Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Importance of Culture and Context in the Career Transition Process

I recently facilitated a workshop for the leadership team of a small organization where the focus was on understanding how culture and context intersect with the roles people play in their organization. I was reminded that people in job or career transition also need to pay attention to the culture and context of potential employers and to make the connection between their skills, values, and goals with that culture and context

To begin with, when doing research to determine target employers, it is vital that you learn about the nature of their business. It also is important that you are clear as to how each prospect matches who you are and how you work. Paying attention to potential fit as you move through the transition process will enable you to establish a clear sense of priorities as you decide who your future employer will be.

Furthermore, as you go through the interview process and are thinking about potential employers, it is in your best interest to assess what it will be like to work there once you get and accept an offer. Saying yes to an offer just because you need the job or because your skills are a good match is rarely enough to ensure that you will be happy or successful in your new endeavor. You need to think very carefully about what the actual, day to day, experience of working there will be like and I recommend that you talk with potential co-workers and colleagues before accepting an offer.

Finally, once you’ve said yes and started work, you must quickly learn about the culture and how things actually get done in your new environment. Your ability to adapt to and work within the norms of your new culture will have a lot to do with getting off to a great start, and will also determine how your job and career will blossom over the ensuing months and years.

Best wishes.

Mark Guterman