I am so excited about this new chapter in my life, starting my own coaching and consulting practice, while at the same time wondering where has all the time gone? In many ways it seems like yesterday that I was beginning my career at IBM. In my 25+ years in corporate America I have had the highest of highs and some lows. Through it all there were many lessons learned and I’d like to start my new chapter by sharing 5 things “I Know for Sure”:
1. Working Hard Does Not Always Work
Many people go to work; especially early in their careers, believing they will get recognized or rewarded for doing an excellent job. Being good at your job can be looked at as building “Performance Currency” and while this is important it is only a prerequisite to getting recognized or promoted. The reality is I’ve seen many talented, dedicated, hardworking employees get laid-off or fired.
2. Relationships Matter… Develop Relationships
It is important that you are not only good at what you do but also be a person that is liked. Building positive relationships can be looked at as building “Relationship Currency.” It is important that you are a team-player. It is critical that you understand the politics and culture of your organization. You need to be viewed as trust worthy. It is a good idea to go to that office luncheon every now and then. You cannot avoid office politics. It is mandatory that you seek out mentors and supporters. Relationships Matter!
3. You Will Develop a Personal Brand …Make Sure it Represents Who You Are
One of the most influencing factors of your success is your personal reputation. What are you known for? What can you be relied on to deliver? When people speak about you what comes to mind. You will develop a personal reputation make sure you know what it is and that it aligned with your views and beliefs about yourself.
4. Define Success on Your Terms…Up is not the Only Way
You may not be sure where you want to take your career and that is OK. Take some time to figure out what you are passionate about. It is usually something you are good at and often does not take a lot of effort on your part. It is your unique value proposition. Maybe moving up the corporate ladder is the right direction or maybe it is being a subject matter expert. With organizations flattening their management ranks there is a recognition that there must be opportunities for valued employees and those opportunities are not always up.
5. Set Some Boundaries….
While it is important to be likable and a team player it is equally important to be courageous and maintain your sense of integrity. It never fails; individuals in the workplace who seldom set limits or who never speak up or often taken advantage of, not respected and seldom get recognition or promotions no matter how hard they work. You can have both; be respected and liked. It is about finding and following your own internal compass no matter who you work for or with. I know this is not always easy; it was not easy for me and sometimes I failed.
You will be hearing more about these topics and others in the weeks and months to come. I will write these blogs with the intent of providing useful information that will be helpful and insightful no matter where you are on your personal journey.