Out of the Box not Shapeless

July 10, 2012 No Comments

I’ve noticed a pattern especially among those who are making career transitions which include people who might have been sole proprietors or small business owners seeking to move to large corporations or well-funded start-ups.


They have played many roles and see themselves as able to move into any number of roles in a larger enterprise. They might even feel they could master whatever role they were put into – “a utility player”. They have been led to believe that some of these progressive organizations seek “out of the box” thinkers and they fit the bill.


I caution these transitioners to clearly articulate what their core competencies are. I created the Career Mapping process specifically to help people like these deconstruct the component parts of what they’ve done in the past to be able specify the industries, functions and roles they prefer, are good at, and have experience in – all different things by the way. Here are some tips:

  • Define how what you can offer is related to what others do and how that is of value.
  • Express those activities in terms of a title and even levels that are associated with specific compensation, responsibilities and supervision of others.
  • Make sure these considerations shape what you do everyday and how well it is getting done.
  • Measure your performance, as well as that of the organization and the group or division.


Employers in their zeal to innovate and eschew old school hierarchies sometimes fail to realize that you must have at least, broadly defined roles. We are hearing of “bossless” jobs, but the need for clarity of scope in the role remains. The best “out-of-the-box” thing organizations can do is to shape and align a “utility player’s” competencies to a required role.


Neither the career transitioners nor the organization can fall victim to “out-of-the-box” thinking that doesn’t match up with what the organization’s needs –  your greatest strengths.

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