higher profits.

So what’s driving you? Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not at all true for me and 10 being very true for me) for each item—money, ego, itch. Did you score higher in money and/or ego than you did in the itch category? If so, what would it take for you to make a shift, where the focus is less on you and more on the company? Your boss is far more likely to grant you greater power when you’re itching to make a contribution!

– Jan Melnik, MRW, CCM, CPRW, President, Absolute Advantage

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