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Excel at Critical Activities

Be receptive to the input you receive. Then figure out what you truly enjoy doing. But choosing a field you love gives you strength to weather the inevitable setbacks and long hours needed to reach your full potential in any career. Identify the 3—4 activities essential for success in your desired or current role. Then develop a plan for excelling in these activities. A new division head at a large industrial company was struggling to grow sales and profits.

He began delegating activities less central to success so he could focus on raising the bar on the three success factors he had identified.

Living With a Lack of Job Security

Sales and profits improved. Character and leadership make the difference between good and great performance. To demonstrate character :.

Your superiors desperately want dissenting opinions so they can make better choices. If you play it safe instead of asserting your heartfelt opinions, you may hit a plateau in your career. Ambitious professionals often spend a substantial amount of time thinking about strategies that will help them achieve greater levels of success. They strive for a more impressive job title, higher compensation, and responsibility for more sizable revenues, profits, and numbers of employees. Their definitions of success are often heavily influenced by family, friends, and colleagues.

Yet many ultimately find that, despite their efforts and accomplishments, they lack a true sense of professional satisfaction and fulfillment. During my career with Goldman Sachs, as well as over the past few years of teaching and coaching managers and MBA students at Harvard Business School, I have met a surprisingly large number of impressive executives who expressed deep frustration with their careers. They looked back and felt that they should have achieved more or even wished that they had chosen a different career altogether. Consider a very successful research analyst at a large securities firm who came to see me because he was discouraged with his career progress.

This was particularly ironic because he was well known, highly regarded ranked number one in his industry sector , and well compensated. He told me that, after 10 years, he was tired of his job, disliked his boss, and felt he had no potential for further upward mobility. Most of all, he had always wanted to be an investment manager, but he had started out as an analyst and never really reassessed his career path. He felt trapped.

The truth was that he loved analyzing stocks and assessing management teams, but he also wanted to have the responsibility for making the actual investment decisions and then be held accountable for the results. I encouraged him to take action and speak to a number of investment firms including his current employer about a career change.

After doing this, he ultimately was offered and accepted a portfolio manager position in the asset management division of his current firm. To do that, you must step back and reassess your career—starting with the recognition that managing it is your responsibility. Too many people feel like victims in their careers, when in fact they have a substantial degree of control.

Seizing control requires you to take a fresh look at your behavior in three main areas: knowing yourself, excelling at critical tasks, and demonstrating character and leadership. Many promising professionals expect their superiors to mentor them, give them thoughtful coaching, provide them with challenging opportunities, and generally steer their development.

Stay Positive

Such a passive approach is likely to derail you at some point. While your superiors will play a role, your career is your own. Be wary of conventional wisdom. Hopping on the bandwagon may feel good initially but often leads to painful regrets years later. To reach your potential, you must filter out peer pressure and popular opinion; assess your own passions, skills, and convictions; and then be courageous enough to act on them. Have faith that, although justice may not prevail at any given point in time, it should generally prevail over time.

When you do suffer an injustice, you need to be willing to step back and objectively assess your own role in these events.

Why Is Understanding Yourself Important in Your Career Development?

That mind-set will help you learn from inevitable setbacks and eventually bounce back. It will also help you stay focused on issues you can control as well as bolster your determination to act like the ultimate decision maker. Taking responsibility for your career starts with an accurate assessment of your current skills and performance.

Can you write down your two or three greatest strengths and your two or three most significant weaknesses? While most people can detail their strengths, they often struggle to identify key weaknesses.


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It comes knocking when you least expect it too. To handle conflicts well , be sure to know what the house rules are! It could be the code of conduct written by the company, or boundaries determined by yourself or limits set by your boss.

Career Advice: How To Advance In Your Career

Knowing what is at stake helps you to assess the situation and compromise suitably. Hold your horses! Apologising is always awkward even when arguing might be shiok.

What is a personal career development strategy?

Tracking your performance is not the job of your manager. It is your duty to answer to yourself when it comes to driving your own growth , charting your path, meeting deadlines, exceeding expectations and becoming a pro at work.

Asserting yourself confidently, listening sincerely to the other party and relating on a personal level helps in putting your needs across. On a daily basis, we are already practising the art of negotiation , when selling something, pitching and asking for a favour. Propose conditions to your stakeholders and create or identify new and varied benefits for them.

How to get further in your career | TED Talks

Now that requires some creativity, which we will elaborate in the next two points! Creating solutions and benefits requires thinking beyond the superficial level. Once you have outlined your career plan, speak with your boss or another mentor within the organization. Feedback and support is an essential part of achieving your goals. The Role of Influence After your career development plan is complete, you can put it into action by using your influencing skills. You can do this by: 1. Asserting Yourself. State objectives clearly and directly, explaining in detail how your objective will be achieved.

Suggest solutions that are relevant to their concerns that naturally occur as a result of being presented with a new idea. Create a vision of the positive results that will occur if the person agrees with your proposal. Including influence strategies in your career development plan will provide you with a powerful tool that will assist in your career advancement.