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Mass Career Customization

Mass Career Customization

by Frank Roche on October 9, 2007

in Books

MCC CoverI studied mass communication in grad school, which was right around the time that mass communication was declared dead. Enter the internet, 500 television channels, satellite radio, and video mashups and what do you have? Mass customization.

That’s what’s going in in careers, too, according to the authors of Mass Career Customization. Cathy Benko and Anne Weisberg, both principals at Deloitte, lay out what they call an “MCC” strategy. In effect, MCC is a structured way to look at a spectrum of a career, which may have its ups and downs along the way depending on where an employee is along his or her career lifespan.

The authors spend a lot of time up front beating the business case drum for MCC, and by Chapter 4 define it:

MCC is centered on a view that, increasingly, the career journey of may employees in the knowledge-driven organization of the twenty-first century will look similar to a sine wave of sorts, with climbing and falling phases. …[SNIP] The customized, undulating path requires and ongoing collaboration between the organization as a whole, the manager, and the employee.

Basically, MCC recognizes and puts a framework around a career reality: Priorities change over time. As people mature and their personal situations change, their priorities change.

MCC DrawingMCC as a concept is interesting, and it’s been tested in a few organizations, namely the authors’ own company, Deloitte, along with SAS, Ogilvy & Mather, and law firm Arnold & Porter. It’s a structured framework to discuss career paths in what Benko and Weisberg call a “lattice organization” as opposed to a “ladder organization.”

The drawing at the right is the framework for MCC. It includes career dimensions of Pace, Workload, Location/Schedule, and Role. You can try out an interactive exercise for your own career trajectory by clicking here.

Mass Career Customization is thought-provoking read and offers a structured way for people in talent acquisition to discuss the totality of careers with both employees and managers. MCC works when managers and employees both understand the “rules.” Applied right, MCC could become the Balanced Scorecard of talent management.

Ordering Info:
Mass Career Customization: Aligning the Workplace with Today’s Nontraditional Workforce
Cathleen Benko and Anne Weisberg
Harvard Business School Press 2007
ISBN-13: 978-1-4221-1033-1

HBR, Amazon

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