Friday, November 21, 2008

Transfer of Skills

Transfer of Skills::Career Shift!!

A 52 year old General Manager, Quality Assurance, working in an engineering company, is frustrated with his job. He has worked in this industry for 30 years with multinational and Indian companies. He sees no future for himself in his present job because the next job is that of production head and he has no experience in manufacturing management. Besides, his boss is young and will remain in that role for a few more years. The company has no job that would utilise his skills; this means he will do the same work until he retires. However, when he applies for jobs in the same sector, he does not get a better role profile nor is he able to command a significantly higher salary. The sector barely has any good companies to look forward for employment. What can he do to retrain within a short time and explore options in another industry? He is worried that his expertise and competencies have become obsolete.

This situation is common for many people who have gained all their experience and knowledge in a particular domain. As the corporate world evolves, making rapid shifts in the way businesses are managed, skill sets run the risk of redundancy. There are several ways of assessing whether your skills have become outdated. You can overcome barriers to professional growth, if you carefully recognise that your abilities have a place in different contexts. Search answers to the following questions:

1. Is it that the nature of your job or the industry that has changed? -
Answer this question carefully. Businesses are cyclical and often it is not your abilities that need to be altered, but the industry that you are in that requires a switch. Some characteristics of conventional jobs are usually imperative for management. However, services and products undergo technology changes and these are interpreted as complete revision of business requirements. Ask if it is the job that is not needed anymore or whether there is a difference in the method of carrying out the same job.

2. Why you are not aiming higher? -
If the next job requires you to manage multiple areas, you could aim to achieve that by training on the job and grooming yourself to take that role! If your superior's role is significantly broader than yours, try working towards it and obtain training and experience in that direction. Allow yourself to be groomed to assume larger responsibilities.

3. Is it possible for you to move from pure functional development to well trained talent?-
As professionals in hectic operational roles, we tend to focus on our functional capabilities, not realising that business management and leadership are an integral part of any function. While honing skills in specific areas of your specialisation, it is important to nurture managerial capabilities that can be leveraged.

4. Can you focus on applicability and not specificity of your capabilities? -
Do not restrict your abilities to particular jobs or industries. Use your skills in different ways and apply them to another scenario. For example, quality is a function that is required in sectors other than manufacturing such as telecom, BPO and even healthcare. Do not get bogged down just because your exposure is limited to a specific domain. Identify other areas that could also utilise your potential and experience.

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