Wednesday, May 31, 2023

8 Keys To Improving Your Image And Career Advancement

business-image-careerBased on my own career as a business owner and angel investor, in this age of change, I still see key successes and growth from the same team member work qualities. These haven’t changed much over the years, but still seem to be often overlooked by business professionals and leaders in their haste to keep up with peers, competitors, and customers in today’s volatile environment.

For example, it has long been widely accepted that one of the primary causes for entrepreneur failure in new startups is that many give up too soon. The reality is that starting a business, as well is working an existing business, has always required perseverance. Many people today are not prepared for the dedication and resilience required or have assumed unrealistic expectations.

Here are my key recommendations for surviving and thriving in business, as a business professional or an owner, from my own experience. These should come as no surprise to you, since they haven’t changed in many decades, and I expect will serve you well in the current turbulent times we all face:

  1. Spend time nurturing productive work relationships. It takes effort and homework to find productive relationship channels, such as industry conferences, connections to experts, and key customer relationships. In my experience, relationships are still the key to career opportunities, new clients, and collaborative results. Loners need not apply.

    Inside the organization, it also pays to offer some of your time for coaching and mentoring to less experienced team members, as an entrĂ©e to a supportive relationship. It’s amazing how quickly these activities lead to leadership or management opportunities.

  2. Hone your project management skills above all others. I have seen too many careers and businesses fail due to projects that went off the rails. Project management requires that you see the big picture, understand who and what resources are required, have the ability the communicate and motivate people, and have the skills to track progress.

    Project management is essential to getting things done on time, with a minimum number of problems and crises. The technology and tools in this discipline have improved dramatically over the years, so be sure you stay current and knowledgeable over time.

  3. Graduate from an idea person to one who delivers results. Some people are all talk and no action. Others are good at starting things but are not reliable at the finish line. In entrepreneurial circles, the idea person always needs to be paired with someone who can deliver, before investors are interested. Ideas without results kill many businesses.

  4. Nurture a reputation for coming to work prepared. We all know a few professional office mates who never show up on time or waste your first hour talking about non-work events or general complaints. Team members quickly note who is always ready to dive in to work challenges, and who always needs more time to get started or finish their tasks.

  5. Maintain a work-life balance for health and rejuvenation. Successful people are able to find enough personal time off to balance personal needs against the constant barrage of work demands. Constant attention to work devices, location, and travel is not humanly sustainable without loss of quality, satisfaction, and productivity. Find what works for you.

  6. Keep your results list always longer than your to-do list. Everyone is impressed with team members who are ready to take on new challenges and always produce results, rather than being too busy and flashing a large to-do list. Businesses win and grow by achieving more results. Check yourself by documenting your own results on a daily basis.

  7. Timely follow-up on customer and team member requests. Like me, I’m sure you notice if work-related phone calls and social media requests are not acknowledged or answered within one full workday. These same people would be annoyed if their best friends were not that responsive. Your career depends on the image you set here.

  8. Continually expand your role and assignment willingness. Don’t use your job description to put boundaries on your willingness to take on work or respond to requests from others. This allows you to grow through learning, and garner more appreciation and respect from peers, managers, and clients. Stretch here also increases job satisfaction.

Certainly, there are many more priorities and attributes that are also important, but hopefully the ones outlined here will help you step back and do a personal assessment of how you might redirect your efforts or reset your expectations. Don’t ever discount the value of keeping up with the new technologies and tools, but these won’t save you unless you start with the basics.

Marty Zwilling

*** First published on on 05/16/2023 ***



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