At 4am on a fresh autumn morning, a coach load of members of the European Pharmaceutical Student Association (EPSA) began their early morning journey from Genoa, Italy, to Nice (France) to attend a workshop on ‘Personal Career Development – new to the job or ready for a change?’ This was one of the sessions organised by the DIA’s 3rd Annual Clinical Forum in Nice, France, and also an integral part of EPSA’s own conference taking place simultaneously in Genoa!
As one of the ways that Elisabeth Goodman, principal consultant at RiverRhee Consulting (1) helps to improve team effectiveness, productivity and morale is to enable team members to generally ‘find their voice’, Elisabeth took the opportunity to listen to what others have to say on this subject. This article, with the kind permission of the speakers involved, documents what she learnt during this workshop.
Carl Metzdorff, Principal at ACES Health Care, introduced the concept of ‘the first 100 days’ as one that obviously applied to Obama’s and other US Presidents’ first days in office. It’s also a concept that organisations use in the days following mergers and acquisitions. Carl used it to describe the priorities that a new manager should address in his / her first 100 days. He suggested that the first 100 days are a period of grace or temporary incompetence whilst the incumbent is getting to grips with their job. It’s a time when effective communication is essential, when the individual is expected to form their team, shape and share their strategic direction, and start delivering results. To achieve all of this, a new manager would do well to start developing their plans before the start of the 100-day period, as this can run out very quickly.
For an individual ‘finding their voice’, wanting to make themselves visible, and make an impact that will shape their career going forward, a 100-day approach might be a very useful framework. Thus they too could do some useful preparatory work to identify their values, career goals, and key stakeholders in the organisation. They could use their first 100 days to connect and communicate with the key stakeholders and get input on how they could best deliver value to the organisation as well as effectively start shaping their career.
Nicolaos Gentis, PhD Student and Teaching Assistant at Industrial Pharmacy Lab, and Parliamentarian for EPSA, also emphasized how important it is for students to be clear on their wants, skills/talents, strengths and weaknesses when considering their career direction. He also talked about the importance of communication in the early days of a new job both to learn from others, and to ensure that the job develops as the individual would wish.
Wim Souverijns, Senior Director Global Marketing Excellence, Celgene, own career is a vivid illustration of how switching jobs during the course of a career is part of the deal nowadays. In 12 years he has worked in 3 industries, 4 companies, 6 jobs, and has had 4 international moves. He suggested that a desire to learn and a basic curiosity are key factors for creating ones own career opportunities. Wim also stressed the importance of reflecting on ones career objectives, on what matters to the individual, and what they are good at or enjoy doing in time. Companies will try to get the best out of an individual, for the benefit of the organisation. The individual needs to decide independently, where they want to go. Again, he stressed the importance of communicating with other stakeholders, in this case with one’s boss, and of identifying a mentor or coach, to help steer one’s career in the right direction.
Finally, Max Beckmann, Managing Director of Beckmann Bio, reminded people that being self-employed, or starting one’s own business, is also an option as a route for achieving your potential, if working within an organisation no longer meets your needs. Whilst being employed has many benefits, if it gets too limiting in terms of the scope of an individual’s work, their level of responsibility, or their income, then being self-employed may be the answer.
However, the self-employed route is not a choice to be taken lightly! The alternative is to take a long hard look at your values, goals, talents and strengths; consider how you could meet the needs of others from within an organisation; and take a 100-day approach to achieving it.
(1) This article focuses on one of RiverRhee Consulting’s key goals: helping teams achieve improved team morale. We enhance team effectiveness for improved productivity and team morale by:
- Focusing on your customers
- Simplifying and streamlining what you do
- Optimising information and knowledge assets
- Ensuring successful business change
If individuals within a team are clear on their personal objectives, strengths and on how they can best support their customers, then they will play a powerful role in helping the rest of the team enhance its effectiveness and productivity.