Part of my coaching practice is devoted to working with young professionals on their career development, so I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the key drivers for career advancement. Obviously, I draw on my career, reflecting on what worked well for me and equally what didn’t (oh, for the gift of hindsight!).
I recently started working with CareerPoint, a new global coaching platform that has set its sights on helping one million young professionals advance their careers. The CareerPoint leadership team are supported by some serious luminaries from Oxford University and the world of professional coaching; together, they bring plenty of intellectual and experiential rigour to the subject. Their methodology is underpinned by the Employee Value Curve© concept whereby increasing each employee’s performance will raise the organisation’s value. They achieve this goal by helping lower and mid-level employees unlock their full potential through short, focused programmes of customized coaching. It’s a powerful concept that I’m delighted to be a part of. It’s also helped me expand my perspectives on the key drivers for career advancement in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) business environment.
Based on all the above, here’s my list of top tips for Millennials and GenZ’s looking to accelerate their careers.
It all starts with belief; you have to believe that you can succeed and get where you want to. We all have talents; if we believe in those talents and are prepared to put the effort in to seek out the opportunities, it’s within us all to achieve success in our careers. It’s your belief that will spur you on in the face of adversity and give you the energy to keep going.
It’s important to know yourself, to understand your passions, values and strengths as these will help you determine your direction and guide you on your way. Although, developing true self-awareness is not easy and requires serious reflection and rigorous honesty – let go of Walty Mitty and embrace who you really are; it will save you lots of angst and wasted time along the way.
It’s hard to navigate if you don’t know where you’re heading. Having a vision of where you want to get to is vital, so spend some time getting clear on what career success looks like for you. Get beyond notions of £000,000’s salaries and figure out what is going to fulfill you. For sure, you will want to make adjustments to the vision and plan en route, but don’t set off without one. And make sure you write it down, so you have a map to work with.
Mindset & Behaviour
Get your head in the game and keep it there. Use your belief and vision to develop a positive, growth mindset and nurture it daily. With this mindset empowering you, focus on being the person you want to be from the outset. Demonstrate your leadership, passion, energy and integrity every day. You are a walking embodiment of your personal brand – be bold and be seen.
Focus on Strengths
We all have strengths, and it pays to invest in them. So, rather than worrying about your weaknesses, focus on building on your strengths. This will open more opportunities for you than becoming half-decent at the things you are not good at. Plus, you are more likely to be energised when working on the things that you excel at.
Embrace Failure & Feedback
We have to fail to learn; being told how to do something doesn’t hack it. Think about learning to walk; it’s a process of practice and failure. So don’t fear failure. Instead, embrace it with a confident open mind. Feedback is a gift to learning; seek it out, listen and embrace it at every opportunity. Don’t confuse it with praise which doesn’t have the same value; it just inflates your ego.
Always be Open to Learning
Observe – question – listen – practice – review. It’s a simple yet powerful process that will serve you throughout your career. Don’t let knowledge, assumptions, beliefs or your ego get in the way of learning; you don’t ever want to stop learning.
Expertise is highly valued, so try to develop your expertise or mastery. Why be good when you could be great? Expertise is built on your natural talent or knowledge and is nurtured by hard work and 10,000 hours of practice so be prepared to put the effort in.
Nurture Relationships & Network
People do business with people so figure out how to communicate with people and build trust and rapport early on. It doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself introverted or extroverted; social interaction is a learnable skill, so get to work on it. As your career develops, you will find people are the most valuable resource, so developing a rich and diverse network of contacts is extremely valuable. My recommendation is to start building it from day one and invest time nurturing it to keep active, so it’s there when you need it.
Remember, behaviour breeds behaviour and the law of reciprocity. You are not going to succeed on your own, so you will need the help of others. The best way to ensure that people are there to support you is to start by supporting them. It applies in all circumstances and directions; your boss, peers, team, customers, everyone.
Don’t let your Vulnerabilities or Ego get in the way
So often, we act as our own worst enemies, stripping our confidence through negative beliefs and self-talk or preventing our learning and development by letting our Ego get in the way. Try to stay mindful, and in control of your thoughts and behaviour; it’s not easy as we all have our ups and downs; that’s normal but maintaining a calm, balanced view of our thoughts and emotions is invaluable.
Take Risks & Responsibility
Fortune favours the brave, so don’t be afraid to take calculated risks and always embrace opportunities to accept responsibility. What’s the worst that can happen – you fail (see below), but at least you tried. Managers are always looking out for people who are prepared to stand up and take responsibility, it says you are ambitious and willing to learn.
For more information about CareerPoint go to their website
If you are looking to accelerate your career or need help figuring out the way forward, please call me.
Andrew Clemence, MBA, ACC
Business Coach, Mentor & Advisor
+44 (0)203 287 3398