Sample Program Copy

You are the CEO of You Inc.

In this era of mergers, re-engineering, and constant change, you can no longer rely on your current employer to guarantee your success and security. You must take new responsibilities for managing your own career. In this session you will create the first draft of your Business Plan for YOU, INC. -- a fresh framework for achieving your goals of fulfillment, service, and profitability.


Scenario and Client Responses

This scenario of Ron Gross' presentation "You Are the CEO of YOU, INC." appeared the February 1999 issue of CONVENE, the journal of the Professional Conventional Management Association

I start many of my presentations these days by showing the audience an old-fashioned gold pocket watch on a chain. It's a cheap replica of the one my father received when he retired from his company after 27 years of "faithful, loyal, and exemplary service." I have the original on my desk at home -- a reminder of an earlier era in American business.

I lay the replica down on top of the podium, and smash it to bits with a hammer. "Those days are over," I point out.

Then I cite the data for their industry or profession, about the kind of volatility they must anticipate for the rest of their careers. Whatever field you are in, one thing is clear: waiting for your gold watch is no longer a viable career strategy.

If your work-life follows the norm, you're going to be in for a bumpy ride. In the course of your career, you will have at least eight different positions in five or more organizations, and one or two complete changes of field.

The only choice we have is how we handle that prospect. You can (1) figure you'll just endure, adjust, wriggle, cope, and hope to survive, or (2) capitalize on this new environment to find opportunities for new kinds of success.

If the second option appeals to you, then I suggest that you begin to think of yourself as the CEO of YOU, INC. This "paradigm shift" will enable you to see your strengths, your opportunities, and your potential in a whole new way.

"Every institution is merely the lengthened shadow of an individual," said Ralph Waldo Emerson. YOU, Inc. enables individuals to take advantage of the strategies which characterize one of the most successful enterprises of our time: the professional services organizations like Arthur Andersen and McKinsey.

These companies don't produce cars or buildings or food -- in fact, they don't even own many "hard assets." Rather, they rely on people -- their talents, drive, and integrity -- to produce their tremendous revenues. YOU, Inc. is a one-person professional services firm.

As CEO of YOU, INC., you command six major divisions of your company:

1. Vision and Mission
2. Marketing and Sales
3. Intellectual Capital (Knowledge and Skills)
4. Customer Service
5. Public Relations
6. Research and Development (Innovation and

YOU, INC. need not imply self-employment . Almost all of the audiences to whom I present this strategy, are employed in large organizations ranging from HMOs and law firms, to major corporations and entrepreneurial enterprises.

Thinking of themselves as CEO of YOU, INC. empowers them to see opportunities both within and outside of their present organizations. "Becoming the CEO of YOU, INC. can be an important step in becoming CEO of your company," says Rucker McCarty of Heidrick & Struggles, one of the nation's foremost executive search firms.

This way of thinking helps them answer questions like: "Should I grab this assignment -- or duck it?" "Which three aspects of my job should I focus on with 80% of my energy and time?" "What really gets rewarded around here?" "Could my skills and strengths command greater compensation and recognition in another company...role...industry...geographical area...type of organization?"

And if you do find yourself capsized in your present employment, this approach positions you perfectly to find another and even better situation.

For example, John Fiorelli, a senior financial officer displaced by a merger ("we only need one CFO..."), was in the audience when I presented this approach to his professional association in October, l997. At first he didn't find it congenial to begin thinking of himself as "CEO of John Fiorelli, Inc." "We accountants aren't accustomed to putting ourselves forward that way," he explained.

NOTE: My presentation for your group would feature a comparable case-study from YOUR field, industry or professsion.

But over several months he realized that he was the only qualified candidate. "When I began to look at my personal assets using this framework, I found it tremendously energizing. I could see where my strengths were, and how I could market myself, develop myself, and use other people in more productive ways."

John designed a career development plan using the six strategies listed above. It went far beyond a "job search." He began by clarifying his vision of where he wanted to go next in his career.

Then, he identified the new knowledge and skills he needed -- and how he could get them without leaving the work-force to go back to school (he's got two kids entering college).

Using his leadership skills, he activated others to work with him on achieving shared goals. He has found assistance and inspiration everywhere -- his teen-age son, for example, helped him harness unexpected creativity and marketing skills to create a web-site for John Fiorelli, Inc.!

Within eleven months (one month short of the average for his field and salary bracket), he had landed another CFO position -- one in which he is gaining exactly the experience he needs to move, in two or three years, to his ideal position.

Now, John mentors others in this approach. He has become known in his field as "CEO of John Fiorelli, Inc."


Copyright © 1999, Ronald Gross
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