It Starts with a Vision

Posted  | 0 Comment(s)  |  by Laure de Jong

As a Career Coach, I have just about the best job in the world.  I get to help really talented professionals plan their career strategy and find their next opportunity. One such professional was Lori P.  Lori isn’t just a talented professional; she is a truly amazing woman – extremely accomplished and instantly likeable.  She had spent 15 years helping to build a thriving, highly profitable San Francisco based professional services business. When a new CEO was appointed and her executive role was eliminated, she found herself in the job market.

Lori had worn many hats in her career, from General Manager to Head of Sales and Business Development, and she loved them all.  She knew she could be happy in any role, so long as it allowed her to help the company grow, prosper and break new ground.   What was most critical to Lori, at this point in her career, was finding the right company.  Lori’s vision for her next company was: one that values collaboration, integrity, accountability, and innovation; one where her colleagues are authentic, engaged and excited about their individual and collective contributions; one that provides a truly valuable product or service.

Once she had articulated her vision, Lori was eager to get started.  Being a natural networker, she was quick to set up meetings with friends, colleagues and professional contacts to spread the word about what she was looking for.  What happened in the few weeks that followed was truly remarkable.

Knowing what Lori was targeting in a company, I happened to think of a small Boston-based professional services company I had heard about over the years.  I went to their website and was amazed at how closely their Mission and Values mapped to Lori’s vision.  I said to Lori, “I know you have no intention of moving to Boston, but you have to check this company out, if only to prove that there really are companies out there that align with your vision.”

A few days later, Lori met with a Principal in a professional services firm.  Lori described her vision and he said, “You should look at this company that is based in Boston, I know you aren’t interested in moving, but you never know.” He didn’t have any contacts there but, once again, his idea was triggered by Lori’s well articulated vision of where she wanted to work.

Not more than a week after that, Lori reached out to an executive recruiter that a Partner in our firm put her in touch with.  They chatted about her vision.  A few days later, the recruiter called Lori to say “I just landed a contract to fill a Chief Sales Officer position with a company that I think would be a great fit for you based on our last conversation. They are a small professional services company based in Boston, but since the CSO will lead their national sales effort, they can be based anywhere in the country”.  

This now seemed to Lori like an almost impossible turn of events.   It was as if all roads led to this small company on the other side of the country.   Of course she was interested in pursuing the position!  The company was in high-growth mode and she knew she could really make a difference.  From the very first interview, she felt the chemistry and they felt it too.  Lori was offered the Chief Sales Officer position which she started this past May.  She loves it! 

Luck and timing certainly played a role in Lori landing this opportunity. But, without Lori’s vision and her ability to help others see it, it is highly unlikely she would be where she is today.  It starts with a vision.

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