Dream Jobs-The missing group you need to succeed

Middle office (http://www NULL.flickr NULL.com/photos/ethanhein/4188173964/)

Middle office (http://www NULL.flickr NULL.com/photos/ethanhein/4188173964/) by Ethan Hein (http://www NULL.flickr NULL.com/photos/ethanhein/)

Some client work for my Omnigraffle portfolio. An example of stakeholder mapping.

Dream jobs have people who are stakeholders: people who have a vested interest in your work, but are not your customer. Because they are not your customer, your manager, or your coworker, stakeholders tend to be ignored.

That can be a killer when starting out in your new dream job. Here’s why.

Dream job stakeholders can help you understand your customer

The reason stakeholders are stakeholders is because your work indirectly impacts them in their work. Since they are impacted by your work but also work with your customer, stakeholders are in a unique position to help you understand what you need to do to best serve your customer through your work.

Stakeholders can protect you

You wouldn’t normally choose to have a manager that wasn’t right for you. But you can get a poor manager as the result of a corporate reorganization and there you go. All of a sudden, the management changes and they changes for you are not good. Having managers running around spouting off about the poor work of someone on their team (like you, poor work or not) is bad. Really bad.

Stakeholders, though, can shut this kind of trash talk down. They can defend your work in management meetings and can offer the view of the customer. Consequently, it is vital to enlist the support of stakeholders early in taking on the new position.

Stakeholders expand your business network

An important aspect of managing your career is building out your business network. This helps you help others in their business needs, but also gives you an important window into other opportunities. Starting out at a new company means your business network there consists of your manager and coworkers. That limits you to your immediate group and you completely miss anything going on outside of your immediate group.

Stakeholders can help get you out of this minimal business network so that you can expand your reach inside the company. In larger companies, this reach is important as it gives you the ability to consider positions in the company as they come up with stakeholder support.

Stakeholders are the lost constituency when starting your dream job

When starting your dream job, there is so much focus on doing your work, learning about your manager and coworkers and pleasing customers that stakeholders get lost. Yet stakeholders provide you a base outside of your immediate department and can provide critical insights into the company, your team and your customers.

Go look for stakeholders to help you solidify your dream job.

Dream Jobs Require Leadership

Wonderful Dublin, fine impression of the capital of Ireland, taken in early 2010, with love and so much more...:) (http://www NULL.flickr NULL.com/photos/uggboy/4405805408/)

Wonderful Dublin, fine impression of the capital of Ireland, taken in early 2010, with love and so much more…:) (http://www NULL.flickr NULL.com/photos/uggboy/4405805408/) by UggBoy ( have fun doing it ) (http://www NULL.flickr NULL.com/photos/uggboy/)

How long has it been since you started a dream job?

If you are a grizzly old veteran of the work force, you probably don’t think too much about the person starting their first day on their dream job. Been there, done that.

But remember the feelings you had when you started that first day (http://leadertalk NULL.mountainstate NULL.edu/2010/02/think-about-your-first-job NULL.html), long ago? Maybe it wasn’t your dream job, but it was new. Exciting. Nerve-racking. Sweaty palms stuff.

Praying you hadn’t just made a huge mistake by taking this dream job. Thankful that you finally were able to get a dream job.

Most of all, you were hopeful. Hopeful that you’d like the work. Like the manager. Like your coworkers — and they would like you. Hopeful that all those horrible stories about managers and companies wouldn’t come true at this gig. Hopeful that you could focus on your work and not on the politics. Hopeful that what you thought was a dream job would actually be your dream job.

Do you remember hopeful? I do. And so does the person starting their new dream job.

Leaders encourage newcomers on their dream job

Everyone can be a leader. There is nothing more helpful to a new person starting their dream job than giving encouragement that he or she made the right decision. That he or she is welcomed into the group.

Starting a new dream job means everything is new. Everything is different — even if it is a different job in the same company.

Leaders reassure people and are curious about newcomers lives. They are interested in people as people. They look for ways to find common ground (http://humanresources NULL.about NULL.com/od/involvementteams/a/team_culture NULL.htm).

Leaders offer hope.

Leaders help find value

In the book, ‘I’ve Landed My Dream Job — Now What???’ I talk through the need for individuals starting out in their dream job to start determining their unique value to the team.

Left unsaid is that everyone should try and help the new employee determine their unique value to the team. It makes the team stronger and able to handle higher levels of work (http://www NULL.brianmac NULL.co NULL.uk/articles/scni13a2 NULL.htm). Managers should have some idea of how the new employee can help the team — the manager should start to determine if what he or she thought was accurate.

While companies can think employees are a commodity to use to achieve their goals, managers and coworkers should know that the strongest teams will survive the longest — and thrive in good conditions.

But instead of helping an individual figure out their unique value to the team, too often we just keep doing what we do and let the new person figure it all out. Much better to help determine the unique value to the team — it makes the team stronger. Sure, the new person has to prove his or her value to the team, but encouragement and support will go a long way to help.

Being on a team is a two-way street

Business is social, of course. Meeting new people, getting to know them and helping them figure out what needs figuring out is tough for some people. If you are on a team, you can help yourself and your team by offering encouragement and help (http://www NULL.aetc NULL.af NULL.mil/news/story NULL.asp?id=123192675) to someone just starting their dream job.

It will help confirm their best hopes for the job.