Preparing for free agency

Engineers who approach their careers with a most valuable player (MVP) mentality are better prepared to find new jobs if and when downsizing, rightsizing, or headcount-reducing mergers occur. Watch any televised sporting event and the statistics about team and individual performance are mind boggling.

08/01/1999


Engineers who approach their careers with a most valuable player (MVP) mentality are better prepared to find new jobs if and when downsizing, rightsizing, or headcount-reducing mergers occur.

Watch any televised sporting event and the statistics about team and individual performance are mind boggling. When professional athletes become free agents, their statistics become the basis of their ability to find a new team and maintain their salaries.

Individuals willing to gather, document, and maintain their own performance statistics can likewise invest in their future by showing they are also desirable, MVP-caliber free agents.

One caution, enlightened employers seek employees who carefully balance the career, social, financial, family, physical, mental, and spiritual areas of their lives. As Dennis Rodman, self-declared bad boy of the National Basketball Association, recently discovered: employers know off-court antics can affect workplace performance enough to require action, even if the action creates short-term adversity for the team.

Seven steps to MVP

Establishing an MVP mentality requires applying the following steps to each of the seven lifestyle areas listed above:

1. For each area (i.e., career, etc.), write a list of dreams that includes everything you want to be, do, or have. Let your imagination go, list everything, and be specific. For example, "improve first-pass yields by 2%" is more specific than "improve quality." Similarly, "spend one hour per week one-on-one with each child" is more specific than "become a better parent."

2. Wait at least 24 hours and in a single sentence explain why you want to be, do, or have each item on the list. If you can't verbalize it, then it's truly a dream. Draw a line through all the dreams.

3. Each item remaining on the list requires a "yes" answer to the following questions. Is it really my goal? Is it morally right and fair? Is it consistent with my other goals? Can I commit to finishing this goal? Can I see myself finishing this goal? Honest responses will further reduce the list.

4. Of those desires that survive the first two cuts, ask the following questions. Will reaching this goal:

  • Make me happier?

  • Make me healthier?

  • Bring me prosperity?

  • Bring me closer to friends?

  • Give me peace of mind?

  • Increase my security?

Try not to confuse pleasure with happiness, but if you answered "no" to all of these questions, eliminate the goal from the list.

5. Place remaining goals into short (one month or less), intermediate (one month to one year), or long-range (one year or more) categories.

6. Choose and record three goals from each area that are most important to work on right now, keeping in mind a need to balance short, intermediate, and long-range goals.

7. For each goal document the following:

  • Major obstacles to overcome;

  • Skills and knowledge required;

  • Individuals, groups, etc. required;

  • Plan of action; and

  • Completion date.

The first attempt to work through each step for each goal in the career, social, financial, family, physical, mental, and spiritual areas of your life can take a lot of time. Engineers and other professionals may want to think of it as baseball's spring training or football's preseason training camp. It's the preparation necessary to achieve your personal best during the upcoming "season" also known as the rest of your career. It's the development, achievement, and documentation of these goals that will make you an MVP and a desirable free agent.

For more information on goal achievement, contact Zig Ziglar Corp., 3330 Earhart, Carrollton, TX 75006


Author Information

Dave Harrold, senior editor dharrold@cahners.com


Steps to becoming an MVP

List all your specific dreams.

Wait 24 hours, explain why you want each item; discard those you can't verbalize.

Honestly question if each is a genuine goal and if you can commit to finishing it.

Ask if achieving each will make you truly more happy and prosperous.

Put each goal into short, intermediate, and long-range time categories.

Choose three goals from each category that are important to work on now.

For each goal, list obstacles, required skills and knowledge, colleagues, action plan, and completion date.

Source: Control Engineering with data from Zig Ziglar Corp.



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