With your Dream Job in mind, you need to identify the "Career Capabilities" you will need to be successful. Career capabilities are the talents, skills, knowledge, leadership abilities, and relationships that are pre-requisites for success in the field and occupation you have set your sights on.
In this video, you will learn the best way to conduct the research to identify necessary Career Capabilities and how to inventory the assets you possess versus those you need to acquire to succeed in your Dream Job.
OK, let's get started!
You can certainly learn a lot about what's demanded of leaders in a particular field through books and internet research, but we think the most valuable insights come from talking to people who are already on the path that you envision for yourself.
Let's look at how you might go about collecting this valuable information.
Your assignment is to identify at least three people who you believe are on a similar path and conduct informational interviews.
Lucy, whose dream job was to be the CEO of Digital Media Conglomerate interviewed a media company Vice President who was 5 years out of business school. Why didn't she interview a CEO? Like you, she was trying to to figure out what skills and knowledge she needed to concentrate on acquiring in business school – so a person who has an MBA and is 5 years out of school will probably have the most to teach you in this regard
So your objective is to identify people who are about five years out of business school and on a "similar path." Because your Career Purpose and Dream Job is probably unique I want to emphasize that you only need to find people on a SIMILAR path. If you want to lead a cultural shift at a Chinese CPG company, it's not like you need to find someone who is doing exactly the same thing -- an up-and-coming CPG product manager or a young VP a smaller firm that operates in Asia will suffice.
To help you with the informational interviews, we've posted a list of questions that you can use during your interviews in the self-study section associated with this lecture. Before I set you loose, let's look at how you will be using the information you'll be gathering from these interviews.
Remember Jason, the applicant who wanted to be one of the pioneers of a Venture Capital eco-system in Australia? His Dream Job was to be a VC partner in Sydney; so he interviewed a partner in a US venture capital firm, a partner in an Australian venture capital firm, and a well-respected Australian business professor at Stanford who is a thought leader in the VC field. You'll see how he synthesized what he learned and built an inventory of the capabilities he'd need in his post MBA job as an associate in a VC firm.
After completing his informational interviews, there were a number of capabilities, knowledge, and skills that his interviewees told him he'd need in his first few years post-MBA en route to his dream job.
The Leadership Capabilities he'd need included:
Analytical Decision Making;
Inspiring/Influencing with Words; and
Innovating, Creating, and Trend Spotting.
In an MBA program and through self-study he'd need to build deeper knowledge in:
Negotiations/Deal Making; and
Entrepreneurial Strategy & Marketing.
Finally, the skills needed for a VC job post-MBA included:
Financial Modeling & Due Diligence;
Deal Making Experience; and
Business Plan/Company Assessment.
The next step was for our candidate to compare these necessary skills against his existing skills and knowledge to identify which he "had" and which he "needed" to acquire.
Jason had a lot of prior communication and negotiations experience, including deal making, so he highlighted those areas in green.
Although he'd had some exposure to finance, strategy and marketing, it hadn't been from a VC's perspective, so he highlighted those areas as knowledge gaps in red.
In addition to identifying the necessary capabilities, skills, and knowledge to achieving his career goals, Jason collected the opinions of his interview subjects on the best career path to reaching his ultimate career goals. In the fourth and final exercise in the Career Goals course, we'll show you how Jason formulated his career action plan.
But first, it's your turn! The self-study materials associated with this lecture include an interview guide you can use, as well as a number of blank templates you can use to fill in the capabilities, skills, and knowledge you discover from your interviews and research. Also remember to refer back to the Leadership Capabilities Dictionary from the earlier exercises.
When you have completed your interviews and mapped out the necessary capabilities, skills, and knowledge, please proceed to the next (and final) video in this series, where you'll learn how to map out your career action plan. Good luck!
Reference: Lecture Slides and Speaker Notes
Tool: Informational Interview Questions
Tool: Career Capabilities Inventory Exercise (PDF)
Tool: Career Capabilities Inventory Exercise (Microsoft PowerPoint)