Thursday, June 25, 2009

You can learn a lot from job postings

Many years ago during my first career as a catering sales manager, I used to openly read the employment section at my desk, much to my boss's chagrin. On more than one occasion he warned me that our property's general manager would get a bad impression. I countered by saying that I'd be glad to explain what I was doing, but I wasn't going to give it up. You see, I wasn't looking for a job ... I was looking for company prospects for corporate holiday parties and special events. And the employment section of the paper was pure business intelligence gold, often citing or reflecting the hiring company's size, growth, values, culture, and benefits generosity ... often listed just above the contact information of the decision-maker for catered staff events. Of course, I'm not sure that the strategy would work as well today given that the printed ads of the past have been severely reduced by online listings and the web. And having moved on to other pastures, I don't have the same needs anymore either. But it does go to show that you can find value in unusual places - even job postings - when you keep open to looking at things in a different way.

Which brings me back to the inspiration for this post. A few days ago, I received notice of a job posting for Royal Dutch Shell in Houston. I've long admired Shell for their innovation program, to which I was introduced by a gift from a former superior of The Art of The Long View. So, I decided to read the full job posting. Here are a few of the details from the job listing:

Responsibilities:


This position is built around a team of unconventional people who find and fund exciting concepts through an early stage development process (team members work as “sponsors” for idea “proponents” until
their concept is proven/not proven, and thus ready for pick-up by
other R&D or business processes)


This individual will need to navigate through a land for which
there is not yet a map (this requires a curiosity to pursue the
interesting without getting distracted by the unimportant)

Establishing productive plans for novel ideas thus requires
people who are comfortable with ambiguity and thrive on change

Create new technology opportunities, new directions for the
enterprise, and positive futures for people all around us


Key Accountabilities:

Recognize and stimulate unusual ideas that could have high
potential impact

Use personal networks to link ideas and people that might not
otherwise interact

Apply your own individually unique skills and interests to
develop new opportunity domains

Ask tough and insightful questions as a participant in team
portfolio review and decision making panels


Requirements:

Proven experience helping other people turn their ideas into
reality; the incumbent will be required to work with multiple fluid
team structures and that requires trust and integrity



Wow, what a great piece for thinking!
There is so much there, but my favorite part is "this requires a curiosity to pursue the interesting without getting distracted by the unimportant." I may even post it above my desk.

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