Work and career remain extremely important to most us. This is because we spend most of our adult life working for others. Our work almost defines us, impacts our economic well-being and its associated consequences.
To succeed in life, we certainly must do well in our careers. This explains why we are spending some quality time on this subject. We will however conclude this topic in this edition by examining the last seven issues to accelerate our career in 2023 and well beyond. Here are the last points
- Develop industry and workplace networks: Building and expanding your professional network is one of the fastest ways to accelerate your career. Research shows that 70% of all vacant jobs aren’t posted on job boards, and are filled through personal or professional connections. Relationship and network in your department and other departments. A 360-degree network within your organisations improves your job effectiveness and getting things done. Get to know your company’s high-level executives. Take advantage of workplace functions, attend conferences, and belong to online networks and groups to create an industry knowledge and network.
- Be visible, online and offline: Hard work is essential for success, but don’t fall into the illusion that your hard work will do all the speaking for you. It won’t. Other people are not only working just as hard, but they’re building a strong personal brand, networking like mad and forming the types of interpersonal relationships and strong ties that make them noticeable by senior managers and C-suit executives. It’s time to crawl out of the woodwork and invest in some self-promotion. In short, if you don’t self-promote, no one else will. And you won’t get promoted. And networking doesn’t just happen in-person. Today, you can also network online through industry-specific communities or platforms like LinkedIn. Visit those communities regularly, comment on other people’s posts, ask engaging questions, and author your own unique content to show your expertise and passion.
The offline equivalent is participating in conferences, accepting responsibilities in professional associations and groups. But please be sure you can deliver on your responsibilities these informal groups, otherwise you may end up fatally injuring your personal brand.
- Understand that work is a daily competition: The company doesn’t revolve around you and the only person you impress by being a one man show is yourself. It’s time to realize the value of an “assist” and to invest in, and celebrate, the accomplishments of your peers. However, do understand that work is a daily competition. The elementary school adage is that “everyone is a winner and you’re only competing against yourself.” In the workplace, though, you’re being evaluated on a daily basis by how you perform against your coworkers. Realizing that you’re in a competition should give you the enhanced awareness you need to set yourself apart from the pack.
- Understand and focus on expected results: It is important to know what is important to your boss (and your company) now and in the immediate future. Then align your focus, direction, strategies and activities with them. Going your own way, ignorantly or deliberately is the sure way to career perdition. In the past, your company sold OTC products and was very successful at it. Then, a decision was made, and communicated that the company wants to focus on ethical products and started importing PoMs. If, 80% of your result is still coming from the ‘had-been’ OTC products, you are setting yourself up for what a friend called ‘career accident’!
- Be attuned to office politics: Office politics is real: many careers have been wrecked by corporate politics, deservedly or not. You need to be attuned to office politics, at least enough to protect yourself from ‘unforced errors’ or being on the wrong side inadvertently. Play it but don’t neglect or jeopardize delivering expected results. If you can’t, or found yourself on the wrong side, leave before you are shoved aside.
- Have a CEO mind set: This is critical, if not the most critical for an accelerated career growth and development. The CEO is daily looking for ways to engender sustainable development, increase profit/ROI, have efficient system, reduce cost, save time, prevent accident and loss, improve efficiency/productivity, promote the company, get more market-share, sell more, keep away the people and company away from arm. Most employee move in the opposite direction for most of these items. You want to do well in your career: adopt most of the CEO stances. For every action and decision, ask yourself: if I were the CEO, what will I do? This mindset will take you very far, trust me
- Seek for feedback: The brightest light, they say can hardly see its own base. You can’t actually see how well you are doing based on only self-evaluation. If your system has a fair and working appraisal system, use it. Take the key lessons of inadequate performance, use it for your continuous improvement program to create a better version of yourself. If you don’t have a good Evaluation Process, ask your boss (or bosses) for honest evaluation of your performance along the critical KPIs.
- Don’t be afraid to job-hop: To keep from being another statistic, don’t let your romantic and outdated desire to “work for the same company your whole life” anesthetize you to the fact that you (or your company) is going nowhere. If you have been in the same position for a long time, you may feel as if there is nowhere else to go.
As a matter of fact, switching companies is one of the quickest ways to climb the corporate ladder and increase your salary. The average job-hopper gets a hefty salary boost by switching companies, far more than the annual 0-5% cost-of-living raises companies give their employees.
You should actually be proactive about it. You should become a manager 3-5 years of been a Medical sales representative if you are productive and on top of your game. If your reading of the situation, for any reason, is that it is not likely to happen, it is perfectly okay to job-hop. Sometimes, such move come at a price: pay-cut, inelegant car, lower expense-package, less than new cars, stricter control, no-driver policy, more work, etc. These won’t matter in the long-run. If the new job has actual growth potential, you will be doing yourself a huge favour to take it.
Tunde Oyeniran, B Pharm. MBA, is a Sales/Marketing Strategist, Selling/Sales Management Trainer and Personal Sales Coach and the Lead Consultant, Ekini White Tulip Consulting Limited, Lagos.
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