This is Part 4 of a 4 Part Post.
The question is more difficult than it looks. “Who needs what I have?” means:
- What’s the profile of the organization that needs my thought leadership, skills, and expertise? What organization is experiencing the problem that I’m best at solving?
- Who’s the ultimate decision maker for whom that issue is causing insomnia?
Let’s take an example so this becomes more tangible. Recently, I worked with a Director of Corporate Tax. Here are the answers to her first 2 questions:
1) What do I want to do? She wanted to continue in a similar role, in a similar industry. When we dug deeper into that looking at where she was at her best and where she added the most value (they were the same thing, by the way), she wanted to minimize tax liability for the corporation, enhance their tax planning capabilities to drive compliance, and control the cost of compliance. That was her brand.
2) How will my personal priorities impact my next step? She wanted to work another 5 to 7 years before considering retirement. Luckily, in her geography, there were plenty of large employers in her same industry with roles (not necessarily openings at the moment) like her most recent.
The two biggest drivers for her were to match or increase her previous compensation package, and to find an organization with the ‘right’ leadership attitude.
Which leads us to question 3: Who needs what I have?
Any organization in her industry would need what she has to offer, so the critical difference came to the 2nd part of the question: who’s the ultimate decision maker for whom that issue is causing insomnia?
This Director of Corporate Tax wanted an organization whose leadership was looking for out-of-the-box solutions to help enhance their tax planning capabilities. In her words, she wasn’t looking for a company that wanted someone to 'come in, sit down, shut-up, and do what they were told.'
In her prior roles, she created tax compliance tools that quickly generated “what-if” scenarios that evaluated multiple tax positions.
Those scenarios gave the organizational leaders the decision-grade data they needed to respond to complex changes in tax regulations -- which saved money and reduced exposure.
She wanted to do that for another organization whose C-level officers were looking for that kind of expertise.
Next, we profiled the ultimate decision maker(s) for whom that issue is causing insomnia, which she identified as the c-level officers of the organization.
This is important to note, as a director, she didn’t report to the CFO, she reported to the SVP who was two levels below the CFO. But the stake holder or decision maker to whom she needed to appeal was the person who is being held accountable for results.
Armed with this information, she now could build a list of the organizations she wanted to target, a list of names of target stakeholders, and build a plan of how to network to them.
If you’re thinking, that’s great, but I’m not clear how she built that plan and what she might have said, please check out this amazing book called “The 20-Minute Networking Meeting” by Nathan Perez and Marcia Ballinger.