Can today’s companies still centralise career development planning for talent? And can a company’s objectives be aligned to the ability of its people to adapt to the conditions of a new work environment while at the same time promoting involvement and encouraging self-direction?
These were questions the European branch of Japanese pharmaceutical giant, Daiichi Sankyo, wanted answers to. Answers the traditional approach to career planning could not completely provide. Daiichi Sankyo Europe’s Charlotte Boujassy, who is in charge of managing European Talent Development Programmes, sought an alternative approach — one which did not include having to constantly direct them or see talent operate on autopilot because they were too busy with their everyday work and struggle to follow up on traditional career development plans.
Mercedes Hoss and I met Charlotte in Munich in 2018 at COKREA during the Munich Creative Business Week where I offered a Personal Branding workshop. Charlotte immediately understood the potential of our model for her program. Here is a summary of the main ideas that caught Charlotte’s attention and convinced her to integrate our approach into Daiichi Sankyo European Talent Development Programmes.
So how do you become more self-directed in today’s VUCA world?
By going beyond the traditional goal definition + career coaching + professional development + planning approach. This model works on the basis of linearity and predictability, concepts which no longer really exist in the Fourth Industrial Revolution world. After all, for contemporary careers, the main challenge is often to define a goal, to learn how to design one that is fitting, coherent and satisfying.
This aspect is often underestimated. Today, careers are a complex problem — the C in VUCA. It is not so effective anymore to plan for the long and medium term: turmoil is always just around the corner and the relationship between cause and effect is unpredictable and is influenced by external factors that are beyond the control of the company you work for. Circumstances that raise questions like: What will happen once I’ve made specific choices? How do I reorganize my strategy? How do I assess its level of sustainability? How do I make myself credible and relevant? Will I be able to add value in the new context in which I find myself?
In the same way as the most innovative of today’s startups, today’s workers also need lean and agile tools to help them understand how to revise their career strategies, while at the same time keeping in mind what motivates and guides them.
The future of professional development is Professional Innovation
Professional Innovation is not just about learning new skills. It means innovating the way workers create and bring value to their internal or external customers and themselves. At the same time, it means helping these workers become more self-directed and, in the face of constant change, more antifragile, to quote Nassim (or Nicholas) Taleb.
Professional innovation = self-marketing + design thinking + traditional professional development.
Career Agility, Talent Autonomy and Self-Direction are key concepts in our daily activity as work designers. Over the past 10 years we have helped clients in both huge corporations and large companies apply Design Thinking plus new marketing and innovation models to solve complex work and career problems.
At Daiichi Sankyo, to implement an effective Professional Innovation workshop for European talents, we leveraged two key fields:
- (Personal) Business Modeling
- Personal Branding
1. Business Modeling and Personal Business Modeling
“To Motivate Employees, Show Them How They’re Helping Customers” —
Francesca Gino – Harvard Business School Professor
Business Modeling is extraordinarily useful because it leads us to an understanding of how value is generated, contributed and acquired at company, team and even individual level.
In fact, in order for teams and people to contribute to the overall generation of value for a company, each must, in turn, generate, bring and acquire value at their level. Thus following a logic that is representable in team and personal business models. As for companies, if these models are clearly defined, they can be managed strategically. This concept was introduced by Tim Clark in his bestselling books, Business Model You and Business Models for Teams, co-authored with Bruce Hazen. By the way, we both worked with Tim and Bruce on their last book. Indeed, we were part of the team that helped write the book Business Models for Teams which included two case studies based on work we did for our customers.
Business Model thinking ensures everyone in the organisation speaks the same language. Consequently, change is facilitated at all levels of the organization thus keeping value created for customers central. This approach allows strategy, operations and talent development to be more easily aligned.
When workers learn to think in terms of personal business models, they understand their value better because they understand the value they generate for their team / organization and for their customers. As a result, they are more motivated and self-directed, and thus act with a greater sense of purpose.
2. Personal Branding
Personal Branding within companies should be viewed as much more than merely a means for enhancing self-promotion. Instead, its application should be considered for a range of purposes and at all levels within businesses.
Above all, Personal Branding can bring companies significant advantages in terms of broader Brand positioning. This is often combined with positive growth in the perceived value of leaders, workers and collaborators. The primary objective of Personal Branding is to help workers attract win-win opportunities both for themselves and the companies they work for.
Furthermore, as a Professional Innovation tool, Personal Branding helps workers manage their professional image strategically and helps them improve how they communicate their promise of value to managers, colleagues and both internal and external customers. This, in turn, leads to an general increase in trust and credibility. When workers are able to understand more rapidly and more efficiently how to position themselves and generate trust after change, the quality of the work they do increases notably.
The Career Agility Module for Daiichi Sankyo’s European Talent Program
At Daiichi Sankyo, we initially planned a series of live collaborative workshops focusing on personal and team business models, self-worth awareness and Personal Branding. Each was planned using design thinking principles.
In particular, we asked the participants to define a prototype of their goal for their potential future roles in the organisation:
- Thanks to the application of business modelling to current and future teams and the use of the Team Business Model Canvas, we helped the participants understand the reference context of their current and potential future roles;
- Thanks to Personal Business Modeling and the Personal Business Model Canvas, the talents were able to assess the feasibility and sustainability of their potential future roles. The Personal Business Model Canvas in particular is the only tool that links each individual’s Key Resources (e.g. skills, competences, values and personality) to value generated for both internal and external customers;
- Thanks to the Personal Branding paradigm and our proprietary visual tool, the Personal Branding Canvas, talents can now check beforehand their credibility and relevance for potential future roles. They can now draw up coherent professional development plans to make themselves more appealing candidates for future positions.
COVID, online and visual remote collaboration
Something happened, however, that allowed us to experience firsthand what living in this VUCA epoch actually means.
As soon as we had finished designing and planning the program in detail, COVID19 came along. Due to travel restrictions and social distancing, we had to move everything online and therefore change format.
Fortunately, technology gave us a helping hand, even spurring us to innovate how we work. We divided our program into a series of short interactive Zoom-meeting sessions during which we demonstrated the various Canvas models using software like Google Drive and Mural.
Online program feedback
Here’s the very positive feedback on the program we received: the participants were engaged, proactive, reflective, and self-directed. They learned how to distinguish their value proposition and their contribution to the organization’s value creation, as well as their own impact on these. Moreover, they are now more aligned to company goals and customer needs.
- “Everything (content) is connected (different sessions and tools)”
- “Loved the approach”
- “Made me think about my own development and how to manage my personal brand”
- “An opportunity to develop a better understanding of various job profiles and roles within the company”
- “I discovered that I work for the right company :)”
- “An opportunity to reflect on professional and career growth”
- “The importance/ understanding of how I can become a brand”
- “The innovative use of different smart methodologies BEYOND WORKSHOPS to work/interact with teams.”
- “The Importance of allocating and dedicating time to self-development”
- “The identification of opportunities for my team and myself, and understanding what’s missing”
Daiichi Sankyo is a global pharmaceutical company based in Japan that has a presence in more than 20 countries around the world. With a rich legacy of over 100 years of scientific expertise, they are the pioneer behind leading pharmaceuticals that have contributed to the improvement of countless lives.
Charlotte Boujassy: is the European Talent Programmes Manager @Daiichi Sankyo, focusing on Innovative People Development with Design Thinking and strategic alignment | French, English, German, Spanish.
Mercedes Hoss: an experienced project manager, coach, and facilitator and supports organizations by getting teams and individuals to think about innovation strategies, personal/ team/organizational alignment, ways of work, and business models.
She combines 20+ years of hands-on global project management, consulting & leadership experience in the areas of IT/ Finance (Interface between IT & Biz) & business process optimization.
Luigi Centenaro, the Managing Partner in BigName, has served as a lecturer on Personal Branding and Professional Innovation for SDA Bocconi, St. Gallen University, IE Madrid, WHU Düsseldorf, ESSEC Paris, Bath SoM and MIP MBA masters, IED and Ca’ Foscari University. Luigi is the author and curator of many publications on Personal Branding and is the lead developer of the Personal Branding Canvas included in the Professional Innovation Toolkit and Team Innovation Toolkit.
Mercedes Hoss and Luigi Centenaro are both co-creators and core contributors of the Best Seller by Dr. Timothy Clark and Bruze Hazen, Business Models for Teams. Read the Enel case here.