Many executives and other business managers often forget that they really have 2 jobs – the first is to do what they get paid for (and do it better than others). The other is to manage their career path and do what is required to ensure their upward mobility isn’t dependent on others who may or may not be working in their best interest.
The following “secrets”, amassed through my extensive background as both a corporate executive and business consultant, will help professionals better manage their success path:
1. Understand the “circle of success”. A common piece of advice given to managers is for them to spend a great deal of time getting to know, and working side-by-side, with their staff to ensure each employee has what (s)he needs to be productive. While that idea is well intentioned, it’s does not provide maximum benefit to all involved. Rather, it is more important that managers spend time helping their boss look good at every opportunity. When (s)he understands that you are able to help her/him succeed, you and your team will get more time, attention and resources facilitating maximum productivity.
2. Results = Rewards. Companies spend a great deal of money on new systems to help automate and, hopefully, increase efficiency for the whole company. After these big investments, managers are told to become “experts” with the systems and procedures to ensure the intended benefits are realized. This often creates an environment where many managers think that the most important task at hand is to learn the in’s and out’s of these systems and takes their eye off the real task at hand for which their ultimately accountable. To ensure upward mobility, remember to put the primary focus on your department’s core objective in the context of the company’s overall objective.
3. Avoid stagnation. Far too many workers throughout our nation are bored and disinterested, which is adversely impacting their productivity and creativity. Consequently, many U.S. industries are falling behind in the global marketplace. It’s time for our nation’s corporate leaders to re-engage and spend more time acting as leaders rather than bureaucrats. People respond best to positive feedback, emotion and enthusiasm – not e-mail communications, inexplicable charts and fear management. Effective leadership ensures that everyone is focused on, and vested in, getting to the goal lines. This is the most critical issue impacting an organization’s productivity.
4. Understand that outsourcing threatens everyone. Very few professionals actually understand that their position can be outsourced. They get complacent in this false sense of security. While most people realize outsourcing has affected the service industries, they fail to grasp that other professionals, including accountants, lawyers, engineers, etc., can be readily outsourced as well. Virtually no line of work is bulletproof, and knowing this will keep you one step ahead of the game. At this time, those involved in creative enterprises, which high technology has yet to automate, look to be the safest career choices over the long term.
5. “Presence” pays. One’s “presence” plays a big part in who gets promoted and who doesn’t. In a nutshell, presence is a combination of how we look, how we carry ourselves, and our communication skills. Because many of us still associate one’s appearance, demeanor and speaking ability with their overall ability, this remains a formidable challenge for those who have physical or other bias-based attributes that are difficult, if not impossible to change, such as height or weight. This subjectivity is even worse for women as society is generally more able to accept men with what’s considered to be shortfalls rather than women. Irrespective of these barriers, condition yourself to carry yourself with best posture and to wear attire that imparts your success.
6. Pace your boss. To really stand out from the others and get the all important promotion, ensure you are in the office whenever your boss is in the office. Let her or him see that you share the same work ethic. Right, wrong or indifferent, these are new rules of time management. Simply put, if your boss is at work, you should be as well. If (s)he has decided that it’s necessary to be there after hours, on weekends, or early in the morning, it is entirely to your advantage to be there at the same time. In this day in age, one must take advantage of all opportunities to distinguish themselves in the workplace.
7. Step up self promotion. This issue primarily impacts women, but applies to both genders. It is important that those who are in the position to benefit your career in any way know who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Successful business people understand the importance of letting others know about their successes, and go about it in the appropriate way. If done properly, it will not be construed as bragging or conceit.