28/07/2010

By William Montgomery, CEO of TEN

There is more to standing out from the crowd than wearing a silly hat, though that works too. The more grown up way to make an impact at work is to cultivate the skills that will get you noticed.

Here are ten actions for developing your career.

1. Take it with you. The secret of success is making sure that the skills you have are current and transferable. Leading people, managing change and meeting stakeholder needs are all skills that are relevant whatever sector you work in.

2. Think about it. Most of us spend longer pondering the delights or downsides of holiday destinations than plotting our progress at work. The first starting point is to get a plan together so that when the opportunities arise you are able to identify them and make the most of them.

3. Are you compatible?. Before you join any organisation, find out about its culture and values. Does it foster creativity for example? Know what motivates you and consider whether you will do well in this new environment.

4. Find a mentor. If you can find people who you admire or who are successful, understand what they do that makes them successful. That can be very insightful and you can learn a lot from that.

5. Be flexible. Change in most companies in the twenty-first century is a permanent condition. You have to be someone who is both flexible and robust and can still function, produce and deliver in conditions of rapid change. Seek out the tools to help you to learn how to cope with change and, importantly, to manage the stress change brings as early on as possible.

6. Understand what matters. For example, in some sectors accuracy is highly priced but in retail speed is more important. It’s about understanding your environment and what makes success in that environment. Then compare your own skills with those you will need to stand out from and fill in any gaps.

7. Take a long hard look. A good way to ascertain how good you are is to assess your impact. If you are the one being asked to take on new projects, fine; if not, you need to ask yourself why and smarten up your act.

8. To boldly go. Don’t be frightened to put yourself in situations where you don’t have all the answers. If you are open and honest enough to say to people, ‘I don’t know all of this but here is a load of stuff I do know and if I get the right support I can make things happen’, you will get good results.

9. Give yourself a break. Take on too much, set unrealistic goals and you are certain to fail. Give yourself down time to get involved in other opportunities. It will give you a sense of achievement as well.

10. Get noticed. There’s no point in keeping your hard-won fabulousness a secret. You’ve got to be brave enough to stick your head above the parapet. If you have a good idea, shout about it.

William Montgomery
CEO of TEN

Through his workshops, William Montgomery has helped hundreds of organisations and schools and thousands of people to reach their leadership potential. To discuss your continuous improvement requirements, please call him on 0845 118 1010 or send a message to info@askten.co.uk.