Random thoughts about career brand management and my advice to the very talented and values-conscious Millennial generation at the start of a new week.
- Do your job, get it done. Understand your targets – aka your boss’s targets — and make him or her look good. Don’t whine about the extra hours you have to invest. If you don’t, look around, there are probably one, two, or 10 contemporaries who will jump at the chance. And don’t complain too much if your boss grabs the credit for your work. Unfortunately, there are some real jerks in the career advancement line ahead of you. Resolve not to be that person. You probably will pass them on your way up and their way down. When that happens, smile, be nice, be confident that you knew better.
- Focus on results. Effort is good, long hours are usually appreciated, but hard-core results are what great careers are made of. Know this. Do not complain. That only makes you look small and unleadership-like.
- Be nice to people, especially if you sense you are a rising star. Do not let your conceit derail your career plans because people dislike you or do not trust you. Be a helpful, kind soul.
- Be active in your professional associations. This can be an important platform for your future career advancement, but do not let outside activities, as important as they are, sidetrack your focus on that which is really important, meeting your performance targets.
- Knowledge is security. Invest time in staying ahead of the curve on industry trends. Most people do a good job staying current, but current is a fleeting moment. Do not spend too much of your time being current. Invest your time in anticipating the future. Unless you have a crystal ball, that means you have to do a lot of reading on subjects that may make you uncomfortable. It is so easy to be an expert on the here and now. That position is only a small side step from the title of Vice President of This Is The Way It Has Always Been. Do not become that person because it is an easier goal. Easy yes, but it is short-lived.
Moving to the top of the executive heap is no easy task. But you can simplify the game by having a clear goal, understanding the rules and avoid being a jerk. Jerks rarely succeed.
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