Work Hard: Eight Keys To Succeed
For the 21st century professional, navigating the corporate environment is rewarding, daunting, and full of mind games. The office may contain nice cafeterias, big windows to let in natural lighting, and cool looking green spaces, but make no mistake, the place is laced with land mines! Given this, I offer up eight keys to succeeding in the office. The list below is based on my work experiences, and you may or may not find them useful for you moving forward.
- The first key is “Don’t wish for it. Work for it!” This notion is easy to understand but difficult to perform. As humans, it is natural to want to pursue the path of least resistance and not intentionally pursue the biggest challenge. However, the process of progress requires that we push past our comfort zone and prove ourselves to our peers and higher-ups that the quality of our work speaks volumes.
- The second key is “You have to be physically present to get ahead.” If you do not make yourself available to help on additional cross-functional assignments and get to know others outside of your department or division, then you will not get very far, professionally. It is your job to manage your career path, so if you are not in the loop, it is your fault. This may sound harsh, but the reality is you have to be consistently present and earn the right to be privy to emerging information.
- The third key is “Money cannot always be the top priority, but if you do not make money then you will find it nearly impossible to complete your agenda.” Whether it is a small business you run, or you work for a mid-size or major corporation, if you do not have a solid understanding of the cash inflows and cash outflows, then you do not have a grasp on your operational activities.
- The fourth key is “People have a tendency to ask questions that are statements.” For example, if someone asks something like “Is this the best course of action?” That may potentially mean “I am not confident in your judgment” or “I rather do something else.” If someone asks “When you get a moment, will you look over the suggestions I mocked up for you to consider?” This may mean “Do things this way.” Try to avoid instances of analysis paralysis where you over think everything stated to you by your colleagues but be mindful of what is being communicated that is not explicitly verbalized.
- The fifth key is “Always consider the mentality to put the team first.” When a team is cohesive and consistently help each other, they are more likely to respond to and correct mistakes more efficiently. Based on my experiences, I have come to believe that the hallmark of a good leader is the ability to remove obstacles that hinder your team members from being productive and positive.
- The sixth key is “Be sure to focus on dressing well.” This is not about being vain or having expensive clothes. This is about looking neat and presenting yourself as if you care. Perception matters and your appearance can affect your level of influence in the workplace.
- The seventh key is “Only focus on a few things.” You cannot be everything for everyone simultaneously. It is better to focus all your energies on a few, essential things at a time so you can consistently perform quality work.
- The eighth key is “When conflict arises, it is vital that you focus on the issue and not the person(s) involved.” It is easy to lay blame, result to name calling, and back-stabbing. However, the reality is the time you spend making the team divisive gives your competitors an advantage as in the time you waste being counter-productive, the competition is getting ahead.
Hopefully, this is useful information that can help you grow your sphere of influence and take your career to the next level. As a bonus, remember to be prompt, positive, productive, and purposeful. Good luck!