February 7, 2024

Career CAPA

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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In this week’s episode, I’m breaking down how you can leverage the CAPA process to solve your small and big career challenges. You’ll learn how to create your own Career CAPA for things like: bosses who don’t show up to meetings, team members who don’t deliver, getting rejected for a promotion, or not knowing what you want next in your career. By implementing this concept you will be sure you are solving the right problem and preventing the problem from occurring again.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to create your own Career CAPAs to solve for everyday career challenges
  • How to know if you’re solving work problems with a band-aid or addressing the root cause
  • How to solve specific career problems like challenging stakeholders and being turned down for a promotion using the Career CAPA process
  • How you can always feel in control of your career using the Career CAPA process

Mentioned in this episode:

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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology, and I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self-worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted, whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader. We are shattering the glass ceiling here, the one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week, you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of woo so you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more, and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up level begins now.

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. We are in February, and do you know what that means? I am so excited to offer you a brand new training, How to Get Your Dream Job as a Woman in Pharma Biotech, Even with Budget Cuts and Layoffs. Listen, I know that the The industry has had ups and downs. We’ve been talking about it here on the podcast for a while, and so I’m going to provide even more help than I do on this podcast with my new training. The generic advice out there, it just doesn’t work well. You need something specific for women in the industry that has proven to work. You are busy. You don’t need to spend 20 hours scrolling on LinkedIn or applying to a bunch of jobs that you don’t really want or spending hours at networking events feeling awkward trying to get a new job. Instead, I’m going to tell you exactly what to do to get a better job, a promotion, or improve your current role, maybe even all three. You’re going to learn the mistakes you’re making now so you can get your precious time back. You’re going to know what it takes to advance as a woman in the industry without gross key tactics and political games.

I’m going to give you the specific strategy you can use that is going to get you a better job this year, and even why these strategies work with budget cuts and layoffs or whatever you’re hearing about why you can’t get the job or promotion you want. You are going to leave with an action plan, and it’s all happening on Zoom, so everyone’s invited February 16th. You can register at my website, and I’ll make sure that I provide that link for you in the show notes. Now, even more exciting than this incredible training is at the end, if you want me to guide you personally into a better job, then you’ll be able to join the next cohort of Beyond the Ceiling, my four-month group coaching program program for women in pharma and biotech. You will get certain in what the next best career move is for you, and you will get a new job, get promoted, plan your career future, all while improving your current job or circumstances so you have less stress and are more effective. You will be with other high-achieving women in the industry that are a lot like you that struggle with the same things and have the same goals.

So whether you want to make a career change now or in the future, or you’re just thinking about a career change, you want to be on this training. I’m going to tell you what to do and save you so much time. So when the time comes, you get what you want quickly. And I’m going to share all the details about Beyond the ceiling and answer all of your questions live. Plus, there is a 48-hour bonus that is only available to those that are registered for the training and schedule a consultation to join the group. So if you’re thinking of joining the group, register for the training so you can get that bonus. All right, it is such an exciting month. So much support for you right now. Okay, Now let’s talk about the topic of the week, Career CAPA. You are probably familiar with what a CAPA is, but I’m going to just baseline this for us so that we have a basic overview. A CAPA is a corrective and preventive action. CAPAs are put in place to address errors or something that went wrong. The corrective action is what fixes the problem now.

The preventive action is what prevents the problem from happening again. And there are good CAPAs and there are bad CAPAs. Now, I would define a bad CAPA as one that doesn’t address the root cause of the problem and a good CAPA that truly gets to the root cause and prevents the issue from happening again. If you don’t get to the root cause, then while the problem is likely to reoccur, it’s like a bandaid. Back in my industry days, it would be so frustrating when we would have to work on CAPAs that were not addressing the root cause, and you knew it was just going to be a waste of time for everyone in the long run. You can imagine being connected to the training group like I was. We saw a lot of training for CAPAs or human error CAPAs. It’s much easier of a solution to delegate the problem to a mistake or a training issue, then make the preventive action to put together a training and check it off as delivered, then it would be to fix a system issue, a policy, a procedure issue, an inefficient lab, bad equipment, management Issue, right?

Those things are harder to solve than to just say, Oh, well, we just need new training. We just need an updated procedure. We just need an updated training, right? So bad CAPAs, they’re likely to have that problem reoccur. They don’t solve the problem truly. It’s just more like a bandaid. But good CAPAs, they take more thought, more investigation, and even more resources. They take hard conversations and holding people accountable that maybe aren’t typically held accountable. So why am I talking to you about CAPAs? Because this concept applies directly to the problems that you’re having at work and how you solve them. Do you see the clouds parting? Are you having an aha moment? If not, let’s keep going. When something small happens, like your boss blows off your meeting, you have a project team member who never gets things done early, and so you’re worried that she won’t get her deliverables done on time and it’s going to impact the project, or you aren’t sure how to speak up in a meeting with people senior to you without offending them, but you also feel like you need to share your opinion to be contributing in a valuable way, or you want to be home earlier, but you find yourself working late, or if you do end up going home for dinner, you log in after the kids go to bed.

Or maybe something bigger happens, like you aren’t happy in your job, but you don’t really know what you want, so you just stay stuck. You asked for a promotion and you didn’t get it. You liked your company, but you don’t really see any future growth or potential in your group, so you don’t really know how to continue to grow your career there. You’re applying to jobs, but you’re not getting interviews, or you are, but you’re not getting offers. How do you solve these problems? If these were an incident that happened and you were in charge of putting together a CAPA, would your CAPA be a good one or a bad one? Let’s break down some of these examples so you can have a better context of what I Let’s say your boss blows off your meeting. What do you do? Do you follow up with them and ask if they’re still meeting? Do you just go back to work and wait for them to tell you what happened and they’ll just catch up with you eventually? Do you send a strongly-worded email? Do you go complain about it to your partner over a glass of wine?

Do you talk about why the meeting was missed and how to prevent it? Having bosses that blow off meetings can happen. Can happen with any stakeholder. It can become a norm that they are just so busy and that is the life that they’re living, of always being busy, always running, always too late, that sometimes they miss meetings and they might be super sorry about it. They might be a wonderful person that just maybe isn’t managing their time well, maybe getting sucked up to the culture, and they’re just not happy that they missed your meeting, but also it just keeps happening. Now, if this behavior is preventing you from doing your job effectively and wasting your time, then I suggest that you approach this from a CAPA perspective. You can ask yourself, why is whatever your boss is doing, whatever that they are doing, why is that more important to them than your one-on-one? Because if they’re prioritizing another meeting over yours, why is that? Do you have an agenda for your meeting? Is it clear what your boss was going to provide you? Do you have a process for if a meeting is missed by either of you for last-minute cancellation?

Do you schedule your meetings at times that are mutually convenient? How can you have a meeting process that benefits both of you or the whole team? What could you do that allows your boss to get caught up like they do sometimes, but still not disrespect your time? Answering these questions can help you create a CAPA so you don’t just deal or address the problem that happened in this instance, but you prevent it from happening again. And by preventing it from happening again, I’m referring to your time being wasted or you not getting what you need, you not having the information that you need for a project, for something you were hoping to talk to them about. Not necessarily that you will prevent your boss from ever being late again, but it is possible that you could put in a solution for that too. But I want you to focus on how to have that CAPA for the problem that is causing you pain, that is preventing you from getting what you need, from feeling disrespected, from wasting your time. Let’s do another one. It’s like a game. All right, so let’s say you have a project team member that doesn’t get things done early, and it’s stressing you out because their work impacts the entire project.

And if they miss their deadline, it sends a ripple of negative consequences to other people and milestones. Think about how you address this. A common solution that my clients have done is they will try to control the other person’s work. They will assume they won’t do it or plan for them not to do it early enough, and they will try to do it for them. They will try to take some of their work off of their caseloads so that they can get this milestone done on time. And it puts them in hyper alert and increases their stress level. It can then lend to other people too, where you start controlling other people’s behavior or feeling like you need to control their behavior and feeling like the whole project is on your shoulders. So what do you do? Is your behavior now to send them reminders? Do you try to do some of their work so the big stuff is taken care of? Do you see how it goes and then maybe feel anxious the whole time? I was talking to a client about this recently, and she did all of these things. So I asked her, Why do you think that this particular employee, this colleague, doesn’t get her work done earlier?

And what came up in this situation is that the team member was just following guidelines and timelines given. The problem is the project leader had an expectation based on how she works, that the work would get done earlier, that the team member would understand how her work impacted others. But that wasn’t the experience of this team member. This team member was used to working in project teams where the deadlines were the actual deadlines, There’s no reward for getting it done early. So no one had told her that there was this other expectation. It was an unspoken expectation. There were expectations and assumptions that were made that caused my client to overwork and compensate and stress out. And one way to investigate this so you have a good CAPA is to look at why you think someone is doing what they are doing. Once we coached more on this, we realized all that needed to be done is that the milestones needed to be shifted so the actual deadlines weren’t the actual deadlines, and to do this across the board. There also was a gap for all the team members on how they impacted each other and the why of the deliverables.

So we developed a team activity to build cohesion and help them all understand each other’s deliverables and how they impacted each other. And they’re going to be going through that at another upcoming project team meeting. So we solved for that also. Now, because we dug into the why, instead of just solving for the immediate problem, we were able to come up with solutions that wouldn’t just fix the problem with the project now, but prevent the problem from happening again, which means my client didn’t have to have this over control and stress all the time. All right. Now, let’s talk about an example from the macro problem list, the big problem list. Let’s say you don’t know what you want in your career, but you aren’t happy where you are now. So you just aren’t sure what to do because you know what you don’t want, but you don’t know what you do want. Now, the bad CAPA would be to do what we’ve always been taught to do, what we know to do, which is probably to complain a little bit to our friends, our work besties, our family. We start looking for another job, scrolling online, hoping to find the one, but you don’t find anything that actually is the one.

So you maybe look for a stretch project or a department transfer, maybe focus on promotion so you can get some change or growth. But then you have a bad day, and you’re really frustrated with the fact that you think you’re settling and you deserve something better. So you just apply to the jobs you see out there that you think you might want. Now, I have been there. This is so common for my clients, but it’s a bad CAPA. You’re looking to what is out there, to your colleagues, to maybe what former coworkers ended up doing, to decide what is best for you. You’re staying stuck and spinning in the same cycle of activities. Then you have a bad day and decide you’re fed up. But you don’t even necessarily want the jobs that you’re seeing, or you don’t necessarily want to change departments or do a rotation or a stretch assignment. What happens when you do this is you might end up getting that new job. You might end up getting a stretch assignment at work. But because you don’t know what you really want, you just know you want to change what you don’t want, you won’t stay happy for long.

Shortly after you get that new job, the promotion or stretch assignment, you’ll realize it isn’t what you wanted. And then you’ll start the cycle over again because you’re not addressing the root cause. The root is you don’t know what you want. The solution is to figure out what that is, to know how to always know what you want, and then to make that change. Instead, when you just jump into anything that’s different thinking you might want it, crossing your fingers it works out, it’s like closing your eyes and throwing a dart and hoping you get the bullseye. But instead, you can actually just figure out what is best for you. Then get into that. And then what happens is you don’t have regrets. You feel like you’re finally in the right place for you. You feel in control of your career direction. You have more energy. And the compare and despair stops. Ask me how I know. This is what I help people do every day. I did this for myself. This is what I help my clients do. And beyond the ceiling, everyone who joined this last cohort wanted to figure out what they really wanted.

That’s a promise to the group. I guarantee you will go through and you’ll create your career protocol. You will know what you want. And they were all in different parts of their journey. Most were employed at the scientist level all the way up to director level. A couple were unemployed because they were impacted by recent layoffs. Some had done the stretch assignment to try to move to another department. Some were applying to all sorts of jobs, trying to figure it out. Some wanted to be promoted and it wasn’t happening. But they stopped all the unnecessary action and focused on creating their career protocol, which is the process I teach inside the program, so they knew exactly what was best for them. They don’t compare and despair and wonder what else is out there. They know and they take focused intentional action towards that thing. Saves them so much time. Then I help them get the opportunities knocking at their door that align with what they really want. This is a big career CAPA. The micro or small career CAPAs are the everyday things that happen that prevent you from having your best job experience. And beyond the ceiling, we cover both.

We work on your big problem, like wanting a new job, a promotion to upgrade your current role, to know your future direction. And then we solve your everyday problems, too. So let’s do another example. You ask for a promotion and you don’t get it. What is your response? Is it to wait until the next promotion cycle, to ask why, and then just accept that answer as fact, to start looking for another job, a place that will promote you, to look for maybe a department change that will help you get promoted? Think about how you might handle the rejection of hearing no when you mustard up the courage and ask for the promotion. Is your response a corrective action? Is it a preventive action? Are you addressing the root cause of why your answer was no? Or are you reacting to the symptom of no? If you aren’t getting the promotion, it has nothing to do with the promotion cycles or budget cuts. It’s because of one or more of these reasons. One, your company doesn’t see any benefit to them to promote you. Your company doesn’t think you’re ready, or maybe you’re not ready, there’s a skill gap somehow.

Or, you didn’t communicate your business case to be promoted effectively. 90% of the time, it comes down to those three things. If there is a business need to promote you, you have the skills and capability to do the job of the promotion, if you can position yourself, as in communicate and influence effectively to sell your promotion, then you’ll get it. What we tell ourselves is that your company doesn’t value you or your growth, and that’s why you’re not getting it, that they just don’t get it. But that does happen sometimes, but it’s not most of the time. Sometimes you can do all of those three things right and they will say no. And then I’d say if that is the case, then your next step would be to move on if promotion is really something that you really want. But most of the time, what I find is that you may ask for the promotion and then hear, Okay, the next cycle, or in three months, or whatever. You might even be told it’s going to happen. It may even be announced to other people Well, it’s going to happen, and then it doesn’t happen.

And that’s because of something that could be missing in the way you’re positioning it, or it could be something that’s missing for them. But we need to solve that, and you can do that with this CAPA concept that I’m sharing with you. So for me, I had to ask for every promotion I had in the industry. I was told no the first time, I think every single time, because of these generic answers, like timing, budget cuts, there’s a new leader that has to get acquainted with the team, freezes, the promotion cycles, it’s not fair to other people, right? But then I got creative. I worked on these three things, and then I got promoted every time. Every time I asked for the promotion, I was told, No, I got it anyway. I just had to change my approach, and eventually I got so good at it that I didn’t need to ask and hear no first. I could just use the industry disrupt strategy that I teach my clients. So when you think about your little or big or micro or macro problems with your job, I really encourage you to think about it using the capital process.

What problem are you solving? Where are you avoiding responsibility? Where are you taking the easy way out and not going to the root cause? And then flip it to, if you do look at the root cause, if you do look at your problems as corrective and preventive, how would that change your behavior? How much time or resources would you invest in the solution versus the quick fix? If you work in the CAPA process at all, try applying principles to yourself and your work problems with the same seriousness and detail that you would expect people to do at work in an ideal environment. What will happen is you will stop feeling frustrated and stuck and you will adopt a growth mindset or a problem solving mindset for every problem that comes your way. You will address the root cause of your problems, which means your solutions will stick and you will feel the way that you want to. You won’t get into a change that you thought you wanted and realized it was the wrong one. You will grow so much because you are also implementing preventive actions, so you won’t waste any time dealing with the same work problems over and over again.

Your career becomes entirely in your control. Isn’t that an empowering thought? All right. That is all for this week’s episode. I hope you enjoyed listening to this as much as I enjoyed creating this concept and sharing it with you. So as a reminder before we close out on February 16th, I’m teaching a new class, How to Get Your Dream Job as a Woman in Pharma and Biotech, even with Budget Cuts and Layoffs. I’m going to share a strategy with you. You’re going to leave with an action plan. And at the end of the training, I’m going to share all of the details of how I can help you get into a new job, promotion, or upgrade your current role inside Beyond the Ceiling. So this is a four-month group coaching program exclusively for women in pharma/biotech. And I mentioned that there’s a 48-hour bonus. That 48-hour bonus, so when you register for the training, you have to be registered for the training, and you schedule your consultation within 48 hours, you’re going to get a one-on-one career CAPA call with me. So what we talked about today, we will create a CAPA together for any problem you’re experiencing, and we’ll do it one-on-one.

You can even use that call before the cohort starts, so you don’t have to wait to get results. But you have to sign up for the training. So go to www.yourworthycareer.com/dreamjob. The link will be in the show notes for you so you can secure your spot, and I will see you there. Have an amazing week. 

I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you’re ready to know your best career move and get into a new job, get promoted, or upgrade your current role to one you love, join me inside Beyond the Ceiling. Beyond the Ceiling is a four-month group coaching program exclusively for women in pharma/biotech. Enrollment begins February 16th. Learn more and join us at www.yourworthycareer.com/beyond.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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