September 22, 2020

Career Risk & Consequences: Improving Probabilities in the Next Normal

How I wish I had a crystal ball to predict what the next normal will look like. What’s clear right now is that many of yesterday’s business protocols and rituals have become obsolete. As more of our interactions happen digitally, we are being challenged with distanced communication to build relationships and showcase our value with our customers, colleagues and stakeholders.

The secret sauce to your success will not come from new technologies but rather from understanding the new rules of engagement. It will require a new recipe that taps into your innate survival skills like risk-taking, creativity and intentionality. How you apply these attributes to where you are right now in your career will set the stage for your bigger future.

Embrace Risk-Taking: We know that change is unpredictable, but change is inevitable. Every possibility is surrounded by obstacles and challenges. In the words of Eloise Ristad, stage performer and author, “When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” Why may you be procrastinating, even though the initiative might be a huge win for you? What could you be doing that might fail, but be worth the risk? The good news is that failure could just be a steppingstone to success for tomorrow by virtue of the lessons learned.

So, challenge yourself to be bigger. Maybe you can volunteer for additional responsibility outside of your comfort zone or take a different point of view in a virtual meeting. However small or large the task, building a reputation as a risktaker today demonstrates courage. And to quote John C. Maxwell, leadership coach and author, “People follow courage, not titles”.

Be Creative: Where does your creativity originate? Most people believe you have to be born creative. However, creativity is not defined by your DNA. It’s how you see a problem and the conviction you hold to find one or more solutions. Your value will be directly associated with the results you help others achieve. That’s the true essence of creativity.

What can you be doing to make things better for your customers, your boss and your colleagues? How can you contribute to help transform your organization for future success? When you are able to answer these questions, you are tapping into your creativity and building your reputation as someone who removes roadblocks. This elevates you from being just relevant to becoming “essential”.

Be Intentional: The people you work with are going to be much more important than the location of your office. Relationships are an essential currency of success. Bringing purpose and meaning into your relationships will require you to be “interested”, rather than “interesting”. Find out what’s important to others and validate their challenges by showing sincerity and empathy. Move from networking to “netgiving” by becoming your customers’ trusted resource.

Treat your boss, your leadership and your colleagues like your “best” customers. Take the time to understand their aspirations and frustrations. Find innovative ways to be uplifting and encouraging. The goals you help others achieve will reinforce your value to any organization.

Make preparedness your crystal ball by acknowledging that change can be both challenging and revitalizing.

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