How senior employees can correct the course of their careers

Every role of a specialist requires a distinct combination of cognitive and emotional orientation

Published: Sep 14, 2016 06:31:58 AM IST
Updated: Sep 14, 2016 10:50:25 AM IST
How senior employees can correct the course of their careers
Just like an artist, individuals wanting to pursue the path to become excellent craftsmen, should be primarily motivated by a sense of achieving perfection in one’s work.

I’m encouraged by the response I received to Part 1 of the blog on this subject . I have been asked by a few mid-level and senior-level employees if it is too late for them to do a course correction as they have digressed somewhere in the journey. My answer is, it’s never too late to go back to what you enjoy. In fact the experience will only make one more sincere and focused in one’s efforts to specialize.

In my earlier blog I had referred to three classes of roles a specialist can pursue in the “lead” stage of one’s career – Consulting, Entrepreneurship and “Craftsmanship”.

It is important to understand that every role requires a distinct combination of cognitive and emotional orientation. Where a wrongful alignment is bound to cause deep stress to the individual, resulting in poor to mediocre performance on the job, a good alignment will result in outstanding performance. In this blog, I have picked the dominant cognitive and emotional characteristics for each role class to help you assess your match.

Consulting

There are many viewpoints on what consulting is, but in my view, consulting is about giving an idea a convincing shape and form. Consultants are usually stereotyped as individuals with experience and suaveness. But I think there is much more to a consultant’s role. A bid manager creating a convincing proposal,  or an HR manager coming up with a convincing employee engagement program make them consultants in their own right.  Based on my own research and experience, I have listed below, the top 3 cognitive and emotional characteristics of the consulting class of roles, along with questions to assess your match to the role.

3 Dominant Cognitive characteristics of the Consulting role category:
 

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3 Dominant Emotional characteristics of the Consulting role category:

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If the answer to all the above questions is in the affirmative, then do try the consulting path.


Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is typically associated with a self-owned business. When I refer to entrepreneurship in the context of role class, I refer to the overall capability of starting and running a unit. This will mean building a business plan for a new service, staffing the unit with competent people, developing a differentiating value proposition, designing a go-to-market plan, winning business to achieve financial targets and then delivering to customer satisfaction. Here are the dominant characteristics of the entrepreneurship class of roles.

3 Dominant Cognitive characteristics of the Entrepreneurship role category:
 
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3 Dominant Emotional characteristics of the Entrepreneurship role category:

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Craftsmanship

The third class of roles that a specialist can grow into, is what I call ‘Craftsmanship’ for want of a better word. This class of roles is about the art of creating any useable thing, otherwise referred to as products in business terminology. This is becoming the most sought after role, both for technology companies and for specialist individuals.  In the technology world they are also called ‘hackers’. To borrow the definition from a hacker in Bangalore, “A hacker is someone who enjoys exploring the details of computers and learning how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users who prefer to learn the minimum, necessary aspects.”

3 Dominant Cognitive characteristics of the Craftsmanship role category:
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3 Dominant Emotional characteristics of the Craftsmanship role category:

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Just like an artist, individuals wanting to pursue this path should be primarily motivated by a sense of achieving perfection in one’s work. In this endeavor, compensation, progression, recognition can be by-products but not the prime drivers. Remember, some of the best technology products we use today are the result of someone’s pursuit for perfection.

Many of us may not be able to rate ourselves 6 out of 6 in any of the role classes and some may have rated ourselves 6 out of 6 in all the role classes. In either case I would suggest choosing the one that comes closest to one’s orientation and working consciously to fill the gaps.

Identifying the right career path is the first big step to stay true to one’s core competency but not the last. One needs tenacity to stay focused, in order to excel.

About the Author:
Subbi Lakshmanan is a Vice President in the ENU (Energy, Natural Resources & Utilities) business unit of Wipro Limited. He has been with Wipro for over 23 years in various specialist and leadership roles. Subbi was instrumental in creating a 1000+ strong specialist unit that drives and delivers innovative solutions to Energy and Utilities customers, worldwide.
    

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