Saturday, July 16, 2005

Case study: Chateau IT professional

I once helped an IT professional at Le Chateau (the retail chain store) to rewrite a letter in which he wanted to ask for a higher salary.

When he gave me his original letter, I felt it was very disorganized and poorly argued. That's okay, because most people are not professional writers.

But what shocked me was that the content of his letter did not show any awareness of the business reality or the business objectives of the company.

Yet he wanted his letter to convince his boss that he's worth more to the company and, therefore, deserves a higher salary.

Then, recently, I read a column by Harvard Business professor Shoshana Zuboff, in which she wrote that according to a recent Conference Board survey, 65% of employees do not identify with the business objectives of their employer.

Trying to advance in your career without a proper understanding of business, is like trying to seduce a woman without knowing how women think.

In both cases, technique is required. Even if you met a woman that you believe were your soul mate, you still need to have a certain "technique" to properly seduce her.

You can't just walk up to her and say:

"I have the unmistakable feeling that you are my soul mate. Would you care to jump into bed with me tonight?"

Conclusion: many highly qualified and experienced professional don't advance in their career because they fail to understand how business works. If you want an employer to give you everything you want (opportunities, higher salary, more resources, flexible schedule, etc.), you have to be able and willing to give them what they want.