Olivia Gamber: What would you say is the biggest missed opportunity for professionals with 25 plus years of experience?

Kevin Kermes: I talked about this in one of the other videos that we shot. Look at this 25 years experience, all the time that you’ve put in, even if you’re moved amongst different industries, done different things, been part of generation flux like they talk about in Fast Company. The outcomes you’ve produced are kind of the spoils of war. I think that it is a huge missed opportunity not to take everything you’ve done and what you’ve done well, and then whittle it down to focus with kind of laser precision on two or three different areas, sometimes even one or two areas, and put all your messaging, all your experience behind that. It’s that the hesitation there is, again, “Well, I’m looking … I can’t find jobs out there that fit this. I’m not seeing job descriptions [crosstalk 00:01:02].” You’re not going to see them because these are precision, high value problems that no organization is going to advertise.

You have to have conversations with decision makers in the C Suite or one off where you can solve these problems.
Many times, they’re going to want to hire you as a consultant to come in and do this where you will be paid more, where you have, I would submit to you, you have more stability because you know the lifeline of the opportunity that’s in front of you. In many cases, an organization is going to see there’s enough depth with the problem that you’re hired as a full time employee. The whole argument of consultant versus full time is putting the cart way before the horse because that’s dictated by the need of the organization, not your own personal need. The biggest missed opportunity I see is not focusing in with all your weight, experience, and outcomes against a particular problem or set of problems that you can solve better than anyone else and you get really excited about solving. What do you think Olivia?

Olivia Gamber: I agree with you. I think that the biggest missed opportunity is, number one is really the fact that they
don’t recognize that their competition has done a lot of the same things that they have done. Meaning, managed large teams, managed large budgets. Where you can stand out is just like what you said, find those one to two problems, which is the reason the C Suite is hiring you. There’s usually those two pressing fires in their head and find that problem. Then people will say, “Well, this person doesn’t have that problem.” Well, that’s okay. You only need to find one or two people that have that problem because by getting specific, you may feel like you’re leaving options on the table, and it feels scarcity, it’s easy to go to that scarcity mindset … I’m just kind of thinking in terms of the resistance we see to the advice you’re giving, Kevin is people just don’t want to take options off the table because they’re scared that they’re going to miss out on something rather than [crosstalk 00:03:06] …

Kevin Kermes: The big point becomes if everybody needs this thing that you have, then there’s a really good chance that there’s more than one of you and you’re no longer a precision instrument, you’re a commodity.

Olivia Gamber: Yes.

Kevin Kermes: If you want to play in the commodity space, be prepared to be weeded out on a number of things. Let’s put it this way. If you don’t feel like you’ve got the most engaging personality in the world, but you can solve a specific problem, people will look past personality and will look past other issues in order to get you to solve particular problems. If you’ve ever hired consultants who’ve come in who are really good at what they do, and you’re thinking, “God, I don’t understand why anybody tolerates some of the behavior, or puts up … ” Let’s just be really curt about it. Some consultants may not have the most engaging personalities in the world, but they can produce really, really valuable outcomes. That’s what’s important. I’m not saying that the interpersonal part’s not critical, but the interpersonal part, and whether somebody truly likes you becomes way more critical when you don’t have something that is unique.

Olivia Gamber: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kevin Kermes: That’s just not where you want to be. Again, after 25 years experience, it’s not where you should be. If you haven’t taken that time to work through that, to not only figure out what you want to do, but how is it valuable, how do they talk about it, how do they, individuals who are going to hire you, not HR, not recruiters, but individuals you’re going to work for, the market that’s going to hire you, test that message and build relationships that could get you introductions around that, then you will continue to get mediocre opportunities where you’ve got 20, 30, hundreds of other people who are pursuing them and not get calls back from recruiters because there’s no relationship around it because there’s no dire need associated with what it is that you bring to the table.