TEN (10) STEPS TO ACCELERATE YOUR CAREER

October 7, 2010


TEN (10) STEPS TO ACCELERATE YOUR CAREER

I recently read an excellent article written by Mr. Brad Kenney.  Mr. Kenney is a contributing editor for the magazine “Industry Week”.  I know that everyone is unique relative to interest, hobbies, goals, profession, etc, but I really think Mr. Kenney nailed this one.  His observations apply solely to those of us who apply our talents in the “working world” and who wish to advance in that world.  I would like now to indicate those ten (10) steps he suggests.  The “headers” are his—the comments are mine and result from 42 years working as a “blue-collar” engineer.  Here we go:

1.       MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE (You have to press to make an impression.) Now when we say visible, we mean visible in a good way.  Being a “pain in the drain” will get you notoriety but can also get you fired.   Hard work is absolutely essential for success but let’s face facts, everyone works hard.  You are not alone in this department.  Working hard just levels the playing field.  Needing to work hard “is a given” in the corporate world today.  Be a slacker and see what you get.  You really need to build your PERSONAL BRAND. Networking and getting to know people in other areas of your business can provide remarkably valuable resources when push comes to shove and time is critical.  Craw out of the woodwork and invest in some self-promotion.   No one will do this for you.

2.       SELF DEVELOPMENT IS CONTINUOUS AND CRITICAL. Mr. Kenney has one great observation—“to think outside the box means you have to live outside the box”.   Creativity and problem solving are definitely stifled by living an insulated life.  You cannot be content with your existing skill set no matter how developed and usable it is.  You will not survive in the years to come relative to the tremendous pace of technology in today’s world.  You must do those things, those activities that allow you to “stretch”. Engage!  Become involved!  Turn off the TV, put down the Cheetos and as NIKE says—“Just Do It”.

3.       TO SUCCEED YOURSELF—YOU MUST INVEST IN THE SUCCESS OF OTHERS  The only person you impress by being a one man show is yourself.  If you are one member of a team you must be a team player.  You must adopt the attitude that says for me to succeed, we all must succeed.  Aid the efforts of others.  Go the extra mile to insure their success.  Be a mentor to them.

4.       WORK IS DAILY COMPETITION—This might seem odd since it follows item number 3 but, you must excel as an INDIVIDUAL team member.  Management, as well as your peers, will know what you do and how well you do it.  If you bitch and moan, you will become the guy who always bitches and moans.  If you complete your personal assignments on time and with accuracy, you will be the guy who is known for pulling his weight and can the one who can be depended upon.  Everyone is watching.  Everyone takes “mental notes” relative to individual performance.  Never underestimate who is watching your performance.

5.       BE OPEN WITH YOUR MANAGERS AND MENTORS  Talk to your managers and mentors about your ideas, your ambitions and discuss with them where you fit into the organization.  This might sound a bit risky but they will appreciate your candor and you will earn their respect for being open and honest.

6.       HANG WITH THE WINNERS  Tried but true and easy to forget.  Seek out relationships with people who will be honest with you.  This not only concerns praise and support but in those times when you might stray from the straight and narrow.  Those people, who will constructively challenge you when you need it, are extremely important to your career.

7.       GET OUT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE Virtually no one works for the same company forever.  Those days are over for the vast majority of people.  Denial is a very dangerous thing and has never been a virtue.  Do not become anesthetized to your surroundings.  If your feel your company is going nowhere, and fast—get out.  Start looking.  When layoffs occur, paychecks are late, one contract after the other is rejected, you know something bad is probably on the way.  This takes some courage but it is absolutely necessary to YOUR survival.  Evaluate what you feel might be done to pull the company out of the doldrums.  Reverse the trend.  Approach management with those actions you feel will be beneficial to the overall company effort.   If this fails and your words fall on deaf ears, start looking.

8.       FOLLOW THE RULES  I think this one is self-explanatory.  You can’t cheat on you homework.  ALWAYS tell the truth as you know it.  Do not circumvent the rules.  Do not violate your company’s values.

9.       KNOW YOURSELF  Do you project ability, confidence, enthusiasm, optimism.  Do you have good work habits; i.e. on time, motivated when working, willing to stay late when asked and needed?  Do you show up?  In short, can you be trusted?

10.   SEE THE BIG PICTURE   You cannot always “major on the minors”.  Don’t waste time on trivia.  Tackle the big problems first.  In other words—don’t be like Congress!  Do the tough jobs first and get them out of the way.  Think in broader stokes so you can capitalize on new trends and new technologies.  Talk with management and respectively ask for all of the story.

 

 

There are probably others we could add but I felt this list was excellent.  I certainly hope you find some value when reading it.

 

Bob Jackson

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