Executive Spotlight: The Biggest Misconception About Your Job

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There are misconceptions about every job. And the longer you stay in the same line of work, the more misconceptions you'll hear from those not familiar with what you do. Executives in particular have had many years to discover the misconceptions about their work.

We recently asked our leading executives what the biggest misconception about their job is—to gain some insight about their profession.

Here are their responses...

Jim Black, Engineering & Technical Executive

Engineers work on computers

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I am an engineering executive, and I am very technical in nature. I also admit I am a NERD. My job expects me to be a nerd, and I know many things. I lead a highly specialized aviation testing group with over 100+ years of experience. These men and women are the best in the industry. I work every day to keep up with their expertise as an outsider.

The misconception about my line of work is simple... I rarely have all the answers. I need to rely on my team, my peers, my network, and my friends to share ideas. By collaborating with my team, I can find solutions. By working with peers, I can help guide the group to improve. Friends and colleagues often lead me to new insights and better ways of thinking.

Engineers come off as "know-it-alls" and experts in their field. We did not get there overnight. We worked with many people and collaborated over time to gain this expertise. Very, very few engineers and scientists are like "Sheldon Cooper." Many of us work with great people to share ideas and develop new solutions for today's problems. Our secret weapon is our ability to collaborate and combine experiences. Rarely do we work alone or have brilliant ideas given to us by divine intervention. Our solutions require hard work and sharing with others.

Jim Black is an engineering professional focused on the development of technical professionals. He is also a professional bass player.

Andrea Markowski, Marketing Executive

Marketing team does a market and audience analysis

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Some people may think that marketing executives spend all day placing advertisements. Advertising is certainly an important ingredient in the overall marketing pie, but it is only a small slice.

The supporting crust of the marketing pie is an in-depth understanding of the target consumer and how to best communicate to them the value of a product or service. This is done through loads of research and data analysis (the ingredients) that inform strategies (the recipe) and, ultimately, actionable tactics (assembling the pie).

One of those tactics is often paid promotion in various channels, AKA advertising, which is viewed as the whipped cream and cherry on top!

Outsiders usually only see that delicious pie topping and don’t realize all the work that went into baking the pie that supports the topping and makes it appealing enough to eat. Bon appétit!

Andrea Markowski is a marketing director with specializations in strategy development, digital tactics, design thinking, and creative direction. She has superpowers in presentations and public speaking.

John Schembari, Senior Education Executive

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Since schools tend to seek out consultants during periods of challenge, they often are looking for quick fixes to their problems and expect education consultants to direct them accordingly. While expedient, client schools won’t grow in their expertise around best schooling practices and/or systemic processes if consultants "tell" schools how certain opportunities for school improvement should be addressed. Consultants aren't the people necessarily doing the day-to-day implementation work; long-term positive change happens best, therefore, when staff is consulted/vested in the next steps.

An education consultant serves as an outside thought partner when looking at school/community-based data, listening to stakeholders about wants/needs, and helping schools develop effective strategic improvement plans. Yes, education consultants should share knowledge of best practices gained from having worked within many school settings but, ultimately, the chosen course of action needs to be owned by the school. It is the consultant's responsibility to follow up consistently with the client, throughout the length of the contract, to ensure that improvement milestones are being met. Good education consultants work themselves out of a job.

John Schembari is a current K-12 teacher/school leader academic improvement coach and former school building and district administrator. He loves to draw, travel, swing dance, and read nonfiction.

Lisa Perry, Global Marketing Executive

Digital marketing concept

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Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about marketing. Too many to list here. The biggest misconception about marketing is that it is an external activity. For example, if you have a campaign, advertising campaign, or email campaign, these are external activities. Marketing is an internal process of exploring, creating, and delivering value to meet the needs of a target market in terms of goods and services. It’s the strategic work you do, figuring out who your customers are, what their needs are, where they are, and how to communicate with them. Make no mistake, marketing is a leadership function that, when done correctly, will develop the strategies that drive lead generation, conversions, fulfillment, and revenue.

Lisa Perry helps companies build leadership brands, driving loyal customers & delivering profitability. She does this through a process that builds brands consumers love. Her goal is to help companies develop, monetize, and grow their brands.

Dr. Hannah Hartwell, Learning & Development Executive

Learning and training concept

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​One common misconception about learning and development is that “everything” can be solved with training; that is, offering training is the only way to solve business problems. It’s empowering for professionals to think training can have such amazing business problem-solving skills. However, training is not always the solution. I would need to ask more about the business problem, including the direct impact, the audience, the resources available, and the desired timeline. Often when I meet with clients and colleagues, we figure out more appropriate solutions—sometimes it’s training but not always.

Dr. Hannah Hartwell is a learning and development executive and change management practitioner with 15+ years of business transformation experience in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, higher education, and professional services industries.

Carla Biasi, Personal Stylist

Personal stylist helps a client pick out some clothes

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The biggest misconception is that we shop all day. While we do shop to learn about current trends, merchandising ideas, and services, we study trends and learn how to incorporate them into everyday living. We study color and body type analysis so our customers look and feel their best.

We understand the human psyche and how to work with people of different backgrounds and personalities. Stylists help individuals build confidence and self-esteem. We work with their concerns and create images that propel people forward.

Our financial skills include creating budgets and how to save our customers money.

We are professional and can earn certifications.

Personal stylists can truly wow the executive community.

Carla Biasi is a personal stylist living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She currently has her own business and works part-time at an upscale women's boutique and as a virtual and kit stylist for a women’s specialty brand.

What's the biggest misconception about your job? Join the conversation inside Work It Daily's Executive Program.

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