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  • Writer's pictureOlivier SE Courtois

Career Success: Should You Be a Sniper or Spray and Pray?

People buy people. Behind the greatest entrepreneurial success stories are personalities: Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or Richard Branson. Did you know Richard Branson has more followers on social media than the Virgin Group? Or that Ronaldo has more followers than all the soccer clubs combined? Of course, an entrepreneur's success is collective, achieved thanks to the multiple talents he has surrounded himself with and the excellence of the systems he has put in place.  But s/he symbolizes this collective success and attracts personalities. If you announce that Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver has taken over a restaurant, you'll double its footfall overnight.

The same goes for your professional success. The mention of your name is enough to trigger a series of positive (or negative) impressions in a given community (your company, a group of customers, a recruiter, etc.). In this respect, a key question is: is it better to be a sniper or to spray and pray? Let me explain: a sniper sharpens his guns and aims with extreme precision. At the professional level, you relentlessly develop a unique expertise or focus on a niche.

On the other hand, you can also spread yourself widely, broadening your horizons and developing new skills as opportunities arise. This agile approach can pay off but distract you from deepening your core expertise, and dilute your image in the marketplace. In reality, as is often the case, the solution lies in a skillful blend of the two—the T-approach. Define an area of expertise or niche where you'll gain depth (the vertical branch of the T) and broaden your horizons to adjacent or completely different areas (the horizontal axis).

That's why it's a good idea to stop regularly to take stock of your career and define it as clearly as possible: 

- 1: What is your vertical axis? Can you describe it in simple terms and without hesitation?

- 2: How will you consolidate it?

- 3: What are the different elements that make up your horizontal axis?

- 4: How can you adjust and articulate them strategically rather than randomly?

- 5: How do you create a coherent narrative about your T? One that makes sense to you and your target audience.

- 6: How can you communicate clearly on the "market"?

- 7: Ask someone to challenge you on the exercise results. Sometimes, we have our blind spots.

- 8: Take action/Don't overthink! After all, it's often more about NOW than HOW! 


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