Circles of Change:Conversations with Dr. Zara Larsen
on Change Leadership and Career Fulfillment
September 7, 2008
“Protean Careers:Pursuing Your Path with Heart”
Guest:Dr. Tim Hall, BostonUniversity
1.Individuals who pursue a protean career are self-directed, act autonomously and make frequent moves– within and across companies.Inspired by the baby boomers who were beginning their careers in the late 60’s/early 70’s, at first we thought in terms of mobi-centric executives who moved to advance in responsibility and compensation.Today, the term applies more broadly to how people chart their own paths, and are more values driven.
2.You can’t count on anyone else to have the path charted for you.Company adaptation has driven employees to search out their own sources of support, resources, coaching and growth.The psychological contract of loyalty is no more, and we need to manage via our own internal signals.
3.Research bears out how entrepreneurs and those who are in unchartered territory from the norm (women and other minorities doing non-traditional work) exhibit strong protean tendencies.
4.Beware of the story of the cormorant bird, where the fisherman keeps a ring around his neck (aka exploitation, drums the heart out of us).If you are really good at what you do, are a quick learner, and/or are ambitious or greedy, you could be exploited by those not acting in your best interest.Self-awareness and how you fit into a reference group from whom you feel good about yourself can keep this in check.
5.What helps people make changes are new connections.Those in your current circle will most likely keep you where you are despite the best of intentions.They are not able to get to new ideas and possibilities as readily as those in whose direction you want to move.
6.Peer mentoring and coaching are the major resource to help us grow.Developmental networks are mutually rewarding, cultivating relationships that are motivated to help us.This calls for relational savviness – being proactive, self-aware, and adaptable.
7.For parents – consider the work of Mary Jacobson, “Second Hand Dreams”, how we knowingly or unknowingly influence our children via expecting Loyalty (do what I am hoping you will do) or offering Legacy (passing on who I am not explicitly, but by the way I am every single day).The same applies to leaders in organizations.
Copyright The Larsen Group: Architects of Change 2008