how to manage your career in scary times

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Personal SWOT Analysis Tool


  • Ian Christies Bold DNA Series; Module 1 | www.boldcareer.comCopyright 2008 Talent Dimensions Group Inc. / Bold Career

    Page 1 / 20

    During 2001 and the months following

    9/11, upwardly mobile executives,

    managers and other senior professionals

    found their careers stalling or even going

    backwards. Many people had to change

    their career focus, and settle for less

    senior or exciting jobs and of course,

    work was scarce.

    Where before the resumes of these senior

    professionals had shown strong revenue

    growth, profitable operations and new

    market development, the new reality was

    much grimmer.

    Just like fossil records, the resumes I see

    today bear those scars. While the

    circumstances are different, we are

    experiencing something similar in the fall

    of 2008.

    This first Module of the Bold DNA Series

    is a call to arms for anyone interested in

    developing their career in and out of good

    times and bad. While you can never be

    entirely immune to the impact of difficult

    economic times, there are things you can

    and should do to protect your career.

    In this report, I will show you 4 career

    management traps to avoid in uncertain

    economic times. I will also give you

    strategies to employ that can increase the

    chances your career will survive this

    storm, and perhaps even thrive.

    And by the way, this is not just about this

    storm. There will be other storms, and

    what you have done in the past, what you

    do today, and continue to do in the future

    will impact your ability to weather the big

    waves and winds of economic cycles.

    How to Manage Your Career in Scary TimesModule 1 of the Bold DNA Series

    A Guide for Senior Professionals

  • Ian Christies Bold DNA Series; Module 1 | www.boldcareer.comCopyright 2008 Talent Dimensions Group Inc. / Bold Career

    Page 2 / 20

    How to Manage Your Career in Scary Times (cont.)

    This report also includes a way to size up the state of your career.

    We will take a page from the business-school playbook and run a

    SWOT analysis. SWOT, which stands for strengths, weaknesses,

    opportunities and threats, is a simple yet powerful model MBA

    students and managers use to analyze the strategic positions of

    companies, products or business situations. But you don't need

    to be an MBA to apply the SWOT technique to your own career


    Here is what we will cover in this report:Get clear on the idea of career management

    Understand 4 common career traps during scary timesLearn strategies to minimize risk during times of economic uncertaintyExplore how to expand your pool of opportunitiesAnd 8 ways to respond effectively if a layoff does occur

    Understand how to conduct a deep, personal analysis of your position using an MBA-type strategy modelAND get access to special offer on Page 20, only available to readers of this report.

    What is Career Management?First, a brief stop to make sure we are on the same page.

    What does it mean to be proactive in managing your career?

    The first and most important rule (everything else is a sub-set

    of this), is to actually MANAGE your career. Be proactive. Do

    something about it. It is not just what you know, but actually

    taking action.

    That means making actual decisions about your career and

    actually applying what you know. And that is the tough part, isnt


    The chances are that you dont pay enough attention to the care

    and feeding and growth of your network. You know this. However,

    knowing doesnt get it done. It is the application of the knowledge

    that is the hard part.

    There is a time when panic is the appropriate response.

    - Eugene Kleiner

    That is why I decided to show you this quote for the famous

    venture capitalist. There is only so much you can do the night

    before the big test if you havent done the readings, attended the

    lectures or submitted the assignments. It would be your fault,

    right? Yes it would. If you have done nothing to manage your

    career over these last months and years, then yes, I think a bit of

    panic is in order. Not the kind of panic that paralyzes you. But a

    little bit of healthy panic.

    This is why I, and any other person who works in this field, keep

    preaching the same gospel. When times are good and work a

    plenty, managing your career in a bold, proactive sense can seem

    like one of those Quadrant 2 activities that we can live without.

    But you cant. Not really. Not if you want to confidently plan for

    your future. Not if you want to avoid the worst of the storms. Not if

    you want to sleep really well at night and actually even enjoy your

    days of work.

    It isnt optional. Not at all.

    Into Quadrant 1Am I laying it on a bit thick? Maybe just a little. But mostly not. If

    Quadrant 2 is Important, but Not Urgent, I think we have moved

    into the zone of Important and Urgent given the state of the

    economy right now. It might not have been urgent last year or the

    year before that, but it certainly is urgent now.

    So, lets keep going.

    Your GoalsLets start with goals. What is the point of proactively managing

    your career? What should your goals be through this period of

    instability, or in fact, any period of difficulty?

    Difficult times bring new imperatives and maybe new definitions of

    success. I recommend that the following 3 goals should be front

    and centre.

    1. Minimize Risk

    2. Enhance Options

    3. Keep moving forward

    1. The first goal is to minimize your risk. That might mean

    decreasing the likelihood that you will be involuntarily dismissed or

    put out of work. It means protecting your income. It might mean

    dismissal, but on your own terms (i.e. with a healthy severance


    The point is that while you have very little impact if any on the

    overall macro-economic picture, you can do something to

    manage and mitigate your personal risk.

  • Ian Christies Bold DNA Series; Module 1 | www.boldcareer.comCopyright 2008 Talent Dimensions Group Inc. / Bold Career

    Page 3 / 20

    How to Manage Your Career in Scary Times (cont.)

    2. The second goal is one that should apply at any time in your

    career. And yet, so many ignore it. Proactive career management

    generates choice and options. You want those. You may choose

    to stay where you are, but having options makes it a stronger

    decision. And when things arent working well for you, then the

    ability to explore your options is vital to a sense of well being,

    career performance and development.

    In scary economic times, generating options and choice is even

    more important, but in my experience tends to be dismissed as

    irrelevant. It sounds frivolous, or too ambitious when everything is

    going down the tube.

    Sorry, but that is wrong.

    3. The third goal is to keep moving forward. We only have so

    many productive years to play with. And it is a shame when a few

    of them get wasted. Agreed, you might have to re-frame how you

    define what moving forward means for the next year. But you

    can move forward, right?

    You can still develop and enhance your brand in your marketplace

    You can continue to build a vibrant and strong and powerful network, one that will serve you for decades to comeYou can still find a way to chalk up wins, of some formYou can enhance skill sets. Get trained. Build your portfolio. And you can still land an amazing role or client

    Things havent stopped. It is just how you respond that is the key.

    Core ThemesHidden in those three goals are some core themes or values that

    might resonate with you and give this work some motivation for


    Control: Personally, I need a sense of control. Over my destiny.

    Over how I invest my time and energy. I think we all sleep better

    when we have some sense of control over how our life and career


    Choice: I know it sounds obvious, but why is it that so few

    people manage their careers in ways that provide them with a

    steady pipeline of choices. And yet being trapped and stuck are

    common complaints. Choice is freedom. Choice is protection

    from making decisions. Operating from scarcity simply isnt fun.

    Or empowering. In fact, it is risky. Lets help you generate choice.

    Individuality: I am assuming and hoping that thousands, if not

    tens of thousands of people will read this report. But I am

    speaking to you dear reader. Who are you? What do you do really

    well and enjoy doing? What environments do you work best in?

    This is not a report on herd mentality. In fact, because you are

    reading this, I am making the big assumption that you arent

    content to be part of the herd. Good.

    The 4 TrapsIn my years working as first an executive search consultant and

    since 2002, as the founder and head career strategist of Bold

    Career, I have witnessed the career trajectories of thousands of

    executives, senior professionals, managers and business owners.

    There is of course, infinite diversity. But also amazing similarities.

    And in fact natural laws in how the market works.

    What follows are the four key traps I have observed specific to

    difficult economic times.

    1. Turtling, like jealousy, has the opposite effect than desired