Based on an article published in Aptitus magazine (Peru) on May 7, 2014
- The first is almost obvious: generating achievements and quantifiable results and, of course, adding clear and evident value. To accomplish this, nothing is better than having job-specific knowledge and very current skills. Developing differentiating skills – those that make us stand out – is also very helpful, especially skills that are scarce in our industry or specialty, as well as technical and functional skills specific to our business. With these skills, we will be acknowledged for our expertise.
Having or developing clear and empathic leadership skills is also instrumental, especially to lead change processes and develop teams. The ability to engagingly express our ideas in public is increasingly important! So are the soft skills required to relate to people at all levels in order to produce results.
- A second concept for career success is related to contacts and trust relationships. Many people focus on doing their job well, working hard and learning new skills, dedicating some 10 to 12 hours a day to this, while failing to pay attention to those who would be the best “salespeople” for their profile and skills: our contacts, the best sales force for our personal brand and our reputation! Others assume that contacts and relationships are only useful when they are looking for a job. This leads them to overlook internal contacts and relationships within the company where they work. These relationships open doors to better opportunities for finding ideas, support, cooperation and even resources in order to actually obtain things or get things done.
Our ability to actively participate in the development of conditions in our various business, professional or social settings is exponentially multiplied in proportion to the quality and quantity of our contacts. Again, this brings us opportunities for learning new things and knowing people who may later be crucial for our career.
Those contacts will give us access to experiences that will help broaden our vision and give flexibility to our ideas and paradigms. Contacts can also help to give us access to decision-makers and those who can “sponsor” us, serve as role models, career guides or mentors. Having a large and well-maintained contact network takes time and effort, but it is the best investment we can make, particularly in situations where, due to competition factors, it is difficult to stand out much among competitors.
- The third good idea has to do with taking active care of our personal brand. We live in societies where little time is given to developing formal standards and well-founded opinions about other people. Rather, we guide ourselves by the opinions of third parties (oh, the contacts!) to learn more about others.
Our professional reputation/personal brand is probably the best letter of presentation we have. It is the “impression” we give about our effort, energy, reliability, passion for work and attitude that makes the difference and is remembered by others. That impression is also affected by our physical presence, verbal and non-verbal communications, personal style, etc.
In organizations, we see people who are always concerned about taking care of their image with their bosses or managers, without giving the necessary attention to taking care of their personal brand, image and reputation with their peers, or even more importantly, with their subordinates. They are the ones who will ultimately get to know us best and who may also best make or break our reputation without a second thought.
I leave you with these three ideas that will hopefully benefit your career. Good luck!