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Why did they ascend to the top and prosper -- why did they have extraordinary careers -- while others equally talented never reached their potential or aspirations?
Jim Citrin and Rick Smith of Spencer Stuart, the world's...
Why did they ascend to the top and prosper -- why did they have extraordinary careers -- while others equally talented never reached their potential or aspirations?
Jim Citrin and Rick Smith of Spencer Stuart, the world's most influential executive search firm, set out to explore this question. The result -- based on in-depth, original research -- is sure to be the most important and useful book for anyone seeking to crack the code of how to build a rewarding, personally satisfying career.
Like weather systems and financial markets, careers contain patterns. What Citrin and Smith found from their research and extensive experience is that people with extraordinary careers are guided by ?ve straightforward patterns that can be harnessed and used by everyone. These individuals:
--Understand the value of you by translating their knowledge and experience into action, building their personal value over each phase of their career. --Practice benevolent leadership by not clawing their way to the top but by being carried there. --Solve the permission paradox, the dilemma of not being able to get a job without experience and not getting the experience without the job. --Differentiate using the 20/80 principle of performance by storming past their defined jobs to create breakthrough ideas and deliver unexpected impact. --Do not micromanage their careers, but macromanage them by gravitating toward the things they are best at and havea passion for, and working with people they like and respect.
No one manages your career for you. But with Citrin and Smith as your guide, you'll be able to understand -- and act on -- the root causes of success. And what better source for strategic career advice than Spencer Stuart, the firm that over the past ten years has conducted more than 60 percent of the searches for Fortune 1000 CEOs?
Understand the Value of You
I conceive that the great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by false estimates they have made of the value of things. --Benjamin Franklin
Value is not intrinsic; it is not in things. It is within us; it is the way in which man reacts to the conditions of his environment. --Ludwig von Mises
The Power of Career Knowledge
Before he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, Lance Armstrong thought he had all that he needed to be a champion cyclist. He had oversized lung capacity, explosive power in his legs, and fiery ambition stoked by a tormented youth. So when he began racing as a professional on the European circuit, he expected to win and quickly emerge as the best rider in the world.
But he soon learned about the peleton, a swarm of cyclists that makes up the mass of road racers. To the spectator, it seems like a colorful blur of riders storming by. But inside the pack, there are subtle forces at play and a culture that governs how things really work. One rider helps another one day and gets the favor returned the next. The deans of the sport, who have worked their way up the hierarchy by paying their dues, demand--and are accorded--respect and recognition. For one without anunderstanding of how the game is really played, the peleton could prevent you from winning by blocking you out, slowing you down, even running you off the road. Why? Because in racing, the peleton is often more powerful than the individual.
In his book It's Not About the Bike, Armstrong said, "As an American, I was a gate-crasher in a revered and time-honored sport, and I had little concept of its rules, written and unwritten, or its etiquette." Since he raced with no deference to the elders and never backed down, he was making enemies. It wasn't until after his miraculous recovery and the maturation and self-awareness that went along with it that Armstrong truly understood all the elements required to win in cycling. It was not all about bulldozing straight ahead, pushing aside everyone else. It was not about parading, mouthing off, and shoving his fists in the air after winning a stage. It was about respect, a continuous give-and-take between competing riders, an appreciation of the proud history and traditions of the sport. And, of course, it was also about ferocious competition, explosive speed, and lung-bursting endurance. When he coupled his talents and his drive with knowledge and experience, Armstrong went on to win four consecutive Tours de France and become the unassailable best rider in the world.
What's the moral of the Armstrong story for you? Careers, like other important activities in life, are governed by subtle yet pervasive dynamics that significantly influence your value in the marketplace for professional talent. Once you truly understand them, you are bound for glory. Remain ignorant of them at your own peril. Many talented professionals come unmoored from the path they set by failing to appreciate what really determines their professional value, never achieving the level of success and fulfillment attainable to them. The most successful professionals have come to understand the underlying factors that determine value in the job market, how to maximize their market value at different stages of professional life, and why some careers prosper while others peak and decline.
Does the fact that some professionals have a much better understanding of how value is created in the workforce really make a difference? You bet it does. Our survey asked this question: "Do you have a strong understanding of what drives value in the marketplace for professional talent?" When we analyzed the responses, we were stunned by the results. When professionals answered "strongly agree" to this question, they were more likely--by a factor of two to one--to have the degree of success to which the vast majority of people aspire. They are extremely satisfied with their career and compensation, passionate about their job, and optimistic about their future. In addition, those with the greatest self-reported knowledge about the dynamics of careers were 35 percent more likely to be performing at or near peak productivity levels, believe their value within the organization is growing at above average rates, and are much less likely to consider external job opportunities. For both the aspiring professional and the organizations they work for, an understanding of the drivers of professional value turns out to be a most critical asset.
What are the underlying factors that determine value in the job market? How do you maximize your market value at the different stages of your professional life? Why do some careers prosper, while others peak and then decline?
The Value of You
What are you worth? For many, the answer to this question may seem a matter of simple math. Just take your total annual compensation, add benefits, and voilà--you've got your answer. Not so fast. Placing a monetary figure on your talents may be correct for a static moment in time. However, the equation for determining your true worth over time is more nuanced than you might first imagine. In addition to the critically important characteristics about you as an individual--intelligence, interpersonal skills, leadership, and ambition--there are key macro factors at play as well. Age matters, influencing where you fit into the demographic trends of the population at large. So too does the demand for professional positions similar to yours at any given point in time. And all that volatility among companies is not necessarily a bad thing--increasing fluctuations in corporate valuations turns out to actually enhance your value in the marketplace as well. Finally, recognize that this is the age of intellectual capital. With technology-enhanced productivity improvements working their way across the economy, the value of specialized knowledge is at a premium.
These factors together constitute the foundation of the job market--or more accurately stated, the human capital market. While most workers don't understand their worth in the broader job market, our research suggests the extraordinary executive is instinctively aware of the forces that drive her value at each and every stage of her career, and single-mindedly focuses her energies and actions on maximizing that value over time. But most have gained their knowledge through trial and error, often over many years.
What we will do in the remainder of this chapter is help you understand what determines value in the marketplace and how you can influence it, thereby avoiding the difficult process of the hit-or-miss approach.
Solving the talent-worth equation is partly a matter of testing the job market waters, in much the same way that you might market-test a product to gauge consumer acceptance. But while this will give you some information, it is not the most complete measure of your true value. To do this, you will need to get beyond short-term compensation data and look at the underlying factors that determine real value in the employment market.
Specifically, you must first understand four key macro factors:
*Demographics. You need to assess where you fit in the aggregate supply and demand of professional talent.
*Market liquidity. Is your supply in demand? You need to gauge the number of professionals seeking positions versus the number of open positions seeking professionals.
*Company volatility. You need to evaluate how fluctuations in corporate valuations enhance or diminish your value in the marketplace.
*Intellectual capital. You need to consider how the financial markets value intangible assets, notably intellectual capital, relative to hard assets, or book value.
To help professionals and their companies understand where they stand in the evolving market for talent, we have developed an analytical tool that measures these four factors over time, which we call the Human Capital Market Index (HCMI). Details about the methodology and research behind the HCMI can be found at spencer stuart.com. But the bottom line of our research is this: Given the massive structural changes in the economy over the past thirty years, professionals as a collective whole are worth far greater today than in all but a couple of the years of the past three decades. Your individual characteristics are still essential, of course, but at a macro level, your value should be enhanced by the rise of an economy dependent on the service sector, which means that there is a much greater demand for talent and intellectual capital. (Note that the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector has fallen from 40 percent of total employment in 1950 to less than 18 percent today, while service sector employment has grown from less than 14 percent to more than 35 percent over the same time period.) Despite increased economic turmoil, the upward trend in the value of you should continue in the years to come, based on demographics, continued technology-based productivity improvements, and the ever more valuable role of knowledge in the workplace. In short, talented individuals will continue to be able to create more economic value in the years ahead, and this will in turn pull up their own value.
How is this possible at a time when many people feel less valuable than ever before? We cannot ignore that only a few years ago, with the technology bubble swelling to a bursting point, the behavior of both supply and demand became almost irrational--employers going to outrageous lengths to lure talented people, and employees abandoning loyalty and security for potential riches and fame. The most talented professionals became "rock stars," and the employers regressed to screaming teenage fans. But the stark reality of the postbubble employment market is indeed rather different. During the last few years, compensation dropped, layoffs flourished, and the pervasive calls from corporate recruiters disappeared. You weren't dreaming if you felt less valuable during the last recession: You actually were less valuable. But as the saying goes, everything is relative.
Now for some good news: Despite the recent sharp downturn, you're likely to be more valuable than you might think in the future. Looking out to the year 2020, we expect the value of executive talent to grow appreciably, even if substantial volatility continues. Many forces have led to a recent downturn in the economy, but the key components of the human capital market remain strong. Today's marketplace for extraordinary talent is as competitive as it's ever been. And the competition for top executives is expected to accelerate well into the twenty-first century.
The Nature of Professional Value
When managing your portfolio, tracking the movement of the various financial indices is important, but what really matters most is what is happening to the value of your stocks and bonds. The same is true in the talent marketplace. Similar to an individual stock, your value in the marketplace is far from static. In fact, it changes at every stage of your career and in every different position you are in. So there's no single answer to the question "What am I worth?" However, once you understand what affects your value, you will have the insight to increase that value. To find out how, let's now examine the marketplace for professional talent at its most basic level, the individual.
Consider the early career of Allen Chan, who graduated with a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M, and soon after earned an MBA from Stanford University. Although he had a few years of work experience, Allen knew little of practical value in the market, yet several companies offered him excellent employment opportunities with lucrative compensation. Later in his career, after several successful work experiences, recruiters would call Allen constantly, offering him increases in pay and prestige if only he would switch employers to perform the same role. Clearly, Allen knew he was in demand during both of these stages in his career, but for different reasons. When Allen was coming out of business school, he was valued for his potential, the value that he would be able to bring to employers in the years ahead. Later, when he was fielding calls from corporate recruiters, he was being valued for the experience that he had already gained. That in its most simple form explains it. Your value in the talent marketplace is derived from two distinctly separate elements--the value of your potential and the value of your experience.
Over the course of your career, value changes and actually follows a pattern strikingly similar to the properties of energy: potential (energy at rest) and kinetic (energy in motion). A child swaying to and fro on a swing has both forms of energy in action. Careers follow a similar pattern. When you enter the workforce you have a store of potential value--the value you will be able to add over time as you exercise your intellectual and interpersonal energies. Then, as this potential is translated into experience, you gain momentum and become more valuable, just as the child swinging his legs takes him higher and higher. In essence, we begin our careers with a bag full of potential and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of potential.
Experiential value--not unlike kinetic energy--is the value of your career momentum. It is the perceived value of what you have done. As your career progresses, other departments in your company or other employers may notice your achievements and attempt to bring you into their fold. If you are in marketing, they might be impressed with your successful product launches and want you to do the same for theirs. If you are a CFO, they may want you to take them public given your prior experience leading an IPO. They may want you to apply your brand marketing know-how, sales force management experience, Six Sigma quality control expertise, or turnaround track record to their situation. This was the thinking of General Motors CEO Richard Wagoner, who recruited one of the most successful and experienced auto executives in the world, Robert Lutz, into the company in August 2001 to overhaul all of GM's auto design and product line. With twenty-five years of experience at Ford and Chrysler, and hit designs such as the PT Cruiser and Dodge Viper to his credit, the newly restyled Cadillac line and other hot products have been a direct result of this manifestation of Lutz's experiential value brought to bear for GM.
Experiential value is usually more highly compensated than potential value for the simple reason that it is much easier to measure what you have done than what you can do. This is also true given that specialized expertise can be measured against the specific demand that a company has at a point in time. But this does not mean it's more important.
Excerpted from The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers by James M. Citrin & Richard A. Smith Excerpted by permission.
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Posted October 15, 2003
When I ordered this book, I was a technology business executive. The book is clear and concise in the presentation of the results of the statistical study by the authors. I then changed careers to become a teacher, and find that the 5 Patterns also pertain to the public sector. While career progression is now different for me(as a teacher), the management and personality profiles for being successful are the same. Reading 5 Patterns is time well spent.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 23, 2003
I am at the beginning of my professional carrer, and this book has shown me what it takes to have an extrodinary carrer. The list of top level executives that were interviewed for this book is absolutely astounding. It is quite apparent that this is not just one person's opinion of how to futher your carrer. There was extensive research of some of the world's most successful people on what they have done to get a head of the rest of the pack. This book has absolutely fired me up to enhance my own carrer. I would encourage everyone to read this book no matter where they may be in their carrer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 26, 2003
I devoured this book, and have since either recommended or bought a copy for several co-workers, family members, and friends. It's rare to find a book that can not just give pointers or tips, but fundamentally changes the way I look at the current state--and the future--of my career. This book helped to pinpoint specific actions I can take in the next year to significantly improve my options for further advancement. And more importantly, it's helped me better define what I'm currently working on, forcing me to focus more on gaining experience that will be relevant to my leadership team. If I had read this book when I first started my career, I think I'd be much further along at this point in my life. Good news is, there are ways to significantly improve my chances of advancement that are highlighted in the book. After doing a lot of research (2,000 executives interviewed), the authors found a handful of patterns. One thing they found was that executives 'never took their job descriptions too literally and had always found ways to expand their responsibilities within their organizations. Extraordinary executives, in a process similar to compound interest, achieved success slowly and consistently, with each phases building on the prior one. THE FIVE PATTERNS OF EXTRAORDINARY CAREERS So what are the five patterns of extraordinary careers? 1. Understand the value of you. People with extraordinary careers understand how value is created in the workplace, and they translate that knowledge into action, building their personal value over each phase of their careers. 2. Practice benevolent leadership. People with extraordinary careers do not claw their way to the top; they are carried there. 3. Overcome the permission paradox. People with extraordinary careers overcome one of the great Catch-22s of business: You can?t get the job without experience, and you can?t get the experience without the job. 4. Differentiate using the 20/80 principle of performance. People with extraordinary careers do their defined jobs exceptionally well but don't stop there. They storm past predetermined objectives to create breakthrough ideas and deliver unexpected impact. 5 . Find the right fit (strengths, passions, and people). People with extraordinary careers make decisions with the long term in mind. They willfully migrate toward positions that fit their natural strengths and passions and where they can work with people they like and respect. I write about my thoughts in my weblog, johnporcaro.com.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 4, 2003
For the first time, I read a business book that describes the things I should be doing to accelerate my career. It really does describe those people I've worked for that have alway been on the top run of the fast track. I wish I'd read it 20 years ago. Extremely thought provoking book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 18, 2003
So many people are living their careers as several 5 day sets...Thank God It's Friday, Oh God, It's Monday, Thank God It's Friday, Oh God, It's Monday, etc. 5 Patterns makes you look at your career from the 'big picture'. The book convinces that you are in control of your career fate. 5 Patterns uses real sucess stories and shows how you can adapt them to your life/career. So much better than most 'career-help' books that just tell you how to score the average job by producing an average resume and coverl letter. This book will take you to the next level of your career.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 18, 2003
THE BEST FIRST: This book did cover some core principles that I believe equate to success in multiple arenas of business, including non-profit or small business, that are well worth the time invested in reading it. Even though most of the 5 Patterns espoused have been discussed to death, the particular description of the 20/80 Principle of Performance was illuminating. That one gem, taken together with an overview perspective of equating your ¿value¿ to the organization (again ¿ any organization) in real, bottom-line business terms (and numbers) I believe poses some tremendous insight for ANYONE, whether or not they aspire to the top rungs of standard Fortune 1000 business success. It was also of value to have seen these 5 core patterns connected together as an indicator of success ¿ thus reiterating the credibility to each of them as something beyond ¿touchy-feely self-improvement.¿ NOW THE NOT-SO-GOOD: That having been said, I would have to say that for the most part, the whole direction of ¿5 Patterns¿ is very tilted toward a small percentage of the American workforce: those aspiring to the top executive levels in major corporations. Having been involved in a rather small (under 2 million per year in revenue), non-profit company for almost 20 years, I did not find much in common with the perceived aspirations of the intended reading audience. It did not really inspire me to focus upon the implementation of the 5 patterns, at least not from this particular angle. The various stories used as examples only magnified the differences in my path (or even my aspirations) and this elite echelon of executives. This seems to stem from the authors¿ perspectives of life. If you will take that with a grain of salt, or if you indeed fall into the intended audience parameters, there is meat in here for you!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 15, 2003
As a college student, I very much appreciated and enjoyed this book. It is easy to be overwhelmed by career opportunities while you are still working on your education. The five patterns helped me to focus more on myself as an employee and my strengths, rather than the competition. It is a very positive and constructive book that is easy and enjoyable to read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 20, 2003
This book gave me a brand new perspective on how successful careers are made. It's not the typical 'you can do it if only you believe' self-help book. It actually provides specific, actionable, and most importantly realistic, ways in which one can develop his own path to success and satisfaction. A must read for anyone who values career success, from new college grads to seasoned executives looking for their next challenge. It's like sitting in a room with Lou Gerstner, Meg Whitman, and Jack Welch and having them divulge the real secrets of their success outside of the obvious. The authors are geniuses!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 28, 2003
Pros The book is very well researched and has a lot of examples Cons Lacking in the 'how to' stuff The Bottom Line For those that are really on the verge of reaching their potential, it could boost you over the top. For the rest, go to the website at www.fivepatterns.com. Full Review James Citrin and Richard Smith have put together a 'guide for achieving success and satisfaction'. The book is 230 pages and each chapter provides one of the five 'patterns' recognized in the exhaustive research done for the book. Within each chapter, there are examples from successful executives, and some sub-points to further explain the pattern. However, there is little explaining how to make yourself follow the pattern. For instance, the first pattern 'Understand the Value of You' sounds simplistic enough, and is supported by stories of executives that discovered their worth after having overlooked it before, but what if you think that you know the value of you, but really don't? That is, how is it that you are to know how valuable you really are in comparison to how valuable you think you are? Obviously, the book must generalize to fit all the successful people into the model that successful careers follow five patterns, and not 156 patterns -- and the patterns are pretty general, such as 'Find the Right Fit'. The one useful pattern (and description is 'Overcoming the Permission Paradox', where the author does a good job of showing how we can limit ourselves by waiting for someone to say it's okay to do our jobs or something outside of our jobs.) Mostly, though, the level of detail in the examples are distracting and I lost interest. With all that said, the most valuable part of the book is actually the appendices called the 'Stuart Spencer Job Survival Guide' and the 'Understanding Executive Searches...', which give insightful information on how to be successful in job interviews or moving forward in your current position. These actually provide the tools on getting ahead (or your foot in the door), and are probably worth the price of the book to keep around. Overall, I found the book to have a few nuggets of wisdom, but you had to mine for them. Recommended YesWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 3, 2003
This could quite possibly be the book that will change your life forever. If you feel like you are stuck in a dead end job, or just need a change in career, you NEED to read this book first. Find out what makes a sucessful career, how to jumpstart your mind to make yourself the sucessful person you choose, and learn what employers look for in choosing who becomes a sucess. A must read for the sincere career oriented person!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 5, 2003
As someone just out of college, I strongly feel this book gives you direction in today's version of corporate america. The 5 Patterns takes a fresh, no-nonsense look at why some ascend to the top of the career ladder and prosper, while others equally talented never reach their expectations. The book contains case studies which provide examples of the fundamental principles in the book. There is also an amazing job guide that would definetly beat monster.com anyday. This book will let you learn all the secrets without having to work 15 years to learn them. If you want to stay in the corporate world, use this book as your survival guide.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 18, 2003
Who is accountable for their success? None other than yourself! This book provides success stories of average people taking control of their careers, they are truly success stories. No matter what you job, you can succeed in it. And, if you are succeeding in your job, you will be sure to be happy. I recommend anyone driven to be successful to pick up a copy of this book today.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 3, 2003
As a former CEO of two companies, I am searching and seeking information toward my next career move. 'The 5 Patterns' gave me a fresh look at my past and how to move forward. But, this book is not just another business book. As one example, it speaks about relationships and mentors which are important areas you can take for granted or never even think about. It reads like a novel and moves very quickly with lots of new, great information and advice. I recommend it to all, employed or not, and to all parents who have adult children in the workplace. It has invaluable advice and great insight.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 7, 2003
Several of us have reviewed an advance copy of the forthcoming book, and without exageration, this could be the most important book of the year. Certainly the most important business book. It's what just about everyone in the working world, from new college graduates to CEOs, need to know to achieve what they so desperately want: professional success and personal fulfillment. It reminds us of Jim Collins' Good to Great, in that it has a huge research foundation. The authors distill the lessons from three years of work into highly readable, even entertaining, success patterns. And the patterns are brought to life with about 50 case studies, from people we've never heard of to some of the most recognizable names in business. We think that three hours with this book will be the best investment you can make in your career and your life!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 25, 2010
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Posted February 19, 2009
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