Career Crossroads

Preface .. Hmmmm

I’m in a reflective mood right now .. as I sit at my desk in the early hours of dawn about to start another day of fasting (its Ramadan 2019).

I find myself again at a crossroads .. the past few years have been tough. The IT (“tech”) industry is moving fast and evolving daily. Digital Transformation and emerging trends such as AI, ML, RPA, IoT, Blochain, etc. are constantly disrupting people and businesses everywhere leading to an i creased frenzied approach to remaining profitable, competitve and, dare I say it, innovative. 

“IT” seems to be rapidly more about infrastructure and ‘keeping the lights on’ than supporting innovation and new business models. People choosing to be on the ‘business’ side of a company are leveraging SaaS and Cloud solutions to stand up ‘shadow IT’ capabilities without following any type of due process resulting in potential data breaches, cyber security hacks and other potentials compliance issues which could ultimately affect the brand and reputation of a company .. within seconds .. due to the urge to be seemingly entrepreneurial but probably more likely reckless at the expense of fame and fortune. 

The past few years have been a rollercoaster but I sincerely believe that 2019 will be the start of renewal for me and an opportunity to build upon and bring to light all my life experiences, consulting & transformation & coaching skills to become what I believe I need to be – a tour de force. 

Funny how few people (especially today’s recruiters, head hunters, and hiring managers) actually understand or value experience built up over many years. We seem to be in an era where we want everything NOW but without giving time to engineering, design and thought. Project delivery persons believe they are the ones to engage with Boards and orchestrate change but forget the need for those who have all the while come from a place which involved creating, assuring and packaging qood quality products and solutions that afford businesses the services that attract customers and therefore the revenue / profit that everyone is chasing.

So, I find myself at a cross roads .. having worked hard to be an effective interim (an independent consultant NOT a money hungry contractor), I am considering the option of going permanent and returning to some semblance of stability, regularity and security that a ‘career’ might give me and reducing / dropping extra-curricular stuff I have engaged in for too long. And in doing so, I question whether I am reducing my value going forward by accepting the ‘regular’ pathway that many people tread due to financial pressures and obligations that result from having a family and big aspirations to be successful – whatever that means.

Why is it that our options actually reduce significantly while we wrestle with the lack of control to have freedom to express ourselves and evolve with the times – as we grow older, become parents and heads of family and take on the responsibility of parenthood seeking to nurture and support our young children who need everything they can get in order to survive a whole new world – which is at times superficial, ultra judgemental, scorecard / league table basedand fixated on what we appear outwardly to others .. rather than being celebrated and rewarded for what we have (and hold) within.

Anyway, these reflections and constant questions lead me to re-evaluationg my goals – specificially underlined by my next ‘gig’ – I hope I choose wisely and I pray that my choices lead me to be content and fulfilled .. in the hope that I am also respected and admired by my peers for doing a good job and adding value. Tick Tock.. only time will tell!

Career Evaluation Tips

Rather than regurgitate stuff, I thought I would simply include an original article from 2014 which is still relevant today and sums up great advices for everyone who may be taking time to evaluate their next career move.

Extract from ‘Tips for creating a Career Path’ (

A succinct, detailed career plan is one of the most useful tools you can use to identify where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there. Here are five key steps to help you create your own career plan.

Step 1: Self evaluation

To discover what you really want to do, try answering these fundamental questions about your personality, preferences and values in your career plan:
  • What motivates me and what do I enjoy doing?
  • What are my personal attributes and lifestyle priorities?
  • What do my family and friends see as my strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the five key things I am looking for in a job?

Step 2: Skills analysis

As well as your personal preferences, your existing skills are an important indicator of the direction in which you could head. Reflect on your skillset with the following questions:
  • What qualifications and experience do I have?
  • What are my key strengths, transferrable skills and specific skills?
  • What are my biggest achievements to date?
  • What are my weaknesses and areas for development?

Step 3: Setting your direction

Based on your key interests, attributes, skills and experience, you can now start to formulate ideas on the type of roles/industries that will suit you best. Try brainstorming as part of your career plan:
  • The broad industries that really appeal to you
  • The types of roles that would suit you best
  • How these options match your personal preferences
  • Key skills that may need development

Step 4: Committing to a timeframe

Now that you have an idea of where you want to go, it’s time to work out how you can get there. Ask yourself the following questions to help break down your goals into smaller, more manageable milestones for your career plan:
  • What do I want to achieve within the next six, twelve, eighteen months?
  • How and when will I achieve my training and education goals?
  • How and when will I gain the additional skills and experience I need?
  • How can I expand my network, and by when?

Step 5: Review your career plan

Having established your goals and how to achieve them, you will now have a clear pathway in which to head. It’s important to monitor the progress of your career plan at least every six months, to ensure that you are on track to meet your goals. Re-evaluating your career plan and goals allows you to make adjustments based on changing economic and personal circumstances.

Concluding thoughts

So in ending, I continue to share the extract which I hope is useful to anyone else who may be reviewing or re-evaluating what they want (need) to do next… Bon Voyage! 
Carefully creating a career plan will help you make conscious decisions and progress towards your long-term goals and ambitions. Ask yourself these fundamental questions:
  •  What are your values?
  •  What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  •  Where do you want to go in your career?
Set yourself a timeline, review your career plan as often as you wish and adjust your plan to personal and economic considerations. 

What’s Your Influencing Style?


Effective leadership today relies more than ever on influencing others — impacting their ideas, opinions, and actions. While influence has always been a valuable managerial skill, today’s highly collaborative organizations make it essential. Consider how often you have to influence people who don’t even report to you in order to accomplish your objectives. Success depends on your ability to effectively influence both your direct reports and the people over whom you have no direct authority.

Have you ever thought about how you influence others? The tactics you use? We are all aware that people use different influencing tactics, but did you realize that we each naturally default to the same tactics every time? Or that the tactics we default to are also the ones to which we are most receptive when being influenced?

It is these preferred tactics that define our influencing style. Analyzing the different influencing tactics, researchers have identified up to nine primary influencing tactics. In our quest to further understand personal influencing styles, we did additional research to build on the existing knowledge base. From our research, we’ve identified five distinct influencing styles: rationalizing, asserting, negotiating, inspiring, and bridging.

You may have an idea what your style is just from hearing these labels, but the most accurate way to identify your style is with an influence style indicator — a self-scoring assessment that classifies your style based on answers to questions about preferred influencing tactics. But even without the indicator, here are some questions you can ask yourself to begin to understand your style:

  • Rationalizing: Do you use logic, facts, and reasoning to present your ideas? Do you leverage your facts, logic, expertise, and experience to persuade others?
  • Asserting: Do you rely on your personal confidence, rules, law, and authority to influence others? Do you insist that your ideas are heard and considered, even when others disagree? Do you challenge the ideas of others when they don’t agree with yours? Do you debate with or pressure others to get them to see your point of view?
  • Negotiating: Do you look for compromises and make concessions in order to reach an outcome that satisfies your greater interest? Do you make tradeoffs and exchanges in order to meet your larger interests? If necessary, will you delay the discussion until a more opportune time?
  • Inspiring: Do you encourage others toward your position by communicating a sense of shared mission and exciting possibility? Do you use inspirational appeals, stories, and metaphors to encourage a shared sense of purpose?
  • Bridging: Do you attempt to influence outcomes by uniting or connecting with others? Do you rely on reciprocity, engaging superior support, consultation, building coalitions, and using personal relationships to get people to agree with your position?

While answering these questions, take your style a step further. How often does it work for you? Are you more successful with certain types of people? Have you ever wondered why? Since there are five different influencing styles, using only your preferred style has the potential to undermine your influence with as many as four out of five people.

Gaining awareness about our own influencing style and those of others is especially critical in light of today’s fast-paced and stressful work environments, and here’s why: When we are operating unconsciously out of a preference (our style) and not seeing the results we expect, we actually have the tendency to intensify our preferred behavior — even when it’s not working!

If your individual success depends on gaining the cooperation of people over whom you have no direct authority, this should concern you. The way to begin to increase your odds of influencing more people is to learn to recognize and use each of the five styles.

Becoming aware that there are influencing styles other than yours is a good start. To further increase your influence, you must learn what each style sounds like when it’s being used effectively and ineffectively. Gaining this awareness will help you recognize when the style you’re using isn’t working and how to determine one that will.

What’s your influencing style? And what are you going to do about it?

Reprinted from Harvard Business Review (HBR).