Career Services Update
Upheaval, Upgrade & Upward
“Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” - Arthur Jones
few of my colleagues and I recently formed a virtual book club. We each had our reasons for joining; maybe it was a break from the daily grind, a chance to increase our level of human interaction while working from home, or to expand and enhance our current skill sets. Whatever the reasons were, it was well worth it. For our first read, we chose “Upstream,” by Dan Heath. It came highly recommended and I believed it had enough practical professional applications to justify doing a little reading and discussion on company time. Within the first 10 pages, in which Heath invoked the quote above, it was clear that the book could change the way we approached the work we do as Career Consultants. According to Heath, “Downstream actions react to problems once they’ve occurred,” meaning that “Downstream” systems are a cycle of response, constantly putting out figurative fires and measuring each as a success, even if the “fire” was preventable. Conversely, “Upstream” thinking and systems aim to prevent problems from happening in the first place. As a consultant, I address and resolve the downstream “fires” every day, but the highest and best use of my time is when I work upstream, preventing those fires from ever happening. The personal, professional and organizational implications of this kind of thinking are endless, but it really hits home when we apply this thought process to your career. How and where do you start? Begin with an acknowledgment and understanding of the stages you will encounter: Upheaval | Upheaval occurs when you miss out on opportunities or suddenly realize that you are not where you thought you would be at this point in your career. This “ah-ha moment” is an inflection point where upstream thinking could be useful, but you will first need to work through some barriers to upstream thinking. Those include: Keith Soriano, PGA, is a PGA Career Services Consultant serving the Colorado, Utah and Nebraska Sections. He can be reached at (720) 841-1006 or ksoriano@ pgahq.com.
Problem Blindness: “I don’t see the problem.” Complacency and comfort are powerful forces, and both reinforce downstream thinking. Don’t be afraid to question both the “how” and “why” of your current systems. 1. Lack of Ownership: “The problem isn’t mine to fix.” People often feel as though they are at the mercy of the system and they can’t see a reason to expend the energy to move upstream. 2. Tunneling: “I can’t deal with the problem right now.” Sometimes we may recognize the problem but are so focused on the fires in front of us that we can’t possibly move upstream to fix the real problems.