Career Hacks

Where do I start?  A great question!  I strongly believe that there are four key skills that will help you step up into a leadership role faster than would otherwise be the case.

The first of these is the power of Networking.  It is simply not enough to be good.  People must know you are good.

I have provided a lot of information on this site on how to network effectively, where you can go to grow your network and even some questions you can ask in a networking environment to keep the conversation going!  Be sure to check out this page on Networking.

The second skill is Public Speaking.  It doesn't have to be as a keynote address, but being memorable in a positive way every time you make a presentation adds a lot to your credibility.  Don't believe me?  What good are good ideas if you can't convey them to others?

Unfortunately, public speaking is terrifying for many if not most the point where they won't even try!  Like many things however, public speaking is a skill and one that only gets better with practice.

To help you get started, I have created some quick tips on how to approach public speaking in a way that will hopefully push you beyond the fear and enable you to start you development in this critical area.  You can check it this information here: Public Speaking

Gord has offered me guidance and support as a mentor and coach over the last six years. I highly recommend his services for those looking to explore what is possible and deepen their knowledge of themselves. 

Kasmira Pawa

The third skill set is Negotiation. If you think about all of the transactions of your daily life, whether it is being compensated for the work you do, hiring someone to do some work for you or buying goods and services - negotiation gives you the opportunity to create win-win scenarios saving time, money and effort for both parties.  It is that critical.

Many people see Negotiation as a conflict or confrontation.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

I like to see Negotiation as the process through which two people or parties work really hard to find the common ground between them so that they can agree on how to move forward.  Who doesn't enjoy finding common ground?  Even in a high stakes financial negotiation, you should never be agreeing to an outcome unless you are satisfied with it.  Otherwise, the common ground is missing your contribution and is therefore anything but common!

Please check out some tips on growing your Negotiation skills here: Negotiation

Finally, the fourth skill I suggest to people is to become good at selling.  This isn't just about selling stuff.  It is about selling ideas, concepts, projects and becoming ever more valuable to both your organization and your clients. 

Learning about the sales process and how to connect solutions to needs and desires is hugely important.  Selling is such a huge topic in and of itself that I haven't yet written about it, so I don't have a link on this site yet.

Watch Out For

Of course, I also recommend that you don't shoot yourself in the foot by failing to recognise one of these top five Career Killers. I actually had someone ask me if these were a "thing" and the answer was most definitely. And unfortunately, most of these folks never know why they have been passed by for promotion because no one had the courage to tell them.  So very sad.

The other key are to be careful of is that of Etiquette or more for specifically Business Etiquette.  Now some people may think that this is over rated and that their manners are "fine".  I strongly encourage people to see Business Etiquette as a matter of respecting a different culture.  If you were to travel to a different country, would you not want to know what the "norms" are there?  Would you not want to honour and respect the local customs and culture?

The business environment is no different!  Heading into the world of business is no different than going to a new country and it is in your best interests to understand what is expected of you, how to behave in a way that honours others and indeed how to act so you are seen as a player!  You can check out some of the basics of Business Etiquette by clicking here:  Business Etiquette

Job Security?

Often one of the biggest fears we face is that of job security.  Well, there is no such thing as job security.

The only job security any of us has, is defined by our personal competence and by our network.  If you have maintained your competence and have a strong network, you will have more job security than can be afforded by any external party - especially a company!

If you are already pretty accomplished in these areas - then there are some other things you can do to also accelerate your career success.

First of all, learn to Stand Out. We all want to believe in a meritocracy, where people who do good work get recognised but the truth is, many leaders are blind to strong, silent performers.  Being able to stand out from the rest of the crowd, is critical in terms of being recognised and thought about when the next big opportunity comes around.

It is also important for you to Take The Initiative for the same reason.  Even though it may seem like extra work, it will get you attention and cause you to be noticed in a way that otherwise would not be the case.

You may also have heard that Golfing with the Boss is a great way to get ahead in your career.  This can definitely work if it is managed correctly but it can be disastrous if it isn't.  

Another interesting space to look into is that of entrepreneurialism.  Sometimes if you have a strong value of independence, autonomy and are action oriented, becoming an entrepreneur can create an extraordinarily satisfying life and lifestyle. 

I have a number of thoughts on that particular topic based on my own experience and that of many clients. You can check out a few of the self tests here: Entrepreneurship and three things to watch out for: Three Things

Finally, one of the most overlooked elements of any career management process is the need to have business acumen.  A lot of people are not clear on what business acumen actually means so I have prepared a primer for you here.

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