How do You Add Up?

Reading and commenting on Rick’s run on cross-functional collaboration got me thinking, what the heck would be on my professional card if biz people had baseball cards?

My rookie card was near worthless. I was a moderately interested student at State U (read: didn’t flunk out my freshman year, and got my grades up by senior year), and didn’t have high asperations right out of the gates. I took a Job-job that provided a paycheck and company car, and was off and running.

But my first few years were poorly measured efforts. I was a negotiating, customer service fool working in insurance adjusting. I worked my estimation and statement-taking skills to the bone, was extra nice to VIP clients, and did my best to make the company and sales agents look good.

But nothing got measured. Management didn’t track (annual reviews didn’t consult anyone), and I didn’t do a very good job either. My card would have had a young, happy picture on front and a long list of “tbd” metrics on the back. (Nice effort right out of the gates, right?)

I’ve since gotten lucky, made some luck, and wised up about measuring performance even when the company doesn’t (imagine, taking ownership for your own outcomes; I know how bizarre this is, because it still seems strange at times to me). What has become really clear to me is that, regardless of the role you are playing, you need to know what the metrics of performance will be. Not the tasks on the job description, but how I will know if I’m really deliverying what my manager had hoped I would bring to the table.

I’m hoping that you are thinking about not the first job, but the next job you gain access to by hiring into the company. And the next.

  • How are you going to tell your success story in this initial role?
  • How will you gain the exposure and track record you need for your next big jump?
  • How do you evidence that you are more valuable than your years of experience and education would suggest?

I’m still working on it, but wonder – what would I like to see on my baseball card? What would make managers in my business eager to swap me next season, or trade two-for-one? Am I doing what it takes to land an A-Rod contract?

This entry was posted in Branding, Career, Measure, Performance. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How do You Add Up?

  1. Rick Turoczy says:

    Note to self: Pull Toby’s rookie card off of eBay.

    Good point on the metrics. (Unfortunately, you’ve just inspired another riff from me, sucker.) But I would argue that those metrics should be a combination of various sources. You shouldn’t be target locked on the metrics handed down by management; you should take a broader scope.

    What are your metrics for success? What are the company’s metrics for success? These are often wildly divergent, even if you’re all focused on the same goal.

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