Each job and every company where we work are made up of multiple ingredients that come together to create the unique flavor of that role at that moment in time. As we gain experience in our career we start to understand exactly which of those ingredients are essential for our perfect job “cocktail” and which ones just don’t fit our personal tastes. Now that I have several (ahem) years of career experience to draw from, I’ve come to learn that my own perfect recipe involves the following ingredients: culture, product excellence, focus, marketers and parkas. Yes, parkas. Armed with this knowledge, I was able to seek out just the right role as head of Customer Experience at PathFactory and I honestly couldn’t be happier.
Culture is the first element on my list because it’s the most essential one. It ties all of the other pieces together and is the glue between how people interact with each other, how they make decisions, and how they just plain get their work done. It’s the one ingredient I cannot live without.
Product excellence matters to me on a deeply personal level. I need to believe in what my company is selling and trust that it actually makes people more effective and successful. I’ve spent the last several years of my career focused on customer advocacy and I’ve definitely learned that people will not advocate for a product that doesn’t make their life noticeably better. They need to believe in it wholeheartedly before they’ll put their reputation on the line. I feel exactly the same way.
The ingredient of focus is a little more intangible. Focus is the feeling that everyone in the company is marching in the same direction. It’s about leadership being ruthless about what’s important and what’s not, while staying the course month after month. It’s always remembering what the primary goal is and then prioritizing all other work based on that. Never underestimate the power of focus.
Now onto the people ingredient: marketers. I legitimately love marketers. They’re just my kind of people. My favorite thing about marketers (and yes, I’m generalizing) is that they like to try new things. To innovate, to push, to experiment. They’re always looking at the data and trying to eke out better results from the next campaign than they got from the last one. And more often than not, they’re willing to be helpful to their peers in a genuine way. Who doesn’t want to be part of that tribe?
That brings us to parkas…. Apparently I do have an affinity for Canadian companies. I still love my home in the desert and don’t plan to pack up house and take off to the Great White North for good anytime soon, but armed with my parka and mittens, I’m happy to spend a week or two each month with my friendly Canadian co-workers who always point me to delicious restaurants and great drinks in Toronto.
Putting It All Together
At PathFactory, all five of these ingredients are shaken (not stirred) together to create a place where I feel that I can do my very best work, and nothing makes me happier. Because that’s what it really comes down to, doesn’t it? We all want to feel like we can be our best selves in our role. PathFactory has a collaborative and supportive culture with a relentless focus on seeing our customers succeed. Our product is built to make marketers more efficient and effective – and as an added bonus, our clients’ own customers are the recipients of a great experience, too.
Until now, I’ve only had one other time in my career where all of these elements came together and that was during my five years at Eloqua. If you’ve ever worked with an Eloquan from the “early days,” I’m sure you’ve heard them say something like, “Well, when I was back at Eloqua, we did…” (I liken it to the “One time at band camp” phrase from American Pie.) Those days at Eloqua really were like a bonding summer camp experience which might be why so many of us seek out roles now where we can work with some of our former colleagues. It’s exciting to be on the ground floor again of a similar opportunity: strong leadership, clear direction, and the makings of a delightful customer experience. I’m thrilled that I have the chance to lead and shape that customer experience – what an honor.
As you head into a new year, it’s a great time for you to think about your own perfect career recipe. What ingredients do you need in order to do your best work? With each role and each company you learn a bit more about yourself. Take that knowledge and be proactive in shaping your own job “cocktail” – eliminate the ingredients that just don’t taste right anymore, and add more of the ones that do. Cheers!