Last week, I shared the first 10 takeaways for owning your career in Part 1 of this blog series. So, below are the next 10 tips to take your success into your own hands and own your career.
- Align goals to the bigger picture – If you don’t know what the strategic business goals are for the year, be sure to ask so you can look for ways to create individual goals that support the outcomes you are driving towards as an entire organization. Goals are more meaningful and add more value when they tie to the “why” and the bigger picture.
- Make sure goals are challenging AND attainable – Design goals that challenge and motivate you. Your goals should take you out of your comfort zone in order to stretch your capability and require you to use new skills or perform them at a higher level. It’s also important to narrow your goals to the critical few so you can attain them. You can always add or revise goals mid-year if you have completed them earlier than expected.
- Continuously track progress – From my experience, out of sight equals out of mind when it comes to goals. With this said, I recommend creating a goals scoreboard for tracking intentions, actions and outcomes on a weekly (and sometimes even daily) basis. Shifting your mindset from goals being something “extra” you have to do to being something mission critical to move you and the firm forward is imperative if you want to accelerate your career and full potential.
- Maintain spirit of goal – What is the outcome you want to achieve through your goal? Sometimes priorities shift during the year so you need to be flexible and adaptable when working with your goals. For example; let’s say you want to improve your project management skills and wrote a goal to implement new software within the department by the end of the year. If two months later your budget for the software doesn’t get approved, simply shift to maintain the spirit of the goal by re-writing it to focus on another relevant project you can manage. You may need to get creative and look across teams or departments in order to deliver the desired.
- Overcome fear – This is a big one when it comes to goals. Often team members hesitate to create big, impactful goals. When I ask why, it usually comes down to a fear of failure. While I understand it can be scary, it’s an error to shy away from the learning experience that comes with stepping up to try something bold and even audacious at times. Even if you don’t exactly hit the mark you had planned by the end of the year, being willing to overcome fear, take calculated risks to grow, and learn through your successes AND failures will distinguish you as a leader.
- Take time to be fully prepared – Whenever you have a formal conversation about your performance, do your part to make it meaningful. This requires you to invest in being ready to fully engage and even drive the conversation. Ready yourself by investing time in a self-evaluation and preparing notes on what you see as your top accomplishments from the year as well as your key strengths and opportunities for growth.
- Understand what’s required of you – At HORNE, we use a Career Growth Continuum to eliminate the guesswork for team members’ growth. It is mission critical for you to understand the organization’s expectations of you and apply that to your role. If you don't, you do not own your career. Think about specific examples of how you have demonstrated the various attributes expected and if you haven't, look for opportunities to do so.
- Be vulnerable – Being willing to self-identify areas of weakness and to call out mistakes is a sign of strength as a leader. Nobody is perfect and everyone at every level within the firm has room for improvement.
- Talk about your achievements – Don't assume your leadership knows all of your great accomplishments. I've had people tell me it feels like bragging to talk about how well they've done. Celebrating and learning from your success is just as important to your growth and reaching your full potential as identifying your opportunities to #beEvenBetter. Brag away my friends!
- Understand what your performance advisor tells you – Don't walk away from alignment feedback conversation without clarity on what you are good at and what you should be working on to grow. Ask tough questions and seek to understand what your PA is telling you. Take notes and ask for a follow-up meeting if you need to process the information further.
Owning your career means having a clear picture of where you stand and what you need to focus on to grow. Take matters into your own hands, own your career, and success will follow.
About the Author
Tara serves as the Full Potential Coach at HORNE LLP where she helps team members navigate through various stages of career and personal development to reach their full potential.