Ex­ec­u­tive in­tel­li­gence: 10 ways to prac­tise ca­reer ex­cel­lence

AS DE­CEM­BER AP­PROACHES AND YOU EVAL­U­ATE THE TRI­UMPHS AND DIS­AP­POINT­MENTS OF 2018, ADOPT THE FOL­LOW­ING PRAC­TICES AND BE­LIEFS TO ACHIEVE GREATER SUC­CESS IN THE COMING YEAR

Destiny - - Contents - BY Kibo Ngowi

MAN­AGE YOUR EN­ERGY

Jes­sica Matthy­sen, Head of Cus­tomer Suc­cess for Alexan­der Forbes Em­power, says learn­ing to man­age not just her time, but also her en­ergy was in­valu­able in help­ing her climb the cor­po­rate lad­der. “We each have mo­ments of height­ened en­ergy and aware­ness – our peaks – as well as mo­ments when our bod­ies and minds need rest. Iden­tify when you’re most pro­duc­tive for spe­cific tasks. I know I’m best at cre­ative writ­ing when I’m prepar­ing to sleep and at an­swer­ing emails in the morn­ing, but I’m on auto-pi­lot from 3-5pm. Know­ing when I’m the best me means I can be more ef­fi­cient.”

CHANGE YOUR HABITS, NOT YOUR­SELF

“The trick to chang­ing any habit is recog­nis­ing that your iden­tity – that elab­o­rate men­tal frame­work you de­vised in your mind and la­belled ‘me’ – doesn’t ac­tu­ally ex­ist,” says Mark Man­son, an Amer­i­can self-help au­thor, blog­ger and en­trepreneur. “It’s ar­bi­trary. It’s a façade – and it can be raised or dropped at will. You aren’t un­pro­duc­tive: you’re a per­son who cur­rently chooses to do things that don’t feel use­ful. And chang­ing that is as sim­ple as chang­ing your ac­tions, one at a time. For­get about la­belling it. The quick­est way to change your­self is to re­alise that there’s no real self to change.”

BE MIND­FUL, NOT MIND­LESS

“Mind­ful­ness is the process of ac­tively notic­ing new things,” says Ellen Langer, a pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity, USA, who’s renowned for her pi­o­neer­ing work in mind­ful­ness the­ory. “When you do that, it puts you in the present. It makes you more sen­si­tive to con­text and per­spec­tive. It’s the essence of en­gage­ment and it’s en­ergy-beget­ting, not en­ergy-con­sum­ing. The mis­take most peo­ple make is as­sum­ing that it’s stress­ful and ex­haust­ing do­ing all this think­ing. But what’s re­ally stress­ful are all the mind­less, neg­a­tive eval­u­a­tions we make and the worry that we’ll encounter prob­lems and not be able to solve them.”

DON’T UNDERRATE SOFT SKILLS

A re­port by the McKin­sey Global In­sti­tute pre­dicts that by 2030, as many as 800 mil­lion jobs could be lost world­wide to au­to­ma­tion. Daniel Schwartzkopff, co-founder of ma­chine learn­ing com­pany DataProphet, says ca­reers which won’t be re­placed any­time soon are those which in­volve deal­ing with peo­ple and re­quire emo­tional in­tel­li­gence, such as psy­chol­ogy. Jobs that re­quire think­ing and plan­ning, such as man­age­ment, are also less vul­ner­a­ble. “About 94% of ex­ec­u­tives sur­veyed in a re­cent study agreed that when ad­min­is­tra­tive tasks are au­to­mated, the de­mand for jobs that re­quire soft skills, such as cre­ative prob­lem-solv­ing, col­lab­o­ra­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, will grow,” he says.

COM­MU­NI­CATE PROGRESS EF­FI­CIENTLY

“Daily 15-minute stand-up ses­sions, also re­ferred to as ‘scrums’, are an ‘agile’ ap­proach that’s prov­ing hugely ben­e­fi­cial for me and my teams,” says Eno­li­cia Str­ever, Se­nior IT Project Manager at Lib­erty Life and a top 25 fi­nal­ist in the Tammy Tay­lor Mrs SA 2018 com­pe­ti­tion. “This is a quick and fo­cused ses­sion that un­packs what we achieved col­lec­tively the day be­fore. We re­view what we’re do­ing next and as­sess whether there are any roadblocks to over­come. Through these ses­sions, my en­tire team’s aware of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and it’s a per­fect way to get them to talk, en­gage and get things done far quicker.”

BE YOUR OWN BEST AD­VI­SOR

“I talk my­self through ev­ery tough de­ci­sion and chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion be­cause ver­bal­is­ing it, rather than just play­ing it out in my head, makes me feel that I can find the prac­ti­cal­i­ties and pit­falls,” says Do­minique Pien­aar, CEO of DUO Mar­ket­ing + Com­mu­ni­ca­tions. “I once turned down an of­fer from my cur­rent em­ployer and de­cided that what I wanted was a more in­volved role than was avail­able at the time. When the found­ing CEO of the or­gan­i­sa­tion asked me why I’d de­clined the of­fer, I ex­plained my as­pi­ra­tions, hav­ing al­ready ver­balised them to my­self. She not only re­spected my de­ci­sion, but came back a few weeks later with an­other of­fer that would ef­fec­tively change my ca­reer path and lead to my tak­ing over as CEO.”

FOS­TER GOOD WORK­ING RE­LA­TION­SHIPS

Ma­lande Ton­jeni, CEO of the Makole Group, says lead­ing a large com­pany has taught her the value of re­la­tion­ships. “I can’t over-em­pha­sise the im­por­tance of cre­at­ing good re­la­tion­ships with col­leagues. Help oth­ers when you can, en­gage with them and value their opin­ions and con­tri­bu­tions as in­di­vid­u­als. When de­liv­ery of ex­cep­tional results is re­quired, you need a team of hard-work­ing, ded­i­cated, fo­cused peo­ple who’ll go the ex­tra mile. You can’t sus­tain an ex­cep­tional level of per­for­mance alone.”

DE­VELOP SELF-AWARE­NESS

“Self-aware­ness is the foun­da­tion,” says Jeanett Modise, Chief Hu­man Re­sources Of­fi­cer at San­lam In­vest­ment Group. “With­out it, the pur­suit of suc­cess is frus­trat­ing. At var­i­ous stages my men­tors have served as a mir­ror for me and helped me un­der­stand my­self bet­ter. In my view, in or­der to grow, re­flec­tion is vi­tal. What do I en­joy? What are my skills and pas­sions? Based on that knowl­edge, I make de­ci­sions on how to man­age my de­vel­op­ment. Self-knowl­edge re­quires re­flect­ing on your ex­pe­ri­ences, good and bad. In ad­di­tion, it helps you learn from your mis­takes.”

TRUST YOUR IN­STINCTS

“I have very strong in­tu­ition and I lis­ten to it ev­ery time it speaks to me,” says Amanda Dam­buza, founder and Di­rec­tor of Uyan­diswa, a con­sult­ing com­pany she launched four years ago which now em­ploys more than 70 peo­ple.

“There were times when I ig­nored that gut feel­ing – and things didn’t go well. So I de­cided al­ways to fol­low my in­stincts and left a highly suc­cess­ful cor­po­rate ca­reer as a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive in or­der to start my own com­pany, with­out a sin­gle client on my books. I had only R180 000 to put to­wards my busi­ness, but I knew with­out a shadow of a doubt that I’d make a suc­cess of my next chap­ter as an en­trepreneur.”

EM­BRACE DIF­FI­CULTY

“I be­lieve that suc­cess of­ten comes when you see no way of suc­ceed­ing, but refuse to give up. This mantra’s been a driver in both my per­sonal and work­ing life,” says Michelle Wynne, Head of Mar­ket­ing: Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa at HMD Global. “Dur­ing the for­ma­tive years of my ca­reer, one of the most chal­leng­ing tasks I had was par­tic­i­pat­ing in a global sec­ond­ment pro­gramme split be­tween Geneva in Switzer­land and New York over a six-week pe­riod. The sched­ule was gru­elling and the dead­lines never-end­ing, work­ing with col­leagues I’d never met be­fore and far from the sup­port struc­ture and com­forts of home. That was the first time my per­sonal mantra was tested. At the end of it, I re­turned home with a job well done and a foun­da­tion of per­sonal be­lief.”

YOU AREN’T UN­PRO­DUC­TIVE: YOU’RE A PER­SON WHO’S CUR­RENTLY DO­ING THINGS THAT DON’T FEEL USE­FUL. CHANG­ING THAT IS AS SIM­PLE AS CHANG­ING YOUR AC­TIONS, ONE AT A TIME.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.