Many years ago I worked with a person who said to me: Michelle you can get to a certain level in your career by being good at what you do. But if you want to go any further, you need to know how to play the game.
Their comment always troubled me as it implies you need to play politics and be Machiavellian to be successful in a corporate world.
In an inter-connected world where your reputation preceeds you taking that approach can have longer-term, negative consequences.
As Sir Richard Branson said in his book, Business Stripped Bare “…there is no denying the risk that mud sticks, and a damaged reputation in business can follow you around for years. You can deliver on every promise, keep your word, deal fairly, show forbearance – and the world can still throw you curveballs that mess up your reputation. And long after you have learned your lesson and moved on, others will still be harping on about this or that misfortune, this or that error”.
So if you want to progress with your reputation intact and even elevated, focus your efforts on accelerating your progress by having more effective and sustainable impact.
Here’s eight tips to get you started:
- Consistently deliver value with the work you do, by constantly seeking to improve yourself, the value you bring to your work and how you work with those around you
- Be clear on the value you offer organisations in terms of your capability, skills and always deliver on your commitments
- Be prepared to stretch and challenge yourself and learn new things. This includes being willing to take on feedback from people, including sponsors, mentors, colleagues and peers
- Stand out from the crowd by knowing what you stand for so you can ensure there is alignment between your values and the organisation’s values
- Undertake self-reflection so you continue to reflect on your behaviour and thought patterns, helping you to gather new insights and deeper understanding about yourself, and your impact on others
- Build a profile and a strong stakeholder network where you are known for something, are respected and have a strong network of people willing to speak for you
- Look after yourself both physically and mentally. Today’s work environment is stressful and it’s important to be able to regulate behaviour and manage stress.
- Continue to stay abreast of changes in the industry and your chosen profession. Also look at developments in other industries that may impact. This helps to widen your frame of reference about what’s possible
Change happens. Make it work for you.
Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian. Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them accelerate progress. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’. For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.