Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Tale of Two Valuations: Hi-tech Corporations First

Sometimes you have to hit a problem head on and just lay it out there. I've been thinking about the best way to discuss some of what I've been hearing and learning on and offline, in public and private communications, as I tackle this question of corporate and academic valuation of a professional's contribution. As I stated earlier, I believe there is more in common than may appear on the surface, but as I discuss this topic with people, I am not yet finding the concrete information I want to ferret out. I'm not ready by a long shot to give up. We need this information to be able to bridge the cultural divides and learn from each other. So I have been debating how to get away from the more abstract and/or philosophical discussions and into the reality of day to day existence.

I am going to write some of what I have heard and do it from two angles. First from a corporate angle, and second, from an academic angle. And both, I might add, based also upon my experience in both arenas.

First, perhaps the more challenging for me: the corporate angle. Although I have worked in the hi-tech world, more of my career has been in academia.  Let's stick to the realm of hi-tech and management level positions - here you are likely to find more interdisciplinary activity, however defined, and innovative companies recognize that. Here goes...

I have been told that, from an American corporate perspective, a person is valued primarily on their monetary contributions. Irregardless of where they are coming from (professionally). To be more precise, here is a close paraphrase of what someone said to me:

"you have to show quantitatively how much $$$ you have brought the organization; you have to show how much $$$ you saved the organization; you have to show the resources (physical) you obtained for the organization. That is what they expect. That is what they want to see. That is what they care about. That is what matters".

Is that IT? 
Is that ALL? 
Is that REALLY the only thing that counts or the thing that weighs far heavier than anything else?

Is it a fact that no matter what else one may have accomplished, that if one can't show precise fiscal contributions one is not highly valued?

This question is burning at me when I look at the question of professional value from the corporate angle. If the answer is yes, I'm feeling rather uneasy. The implications for bridging a cultural divide with academia become more daunting (but still not impossible my optimistic side says).

So let me put it out there to those of you in corporate hi-tech, especially if you have held or currently hold, a management level position of any sort.

Do you agree with the above statements about how you and your peers are valued? If you agree, are you ok with this or how are you trying to change it? If you do not agree, or if there is more to it, then what else in your experience really counts?

1 comment:

  1. I want to thank everyone who has replied to this post either privately via email or via LinkedIn where I often cross post my blog entries. Lots of you have provided meaty things to think about.

    Think (and eventually write) I shall be doing. If you have more ideas, please continue to let us all know - here or on LI.