Many of us learn that career success and advancement can often be a matter of not “what you know but who you know,” and yet it is not always the case. There are also those shining stars who reach the top positions due to proactive behaviors, positive attitudes, and a “can’t fail” mindset.
How do you develop this in your career or workplace?
There are ten steps for work success most commonly suggested. Let’s first look at them, and then at a few additional steps.
- Set Goals – Be clear on one, three and five year goals. Create obtainable and realistic milestones that you update frequently and as you gain experience or knowledge.
- Mentors – Finding a mentor is often key to success in your career. Identifying someone in your field from whom you can seek career advice is remarkably empowering. Refer to them when you have questions or challenges, or even major decisions. Alternately, count on them to help you with the basics.
- Know Yourself – Many of us are not honest about our personal strengths or weaknesses. When we are, it sets the stage for growth. It also helps us to see ourselves through our peers’ or colleagues’ eyes, ensuring wiser and more productive career or workplace choices.
- Company Goals – Treating your company as your key client is often an unspoken key to success. Never losing sight of the company’s mission is one way to ensure you perform at optimal levels and get noticed.
- Learn – Invest in yourself and become a lifelong learner, no matter how well-versed you are in your field. Updating or upgrading your skills is an invaluable step, and one that makes you increasingly valuable to your company or clients over time.
- Network – Whether it is through professional associations, social media/marketing sites, and workplace gatherings, there is a huge significance and value to networking. Increasing your sphere of influence can alert you to new opportunities, jobs, clients, ideas and more.
- No gossip – It is far too easy to bad mouth a peer or even an employer, but this is a step in the worst direction and may cost you in terms of advancement or even your job! It destroys trust, even if you do not work with the person you are discussing any longer, it reflects badly only on you.
- Position yourself as an expert – If you seek to become a true professional or “star player”, become an invaluable resource. Give 100% to each task, and employers notice. However, you can also do this through networking, publishing, and projects outside of your day to day work. This keys into the networking and learning encouraged above.
- Be sure you are passionate about the work – Doing a job because it pays is not the same as loving the work or the industry. If you choose an area in which you feel genuine passion, you are far more likely to have success. Clients, co-workers and others will recognize this, and when they are equally passionate, they gravitate towards you.
- Team player – No matter what you do, working well with others allows you to enjoy optimal work success. Cooperate, be willing and eager, and always pitch in to make any project succeed.
The “Other” Steps
While these are universally wise steps to work success, we all know that it often takes a lot more. Sometimes it can seem like luck, but usually it has to do with issues like patience, understanding and even strategy.
Consider what one business website said about business and work success in the Middle East:
doing business in…GCC countries is about planning, influential connections and above all, patiently working the deal…The typical sales cycle…is protracted and one must be patient. Newcomers to the region can protect their interests in the context of an unfamiliar business environment by a) becoming as familiar as they can with Gulf business culture and ethics; b) acquiring a basic understanding about Islam; c) thoroughly researching the companies they do business with in the Gulf (in particular, the company’s track record in dealing with foreign companies); d) securing a reliable local partner or intermediary to guide you early on…
Interestingly, what we find here is really just an expansion on those ten basic principles. After all, you are setting goals by planning and using your patience, willingness to learn, professionalism, and other skills to function best in a somewhat unique business climate. While those who are creating and/or conducting business transactions may feel this advice is not as relevant, do reconsider.
Why? As an ideal illustration of the point when you take time to learn your environment, the culture of the company or the people running it, the other companies and related industry areas, and then identify and obtain a mentor, you are doing all of the steps advised!
Success begins with good plans, and using these pointed tactics can help you reach your career goals in any field. After all, the most effective steps for work success are a blend of common sense, intuition, and applied practices such as those listed here. Use them, and you will see your career grow exponentially.