Welcome to the next century and the new model for career management. Thanks to globalization, corporate cost-cutting, the shrinking size of middle management ranks, and rapid pace of marketplace change, many of us are now developing careers within an increasingly flat organizational model.
In a flat organization, staffing is based on projects or overall corporate objectives that have very little to do with job titles, departmental boundaries, or the old-school lines of organizational charts. For those with an eye on progressive career steps, it’s no longer enough to just “do your job” and keep your head down. It’s all-hands on-deck as organizations seek out employees who deliver results.
NEW SKILLS FOR SUCCESS
So, how do you manage your career proactively in this environment? Instead of thinking about your role or title in your organization, think about your output. That is, what specifically are you accomplishing and delivering, and are these outcomes meaningful to you and the organization?
Next, ask yourself, am I properly articulating my strengths and successes to others? Work on building and promoting a professional brand both inside and outside your organization.
You can create this “personal equity” or brand value proposition in a variety of ways. For example, you can focus on your presence and input on LinkedIn with robust descriptions of capabilities and projects accomplished. LinkedIn’s “Recommendations” tool is an effective and powerful way to showcase your value through the eyes of your senior managers, colleagues and clients by asking them to post brief testimonials that speak to your abilities.
In addition to LinkedIn, there are a variety of other methods for building your professional profile — personal networking, attending or hosting seminars, speaking engagements, contributing articles to newsletters and publications, and volunteering with industry or trade associations. Much of this is about simply making connections and demonstrating thought leadership as your career progresses.
Even within your own organization, you can engage in professional brand building for your benefit and theirs. Are you able to articulate and then demonstrate value to stakeholders, including peers, direct reports, managers and others? Is your corporate profile is up-to-date? Have you thought of ways to increase your visibility at work? It might be time to stretch outside your comfort zone. Ramp-up your informal networking with colleagues and senior managers, start forging new relationships with other departments or business units, write for the company newsletter or volunteer for high-profile committees and projects.
Finally, you may also be able to look within your own Human Resources department for help. Many smart organizations recognize that investing in employees through talent development and career management programs can generate big rewards for both the organization and the individual.
At Hazell & Collins Associates, we work regularly with individuals at all phases of their career to help develop a strategic plan for sustainable and maintainable career management and leadership growth.
Your investment in building a robust professional profile and reputation will pay off in many ways, both inside your own organization and within your chosen field. You have now taken the powerful steps to create your own opportunities and ensure you are on a successful career track.
Carrie Badame, CEIS
HCA, Strategic Career Success Coach