I’m writing this article in an effort to help you look beyond the confines of your existing or previous role.
I have the privilege of working with some amazing business leaders and employees. And you’d be surprised how easily their confidence takes a hit when they’re faced with leaving the role and organisation they have helped to build and nurture to become a success. But change comes to us all, and we need to be prepared.
I’ve recently worked with a leader who had taken over their family business and transformed it from a pure B2B model to include a very successful B2C channel. They did this all in the face of significant market cannibalisation caused through cheaper imports driven by consumer demand.
But the real challenge was to come. Because consumers were turning to cheap imports the manufacturing base in their sector was closing down and the supply of skilled labour was shrinking with it.
All options being exhausted they made the decision to close their business while they were cash flow positive and still in control of their investment – exiting with plenty of cash but with the dilemma of not knowing what to do next.
Their life had been spent in the one company with full autonomy, being the decision maker and the captain of the ship. They thought that their company was all they knew. They thought they were limited to working in just the one vertical they’d been trained and spent most of their career in. And to cap it off it was a 2nd generation family business so there was a strong sense of duty.
They had built up a significant number of transferable skills.
Selection of Transferable Skills:
The following are just a selection of the transferable skills this person had developed – supported by outcomes (not listed here)…
- Led teams
- Built a business
- Built a brand
- Managed cashflow
- Developed and executed sales strategies
- Established and achieved sales Targets
- Developed and retained customer loyalty
- Designed and adapted manufacturing processes
- Opportunity identification and capture
- Successful migration strategy from B2B to B2C
- Supply chain
- Channel partner
- Change management
- Talent sourcing and recruitment
- Not to mention resilience!
Yet their perception was that their business and their vertical was all they knew. Their perception had become their own reality. What was really happening though was that they couldn’t see the wood for the trees and were in danger of self limiting. Worse, never working again.
They were so donkey deep in doing the doing, day in day out for the last 25 years, and being the leaderful leader they hadn’t associated the outcomes they’d achieved in keeping that business alive to develop a list of transferable skills.
Now lets talk about you.
The way to climb out of this mindset is to build your story – from where you were to where you got to, and the outcomes you’ve delivered. Think about what it took to get you there – the skills you applied. Work with someone to flesh this out.
Working through the ‘contra’:
Sounds contrary to what we want to achieve, but read on….
Write down the positive outcomes you achieved. Then write down what might have happened had you not driven the course of action and achieved the outcomes you did. (the contra).
The benefit to the organisation is that you avoided the ‘contra’ through applying your skills. These are all transferable.
e.g. “I maintained market share and revenue through developing a B2C channel and focusing on brand development by applying the following skills ……
(the contra is this; “the business declined because we didn’t develop a new strategy and an alternative channel to replace a declining channel, and failed to focus on brand development…”)
Others move from business to business and vertical to vertical and sector to sector – because they recognise and articulate their transferable skills.
So can you!
When you look at your own skills and investigate the drivers behind most other businesses it enables you to see that most want to achieve similar things by applying similar skills to the ones you have.
The lack of ability to recognise and articulate transferable skills is a huge problem for most job seekers, let alone those who don’t want to be pigeon holed. So much so that I developed a simple tool that assists my clients to climb out of the rut and articulate the skills and experience they have into a set of transferable skills and relevant outcomes. It’s been the single most effective tool I and my clients have used.
So for all of you out there who think you run the risk of being ‘pigeon holed’ – take a look at your transferable skills and think again.