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How to balance motivation and ambition

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How to balance motivation and ambition

Postby Ralf K. » Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:22 am

Dear forum,

We all have ambitions to a certain extend, and I am convinced these also get us going in the morning and motivate us. In my specific case, I tend to have a big amount of motivation which somehow is getting mis-interpreted.

I like my job a lot and invest most of my time for it. In the future (next 2-3 years) I want to do an MBA or go abroad etc. Unfortunately people tend to say "this person wants everything..." "this person is only focused on himself".

I am sad to hear that, as I really enjoy my job and I love to learn new things. I learn because I want to be better at what I do. I would not put my colleagues down or use pointy elbow to make my way up.

How can I let people know that I am willing to put extra effort and that I like my job, without receiving the "negative sticker" of beeing a self-centered careerist?

PS: I work in med tech sales & marketing with a scientific degree and I am a junior in that area.
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Re: How to balance motivation and ambition

Postby PG » Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:50 am

What type of situation are we talking about here ie when do you bring up the fact that you want to do an MBA or go abroad for work etc?

If I would have an junior employee working with med Tech sales and marketing that have proven himself to be a valuable asset to the company and this person brings up that he wants to develop himself further by for example rotating to a position in another country or doing an MBA a couple of years into the future my reaction would probably be positive and I would start thinking about what I can offer to this person to keep him motivated and allow him to develop his career within the company in line with company needs.

If I on the other hand have an interview for a position in med Tech sales and marketing and the candidate is a relatively fresh graduate and during the interview this person brings up the fact that he wants to do an MBA in a couple of years or possibly asks me about the possibility to rotate to another country my raction would probably be less positive and I would at least think that the person is jumping to far ahead.

A better question in this scenario is a more general question saying that you are very interested in developing your career and although you of course understand taht your first step is to work inthe position you are being interviewed which will offer you the opportunity to learn a lot of new things etc....you are also very interested in hearing a bit more about how the company is thinking about career development and how they work with rtaining of their staff etc. Importantly ask this question towards the later part of the interview or maybe in the second interview (if the process involves more then one interview which is very common) when you feel that a mutual interest have been established otherwise it can again be seen as jumping to far ahead.
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Re: How to balance motivation and ambition

Postby Dick Woodward » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:48 am

PG's advice is absolutely correct - if you prove your value to the company, they will take an interest in developing your career. If, however, you assume that they already see your value (e.g., at an interview), you are probably taking yourself out of the running. Follow carefully the advice in PG's last paragraph and you will do well.

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Re: How to balance motivation and ambition

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:50 pm

Agree with Dick that PG's advice is terrific and that the last paragraph is very important. I've seen interviews bungled because the candidate brought this point up too early in the process,

Dave
“Humility is not my forte, and whenever I dwell for any length of time on my shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things; not at all like the glaring defects in other people’s characters.” - Margaret Halsey
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Re: How to balance motivation and ambition

Postby D.X. » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:23 am

Hi Ralf,

In Addition to all of the great advice above, here is bit more from a fellow Marketeer.

Be a bit more politically saavy with whom you discuss your ambitions to. Ambition is a great Thing to have, but I recommend you keep your aspirational Goals to yourself and only socialize that with your direct-line Supervisor or relevant stakeholders who have direct influence for you to acheive your Goals, where you have a positive working relationship (i.e. Country General Manager).

If you wildly speak of your ambitions, many can think you want to achieve those external to the Company. You don't want that.

Your Ambition and Motivation will Show by the work you do and the crediblity you establish, let that softly talk to your working style and energy with out you directly highlighting it.

By talking about your ambitions external to your Supervisor, behind closed doors as part of your IDP, then you end up with some of the perceptions of self-centerness you may have by non-relevant stakeholders to your development.

Should you motivaton and energy talk to favorable Performance Ratings on your annual Reviews (where you get a pulse of where you sit in the organzation from a Talent perspective), then that leaves a door open to talk to your Development Plan with your Supervisor that can include MBA and/or Country-Level experience, contextualized into your over-arching career Goals.

So be a bit prudent with whom you socialize your ambitions with - let your work-style Show what you are (i.e. deliver you Job effectively, volunteer to talk on additional Projects, or take the lead to fill a process/Information gap).

You work in a very political industry and your in one of the most political and visible functions in the industry (Mktg), so don't direct unecessary to your ambitions and avoid mis-perceptions on your Motivation and Goals.

All the best,

DX
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Re: How to balance motivation and ambition

Postby Ralf K. » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:31 pm

Thank you all, great and useful advices (as always).

@D.X.This would have been exactly my next question: Shall I communicate my career strategy openly. Now i know.
Regarding politics:
I am glad that I am not the only one who thinks this is sooo political. I used to work in research lab in industry. Now in the international organization in sales&marketing it's not comparable, every sentence and presentation I need to very be careful what I write to not comit to anything by mistake. Even when you are at lunch the people watch their back before they talk.

--

To respond to the question in what context I mentioned it:

I am just finishing an additional certification that I started before joining this company on my own expenses. The company asked me if they should pay some parts, and I said no and they were wondering why. So I said I would like to learn more about marketing and business development and do an MBA later. My true motivation was really that I want to learn it...

So I will be more carefull to whom I speak about my motivation.

Thanks

Edited for clarity and anonymity
Last edited by Ralf K. on Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to balance motivation and ambition

Postby D.X. » Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:31 am

Ralf K. wrote:Thank you all, great and useful advices (as always).

@D.X.This would have been exactly my next question: Shall I communicate my career strategy openly. Now i know.
Regarding politics:
I am glad that I am not the only one who thinks this is sooo political. I used to work in research lab in industry. Now in the international organization in sales&marketing it's not comparable, every sentence and presentation I need to very be careful what I write to not comit to anything by mistake. Even when you are at lunch the people watch their back before they talk.

--

To respond to the question in what context I mentioned it:

I am just finishing an additional certification that I started before joining this company on my own expenses. The company asked me if they should pay some parts, and I said no and they were wondering why. So I said I would like to learn more about marketing and business development and do an MBA later. My true motivation was really that I want to learn it (and that I want to add something to my Master, as I compete with PhDs).

So I will be more carefull to whom I speak about my motivation.

Thanks


Hi Ralf,

And welcome to the world of corporate politics where the best opinion to have is no opinion and the best survival tactic you have is ensure every decision is a team consensus decision - this is where the so called corporate veil starts. It's super intensified as you noticed at the Global/International-Level and especially in an industry where at our Level there is more Job consolidation than Job growth. So enter you lunch experiences. Do you work, Keep your head down, and learn stakeholder Management - build personal advocates behind closed doors, learn the art of getting Agreement in smaller Teams before bringing things a larger audience. Stay Close to your Boss and ensure you're speaking one voice in your department - Refrain from opinion, stick to Facts.

And even when you do tell the Facts, well you have probably seen that it is quite represents, and probably has to, a virtual reality of the actual truth :)

Try to be beyond reproach. Do not get too passionate, ensure you Keep a distance and don't get too emotionally attached to anything you do or propose. Be flexible.

I would think going to an affliate would be better but that's quite incremental - I do maintain a Level of politics is removed when you eliminate the Global Connection - however - you'll have a different set of politics to deal with as a function of your affilate size/ and more organizational complexity.

Glad you take the key learning from me - don't socialize you ambitions openly. I think though this coversation will go out of scope of the Forum so contineu any further Dialog with me via PM as needed.

Being anonmous on this board offers me the opportunity to share such views without Retaliation.

Best,

DX

Edited to add a few Points.
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