Tag Archives: Career Leader

Four Career Trajectories: Linear, Expert, Spiral, Transitory

Kenneth Brousseau

Kenneth Brousseau

Successful careers can follow forms other than “up or out,” according to Decision Dynamics’ Kenneth Brousseau, Michael Driver of USC, with Lund University’s Kristina Eneroth, and Rikard Larsson.

Their “pluralistic career concept framework” classified careers as:

Four Career Concepts

Four Career Concepts

LinearTraditional upward movement, with variable job role tenure, and motivated by power and achievement.

Behavioral competencies include leadership, competitiveness, cost-efficiency, logistics management, profit orientation.

This career concept is most seen in tall hierarchies with a narrow span of control.

Michael Driver

Michael Driver

Expert – Little movement and long role tenure due to deepening expertise in a narrow discipline.

Motives include mastery, expertise, and security.
Meaningful rewards are continued training, benefits, recognition.

Competencies are quality, commitment, reliability, technical competence, stability orientation.
This career concept is well-matched to flat functional organizations.

Career Motives, Competencies

Career Motives, Competencies

SpiralLateral movement to broaden functional exposure, with seven to ten year tenure in roles.

Motivated by personal growth, creativity, and suited to matrix organizations with cross-functional teams, this pattern is seen in loose, temporary team structures.

Rewards include cross-functional lateral assignments and training.
Key competencies include creativity, teamwork, skill diversity, lateral coordination, people development.

Transitory – Lateral moves with three to five year tenures are motivated by desire for variety, independence.
Most often found in temporary team structures, behavioral skills include speed, networking, adaptability, fast learning, project focus.
Meaningful rewards are job rotation, temporary assignments, immediate cash bonuses.

This team’s research was distilled into assessment tools focused on career “fit” with an organization’s structure and objectives.

Timothy Butler

Timothy Butler

A similar emphasis on cultural fit is found in CareerLeader Inventory, based on Timothy Butler and James Waldroop’s research at Harvard Business School.

James Waldroop

James Waldroop

-*Which of the four career trajectories seems most like yours?

-*Which career assessment tools have you found most useful to determine your skills, interests, and best-fit organizational context?

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Questions to Answer in Personal Brand, “Elevator Pitch”, Resume

Colleen Aylward

Colleen Aylward

Colleen Aylward asserts that the following questions must be answered in your resume, “elevator pitch”, information interview, and online presence in her book, From Bedlam to Boardroom: How to get a derailed executive career back on track!

  • What is your [narrow, deep] expertise?
  • What are your strengths?

Career Leader by Harvard Business School professor Timothy Butler

  • What is your unique business differentiator?
  • What problems have you solved? How?
    [Note accomplishments and quantified impact, not responsibilities;
    Specify numbers, even if <10 – contrary to style rules]
  • How have you increased revenues, profit?
  • How have you improved processes?
  • How have you demonstrated creativity, innovation?
  • How have you reduced costs?

The last four items, indicated by *, are considered critical Key Performance Indicators that you must convey clearly, repeatedly, and memorably in all in-person and online activities.

-*What assessments and tools have you used to uncover your strengths, expertise and key differentiator?

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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

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