Golfer or not, you most likely know the name Titleist and its simple, elegant script logo. The history, dating back to 1932, of the brand, the logo, and the parent company’s ability to stay in the number one spot had little to do with the title itself but much to do with the x-ray process in manufacturing the golf balls. They state, “For your protection! Our golf balls are x-rayed at two stages during manufacture. This ensures perfect uniformity in flight, complete control in approach shots, and 100% confidence that your putts will roll absolutely true!”
If you are a professional golfer, then working with a Titleist golf ball is probably one thing you can count on for consistency, even if the swing that goes with it doesn’t perform as expected. Phil Young, founder, and his fellow MIT classmate Fred Bommer set out to develop the highest quality and best-performing golf ball in the world—one that would be uniform and consistent in quality, ball after ball. The name Titleist was a spin-off from the word “titlist,” which means title holder, and was to speak their vision of having the most titles won with the use of their golf balls, equating to the most champions in the sport of golf.
Does a Title Make You Feel Important?
My definition of a titlist in employment is an individual who needs a title to feel important, in control, or assured. I am the first to encourage an employer to give an individual a title if the reasoning behind the title makes sense. This is especially true if that person is the kind of individual who would encourage the x-ray process during the prequalification stage—providing professional references that align their responsibility and performance with the title they are requesting—and the title aligns with the organizational infrastructure of the company interviewing to hire.
More than Words Can Say
Let’s talk about the nuances of titles:
No matter what your title is, the ability to articulate in one sentence what you are responsible for at your present employer or were responsible for at your past employer shows ownership of responsibility.
- I am a Senior Project Manager responsible for 3–4 projects at a time in various stages, from buy-out to close-out, and the leadership of the team members assigned to each project.
- I am the Vice President of Field Operations, responsible for leading the budget, people, and processes at our company that fall under putting work in place and being turned over in the field safely and according to contract, budget, and design.
So often, we interview someone titled Vice President who can’t define their position (Vice President of what?). Many companies in our industry do not offer the Vice President title; it can often derive from how the overall organizational structure is set up. If a candidate must have a Vice President title and cannot accept Director or another executive title aligning responsibilities to their capabilities, then the need for the title unveils an attitude.
A Project Manager for one company may not be equivalent to a Project Manager for another company. An Estimator for one company may not be equivalent to an Estimator for another, etc.
The ability to clearly recognize what you are missing in skill set or exposure/experience regarding the size or complexity of work, along with acceptance of what appears to be a lesser title to gain that experience, shows ambition and vision.
If you have been working under the title of Project Manager with a company that does tenant build-outs and want to gain experience with ground-up projects, then often a candidate will hire in as an Assistant Project Manager. This is smart business for both the candidate and the employer as it allows support while ramping up to the project management role at the new company that requires more or different experience, instead of shedding the spotlight on what the candidate might fall short with on initial hire. Most often, the money is not less than before, and once the experience is shored up, it opens doors for financial gain.
Does your title in the workplace define you, giving you a rank or classification?
Managing by the company organizational chart is important to create a definition of responsibility, experience, and levels of communication for better effectiveness and efficiency than you would have if the owner had to manage everyone directly within the organization. Viewing where you are on your company organizational chart as a pathway to autocracy is insubordinate behavior if acted upon and not why a hierarchy exists in an organization.
Do You Limit Your Performance to Your Title?
The definition of your title characterizes you in that role as it falls on the company’s organizational chart. Are you someone who, no matter what your title is, nothing is beneath you, and you are not rationally superior to anyone above or below you? How would someone define your performance? Would it be like a Titleist golf ball—a consistently consistent employee, project after project, year after year, through each title, and your superiors, subordinates, and associates find it a pleasure to work with you and recommend you to others?
If you need a title more than you need a job, or much less a career, then you are a workplace titlist for sure, and unlike the winning streak of the golf company for seventy years now, you might just find a battle for a single win!
To a Title You Deserve,