In the previous installment of this series, I talked about the larger context of job creation. So let’s get started on creating your own custom job.
Whenever you’re selling an idea, it has to start with an established customer need. But who is the customer in this case? It’s the higher level managers who have a role in accepting your proposal, in creating your new job. If you’re looking to do something different within the scope of your current team, that might be the person you’re working for now. Often it will be other people who could potentially create the kind of job you’re looking for, but elsewhere in the organization.
Most likely that involves multiple layers of management, and different functions. It’s common for the Human Resources department to have a strong say in how (and whether) jobs get created and perhaps the Finance department who might control the purse strings for your dream job. We’ll talk about this more in part 5 of this series.
They are your customers. So what is it that they need? Ideally, it would be:
- An important problem, one which has real impact.
- A problem they already know they have.
- A problem for which your proposal would be a great solution.
Let’s say, for instance, that I would like to investigate and put in place an improvement for a process that’s quite broken today. Here are the questions I need to ask myself and others:
- Who recognizes that this “broken process” is actually a problem?
- How does that impact the existing stated goals of the organization?
- Who is experiencing pain because the process is broken?
- Are those people in a position to create my desired job?
- Who else might have a stake in wanting to fix the problem?
- Who has a stake in preventing a fix to the problem? (In this case, who is more served by the process being broken than fixed?)
I’m not quite done yet. Likely I’ve come up with a lot of different statements of the problem, and of possible desired solutions. Now the hard work is to coalesce these down into a single statement of the problem that people can agree to, agree needs to be fixed, and that will support the case for ME being the solution.
It should be obvious, but let me say this: You have to test your assumptions, conclusions, and messages — with all these key stakeholders and supporters. Not only will it help you clearly articulate the compelling need, but will build their support for your proposal. We’ll talk about that next!
~ ~ ~
Series on Creating a Custom Job Out of Thin Air
- Part 1: How Are Jobs Normally Created?
- Part 2: Establishing the Compelling Organizational Need
- Part 3: Describing How Value Would Be Provided
- Part 4: Others Affected by the Job
- Part 5: Stakeholders and Gatekeepers
- Part 6: Courage, Follow-Through, and Accountability
by Carl Dierschow