Talking to someone recently about what they were looking for next in their career I was reminded of a conversation I had a number of years ago with someone who was desperate to get into a particular group at work. The group he was in was well respected and this person had built up a good reputation for ‘getting things done’. But he wanted a move to help his own career progression that was very much on an upward trajectory.
I asked him what it was about the group that he was looking to join that made it so attractive. His response was interesting in that first off he mentioned the group leader’s name and then went on to describe what it was like to work within that group. It turned out that he had existing working relationships with people in the group. He had built up an understanding of what it was like to be part of that group from what they had told him and his perception of the way they worked. He liked what he heard and what he saw.
I asked him what he thought it would be like working directly for the group leader he had mentioned. He paused and said that he wasn’t really sure but he was confident that it would be okay as he hadn’t heard anything bad about the individual. Anyhow, it must all right as it would have shown up in the interactions he’d already had with group members – wouldn’t it? This raised an intriguing point. Even though he didn’t know the group leader that well he was prepared to put that group at the top of his list based on what he had seen as the way that group carried out its business.
His logic was that if the group leader had established, or let the group establish this way of working then, either way, that was the kind of person he would be happy to work for. He had an existing understanding of how the group operated and that matched his own thoughts on how he wanted to work.
Now this was a person who had a good track record of delivering on their projects and as such was in demand by other groups. He was looking for a move that would help him in his own career but would also challenge him professionally. Without realizing it the leader of the group that he aspired to join had not only created an effective working culture he had made his group extremely attractive which enabled it to choose from the best candidates on offer when recruiting. Whether the leader had deliberately designed his group to operate in the way it did or allowed it to develop as it did is irrelevant. Or perhaps they are just two ways of looking at the same thing.
Picture courtesy of HikingArtist.com