Presentation on theme: "Becoming a Versatilist: A Mindful Accession"— Presentation transcript:
0 Specialist, Generalist, Versatilist Client Issue: How should IT professionals manage their careers?SpecialistDeep SkillsNarrow ScopePeer-RecognizedUnknown Outside DomainScope of Roles and AssignmentsDepthof SkillSpecialistVersatilistGeneralistBroad ScopeShallow SkillsQuick ResponseOthers Lack ConfidenceVersatilistDeep SkillsWide Scope of RolesBroad ExperienceRecognized in Other DomainsGeneralistVersatilists play different roles than specialists or generalists. Specialists generally have deep technical skills and narrow scope, giving them expertise that is recognized by peers, but it is seldom known outside their immediate domains. Generalists have broad scope and comparatively shallow skills, enabling them to respond or act reasonably quickly, but often at a cursory level. Versatilists, in contrast, apply depth of skill to a rich scope of situations and experiences, building new alliances, perspectives, competencies and roles. They gain the confidence of peers and partners.Justification for versatilists is sound. Versatilists can fulfill multiple roles in multiple projects, often providing greater insight than deep specialists. As businesses and service providers move toward processes and services, versatilists’ cross-organizational insight complements teams and fills competency gaps. Finally, with versatilists on staff, businesses and service providers can stretch their expertise budgets further than they could with specialists.
1 Becoming a Versatilist: A Mindful Accession Strategic Planning Assumption: By 2011, leading-edge companies will switch the balance of their IT workforce from specialists to versatilists (0.8 probability).High-Value Sweet SpotThe VersatilistContextual OrientationInitiativeIndustry, ProcessAssignments, RolesBusiness Know-HowAptitudeClient Issue: How should IT professionals manage their careers?"Learning and performing will become one and the same thing. Everything you say about learning will be about performance." — Peter Block, management consultant and speakerHow can you become a versatilist? Take several steps:View traditional and emerging experiences and roles objectively.Look outside your job family and job description.Seize the initiative. Volunteer for something you have not done, lead a new project or change program, even if unpopular. Get past resistance and fear.Look for opportunities, mentors and role models outside your reporting structure, company and industry. Not-for-profit ventures, startups, government agencies, service providers and outside personal pursuits increase breadth and versatility.Action Item: Mindfully design your experiences and assignments to enrich opportunities and goals. Focus on the areas, challenges and behaviors that represent personal and professional growth, especially outside your comfort areas.Traditional Sweet SpotThe SpecialistCapacity to Generate Future Business Value
2 Building Your Professional Future: Address All the Building Blocks Strategic Imperative: Examine the challenges faced by the business or industry sector; figure out which competencies and areas of knowledge will be needed to meet those challenges; use your current position to glean the competencies and knowledge.Contextual OrientationExpertiseResultsLeadershipHow you demonstrateyourselfSkillsRolesRelationshipsHow you develop yourselfAptitudeBehaviorsContactsWhat you bring with youClient Issue: How should IT professionals manage their careers?Discontinuity in the IT profession means that no one, regardless of aspirations or position, can afford to sleepwalk through their career. Today's IT and business professionals must deliberately assess both their contextual orientation — that is, their connection and analysis of changing business situations and objectives — and their capacity to master career building blocks that generate future business value.Gartner identifies three tiers of career planning:What you bring with you in terms of aptitude, behaviors and personal contacts — your first impressionHow you develop yourself through skills, assumption of new roles, development of new relationships and alliances — your reputationHow you reveal yourself through the expertise, results and leadership you demonstrate — your credibility brandAction Item: Professionals must take hold of their career paths and add critical building blocks. Technical aptitude, for example, fills in skill sets and service holes, but provides only minimal contextual orientation and long-term business value. Design your paths wisely.Capacity to Generate Future Business Value
3 Build a Base of High-Value, High-Context Learning Decision Framework: A smart learning strategy focuses on pivotal and durable roles and disciplines. IT and business professionals must understand the value of context over technical content and anticipate which roles and knowledge types will fuel value.Contextual OrientationDifficulty of Imitating or ReplicatingInitiative (change sponsor, business driver, Six Sigma leader, business process expert)Strategic Disciplines(portfolio management, financial analysis, process modeling, architecture,service quality)Role Experience(project manager, relationship manager, service manager, business analysts)Skills (SAP, Web services, .NET)Technical CertificationClient Issue: How should IT professionals manage their careers?How do you distinguish which disciplines and roles will provide the greatest value? By starting in the future, working back to the present and continually asking the question: which disciplines, roles, skills and domains of knowledge will I need, must I develop and for how long?People should view their career portfolios through two lenses: contextual orientation and capacity for generating future value. Both will be satisfied with a robust blend of skills, roles, strategic disciplines and examples of initiative and leadership. For clarity's sake, context is defined in three ways: the navigation and understanding of circumstances in which an event occurs; the set of facts or circumstances that surround a situation or event; and the setting that surrounds, and gives meaning to, something else.Action Item: Identify competencies, projects, assignments, education and training that will increase your long-term value.Capacity to Generate Future Business Value
4 Prepare to Cultivate Breadth and Versatility Client Issue: How do companies anticipate, initiate and support substantial workforce change?Strategic Planning Assumption: By 2010, 70 percent of IT and business professionals will favor employment that affords movement among roles, teams, assignments and communities of practice (0.8 probability).VisibilityBeing known by people outside the conventional reporting structureDecision-MakingResourcefully assembling the information and people to make smart decisionsConnectednessTapping into personal and professional networksCommunicationConveying information meaningfully, responsibly and with accountabilityRemote CollaborationShaping and contributing to the outcomes of widely distributed groupsCredibilityInspiring belief throughcompetence, track record,reliability and behaviorDevelopment and advancement of versatilists implies as great a commitment from potential employers as from individuals themselves. Employers that want to empower and cultivate versatilists must concentrate on hiring and management structures that support that versatility: Versatilists tend to be visible, connected and credible. They make sound decisions, collaborate well with others, even strangers, and they communicate crisply and effectively.Although many IT executives and service providers nod with recognition when they hear about versatilists, they nevertheless remain rooted in rewards, recognition and practices that discourage the model. For example, versatilists are known by people outside their immediate domain and outside their reporting relationships. Managers who hoard talent or who have a command-and-control mentality will provide no support for versatilists. Managers who share opportunity and actively create opportunities for people to flex new muscles will successfully cultivate versatilists.