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Start with the End in Mind

todayJuly 12, 2021 39

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This post is inspired by Day 1: Goal Setting – Start with the End in Mind of my book, Confidently You. When career strategizing, starting with the end in mind is essential to your professional development in a role or navigating a specific career path. Let’s focus on strategy from a career changer perspective. Often professionals want to change their career or industry but cannot always identify all of the immediate tasks to start to position themselves to experience the desired career change.

For some, when they reach this decision, their wish for change comes about from wanting to flex their skills in a different position possibly. Separately or in addition to wanting to be promoted in title, rank, or pay. They’ve taken the feedback of either one or both of their mid-year or annual reviews constructively, assessed their areas of strength and opportunities for improvement, and fine-tuned them for the better. Be it mastering Excel, industry-specific software, gaining a certification, work on their communication skills, or work on having a better understanding of the logistics of their group or organization.

Actress, Writer, Producer, and Director Issa Rae shared great career advice a few years ago, “effective networking starts with the people around you, not above you.” Everyone we meet knows something that we do not know, and we can learn from each other. For example, dependent on your role, it may be an excellent time to seek to observe or collaborate on a project with a peer in an area that interests you. An industry peer or colleague becomes your accountability partner to get an industry certification, or you can help each other improve your communication skills.

Wall Street Veteran Carla Harris’s Ted Talk, “How to find the person who can help you get ahead at work.” offers insight on understanding the difference between a mentor, champion, and sponsor in the workplace. She shares many great gems throughout the talk, including explaining the terms, performance currency, and relationship currency. Performance currency is delivering above the expectations of a task. The value of your performance will get you noticed, paid and promoted, and will help you attract a sponsor. Harris also explains relationship currency is the investment you make in the people in your environment, allowing them to get to know you. Building up relationship currency can potentially connect you to the influential currency from potential sponsors not shared freely with others. According to Harris, sponsors know that their influence is robust and credible. They have a seat at the decision-making table and exposure to your work. Together you both can work to make a positive impact in your workplace.

Today’s ‘Confidently You’ avatar is Isabel, which will complement today’s career focus – goal setting. Isabel wants to change her career path with her current employer. She had been in her current position and identified as a top performer for 20 years and ready for something new. However, she did not want to look for an external role outside of the company. We started by chatting about what other positions in the company pique her interest. We concluded that the end goal was to pursue a role that will help her expand her training and development skills and experience. She started reviewing job postings on the intranet and vocalizing to her sponsor and manager, two separate people, that she was ready for something new. Shortly after those conversations, a sought-after training opportunity presented itself that was a right fit for Isabel. Her manager and sponsor could speak up for her at the decision table, prepared and coached her through the interview process and what software and process she needed to excel in the new role. Isabel continually demonstrated gratefulness and confidence by not having reservations about speaking up for herself and promoting her skills and abilities. She showcased her performance currency by helping others on her team excel with their training sessions by helping to review their presentations and share feedback when needed.

I must ask you, “Do you have a workplace sponsor?”, “Do you perceive that you need one?” and “How do you demonstrate respect and appreciation for that professional relationship?”

Today, take time to reflect on the career goals you accomplished or still pending and the “why” behind your decision. Then, celebrate your lessons learned and the potential opportunity to achieve another career goal. Then, reboot or restructure your strategy if need be for unfulfilled career plans that you still want to achieve.

Throughout the day, affirm to yourself. For example, “I am driven to accomplish my professional goals today.”

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Written by: Michele Badie

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