If I want to convey a better picture of How To Succeed In One’s Career By Really Trying, a quick review of why the “employer” (organization) exists is needed.
Let me begin with my earlier posted basic definition of Fundamental Principle 1, a “business” transaction: an exchange that takes place in which both parties benefit. It is intended to describe the “business” nature of the principles of the transaction or exchange, not the for-profit organization. It is thus equally applicable to a for-profit business as to a not-for-profit organization.
An organization exists, then, to deliver to a “customer” a good or service that fills a need and has added value. Through a transformation process an organization adds value to a good or service that is then transferred to a customer or client in a fair exchange. For a for-profit business, if the customer is happy, she will come back, thus fulfilling Peter Drucker’s definition of why a business exists: “To create and keep a customer.” For a non-profit, however, one usually hopes the “customer” does not come back (a patient in a hospital, the needy for disaster aid, students at a college). But one does hope to convert them to “stakeholders” who become fundraisers with an ongoing relationship.
For both types of organizations, it is easy to realize that employees were hired to “add value” somewhere along the transformation process, whether this is painting widgets, serving coffee, rendering aid, or raising funds.
A reality is that there are plenty of other organizations vying for our customer’s attention, so complacency is a death sentence. Most organizations realize this. Although their approaches to survive take different (and in the for-profit world, sometimes questionable) forms, I will presume that our organization is dedicated to becoming the best at delivering added value in a good or service that customers need. Or perhaps in some cases just being good enough to survive.
An organization exists to deliver a good or service that fills a “customer” need and has added value. Employees are hired to “add value” to this good or service that is then transferred in a fair exchange.
What is an organization looking for in an employee? Besides the obvious tangible attributes (skills and competence, which you’ve already thought of) there are intangible ones also. These are difficult to measure against a well defined standard, so qualitative descriptions will have to suffice here. These are what I look for when hiring, in developing, and in promoting. They are also what I look to develop in students in my college courses (what I consider a non-profit value added transformation process). These are the qualities that I think make an employee an asset (grows in value) rather than just a resource (is consumed), and makes a student a learner rather than an attender.
The best way to put these into perspective is to look at the job candidate’s (or new employee’s) desirable attributes from the hiring organization’s viewpoint. These attributes are both tangible as well as intangible, and there are enough of them that they cannot be adequately covered in one post.
My hope is that once you are introduced to these attributes and why they are important, it will be easier to improve them as a key component in becoming successful at your career, or whatever else you choose to pursue.
We will let this post serve as an Introduction, and as quickly as possible post the next discussion on Competence, the attribute you’ve already thought of.