16th June 2022

Find Your Professional Purpose

My 3 interesting things for you this month…

1. Interesting Charts

As a person who loves finance, I love a good chart! I think it’s useful to look at good examples every now and then, and take inspiration for the work we do in trying to convey complex messages to people clearly.

So this month, I wanted to share a great chart I saw – which also highlights some of the macro-economic things going on right now.

I’m not intending to include lots of economic updates here (there are some great places to get that including Deloitte’s Chief Economist Ian Stewart’s Monday Briefing newsletter that you can sign up for here). But I did want to take a moment to look at asset bubbles – and how history plays out over and over.

[A couple of notes on the below: ARKK is a technology investment fund, FANG+ are the big techs – Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Google].

There are a lot of useful takeaways from this one chart – lots of things to think about. This is what a good chart should do for your audience!

2. How we’re working now

As we settle into new ways of working, both managers and employees are adapting to how we work effectively.

This survey from Gallup show how most (80%+) employees have shifted to spending at least part of their time working from home – double the pre-pandemic number.

So what? Well, we need to think about how this impacts our teams and our careers.

From a team perspective, are we making sure we are communicating and motivating our teams in the right way? Do we check in with them regularly (on how they’re doing, not just on what’s going on)? Are we making sure they have enough context? And are we ensuring that they are motivated and engaged?

From a careers standpoint, we need to refocus on 2 key areas: visibility of what we’re achieving, and building relationships with people for career progress.

Visibility of what we’re achieving is harder – but being present is no longer enough. In a remote world, our impact counts for more. But we need to make sure that our leaders see this. It feels weird sometimes highlighting and shouting about our own great work, so here’s a quick tip: try calling out someone else’s great work on a project you are largely responsible for. Although they will get some credit, you will also get it for the overall success of the piece of work, and for being a good team player!

Building relationships without organic ‘water cooler’ moments is harder, but my reflection is that remote work is actually a leveller of the playing field! It now matters less  how outgoing you are in the office, and more about how much you’re willing to get time on people’s calendars. Think through who you would like to talk to, and ask if they have 30 minutes for a check-in.

Get in touch if you’d like a strategy on how to do this, including good reasons for them to meet with you 🙂

3. Figuring out your professional purpose

As we come into the summer months and hopefully have a bit more time for reflection, I wanted to share one model which I work through with people who are thinking through ‘what’s next’. (Some of you may well have done this with me already 🙂 take this as a helpful reminder to dust it off).

Career advice for young people these days often says things like “Find your passion”. But the problem is, ‘passion’ is an output, not an input. Passion comes from working hard on things you like – which is a function of your purpose and strengths, and the opportunity to keep developing.

Figuring out your purpose is all about how to spend more of your time on things that you like doing, or you get job satisfaction from.

Many of us spend a lot of our career focusing on the intersection of what we’re good at, and what we can be paid for. This often leaves us feeling like we’re not that motivated (we don’t love what we’re doing), or we don’t feel relevant enough (we’re not solving the problems that need solving).

So, this framework is a great place to think through what you need to get more of next. Hopefully, it will help spark some ideas for you!

For finance people, this type of model can sometimes feel a bit loose and hand-wavey. If that’s true for you, I’ve broken down this model into 6 very practical steps, which almost anyone can follow through – and many of my clients successfully have! Get in touch if you’d like to talk through them.

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Oliver Deacon

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