Cascading Leadership - The Show

The Mindset Shift That Early Career Diverse Sales and Marketing Professionals Need To Make to Fast-Track Their Careers

April 17, 2023 Jim Season 3 Episode 20
Cascading Leadership - The Show
The Mindset Shift That Early Career Diverse Sales and Marketing Professionals Need To Make to Fast-Track Their Careers
Show Notes Transcript

Topics covered: 

  • Everyone is a free agent and to act accordingly. This means to take control of your career and act intentionally when presented with opportunities and offers from various companies. 
  • This is important to do in order to make sure that you are making the most of the opportunities presented to you and to ensure your career is on the path that you have mapped out.
  • Adopting an owner's mentality. It is important to be aware of the incentives that leaders have, which can sometimes be different from those of the line level employees. Don't cede too much control  to others, as promises can easily disappear if the company changes or is acquired. 
  • Employees should take ownership of their career, as it is the only way to ensure that their long-term goals are achieved. In order to do this, employees must be aware of the incentives leaders have, and how these differ from the incentives of the line level. 



"The Benefits of Adopting a Free Agent Mindset for Early Career Professionals"


Discussion on Adopting an Owner's Mentality in Career Paths


"Maximizing Your Career Path with an Owner's Mentality"


Conversation on Career Progression and the Benefits of a CEO Mindset


Conversation on Career Advancement for Early Career Professionals from Underrepresented Communities

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 The Mindset Shift that's a Gamechanger for Early Career Professionals 

The Mindset Shift that's a Gamechanger for Early Career Professionals 

[00:00:00] Dr. Jim: we are going to cover the single mindset shift that you need to make a s early as possible in your career because it is the key for you to achieve the things that you need to achieve in the fastest amount of time possible.

[00:00:15] Dr. Jim: The mindset shift starts with this concept. Everyone is a free agent. Act accordingly. I often say that, and this is what I mean. The world of work is fickle, and regardless of how great a culture you're at or how great a company culture appears to be, you need to recognize that you are in control of your career.

[00:00:39] Dr. Jim: So make sure you're acting intentionally throughout the course of every opportunity that you have and over your entire career arc. And this is why that's important. When you're going through various companies you'll have all sorts of promises and offers and contingencies that are presented to you.

[00:00:58] Dr. Jim: And the reality of [00:01:00] it is that sometimes that stuff comes to fruition, sometimes it doesn't. More often than not. You don't want to take the risk of ceding too much control to somebody else in terms of how quickly you can navigate your career path. Because if leadership changes, if the company goes out of business, if the priorities shift, if the company gets acquired if any number of things like that happen, 

[00:01:27] Dr. Jim: guess what happens to all of those promises that you are offered as contingencies for you accepting one role in pursuit of another, they disappear. So that is the mindset that you need to adopt, and here's how you apply it to some of the key elements of how you approach your career. 

[00:01:47] Dr. Jim: One, you need to adopt an owner's mentality.

[00:01:50] Dr. Jim: A lot of leaders and organizations will actually say that, and it'll mean something completely different than what I'm meaning. And I want to tell you a little bit of a [00:02:00] story because this is one of my biggest mistakes as a leader, is really encouraging all of my teams at the time to adopt an owner's mentality.

[00:02:09] Dr. Jim: It's one of the most manipulative things that you can do as a leader because. What you have at stake as a leader and how your comp is determined as a leader is completely different than what the line level has in terms of comp and incentives, in terms of performance and whatnot. So for those of you who are early mid-career, you may or may not be aware of this, but your directors, your vp.

[00:02:34] Dr. Jim: They have all sorts of incentives to maximize the p and l and profitability of the organization. They also have additional incentives that if the company gets sold or acquired or something along those lines in a lot of instances, they will get bonused on those sort of transactions.

[00:02:49] Dr. Jim: So it's to their benefit that they squeeze every amount of capability out of. The line as much as possible because [00:03:00] ultimately if that happens, there's a higher likelihood of one of these big ticket items happening. That is game changing in terms of the pay scale for directors and higher within the typical organization.

[00:03:13] Dr. Jim: What do I mean by owner's mentality? What I mean by owner's mentality, when we apply it to individual contributors, and those of you who are in the early to mid-career stages of your career, it means you controlled the decision making, you control your pathway. You make sure that you're devoting the appropriate amount of time to the work that you're doing in your current job, but you're also cultivating additional revenue streams alongside your main revenue stream because who knows?

[00:03:41] Dr. Jim: If one of those side projects takes off, you could be an entrepreneur and you could be doing all of that hard work for yourself and reaping the benefits. So the c e o mentality means you maintain control of your path and your effort. And [00:04:00] maximize your profitability versus putting that effort towards somebody else who has their own incentives in mind.

[00:04:06] Dr. Jim: So keep that in mind when you're navigating. Don't get manipulated. Into adopting an owner's mentality for somebody else's benefit. Adopt an owner's mentality for your own benefit. 

[00:04:19] Dr. Jim: Now, let's talk about when you adopt that free agent mindset. What should your career path look like for the early part of your career?

[00:04:26] Dr. Jim: This isn't a hard and fast rule. But you should be aggressively driving over that first 10 years of your career to build up your toolkit and your experiences across a number of different domains, and also companies at different stages of the business cycle. Here's what I mean.

[00:04:44] Dr. Jim: You definitely want to knock down experience in a startup environment. You definitely want to knock down experience at an accelerating growth environment. You want to get a turnaround experience or two under your belt. You want to be involved in a large transformation, and you also want to. [00:05:00] If you can swing it within that timeframe, work at a large organization as well.

[00:05:04] Dr. Jim: Here's why working at those five different types of business environments, is important. Because if you're doing it in, let's say roughly 10 to 12 years, this is positioning you to be exceptionally well-rounded. When. You're hitting your peak earning years, and those are from your mid thirties all the way up until your fifties.

[00:05:24] Dr. Jim: So you want to be positioned well to maximize your toolkit and maximize your earning potential working across those five different types of companies. So get startup experience, get experience in an accelerating growth environment, get experience at a turnaround, a large transformation, and then a big label company.

[00:05:42] Dr. Jim: So think Fortune 100, fortune 50, something like that. 

[00:05:46] Dr. Jim: So what does that mean when it comes to how you execute that? What this means is that you should be looking at roughly every two years that you're making a move. Don't get guilt tripped into the quote unquote. You gotta [00:06:00] be a loyal employee bit. You are the c e o of your career.

[00:06:03] Dr. Jim: Everyone's a free agent. Act accordingly, once you've developed a level of mastery in the role that you're in, look for the next bigger opportunity that's gonna get you more pay and get you bigger scope and put you in a position to be closer to the goals that you've set for yourself as you enter your peak earning years.

[00:06:24] Dr. Jim: The next way that you want to look at your career path and your trajectory when you have that free agent mindset in place, maximize everything that you can maximize. So if you have the ability to negotiate comp, if you have the ability to negotiate benefits, everything is negotiable.

[00:06:46] Dr. Jim: And the key is you want to be operating from a position of strength where if you're keeping to that every two year life cycle, you'll still be in a position that you're in and you should be interviewing for that next position. And in [00:07:00] fact, I would almost recommend that you should always be interviewing and always be networking and building a network around you because you never know when that next great opportunity that's gonna propel you forward is gonna come up.

[00:07:12] Dr. Jim: And here's why. That's I. A lot of leaders and a lot of organizations, or at least the broader world of work, will tell you don't take calls from recruiters. Networking isn't that important. Having a social presence isn't important. Being on LinkedIn isn't important because they want to keep you within the organization as long as possible and then determine your up or out based on their timetable.

[00:07:35] Dr. Jim: If you're taking that CEO's mental. You do things on your timetable. So always take the interview, always take that conversation, always be networking. And every two years you should be looking at making a move because you're actually going to accelerate your earning capability by doing that versus staying within an organization and hoping to get promoted for, a title and a marginal [00:08:00] increase. So keep that in mind. 

[00:08:01] Dr. Jim: The last thing that I would recommend or suggest, especially with that free agent mindset, the CEO mindset, I'm encouraging everybody to develop, don't take a prove it opportunity. And here's what I mean by that. Oftentimes early in your career, and especially if you're from an underrepresented community, You will be interviewing for a position at, let's say a manager title or a director title, and the hiring manager might make some sort of reason or some sort of argument that, hey, you haven't done this, or you haven't gotten this particular credential, or something along those lines.

[00:08:35] Dr. Jim: How about you come in at this lower level and then once you have that you can, get this next title. In theory, that sounds great, right? Remember what I said earlier? Things change on a dime if that manager leaves. If the company is sold, if the company is acquired, if the company goes out of business, if priorities shift, if initiatives shift, if entire functions of the organization get disappeared, [00:09:00] guess what happens to that "prove it" 

[00:09:01] Dr. Jim: or earn your way offer that you, that wasn't even an offer. It's not written down. It doesn't count. If it's not written down. Guess what happens? If any of those things happen, it's gone. It didn't exist. So whenever possible, you want to make sure that you get the role that you're applying for and you don't waste time

[00:09:22] Dr. Jim: proving it for somebody else if it's at that point where they're talking about role specifics, there's something there that got you to that position. So push through and don't let them downsell you into something smaller. 

[00:09:33] Dr. Jim: Wrapping things up, the single most important thing that I would encourage early career professionals from underrepresented communities to adopt:

[00:09:41] Dr. Jim: everyone's a free. Act accordingly and apply the right version of a CEO's mentality to your career path. Tune in next time where we're gonna pull back even more curtains so that you can actually move your career further faster as an underrepresented seller.