David Kovacovich currently serves as Business Development Director at BI Worldwide, where he produces measurable results for clients by driving & sustaining engagement with their employees, channel partners & consumers. He has also previously held roles at Michael C. Fina, Iron Mountain Records Management, and Coca-Cola Enterprises.
1. Most job postings cite “X” years of relevant work experience and specific education criteria as requirements to be considered for the position. With this in mind, what prior work experiences and degrees/certifications/training helped prepare you for your current role?
This is presently an interesting topic in Human Resources. With certification parameters changing, a lot of people are looking for clarity on the best educational path to success. My professional preparation started with my communications and sociology degrees and was advanced by a graduate degree in Human Relations. I will say, however, that nothing I learned in the classroom was as valuable as my fraternity experience. Being a leader in my fraternity and further being on the Inter-Fraternity Council taught me applicable (more than theoretical) skills. By the time I graduated I had essentially run a 120 person business as fraternity President.
1B. What (if any) additional knowledge or skills that you don’t currently have would make you even better at your job?
Nothing trumps hard work! I know people with only a high school diploma who are massively successful. A lot of certification programs focus only on memorizing and test taking for the sake of gaining a credential. Outstanding people skills cannot be learned from reading a book or taking a test. Nothing beats experience and the lessons learned in the trenches.
2. Some jobs require the incumbent to be very analytical. Others require one to be a strong communicator, and others still require traits like patience, the ability to multitask, self-directedness, comfort with ambiguity, and exceptional attention to detail. Are there any behaviors and/or attributes that you would say are essential to performing the work that you do?
Selling used to be a quick-talkers game, the game is changing. Buyers are far more educated in this day-and-age. Selling is no longer a pitch or negotiation but more-so a strategic conversation. Your buyer has a business need and it is your responsibility to know how your solution will solve their problem. Sales people have to be educated of their buyer’s business goals, knowledgeable of the applicable function of their product/service, and patient enough to teach the process. BS is sniffed out immediately in today’s selling process.
3. Jobs guru Lou Adler says there are only 4 job types of jobs in the world (producers, improvers, builders, and thinkers). Which type of job are you in?
By definition, my role would be in the “improvers” category. The entire mission of our organization is helping our clients improve their business. That said, I think it is really important not to limit oneself to a specific role or set of skills. The better you can understand the core job function of your client, the better you can advise them. Sales people who attend conferences on developing sales skills may be taking the wrong approach. I believe it is far more important to understand what is keeping your buyer up at night. Flexibility is the name of the game! Understanding technology, the necessary skillset of your audience, finance, and applied behavioral economics will make you a well-informed business partner.
4. Does your job involve either directly or indirectly supervising or managing people? If so, how many direct (or indirect) reports do you have?
Yes. I’m part of a large strategic team that supports a Global relationship with one of our company’s core customers. I consider myself a quarterback more than a manager and our success is a collective effort.
5. How does what you do impact the business? Think complexity (different types of impacts) and scale (degree of impact). Put another way: Who and what would be impacted if your job wasn’t being done well, and why would it matter that they were impacted?
I work directly with Human Resource professionals to produce measurable business results. Management perspectives are often based in efficiency by the numbers (hard dollars, characteristics by qualification). Nothing is more important to a business than culture and the appreciation of their employees. The days of micro-management are over. Dictatorships are being replaced by bottom-up leadership. Employees are simply not willing to put up with inflexible management and lack of transparency. Companies do not focus nearly enough on what keeps their all-star employees engaged and productive. Employee recognition is over! Pats on that back are being replaced with strategic programs that amplify business critical behaviors. Businesses are more profitable when employees are able to advance themselves. In short, we’re helping companies remove useless costs while driving the productive behaviors. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing companies retention and revenue amplified through our guided change management. It’s priceless!
6. Is your job safe? Rate its safety on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “seated all day in an air conditioned vault” and 10 being “I’m an astronaut going into space”. If your job isn’t safe, what working conditions (specifically) make it hazardous?
My Job is Safe!
7. Is there anything I missed that people should know about your job? Is there anything else you want to say about what you do?
I would say it is not so much about the job I do or the company I work for. I pride myself in being part of the Human Resources community. My participation in the SHRM Social Media Team, in NCHRA, and as a member of the Phi Delta Theta Educational Committee; are the real difference makers for me.
I would leave your readers with three pieces of advice:
1. Find a company with a cause that you genuinely believe in that is lead by extraordinary people. Life is too short to work for a company that does not share your personal mission. I give career advice to people every single day and this is the most commonly over-looked element of success. If you have a well-developed network, a diverse skill set and an uncompromising will to succeed; you can have any job you wish.
2. Master social media. There are thousands of amazing resources that will amplify your career attributes (often for no charge), expand your group of career advisors, and afford yourself opportunities for career advancement. I have “friends” in social media who I have never met face-to-face who would drop everything to assist me because they have seen the merit of my work in great detail. Why would you avoid the opportunity to display your greatness to millions of people every day?
3. Fail Mightily! I know thousands of people who are not engaged at work. They gather in bars at 5pm and talk about their dissatisfactory work lives. If you want to change your professional fortune you have to get off your rump and fall on your face. People’s fear of failure is the number one thing that keeps them in a job that doesn’t excite or challenge them. This results in an unhappy life. Life is too short to complain about “what was” or “what could have been”. Go get it!
As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.