Why Strategic Thinking Will Help You Progress Your Career Faster

Why Strategic Thinking Will Help You Progress Your Career Faster

Do you feel you deserve to be promoted because you put in the hours and you’re good at your job? Would you be surprised to know that it makes very little difference to your chances of success?

In an earlier blog, we shared the EPIC formula, which encapsulates the four main areas you need to excel in to progress your career. 

These include: 

  • Exposure (being noticed by and getting to know the right people)
  • Performance (being seen to deliver the desired outcome)
  • Impact (creating a positive influence)
  • Consciousness (being self-aware).

Is your professional performance letting you down?

Performance is often misunderstood – it’s not about how well you do your job, it’s about the results that you deliver. Look at it this way: when you book a tropical beach holiday, you are most likely hoping for the warm rays of the sunshine, a beautiful blue sea and a white sandy beach. If you don’t get that at the end of your flight, you will not be impressed, even if you flew first class and enjoyed luxury seating or a complimentary massage.

The quote “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”, often attributed to philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, is exactly why so many people are shocked when they’re overlooked for promotion. If you want to rise through the ranks or be considered for a new role, you need to be more strategic about your performance. In this case, the journey is not enough; you need to deliver the outcome (the beach)!

By the end of this blog, you will have the tools you need to increase your ability to deliver your project goals to the highest standard and progress your career.

It’s time to become strategic about your performance, particularly when you’re part of a team!

What makes a team function at its best?

One of the best ways to decipher what helps a team excel is to pay attention to what negatively impacts it. 

Author Patrick M. Lencioni identified the top five dysfunctions of a team as:

  1. Absence of trust
  2. Fear of conflict
  3. Lack of commitment 
  4. Avoidance of accountability
  5. Inattention to results.

When you are part of a team, you must take full responsibility for yourself as an individual, and for the role you play as a team member. This helps you work at your optimum and get noticed for all the right reasons; both of which enhance your chances of career progression.

How to bolster your strengths

Are you familiar with the phrase your team is only as strong as its weakest link? (from British essayist Thomas Reid, A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.”)

When everyone in the team is functioning to full capacity, the team can flourish as a unit and everyone can thrive at an individual level. A team member who fails to deliver their agreed outcome is a burden. Remember that it’s never about punctuality or just doing your job!

To excel and perform at your best, you need to be accountable to yourself, to the team, and be willing to hold your team members accountable.

As a valuable team member, you need to make time to look in the mirror and act on what you see:

M   Make a list and commit to completing three to four goal-oriented actions.

I      Invest time and create dedicated space in your diary to follow through.

R    Review your ongoing contributions. Are you progressing the right actions?

R    Review the actions others have completed so you know what to carry forward.

O    Overcome challenges and be proactive. Control what you can, let go of the rest.

R    Remember to honour your commitments. Ask for feedback. Review the outcome.

Why holding yourself accountable will help you progress your career

When we take the time to self-reflect (using the MIRROR acronym above), we become stronger, more efficient, reliable and trustworthy contributors, which also sets a good example to the rest of our peers. If we are critical of our team members without tending to ourselves first, we are more vulnerable to criticism, stunt our own professional growth, and are more likely to jeopardise the outcome of the project.

Take a moment to consider what you might do differently on a current or future project you may be working on. What insights have you had? What might you do differently based on this blog?

Why you must focus on the outcome

Consider this: in the introduction to this blog, I promised that I would share the tools you need in order to increase your ability to deliver your project goals to the highest standard and progress your career. If I had simply talked about why it was important without giving you those tools, I might have put in the time, but I would have been ineffective. Meeting or exceeding the intended outcome is always the ultimate goal (not just showing up), and when you do it strategically, you will thrive and line up future opportunities.

If you’d love to know more about how Elevate Talent can support you to overcome the obstacles and progress your career, please get in touch for more information about our bespoke online training programmes.

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