Have you ever walked into your boss’s office to find a room full of executives staring back at you?
What do you do? What do you say? Do you take a seat, as you usually do, stand or apologize for interrupting and walk away? Navigating the minefields and ladders of the business world often means many days of sweaty palms. We all graduate college with a list of subject matter expertise under our names, but also with limited experience or instruction on how to check the boxes of success. Where is the blueprint you need to meet your vision for success?
Through our research methods and interviews, we have found some common trends among rising stars across our workforces:
- Align Your Quarterly Goals with Corporate Objectives: Understanding your company’s growth objectives will ensure you are developing strategies and adapting your work priorities in order to help meet, or even better exceed expectations, while also increasing your value. Understanding your corporate strategy will provide a clear view of how your work contributes directly to your company’s growth and success. You will also be well equipped to suggest and develop new tactics to senior team members. To ensure you are up-to-date on the latest strategies, review the corporate objectives with your manager and ensure your quarterly objectives are effectively contributing to their achievement. To gain further visibility, volunteer for special projects.
- Research Growth Opportunities: Understanding growth opportunities for a business is often thought of as the job of executives, but sometimes it requires new or outside perspectives. Whether you’re new to an industry, a team, or the corporate world as a whole, do your research and bring your unique life experience to a new market or business plan. Dive into publicly available annual reports of your competition, subscribe to industry media or ask for access to analyst reports about your company’s industry. This insatiable curiosity will be very quickly recognized and appreciated.
- Resolve Issues Before They Are Issues: Often we try to avoid or silently suffer through issues, hoping they will go away — they will not. Take the bold step to admit there was mistake and propose suggestions to fix it. Your co-workers will respect your humility and will be more willing to help correct an issue and move on.
- Take Ownership of Learning: The best way to ensure our continued growth at work is to take ownership of what and how we learn. Seek out information to expand your knowledge on your technical job responsibilities, your industry, how to think strategically, anything you have determined will help you grow.
- Help Grow Exceptional Bosses: Just as there’s no textbook for becoming a model employee, most corporate leaders are thrown into management positions without training. If they do have training, they all start with little experience by default. Don’t take the fearful route of silence to your supervisor. Your manager will often be grateful and earn your trust in exchange for constructive suggestions on how they might help to improve processes, relationships, or the productivity of the team. Be careful, however, to avoid being a source of constant complaints. Focus on execution of your team’s responsibilities to achieving the company’s growth objectives.
These, of course, are only helpful generalizations. In the end, your ability to win the trust and reliance of your managers and your team, regardless of the level of task, increases your likelihood of rising to the top.