In a recent post we covered 4 Simple Steps to Create a High Performing Career. Today we’re upping the ante with 10 more, but these are focussed specifically on ramping things up within the organisation that you are currently in.
When you’ve been with the same organisation for while things can appear a little stagnant. You may find you are passed over for jobs or opportunities that come up. Others in the organisation may pigeonhole you based on your historical performance or even on the perceptions of others.
The typical approach to this problem might be to look outside the organisation to start afresh. But this may not be the best option, not just due to having to start again with long service entitlements, but simply because there may be missed opportunities within the organisation that you are perfect for but just not quite in alignment with yet.
With these tips, you can literally reinvent yourself and put yourself in line for roles that even you may not have considered you might be a fit for. You can listen in while we chat about it over here on the podcast or you can read about it below.
We’re going to tackle this from three different angles: 1) Your capabilities and competencies; 2) How you see yourself, and 3) How others see you.
1 - Get Thee a Mentor or Coach
You may have or have had a coach or mentor from within the organisation already but we’d invite you to think outside the box with this one. Find someone who doesn’t know you or that you wouldn’t normally be drawn to. Your goal after all is to change things up rather than just put a fresh coat of paint over the old one.
You aren’t just looking for support, you are looking for someone to challenge you. If you’re looking within the organisation, consider people that might have pushed your buttons on their way up the ladder. Consider someone that you’re slightly envious of but admire at the same time. And if you’re looking outside the organisation, consider using part of your professional development budget to hire one of Australia’s the world’s leading providers of coaching services. We’ve heard they are very good.
2 - Teach Someone Something
Your experience and skills have got you to where you are and you no doubt pass those on to others on an as required basis. But have you considered upskilling others even when they don’t need it? Or running in-house workshops that pass your skills on? This benefits the other party/parties of course and could give them a step up in their career path but could also alter the perception that others have of you.
You could even offer yourself up as a mentor or coach to someone else. This could have the added benefit of giving you the inside scoop on another department within the organisation and give you exposure to others that might not know about you.
3 - Volunteer For a Project
Is there a project outside of your direct role that you could add value to?
It could be within your department or another department altogether. Put your ear to the ground and find out what other projects are happening that you might be a fit for then put your hand up for it.
4 - Take Risks
No. We don’t mean bungee jumping off the 3rd floor mezzanine. We mean take some professional risks.
Some of the earlier steps might be seen as risky but you could look for opportunities to present that you might otherwise avoid. The next leadership breakfast for example. Speak up in meetings where you might otherwise take a back seat. Propose initiatives that might seem like they are left of field. Have a chat with the HR department and find out what’s happening strategically within the business and tap into that. Go outside of the ordinary.
5 - Talk to a Recruiter
Even though your objective may be to stay within the organisation there can still be value in talking to an external recruiter. Recruiters are usually up to speed on the latest trends. They see how roles evolve and how businesses adapt to different cultures. They can also give you a sense of your current value or how you can ‘rebrand’ yourself make yourself more valuable to the business.
6 - Keep a Success Journal
What are those things that you're doing each day that are leading or contributing to your success? Keeping a track of those in your Success Journal keeps you accountable to yourself and gives you a visual indicator of how invested you are in your progress.
You could also set up a daily practice of creating and documenting 10 ideas each day. James Altucher talks about becoming an idea machine here. You could think of 10 new ideas in your sector. 10 new ideas to collaborate more effectively, 10 new ideas around how you would manage a team.
The first couple of ideas are going to be easy to come up with but that last few will probably be a struggle. This is good. It trains you to think beyond the obvious. That’s what successful people do.
7 - Get Up to Date on Your Field
Spend ten minutes a day reading up on what’s happening within your field or industry. Read the relevant business journals or websites. Track any relevant groups on LinkedIn or hashtags on Twitter. Keep track of who’s who and what’s what so you’re up on the latest trends and developments.
Make this a daily habit at a particular time then use this information in your daily interactions.
We had a coaching client who had a long held intention to read the Financial Review each day but just never got around to it. He was coached to make it a habit and set a time each day that he would do it. He did so and noticed his confidence improved dramatically. Others in the business noticed this and their perception of him changed as a result.
8 - Provide Insights About the Organisation
Find or create some data about the organisation that would be useful to others and write a paper that makes that data meaningful.
It could be something around staff culture or how leadership is perceived by the staff. It might be about staff retention. You could provide analysis of productivity initiatives across the organisation and come up with recommendations about them.
If the project you have in mind seems daunting, consider recruiting a like-minded partner or team too work on it with you.
9 - Manage Your Reputation
Your progress in the organisation will always be relative to the perception that others have of you. Invite others in the organisation to share openly and honestly what their perception is with you. Share with them that you are looking to make more progress and are keen to find out what might be holding you back.
Don’t just go upline with this quest, go downline as well so you get an honest 360 view.
This is not about finding fault with yourself though. You are better to play to your strengths than try to ‘fix’ weaknesses so make sure you filter the feedback accordingly.
But if you get feedback that you are perceived as not being collaborative then go out of your way to be more collaborative (for example).
In some cases you might be well served to make some visual changes. If you want people to see you differently, give them a reason to do just that. It might mean that you suit up more often. Maybe even try a new hairstyle or colour. You could give your workspace a makeover and keep it looking ship shape so you come across as organised and together.
Not only will others respond to these visual cues but you will too. They say a change is a good as a holiday so why not give yourself some micro holidays in the coming weeks?
10 - Talent Stack
We found out about this term from James Altucher but it originates with Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip. Adams claim that talent stacking is what allowed Donald Trump to win the US Presidency. Rather than being outstanding at anything, he was better than most at many things.
Adams says that very few of us excel at a single talent or skill and we can’t all be a Tiger Woods or Serena Williams in our field. But we can combine our strengths and create talent stacks.
You may have a talent for project management and also have reasonable creative design skills. You could combine these to make visual project boards that might otherwise be dull and uninteresting.
You could have good finance skills and also have a flair for teaching. Combine these to create an in-house training program via video that others can use to upskill themselves.
Perhaps you’re a trainer with a flair for humour. Can you introduce some comedic elements to your training to make it more memorable?
Spend a few minutes now to write down your top five talents or skills and see what ideas come up when you arrange them in various combinations. (Yes, this can count towards your 10 ideas per day habit).
Time to Freshen Up
There you have it. Ten tips that you can start actioning today to put a fresh spark in your career and organisation. Stagnation happens and is totally natural but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Take control today and give your career the facelift it deserves.
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