Jim Camp e-book “Press On” Chapter 5 pt 2 “Strategy and effective decision making when trying to build a career”
Every serious professional, regardless of his specific discipline of field of endeavor, must think like a strategist, if he is to stand apart from the crowd.
Every effort you make is preceded, accompanied, and followed by decisions. Your valid M&P gives your decisions (and consequently your efforts) guidance and a solid foundation. What gives them bite is the plan that focuses, channels, and coordinates them into an overall effort that is coherent and congruent. You may have heard the saying ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. Like other sayings, this contains much truth, but is not entirely accurate. I believe it should actually state ‘If you fail to plan appropriately, you plan to fail’. If your efforts are not coherent and congruent, and if they are not channeled, and coordinated with each other, you will often run around in circles. Without a strategy, every effort to build a new career runs the danger of becoming a gamble or a reaction to the moment. The realism of a strategist enables you understand the challenges associated with building a new career, and building a plan that solves them.
Building a valid M&P gives you a perfect start.
The process and discipline of building a valid, unique, personal, and non-transferable M&P provides the realism and the simplification of reality needed to build a strategy to utilize specific career opportunities. The effort, discipline, and realism involved in building a valid M&P gives insight into the nature and characteristics of the opportunity. It helps you discover what’s going on in your world and in the world of those whose needs you must attend to, in order to build a career. In my work, I have to deal with the worlds of small and large businesses, of labor and management, of crisis situations, and of family disputes among many others. In all these environments, people are trying to reach agreement. I must therefore be familiar with the challenges they face, and provide a solution to these challenges. I must therefore be very familiar with their world, and must set my M&P in it.
This simplification of reality – in order to gain insight into the nature and scope of the challenge – is the first responsibility of every strategist. Without this insight into the essential aspects and elements of each situation and circumstance, it is impossible to re-react to it, appropriately. When building an M&P that will guide and orient your professional efforts, you start simplifying those aspects of reality that influence your efforts and on which your efforts will be focused. You must seek increasing clarity regarding your long term aim and your continuing tasks and responsibilities, and you must see these through the eyes of those you will be dealing with, in your new career. In this way, the opportunities, obstacles, and constraints become clearer. You also gain insight into what you ought to do in order to utilize the opportunities, surmount the obstacles and eliminate (or at least cope with) the constraints.
Your valid M&P for your career must be aligned to your valid M&P for life
Building a valid and personal M&P provides you the perfect start to take a hard look at your life and personal circumstances – what you do well, the benefits you provide, the needs of people around you, your continuing tasks and responsibilities that together enable you become what you wish to become – and make a fit between all these. You make that fit by specifying your long term aim and continuing tasks and responsibilities, and doing so from the perspective of the others. You know as much, from chapter 3.
One of the biggest tragedies we observe all around us is the breaking up of families, or the dysfunctionality that seems to rule in many families. I believe that this is in large measure due to the fact that few families bother to build an M&P that guides the decisions of the family and each of its members. If the decisions and choices of each family member are to be aligned to the valid M&P that guides the family, it means there must already be a valid M&P in place.
It is important to clearly see that your professional life cannot be an occasion to neglect the needs of your family and your loved ones, nor your responsibilities towards them. In the short and long term, t is much more demanding (and satisfying) to build a family than it is to build a company or serve a larger-than-life cause. Shouldering the day to day responsibilities that flow from the roles we play in life is not for wimps. That is why your M&P for your career must be aligned to our M&P for life. Otherwise, a conflict between the two will necessarily arise.
Building a family and a career are neither opposed nor do they have equal priority at all times and in every situation. A career is always at the service of your responsibilities to your loved ones. If your family has a valid M&P, they will gladly make the sacrifices needed to help you do your work with professional excellence. But professional excellence or advancement cannot be an excuse to neglect them, or to make them bear the cost of your advancement. Whenever a conflict arises, look to the M&P guiding your life.
Becoming M&P driven and evaluating each decision in the light of your valid M&P helps you gain the clarity you seek, and make an effective decision when these kinds of conflicts arise. I make this distinction because destroying the shared existence that you and your loved ones are a part of is an avoidable man-made tragedy – with inter-generational consequences – that is born of ineffective decision making. It’s often due to the fact that the person either does not have a valid M&P or because he has an M&P for his professional life that is not aligned to his M&P for life and for his family. Then, your family and your work seem to tug at you from opposing directions. It need not be that way.
Now that I have explained that this opposition is apparent rather than real, and how it can be resolved, I can proceed onto showing you how to build a strategy that helps you build a career.