August 18, 2012: Eid al-Fitr is declared for August 19, 2012 in UAE consequently I am enjoying a long weekend from Friday through Monday this week. The first day was spent at home and the next morning I picked up a book from my shelf titled “POSITIONING: The battle for your mind” authored by Al Ries and Jack Trout. It’s a pretty old release but makes an interesting read every time you reach for it.
This morning I glanced through the highlighted areas in the book and stopped on the Chapter # 20 – Positioning Yourself and Your career. The book is about positioning of products but why can’t the same principles replicated for your career? So let’s pick up the hooks and explore how can we use the marketing principals in the book to define our career positioning ?
Define yourself: What are you? Who are you? Define yourself in one single concept. Remove the clutter, find one word that defines you and does not create ambiguity in the people’s mind. Now use that definition to define your profile on social media and introduce yourself to others.
Find a Horse to Ride: Author reiterates that “Success in life is based more on what others do for you than on what you can do for yourself.” Therefore if you want to maximize the career opportunities that your career has to offer, you must keep your eyes and ears open to find yourself a horse to do the job for you. And the first horse to define is your company.
The First horse: Your company: Where is your company going ? Or is it going anywhere ? No matter how brilliant you are, it never pays to cast your vote with a loser. Even the best officer on the Titanic wound up in the same life boat as the worst. Find emerging business domain and don’t let your experience with yesterday products and technology blind you to the opportunities in totally different areas.
You can’t do it yourself. If your company is not going anywhere, find a company that has a goal and moving towards their goal.
The Second Horse; Your Boss: Ask yourself the same questions about your boss as you asked yourself about your company. If he is not going anywhere find who is? Always try to work with brightest, smartest and the most competent person you can find. If your boss is going places, chances are good that you are too. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “ Hitch your wagon to a star.” This advice held good then and it is truer now.
The Third Horse: Your Friend: People have numerous personal friends but very few business friends. While personnel friends are nice to have and they might sometime get you a deal but not so helpful when finding a better job. Most of the big breaks that happens in people’s career is because a business friend recommended that person. The more business friends you make outside of your own organization, the more likely you are to wind up in a big rewarding job.
The way to ride the friendship horse is to keep in touch regularly with all your business friends.
The fourth horse: Your idea: Victor Hugo once wrote “Nothing, not all the armies of the world , can stop an idea whose time has come.” Everyone knows that an idea can take you to the top faster than anything else. But most of us are looking for an idea that is complete or acceptable by all. But don’t fall into the trap and wait for an idea to be accepted by all; go for it and be open to ridicule, controversy and brave to go against the tide. If you believe in your idea, launch it, test it out with a test audience and see the results.
The fifth horse: Faith in others idea: Explore and have faith in others ideas. Take others idea and tweak it, turn it or just launch it. Ray Kroc is a legend example for Faith in others idea.
In conclusion I would reiterate that you are responsible for your success and failure but you alone cannot succeed in business or life. You need the support of your friends, customers and society. Just like the jockey that wins the race is not necessarily the lightest, the smartest or the strongest. The jockey that wins the race is usually the one with the best horse. Find your horse.