Sit and chat with any business executive of days gone by, and you’ll hear about a very different world. The sepia view would be an environment of business meetings being held in the pub, a diet of tobacco smoke, and charming inefficiency.
Every generation has its vogue. Today, it’s all about productivity and work ethic. In business theory, productivity advice is often the organisational equivalent of daily 5am Yoga sessions, 5 tablespoons of spirulina smoothie as a pick-me-up, and a holistic salad for dinner.
In short: an equally challenging methodology for working. With everybody offering advice about how to be an even better version of you, which bits of advice actually tick the right boxes?
Let’s take a look.
1) Matching Skills To Needs
It’s easy for today’s workforce to feel pressured into being perfect at everything. Professional development is valuable. It can unlock skills that people never knew that they had, and has been proven to boost intrinsic motivation, self-esteem, and empowerment. All of this translates into engagement, creativity, productivity and profitability.
However, people naturally have niche areas where they thrive. Knowing which skills to develop involves understanding underlying strengths and weaknesses. Leaders can guide transformation by advancing the required skillsets in the right employees…those who are best placed to deliver the results needed, this could include upskilling those who have the potential to deliver moving forward. Individuals should focus on developing areas where there is a role requirement and an identified weakness and not forget to do more of what they are already good at and share how they do it with their colleagues.
2) Learning To Communicate
Communication is a strange paradox. We use it all the time, yet it remains one of the most complex and varied skills. To be the full package, never assume you have already mastered this art.
Conceptualise communication as being a life-long journey of learning. There are many powerful areas of development. These include understanding the non-verbal codes of different cultures – which is increasingly vital in today’s globalised workplace – as well as training yourself to unlock the multiple layers of meaning that underpin the speech and writing that flow around us every day.
3) Network With Skill
Networking is often a misunderstood activity. There are times when the traditional image of structured networking is useful; business card in hand, making yourself known can sometimes be a useful starting point. However, the true skill in the art of networking is know what you need from your network, who do you already have that you need to invest greater time in, who do you feel you should have as they will help you deliver your future objectives, consider the future and the gaps you could have in the future and go about finding the right contacts by asking others who they know, and build real relationships ones that will truly make a difference.
Most importantly be yourself…authenticity grows your network; your network reflects you. Ask questions. Listen carefully to the answers. Stay engaged and build rapport. Cherish your network and nurture it by sharing your contacts to the greater good.
4) Develop A Core Set Of Ethics
Everyone has their own quirks. ‘Perfect’ people exist only in the mythical realm of Instagram. However, there are some basic, core traits that provide a solid professional foundation from which to develop.
Be A Giver - Is the most powerful trait of all, give with no expectation of receiving back and you will be genuinely amazed at what happens.
Time Management - If you offer help…do what you say you are going to do when you say you will do it. You will be surprised how this act stands out from the crowd. Even though few of us have a crystal ball, punctuality is one of the most respected professional skills.
Stay On Top Of Admin - Lots of people struggle with this. Email providers are desperately trying to find ways to help us to keep on top of message swamps, but today’s organisational world is one of constant multitasking. If you are the sort of person who has 42 unopened messages in your inbox and a heap of deadlines, stop and have a re-think, ask to not be copied in to correspondence you don’t need, unsubscribe to those never ending mailing lists, set aside time to deal with your email housekeeping and keep your files tidy and orderly that is your paper and digital files, a tidy work area helps to create a tidy mind.
Be Polite - This is probably the hardest, especially when tired or overworked. Good etiquette is a learned skill, and it means becoming proficient at holding back, even when you are ready to burst with frustration. Oh, and don’t forget to say thank you!
In an organisational scenario, spiralling emotions can ricochet around, creating an alarming domino effect that drains productivity and time. Relationships have ups and downs. In fact, these are the often mark of a natural and healthy relationship – one in which both sides care enough to express emotional interest. Learning to sleep on an email before hitting ‘send’ can be a career-saving move!
Despite what some people may claim, there is no general golden formula to success, there can only be your own golden formula as it is totally personal. People are individuals, and what works for one may not work for another. However, some basic steps are guaranteed to make a significant difference to success.
Developing the right skills, learning to communicate, networking effectively, and building a core set of ethical behaviours offer a strong framework for growth. If you would like to get up-to-date information about what the latest evidence shows, please get in touch.