Reflections of a Solo Operator

Solo_Operators
MANAGE YOUR CAREER: 10 KEYS TO SURVIVAL AND SUCCESS WHEN INTERVIEWING AND ON THE JOB | SECOND EDITION
By Donna S. Finley

The solo operator is a challenging and rewarding way to channel a set of unique skills and appetite for change. As professionals mature through their career cycle, the opportunity to become a solo operator increases. However, experience is not the central component of this role, rather, internal drive, leadership acumen, and ability to adapt quickly and frequently are essential qualities for this career to succeed.

As there are many types of solo operators, I want to begin by describing the type of solo operator that I have been for the last 28 years. My background in brief is in the Appendix at the end of this chapter.

I have worked as a solo operator with organizations through a variety of different contractual arrangements. I have been brought in to help solve problems, and to navigate challenges and opportunities to take organizations to the next level of success. Typically, I lead a specific project, or a series of ongoing projects, while working closely with senior leadership, managers, and employees of the organization to develop strategy, plan, and assist through the implementation effort.

Rather than prescribing “solutions,” I guide the organization through rigorous internal and external analysis to arrive at mutually agreed-upon strategic options to pursue. Following this work, I may or may not continue working with the organization—whether on the current project or on an ongoing basis on future projects. I am expected to provide expertise, leadership, and objectivity, while assisting with the work. This is at the heart of what I do as a solo operator.

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