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Revisiting the Three P’s
I published a blogpost in July 2016 titled “Considering the Three P’s” after having a conversation with an officer who was struggling to understand how to connect his experience directly to different positions in Corporate America. In the last few weeks, I’ve had a number of similar conversations
where officers have told me that they are having a hard time understanding how their day-to-day tasks and job responsibilities equate to any significant accomplishments. This makes sense to me. The military is structured and routine. In many cases, not changing things or rocking the boat is a good thing!
We like to think about the Three P’s, PEOPLE, PROJECTS and PROBLEMS as the bridge between connecting your military experience to what hiring managers and decision makers are looking for in business interviews. They know you likely don’t have any industry experience, but what you do have is leadership experience – leading PEOPLE, leading PROJECTS and solving PROBLEMS!
PEOPLE: Oftentimes JMOs equate people leadership to subordinate leadership. While that is certainly a form of people leadership, that is not the only type. People leadership is influencing an individual or a team, regardless of positional authority. You can lead people who you outrank, you can lead peers and you can lead those who outrank you.
PROJECTS: An easy image to consider when thinking about managing projects is building a house. In that scenario, you have a customer, a builder, plans, a budget, a timeline or schedule, specific key tasks, when those tasks will occur, who will complete the tasks and the material or equipment they’ll need to do it. (A good visual picture here is knowing that you can’t hang drywall before the foundation is poured.) Ultimately, projects typically have a scheduled completion date and the project manager is shooting to be on time and on (or under) budget.
PROBLEMS: I like to think about a problem as anything that is preventing the organization from performing at it’s designed or optimal level. Sometimes a problem can be an “ankle biter” – something that has been around for years that is degrading performance by a small amount that everyone is willing to live with (although not ideal.) Other times, problems can be catastrophic show-stoppers that must be completed before the organization can move forward (this is more rare.) Problem solving is about digging in to uncover the true root cause, developing an optimal course of action and correcting the problem.
In each scenario, the key is to define when you did it (led people, managed a project or solved a problem), the steps you took to do it (how you did it) and why you did it that way. In doing so, you will be well on your way to finding significance in your daily routine, tasks and job responsibilities.
If you’d like to talk more about the three P’s, contact me directly!
Pete Van Epps
(210) 874-1519 // firstname.lastname@example.org
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