Mark wanted to meet for lunch. His idea, he said, was to learn more about my background and experience. “Bring your portfolio and/or samples of your work,” he said “I know you like to write since I’ve read some of your stuff but I’d like to know more.” Naturally I was flattered. I am my favorite subject. I am happy to talk about myself. I’m not sure Mark is fully prepared for what he’s gotten himself into. He assures me that he is. The result was a three hour monologue.
I’ve had an interesting
career journey. The things of which I am most proud do not fall neatly into
those pithy but memorable mnemonic devices that business coaches recommend. I
could certainly engineer such disingenuous statements as “I managed the
strategy and execution around this product launch for the wholesaler segment
that resulted in over $2 Million in sales in year one,” or “I lead corporate
communications for a architecture/engineering/construction firm, earning over 3
million dollars worth of media exposure, that resulted in new business wins of
over 100 million dollars for the company,” but in my heart I know my efforts
are never that solitary. In fact I don’t believe anyone can honestly claim that
their greatest successes can accurately be described in such definitive terms.
Maybe a sales manager can get away with a claim like, “I improved sales performance
by 83% in my territory,” but doesn’t
that tend to discount the efforts of manufacturing, distribution, customer service
and operations? Come on. No man is an island. Furthermore, isn’t is a bit unfair
to the previous territory sales guy who managed to keep the company in business
during the economic downturn in spite of lackluster sales numbers?
“I’m looking for
threads in your career journey,” says Mark as he enjoys his hamburger at the
sports bar/tavern we chose for this meeting. “One thing I notice is you are
about strategy and execution. You have solutions and you know how to get it
done.” Very nice. Thanks for listening Mark.
Net-Net. I’m happy
to tell you where I’ve been and share career highlights. It takes about three
hours. Or, even better, let’s talk about your biggest marketing challenge and
invest three hours brainstorming ways to improve your chances of out-thinking
your competition, earning market share, delivering value and improving profitability.