Contrary to popular belief, career success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a progression with highs and lows and it starts with you. Your attitude. Your resilience. It’s not determined by how many hours you clock in, or the fancy blazers you buy, or how many LinkedIn connections you have. It’s about a strong work ethic and channelling that energy into action. With help from the successful and encouraging Howard Lichtman, a Partner at Ethnicity Multicultural Marketing & Advertising, we’ve rounded up these ten success tips that will transform your career success from dreams to reality.
It’s not about having a degree anymore but rather the soft skills you need to develop to stick out from the herd.—Howard Lichtman
Howards call these the management directions. Even if you’re not necessarily a manager (yet), knowing these will help you move in the right direction for when the time calls in your career.
Managing Up is all about talking to your bosses, managers, supervisors – that special someone that you need to report to. Develop strong communication so everyone is on the same page. Plus, your manager will recognize immediately the hard work you’re doing and offer up either feedback, encouragement, or well-deserved praise.
Managing Down is the reverse of that – you’re the boss and have a team (yes, your own team!), and how effectively you manage that team will be key in your development.
Managing Across is the toughest of all three directions because it’s the one management style that requires a balance. It’s managing your fellow peers regardless if they’re on your direct team or in another department entirely. Get them to not only help you but to want to help you: everyone’s happy and it’s a win-win situation.
What do you mean by the power of questioning? Great question.
Let’s answer this with a golfing analogy. (And even if you don’t play, don’t fret, we’re sticking to basics here). You’ve lined up the ball, you’re looking off into the distance with the sunshine in your eyes, trying to determine what direction is best for trajectory. You go for it. At first glance, all looks promising. But it’s off by the tiniest bit. That slight measurement changes everything as it progresses through the air.
Suddenly, you’ve gone in the wrong direction and it could have been avoided with the simplest question.
Your tenacity to get things right the first time ties in with your career success. So, ask all the questions when you’ve been given a project. It’ll help clear away the confusion and wastes no one’s time. Especially yours!
Here’s a simple truth that both Howard and NASA agree upon: you can’t accomplish everything on your own.
NASA being NASA wanted a definite answer to back this statement up, so they came up with a scientific behavioural exercise to prove it. The basis of this experiment was to have their qualified astronauts answer a life and death scenario as an individual, and then again with the group. They wanted them to compare their modes of thinking: did they win better on their own, or with the help of their colleagues?
You know it as well as we do that the group always wins because the more people working on a solution means more brainpower. Successful teamwork means successful career growth. See how we worked on that together to figure it out?
We know this one seems obvious, but it’s important to note. A great attitude or lack thereof can make or break a team dynamic. Consistency is key to make any sort of difference, especially in your work environment. Everyone understands when you’re having a bad day, but all the time? No thanks! A great attitude should be worn like a cape: day in and day out, ready to save the day. Be conscious of the type of attitude you bring into an environment. Become the person who goes the extra mile. That’s the person everyone will want to work with, and that’s a sign of a successful career developing.
Anytime you work on something, remember that it’s a reflection of you. Ask yourself if you’re comfortable with your work before submitting it to someone like Howard, or even a whole panel of Howards.
If you’re not living and breathing pride in your everyday work, your supervisor and managers are going to notice. It’s like catching the waft of something cooking or burning in the kitchen. Do we run in to enjoy treats or run in to put out the fire?
When it comes to your career growth, that means being prepared for whatever is thrown at you as you zigzag along your way to success. Whether it’s a job interview or a new project, the answers are out there waiting for you. All it takes is you reaching forward. There’s no excuse for not being able to find what you need to move onto that next stage in your career. The internet. Friends and colleagues. Need more proof? Howard shares a career success moment of doing his homework when he had his first interview at Cineplex. We won’t be able to do it justice so make sure to watch his full video on CMA NXT.
And remember, don’t let your dog eat your homework on any opportunity that will make you shine.
Even if you’re prepared with all that homework, that’s still not enough. It simply doesn’t end there. Anyone can do all that work, but it takes a person with a successful streak to push the envelope further. What does your homework or piles of research mean in the bigger picture?
Howard’s talking about strategic thinking here, and how you should practice connecting the dots. Your manager, coworkers, and clients will thank you for it. Learn to take in all that information and find actionable outcomes. At the end of the day, everyone has the same resources of information as you do – it’s what you do with it that’ll make it count.
There are two sides to the presentation coin according to Howard. First, there’s the written portion of the presentation. All that information you’re about to go through should be visually appealing and engaging to your audience. A PowerPoint deck to make all PowerPoint decks jealous.
Once that side is taken care of, there’s the actual oral presentation. Here’s where you’ll speak with passion and conviction to your audience. You want them hanging onto your every word because everything you’re saying is valuable, insightful, and just plain amazing. Next stop: TedTalk.
While you were skimming through this article, a text message came in from your friend and other notifications are blinking red. Being the amazing multitasker that you are, you were able to fire a reply and return to reading this. Why? Because you’re used to multitasking. Instant gratification is in the fabric of our culture, and everyone wants your attention now.
Demanding deadlines are the reality of any corporation and being an excellent multitasker will keep you on top of them. Pro tip from Howard: talk to someone great at multitasking to show you the ropes.
Time management goes hand in hand with prioritization, and everyone has a different system of doing things. Figuring out which time management system works for you is worth exploring – there are many options available now that remote working has become the norm. The better you are with your time, the more success you’ll achieve throughout your day. We all have the same number of hours in the day, but it’s what we do with them that defines career success.
Do you have all of these ten tips memorized and ready to go? If you don’t, why not watch Howard’s video to soak it all in?