It was my honor to speak to a group of high school seniors recently. The question that their teacher asked me to cover was centered around interviewing skills and personal presentation as they enter the market place. Looking around the room as the talk was beginning, it struck me what they seemed to lack, something beyond a strategy for great interviewing or what a recruiter or potential hiring manager looked for in a resume. Don’t get me wrong, the students were respectful and they participated in my discussion, but something was still missing.
After talking with many executives from a number of different industries, the skills necessary to run a company well are not that different from the skills needed to run a great company in many ways. The students listened as the topic formed around this concept, “The CEO of Corporation You.” This is the idea that any great leader understands that the first business they must learn to run well is the business of their own lives. Doing this with excellence will give them the opportunity to pull those skills to formulate a plan to not only meet head on life challenges, but to take those skills into the companies they run or places they are employed.
Consider the following incomplete list of business skills and their possible corollary applications into managing your own life:
- Marketing – the definition according to the American Marketing Association (AMA) the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
For a person managing their own life – this is your personal presentation and the networking skills you need in order to build your own brand.
- Quality Assurance – this is a system for ensuring a desired level of quality in the development, production, or delivery of products and services.
For you, this is the level of learning and education you pursue and the personal diligence you maintain in your life.
- Sales and Sales Strategy – according to an article on Selling Power – The Secret to a Successful Sales Strategy, a winning sales strategy is defined as the customer segments what a company targets, its value propositions for each segment, its sales force structure, and its associated selling processes.
If you want to have a winning strategy in your professional career, it is important to have set value propositions in personal presentation, interviewing and job search strategy skills.
- Continuous Improvement Process – this is a companies ongoing strategy to improve products, services or processes.
If you have a mindset that they will always desire to be a continual learner and a person who seeks to develop their skills as a professional, it will take you a long way.
- Lean Six Sigma – this concept and it’s tools results in eliminating waste, improving processes and problem solving.
Applied to your life, it would be learning the skills to budget and learning the skills of time management – this is not always taught to younger generations.
- Financial Planning and Analysis – According to Investopedia.com, this is a comprehensive evaluation of an investor’s current and future financial state by using currently known variables to predict future cash flows, asset values and withdrawal plans.
It is valuable and a must skill for you and all young professionals to learn financial literacy and financial planning that will carry them for the long-term.
- Human Resources/Team Development – HR teams are developed within companies to provide services and support to a companies employees. Good HR teams are structured to meet the needs of a team, encouraging professional development, productively managing conflict and learning effective collaboration.
In your life, it is important to have communication and conflict skills in all your relationships and teams. It is important for you to maintain a good work/life balance as well.
- SWOT – this is a common tool used in business as a way to identify opposition to a new venture or strategy – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – “this allows professionals to identify all of the positive and negative elements that may affect any new proposed actions”
As the CEO of your life, this is your ability to analyze your dreams, setting manageable and stretch goals, seeing risk and the ability to make decisions on whether or not to take them.
Reflecting on this corporation and life analogy, you see that it can be applied both ways. You can use business principles to manage your own life and life challenges. Also, your life skills can be applied to your leadership in the business world.
What are other life and business correlations have you found applied in your journey as a professional and what advice would you give a group of high school seniors getting ready to manage their own life and careers?