Monday, 11 May 2009

Alvin's Story - Career Perspective

Is Alvin alone facing this challenge?

Recently, Alvin became frustrated with his career because it felt to him like a series of false starts. To see if he could break out of this pattern, Alvin took the opportunity to look at his career as a whole.

So what did he find out?

Across all of his different work and jobs [and changes that ranged from the uniform he wore to the industry sectors he worked in] Alvin could find out what his experiences had in common. Studying his career as a whole, he could see what joined his experiences together and explore what was important to him, what his strengths were and what he found motivational.

[Hadleigh Castle in Essex. A wonderful example of open plan design]

In Alvin’s case, his work with people proved to be the biggest unifying factor. Usually when we say someone is a ‘people person’ we mean they are good with relationships. Good at solving problems or helping people out with issues or tricky situations. We might also mean they help other people to see the value in things they would otherwise overlook. In Alvin’s case this is all true but it’s only half of the story because he is also a gifted leader. People respect Alvin [They just can’t help it!]. They respect his experience and his opinion. They respect the care he takes answering questions and resolving their issues so patiently and positively.

From the traditional viewpoint Alvin always had of his career nothing of this leadership potential was visible to him. This was compounded by regular moves and changes which didn’t allow Alvin to understand the impact he had on people or see the improvements he left behind. Junior job titles and 'nitty-gritty' roles also meant that Alvin’s achievements were too easily swallowed up by a chain of command here or a non-meritocratic management structure there.

Alvin couldn’t see his determination, diligence, perseverance and intellectual rigour or the difference they made to people over time. He didn’t know that his humility and unyielding effort with people - especially those who would otherwise be left behind - was a hallmark of great leadership and of a leader with great future potential.

Before you start thinking this post should also be addressed to the Nobel Peace Prize people, you should also know that Alvin has a long way to go before his strengths and potential can be fully realised. Like most of us, Alvin isn't quite perfect!

Alvin has only just started to gather this insight for himself but for the first time, it gives him the opportunity to look forward and mould himself into the professional and the person he wants to be. For the first time in ages he has the motivation to gain the experiences and acquire the new skills that will broaden his leadership appeal and allow him to create new advantages for more people in the future.

The most important single thing however is this. Alvin’s career no longer needs to be started over or begun again because Alvin now knows his career is well and truly underway.

As for Alvin's future, in this impartial observer’s opinion anyway, it couldn’t be any brighter! :)

So, Do you think Alvin is alone? What might we all have in common with him? It would be great to hear your opinion!

All the best for now,


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