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The Bridge for Transitioning in Mid-Career

Last summer I spoke with a health-care recruiter in Chicago re one of us looking for a senior position at the mid-point of his career. I described this client in the 3 categories that we recommend for transitioning junior officers: Technical Training, Leadership Experience and the Capacity to Get Things Done With Imperfect Information (feel free to re-word this 3rd category).

The recruiter complimented this Bridging categorization, offering that the hiring criteria for senior executives is also divided into 3 categories as no longer is it sufficient to have risen through the ranks touching or holding 'the right jobs or positions' or to presume that a role at a competitor company qualifies one for an upgraded job in a new firm.

He offered that the modern executive is evaluated on three criteria:

1) Does he or she understand how the business operates as it is no longer enough to rely on staffs to know 'how things really work.' Such operational understanding, beyond awareness and short of hands-on experience, is essential to articulating the value of the business.

Why is this? My opinion is that too much is now explained at such a high level that competitive advantage or value is hard for the customer to understand, e.g., Cloud Computing, Analytics, CyberSecurity in my world of IT. What are these things at the functional level? How does one evaluate fit for my organization? Where's the competitive advantage? Most importantly, whom do I trust in making this decision?

2) Does she or he understand how the numbers flow? There are plenty and too many financial types measuring success to death — just look around at the EPS and cost-control mania and what that's done for us. The modern executive has to understand the interaction of revenue generation, profits, costs, investments and the associated impacts on decision-making and motivation of the company. In short, it's not about being a spread-sheet wizard; it is about quantifying decision-making and knowing what to measure and in what way to measure it.

3) The Most Important because it is the hardest to find: Is he or she capable of initiating and nurturing productive business relationships that result in revenue generation = we are all in the sales department.

Customer interaction is on everybody's job description as the power has swung to the consumer/ client / prospect. The Internet enables many, many choices and nearly innumerable sources of supply. Finding and Retaining customers is everybody's job within the company.

If you are mid-career officer in transition, consider and be able to describe your career history and aptitude within these 3 categories as well. //cp

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