Resurrecting your career by following the rules of the stock market

Posted: 31st May, 2013

It's resurrection time as mother nature comes back to life after the Autumn and Winter recess.

So let's look at a common coaching challenge I often see - resurrecting one's career in your current organisation.

The fact that one's career needs help can often catch you unawares, like the lobster not noticing the rising temperature of the water around it in the pot.The awareness that there's an issue often comes from some form of comment or feedback from a boss or senior stakeholder  through a process like a 360. 

The analogy I use with clients who find themselves in this situation is that of their personal stock price. Historically they have experienced career advancement,  their stock price consistently rising. But now suddenly we discover that people are selling as opposed to buying the individual's stock.

Here are the steps I advise my clients to follow to get their career growing again

1. Get to the issue.

Be relentless in finding out what the perceived problem is - why is your stock price falling. Even if you have feedback, go back and get even more specific feedback. The more data you have on why people have a specific perception of you and your career, the more focused you can be in addressing the perception.

2. Identity the institutional investors in your career.

Stock prices are not based on individuals like you and me trading - its all about the pension funds and the big institutional shareholders - their decisions move the market. So as opposed to convincing the whole organization how great you are, identify who the big institutional investors are in your career. This may or may not include your manager depending on how senior they are. Very often it is some key folks a couple of levels above you in the company.

3. Get a sponsor to help you demonstrate value to the institutional investors. 

Companies need intermediaries to get them in front of investors and venture capitalists. So do you. Who is going to get you in front of the senior people while also selling your worth to them when you are not in the room. This is were a supportive boss or mentor can really help you.

4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

Wall Street does not support a stock just because they like you or think that you may have value - they buy based on stated intentions, follow through on those intentions, demonstrated results and constant communication of all these. You need to start broadcasting to your sponsor on a regular basis so they can both sell you and challenge negative perceptions about you that come up in senior leadership meetings. And you need to broadcast, on an appropriate basis, to the big investors in your organisations to show them your impact and value. This is not PR over results - it is visibility into your results.

The four steps above have helped my clients get focus and leverage to rebuild their personal stock price.

But! But if the above steps represent plan A, I always encourage my clients to start building a plan B no matter how tentatively. Sometimes the perception is so ingrained with very senior people that at some point one needs to be able to cut ones loses and go elsewhere. In other words, you need to think about refloating your stock in a new market.

PS: the other bit of resurrection going on here is with my blog which has been dormant for over a year. I want to try and make it a more regular process for me

Two lessons I learnt last month from Mai and Dave;

1. Don't write for perfection - just put your thoughts out there i.e. let the writer me, not the editor me, own this process.

2. Write for a few mins every day - something will come out of the simple discipline. 

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