Shape your ca­reer graph with mi­nor mind­set shifts

Mint ST - - LONG STORY -

In the cur­rent work­ing en­vi­ron­ment where am­bi­gu­ity is the new nor­mal, you may ex­pe­ri­ence “free float­ing anx­i­ety”. “What im­pact will au­to­ma­tion have on my role?” “How do I reskill my­self to be fu­ture ready ?”

While such con­cerns are nat­u­ral, there is of­ten not much you can do to in­flu­ence the out­come. What you do have com­plete con­trol over is your at­ti­tude and per­for­mance. Fo­cus on a good at­ti­tude and per­form­ing to the best of your abil­ity, and the rest usu­ally fol­lows. It might help, though, to up­date your­self on ways to achieve suc­cess within the work­place.

In In­dia, growth is usu­ally viewed as ver­ti­cal i.e., pro­mo­tions to the next level. So re­mem­ber that growth has many di­men­sions. Learn to value hor­i­zon­tal growth—for in­stance, you are in fi­nan­cial con­trol, con­sider mov­ing to fi­nan­cial plan­ning. If you are in re­cruit­ment, con­sider mov­ing into a busi­ness part­ner­ing role to be­come a well-rounded HR pro­fes­sional. Re­mem­ber, too, that get­ting pro­moted be­yond your cur­rent ca­pa­bil­ity can be de­bil­i­tat­ing. Too of­ten I have seen peo­ple who are great at one level but can’t sus­tain that at the next level be­cause they haven’t been ready for it.

In a world where ev­ery­thing is in­stant, learn to have pa­tience when it comes to your ca­reer. Most of us will work for close to three decades. You’ll get to where you have to, and a cou­ple of years here and there in that jour­ney won’t make a big dif­fer­ence. Learn to pace your­self—like it takes 12 years to fin­ish school or nine months to de­liver a baby, there are no short­cuts when it comes to ca­reer build­ing.

Re­mem­ber that the per­son most in­vested in your devel­op­ment is you. Take own­er­ship of your devel­op­ment and don’t as­sume that your per­for­mance is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of your man­ager or or­ga­ni­za­tion. Their role is to coach and de­velop you and pro­vide ad­e­quate learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Be­yond that, you have to be the mover and shaker when it comes to your ca­reer.

When you leave a role, as­pire to have per­formed at a level that peo­ple say, “Wow this per­son re­ally maxed this role and set a bench­mark.” Learn to take a role be­yond its in­tended lim­its.

Be will­ing to step out of your com­fort zone. Typ­i­cally, if you want to at­tempt roles which are not re­lated to your prior ex­pe­ri­ence—for ex­am­ple, an op­er­a­tions pro­fes­sional want­ing to move into a hu­man re­sources role or a process ex­cel­lence role—the best place would be your cur­rent or­ga­ni­za­tion. An ex­ter­nal or­ga­ni­za­tion is un­likely to bet on you out­side your core do­main. If you have built cred­i­bil­ity over time, your ex­ist­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion may be will­ing to take that chance on you.

As you go up the ca­reer lad­der and move into lead­er­ship roles, al­ways re­main grounded and hum­ble. In The Last Sa­mu­rai, there was a great line: “It’s im­por­tant to know where you are go­ing, but never for­get where you came from.” Don’t get lulled into think­ing that your suc­cess is due only to your own ca­pa­bil­ity. Sure, that has a big part to play, but no one gets any­where with­out the help and sup­port of nu­mer­ous peo­ple: fam­ily, sup­port from peers, se­nior lead­ers, your team.

To keep your­self grounded, ask, from time to time, “If I were to be elected by my team as their leader, would they still choose me?” An hon­est an­swer to that will tell you how much you still need to work on your­self.

Sameer Chadha is part­ner and CEO of KPMG Global Ser­vices (KGS), In­dia

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