Last week I attended a CIPD focus group.
The topic was the HR professional map (not the fire service…more later) which you are probably only familiar with if you have recently studied your professional exams. Sadly for the CIPD our focus group didn’t use or value it. Thought it wasn’t all bad news as everyone agreed that the CIPD Code of Conduct was a very good document. We share that at Amelore… we send it out with our proposals.
I always think focus groups are a great way to get a quick bit of professional development as they are almost always attended by people that care enough to turn up and say what they think.
The mixture was interesting. There was an L&D bias along with someone from a Reward background and me, a generalist with a twist.
One of the questions was about how our careers had developed. Mine had begun in training administration and progressed, once I had qualified, to HR manager/head of department/HR Director. This was in the days before the dreaded Ulrich model and Shared Service centres which have cut many career development opportunities away.
One guy that attended stood out.
He had a Retail banking background and came across as extremely driven, self-motivated and ambitious. He was an L&D professional and would be an asset to any organisation I have no doubt. He had recognized early on in his career the power of mirroring desirable organsiational behaviour and had used this technique to get himself from a trainer right up to an L&D Director.
Every organisation has its own set of unique and valued behaviours and values. These are often completely different to anything written down or spoken about by HR or the official corporate line.
When you join you need to quickly identify who the people are that are respected and looked up to and mirror what they do and how they behave.
This might include how they dress (very formally or smart casual or with a bit of style and panache), the hours they work (long or flexible or very smart and output driven), the personal values they exhibit (eg winning at any price v humility and respect for individuals), whether they look after themselves (gym, good diet, holidays space v no exercise, bad diet, booze) and how they treat each other.
Sometimes successful powerful people form a club within an organisation which they use to trade favours and keep out competition. If such a thing exists in your company you will need to work out how you can infiltrate it.
Of course analyzing your organisation in this way sometimes helps you identify that you have made a mistake because the person you are, will never match with your organisation.
In which case take a tip from the Fire Brigade…. Get out… Stay out!
But don’t call Fire Brigade, just get another job.
Choosing the right job but the wrong organisation or the right organisation but the wrong job can often shape your career as much as finding somewhere that perfectly suits you.
Successful people are clear about what they want to achieve and achieve it. Like my L&D focus group colleague. He drove his career, from job to job, organisation because he had a plan.