During a check-in at a recent team meeting, the question posed was “What’s the best career advice you’ve received?”
It got me to thinking.. there’s been a few things:
“Cool your jets”. Another one “take a deep breath” and “you’re thinking 10 steps ahead”, again in a similar vein. Essentially these mentors were giving me feedback that sometimes ideas need to percolate before they gain traction. People can need time to get on board.
Ok, the next one is a little more abstract! I had a manager who would find the smallest hope in getting an idea across the line, and just go for it. This taught me that “no” isn’t really “no”, at least when innovating. A lot of people have asked me how I can get new software implemented or purchased in larger, typically highly political environments. Of course it’s not about the software, it’s about the why we are implementing the software. And when people are telling you “no” because of this, that and the other thing, switch your angle- like a rubics cube, until you have one colour on each side, and got it across the line. Please reach out to me to discuss your challenges on this one, it’s something I love to help solve!
The best career advice I’ve ever had was “be the role you want to be”. The context was, don’t worry about your title – deliver at the level you know you are.
Why is this important to share? Over the past year or so many people have approached me about progressing to the next level, in particular they have been concerned about the perception of their title. Titles are like job descriptions, they rarely explain the role the person plays in an organisation.
So how do you deliver at that perceived level? Upskill, cross-skill, and demonstrate the additional value you deliver. Simply stating you live the values of an organisation and deliver with them does not differentiate you from your peers.
There’s often anecdotes or studies that refer to people believing they are above average when it comes to their driving skills… which is of course impossible. There’s even a name for it: Illusory Superiority!!
I believe if you asked your peers, more than 50% would believe they are above average when it comes to living the values of the organisation. Again, impossible, so it is left to perception. Don’t forget about values, they are incredibly important! If you want to progress, delivering value to an organisation it can be easier to quantify and communicate effectively.
I recommend elevating yourself mentally into the role you believe you should be in, and people will begin to notice. Talk to people about your intentions, ask them for help as to what would help quantify the value. Be the role you want to be, and before long it will be yours.
What’s the best career advice you’ve received?