Career paths are unclear, job responsibilities are changing and project urgency changes weekly. These are perfect circumstances for savvy professionals who want to get in the driver’s seat of their career advancement. Armed with an awareness of your strengths, interests and knowledge of changes that will affect your profession you can develop a career path to the career you want. Now is the time to review your career development plan so that you can continue to effectively contribute, remain a resource of value and experience career success.
There are three attributes that will enhance your success during periods of continuous change:
Cultivate Your Authenticity – Formal collaborative teams are a must to identify the best solutions and innovative products and service. This can only occur when the strengths, perspective and knowledge of each individual is shared. As a team member sharing your unique perspective is your primary responsibility. If you don’t offer a unique perspective or have clarity about how you can add to the success of the team in a way no one else can, don’t be surprised if you begin to be overlooked during team assignments. Don’t fall to group think, speak up whether it is to share a unique thought or challenge an idea. Frequently it takes only one authentic and courageous individual to challenge a fallible idea, before others voice similar concerns.
On the flip side be open to listen to the perspective of others because in the spirit of being authentic you realize you don’t have insight of all perspectives that should be considered.
If you are a team leader let members see your strengths and let them know there are critical areas in which you need input, insight and support. Let each individual know who plays which role to complement the areas in which you do not have strengths.
The best solutions do not lie with one individual, nor is there trust in anyone who believes that they have the answers. It is OK to be authentic and let others know your thoughts and that you need their input.
Become Comfortable with Ambiguity – Just as you are experiencing challenges with changes in the way work is done executives are experiencing the same challenges in the way business is done, and with similar reaction. They are dealing with new global partnerships and workforces, technology changes, change in client and customer needs and changes in the way work is done, which combine to create ambiguity. This will affect your work as well.
Generally ambiguity invites paralysis which only adds an additional problem. Know that everyone is struggling with unknowns – leaders, customers, suppliers and competitors and the three former need your help. They need your expertise to help find the new normal.
Rather than focus on the fear of the unknown and risks of stepping into ambiguity, focus on the possibility and opportunity that ambiguity offers. Change your perspective, change your conversation and step into new and better.
When there is ambiguity some level of comfort with taking risks is essential and with risks come failure followed by success. It is may be difficult to succeed with insufficient information or when resources, goals, needs and expectations change. The key is to learn from failure, gather more information, enroll the appropriate resources, involve all perspectives, adapt then make another attempt.
To make recovery from failures, mistakes, misjudgment and setbacks easier consider adopting these values:
- Collaborative & Inclusive
- Continuous Learner
- Clarity of Purpose
Commit to Adapt – Change excites us when we are receiving something new and beneficial to us. How frequently do you change your mobile phone? How frequently do you purchase new technology? We preorder new technology to be among the first to benefit from it and even spend an entire day figuring out how to use it without the aid of the cumbersome user’s guide. Eventually we figure it out and willingly adapt to the new and better way of life afforded by the new technology. Yet when we are required to do the changing, without clarity or without a clear guide, we do not approach this challenge with the same excitement and enthusiasm.
How easy has technology made your work or your life? If the developers of that technology approached change with the same enthusiasm that you approach change how soon would you expect to gain the benefits? Or, would you gain them at all?
There is one thing that you can always count on, particularly if you are commitment to career advancement and that is change. Change brings new opportunities and new possibility. Be a change agent and commit to these behaviors particularly during this period of rapid change. You’ll experience less stress and enhance your ability to experience career success.