Manoj fears the worst. After working for 14 years he realizes that just being diligent at work isn’t going to get him far. On the contrary, he is losing out to the 20-somethings who are entering his organization. Manoj is a manager with the supply chain department in a leading apparel firm and is facing still competition from not just his peers but those who are new to the function. They have the same qualifications and certifications and did similar work. He didn’t think he stood apart. He decided to connect with his mentor Hasan to discuss his dilemma.
Hasan: “Manoj, nice to meet you again. Everything ok? This sudden meeting makes me wonder if something is amiss.”
Manoj: “Thanks for giving me time at such short notice. I have been contemplating the changes taking place around me and am unsure about what to do.”
Hasan: “Tell me more. What do you notice?”
Manoj: “When I joined the industry 14 years ago, my batch was among the first to be certified as supply chain experts and we were in demand. Those were the days when the retail industry needed freshly minted professionals and we had exciting roles to play.”
Hasan: “So what’s changed?”
Manoj: “In our work, we are almost always behind the scenes and keep the retail industry working smoothly. However, no one notices the worth of each individual in this function. Over the last few years we are seeing institutes churn out thousands of such professionals and our value has diminished.”
Hasan: “By value – you mean the value of your function or of your specific responsibility and contribution?”
Manoj: “I feel there is nothing to differentiate me from any of the others. We all seem to be doing the same job and after a while to the rest of the organization, we are just the same – irrespective of the years of experience and credibility I bring to the table.”
Hasan: “I am glad you are thinking about this situation, at least now. It is never too late. What do you think differentiates you?”
Manoj: “My background as a supply chain expert and experience to boot, I would think”
Hasan: “Why is that a differentiator?”
Manoj: “Hmm…now that you ask. Can’t see how that helps. I am confused. What must I do?”
What do you think Manoj must do to build his personal brand? Where and when does he start?