Success means different things to different people. How you define success or your career is just as important as how someone else defines success.
For our purpose here we are going to discuss 10 Tips for Career success. Even Career success means different things to different people. For some it means constant promotion. For others it is doing the same job but doing it better than anyone else. Still for others it may be just earning a paycheque.
We realize that many of these tips are equally applicable in areas of your life beyond your career. Further we know that there are many, many more than 10 Tips.
But in the interest of helping others as they embark on, or journey through, their career, we offer these suggestions for your consideration, based on a career of experiences, to use as you see fit.
Supply Chain Game Changer is dedicated to sharing experiences and expertise. In that vein we offer our perspective on what aspects of behaviour and conduct can help you succeed in your career.
1. Learn, Learn and Never Stop Learning
Learning does not stop when you finish school. As you progress through your career you are always learning. You may be learning about some new task, a new job, a new company or industry, a new process or techniques, how to work better with people, or how to manage people. Or you just may learn what you do, or do not, like to work at.
There is always something different on the horizon, no matter what job you have. By being open minded to learning from everyone, every situation, and every thing you will grow and develop in many different ways.
2. Take Risks / Take Chances
It is most likely that during your career you will be presented with new opportunities. You may be asked to participate in or lead a special project. You may be asked to take a new job or move to a new company. Or you may be asked to make a critical decision.
These changes can be scary. They take you out of your comfort zone. You may even question whether you have the skill or capability of taking on this new challenge.
In my experience it is virtually always best to take a leap of faith and grab on to the new opportunities. Certainly there is a chance that you will make mistakes. But if you do you will learn from the mistakes, be smarter for it, and pick yourself up and move forward stronger and better than before.
Be confident in yourself and take advantage of the chances that come your way.
3. Treat People the Way You Want to be Treated
I began my career with IBM. One of the fundamental principles of the company,which they teach you from Day 1, is “Respect for the Individual”. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
It doesn’t matter what level a person is in the organization or what demographic they come from. Every single person deserves to be treated fairly and equally and with respect. With no exception!
Not everyone behaves this way. For your part rise above them and have the conviction of your integrity when it comes to treating anyone and everyone.
4. Pay it Forward
I have been blessed to work with a lot of great people in my career. They took chances with me and presented me with wonderful opportunities. The way to pay back this faith and generosity is to pay it forward.
I had the opportunity to promote and develop many people in my career (consistent with their definitions of success). And I took a lot of pride in doing so. Mentoring is a wonderful opportunity to guide, listen and learn. Further as many of these people have progressed in their careers I like to think I played some small part in their growth and development.
Our Seasoned Leadership in Action™ Interview series features a number of these individuals. We always ask what advice they would give to others for their careers. Featuring their achievement is truly exciting and their participation in these interviews is a way for them to pay it forward as well.
5. Embrace the Possibilities
You can’t avoid death or taxes (legally anyways). But everything else can be changed.
Everyone is going to come face to face with Individuals who don’t want to make changes, business processes or practices that you are told are sacred cows and can never be changed, and barriers and obstacles that are put in your way to curtail any changes you are making.
Don’t let any of that stop you. Embrace the possibilities. Everything and anything can be changed. Business policies, ways of doing things, and metrics are all a result of human decisions. And the reality is that any of these decisions and practices can be changed.
It takes conviction, courage, determination, persistence and perseverance but if you stay the course and embrace the possibilities then you can truly achieve remarkable things.
6. Don’t Shy Away from Difficult People
When I reflect on my career I worked for a lot of people. I consider that half of them were great bosses and the other half were not. Regardless I took on new jobs, even in new companies, knowing in advance that I was speeding headlong into a situation where I would be working with a boss who would be very difficult to work with.
The reality is that there will always be people you like working with and people you don’t like working with. It doesn’t matter because you need to be able to work with anyone and everyone.
I have found that you can learn as much from the bad bosses as you can from the good ones. They will have behaviours that you want to make sure you don’t adopt and they will also have characteristics that are important to your development.
It is true that we have two ears and one mouth yet a lot of people talk twice as much as they listen.
You can learn more by listening than by talking. Most people have great ideas, insights, experiences and value to provide if only someone would listen to them.
In one organization I was in the company was in dire need of significant improvements to their business processes and financial situation. The employees were aware of the situation but confined to waiting for Management to tell them what to do. As a result prior transformation initiatives failed. The employees were not asked for their input.
We launched a new transformation program, communicated our situation to every employee, and asked for everyone’s active participation and ideas to help turn the situation around. The reality is that the employees always know what is going on and how to improve things often much better than management.
Within a very short period we had hundreds of solid, highly impactful ideas that management would never have contrived before. On top of that we had created a highly engaged and motivated employee population. And why? Because we listened!
8. Empower and be Empowered
Everyone has their own way of working.
For my part I want to be empowered. I want to agree with my boss on what needs to be done and then have my boss get out of my way. If I need my boss to help at any point I know where they are. Otherwise I want to be empowered to do the job without any interference.
Likewise I believe most people also want to be empowered. They may want varying levels of guidance, direction and governance. But for the most part people don’t want to be micromanaged with the boss peering over their shoulder and scrutinizing everything that they do.
How can people possible grow and develop without being empowered? Again varying levels of support may be required but it needs to be tailored to the individual’s needs.
This does not mean being a reporter or spectator. Any leader needs to be on the field with their team working side by side to ensure that the team wins. Empowerment does not mean sitting in the stands and cheering or booing what is happening on the field.
9. Get Rid of the Excuses
Often getting things done can be hard. You are dependent on someone else to do something and they aren’t cooperating. You don’t know how to do something. Or you are too busy and you don’t have enough time to get to something.
It’s all baggage that weighs you down. Get rid of it.
Don’t accept poor answers and excuses from others, and don’t accept them from yourself.
In one training session we were told that these excuses are “Rackets” that people carry around. Simply they are reasons we tell ourselves why we can’t or won’t do something. They are most often flimsy excuses.
The key is to recognize these Rackets, which are completely destructive, in yourself and in others, and then to call them out. One you confront the Racket you can get rid of it and then move forward.
10. Trust and be Trustworthy
So many organizations are full of politics and people with their own hidden (or not so hidden) agendas. Their behaviour creates an air and culture of distrust.
If you are working in an environment that has you looking over your shoulder and questioning everyone’s motives this can be extremely consuming and unproductive.
Conversely working with people, teams, and organizations wherein you have trust, and are trusted, makes a world of difference. You don’t have to spend any time focussed on nonsensical politics and personal objectives. You can instead focus on the task at hand and the greater good of everyone.
While Trust is the last tip on our list it is in no way the least. We call Trust the “X” Factor for any High Performing Organization!
As we mentioned previously it would be easy to add many more tips to help people on their career paths. In our experience those tips that we have listed here are critical to create a High Performance Organization.
What do you think? Are there any other pieces of advice you would suggest to add to our list? Let us know!