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Why is it important to define your USC as a new manager?

Feb 20, 2020

Are you currently transitioning from a professional to a management position? Or have you recently experienced this type of transition? Have you reviewed your Unique Strategic Contribution (USC)? Unsurprisingly, taking on a new management role requires several adjustments in terms of your priorities to focus your attention on and your state of mind to meet your new challenges. Once in your new position, I invite you to ask yourself the following questions: What do I need to focus my attention on as a new manager? What is really important to me and what impact do I want to have on my team? To help you determine what you should focus your attention on, I suggest you define your Unique Strategic Contribution (USC).  

  

What is the USC 

The acronym USC stands for Unique Strategic Contribution. At o2, we define it as a concept that allows us to determine our highest strategic level, i.e. what only we ourselves need to accomplish in our team. It is the element on which we should focus our attention in order to create the impact we wish to have on our team and our organisation.   

   

Your impact as a manager  

Let’s first look back at the impact you want to have in your organization to define your USC as a new manager. What would allow you to be satisfied with your “performance” as a manager at the end of the year? What would allow you to tell yourself that you have succeeded in reaching your highest strategic level?   

If I take the examples of my client managers, I regularly find the following answers: “that the members of my team had fun at work”, “that the members of my team felt they were contributing to the evolution of our organization”, “that the members of my team had opportunities to put their expertise and skills to good use”, “that the members of my team had opportunities to develop professionally”. All of these answers are related to the impact they want to have on their team. Indeed, when we move from a professional role to a management role, our role becomes to get our team to deliver the desired results and much less to deliver the results ourselves. Our success as a manager therefore passes much more through our team and not only through us.  

 

Identifying your USC as a new manager

Considering the impact you want to have on your team, what is your USC? What are the elements that will allow you to achieve this? To define these elements, I invite you to think about your career path. If you are now promoted to a management position, it is highly likely that you will be a high-performing person.  So my question for you is: what has allowed you to perform so well? What did your former bosses do in the past that motivated you to excel? What did they do to make you enjoy your work? In fact, it may be useful for your reflection to ask yourself the impact your managers have had on you to determine whether you want to have this type of impact as well and how they achieved it.  

 

Generally speaking, the following 4 elements are often what enables a manager to have the desired impact:  

 

Vision: clearly explain the management’s vision, the objective behind certain activities and how this will achieve the vision.  

Delegation: involve or delegate some of the more difficult files, which push the employee to do and develop new skills.  

Coaching: offer coaching in more complex files, so that the employee can further develop his expertise.  

Recognition: Recognizing the efforts made.  

   

Only you, as a manager with your employees, can and must do these things for the success of your team. Properly identifying your USC as a new manager is essential in order to focus your intention and attention on what will allow you to have the impact you want with your employees and the organization. In principle, at least 70-80% of your time should be used to focus on your USC. And finally, focusing your attention on your USC will certainly impact your personal satisfaction and your pleasure in managing! 

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