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Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson12 part3

Create a Realistic Schedule

Develop your schedule

A detailed schedule enables you to:

  1. Commit to accomplishing certain tasks within a specific time frame.
  2. Visualize your available time and your plan for allocating it.
  3. Easily see uncommitted blocks of time.
  4. Ensure that your A- and B-priority tasks are occupying most of your time.
  5. Minimize stress by avoiding committing to too many tasks at the same time.

There are many different types of scheduling tools, including:

  • Phone-based calendar apps
  • Paper-based planners
  • Integrated calendar and task management software
  • Networked scheduling programs
  • Wall or desk calendars

Start with your priorities

always begin with your A-priority tasks. Insert them into appropriate time slots over the coming days, weeks, or months. By scheduling these first, you are sure to have time to deal with your most important responsibilities. Then assign your B-priority tasks to specific time slots.

Keep in mind that you have periods of high and low energy each day.

  • Schedule activities that require concentration and creativity during your peak energy periods.
  • Schedule routine tasks, such as handling email or reviewing reports, during low-energy periods

Build in flexibility

Crises develop, you are pulled into meetings, and unexpected opportunities arise that require attention. To accommodate these situations, build flexibility into your schedule:

  1. Don’t book every minute. Leave time to deal with crises and unexpected demands.
  2. Avoid back-to-back meetings. You need time after each meeting to process the information and execute action items.
  3. Include breaks. By incorporating moments to rest and reflect, you’ll improve your focus.
  4. Look ahead. Plan to complete activities ahead of deadlines to give yourself leeway in case something unexpected comes up


If you’re going to get somewhere, you have to work backwards from where that place is. And you have to do what I call “building in transition time.” You have to build in transition time.

We need 15, 20 minutes in between to think about how to make the next meeting productive, how to make the most use of what’s going to happen next in our day so that we could really be present to that, so that we’re not checking e-mail in the middle of it. So that we can actually do what we need to do that would normally take us an hour and a half, we could do it in half an hour, 45 minutes.

That transition time makes our day go much more smoothly. It ensures that we end up where we need to be in time. And it allows us to be present when we’re sitting in the room doing what we’re supposed to be doing

Peter Bregman — CEO, Bregman Partners, and Author, “18 Minutes”


Consider starting your day by accomplishing one key task. You’ll feel a sense of achievement, make progress on an important project, and build momentum for the rest of the day.

Consolidate tasks such as email, paperwork, and phone calls. For example, set aside 9:00–9:30 a.m. and 4:30–5:00 p.m. for these tasks. Consolidating tasks usually reduces the total time required to do them by eliminating startup and switching time.

Keep your schedule easily accessible. Check on your progress throughout the day to make sure you are on target.

Make time for re-planning *

Course corrections are often necessary. Learn to evaluate your success by how you invested your time based on the circumstances that arose that day, not by whether or not you did everything as originally scheduled.

how to reallocate your time, consider:

  • What is most important now?
  • Can you make any trade-offs? For example, if you attended a daily project meeting yesterday, can you skip it today to take care of something more pressing?
  • What can you delegate?
  • What can you say “no” to?
  • What deadlines and timelines can you change?
  • What can you do less of—and less perfectly—yet still add value?

Create effective to-do lists
An effective to-do list includes:

  • Meetings you are scheduled to attend
  • Decisions you must make
  • Calls you must make or be prepared to receive
  • Reports, emails, and other items you must write
  • Unfinished A- and B-priority tasks from the previous day
  • Miscellaneous tasks, as you have time for them

Make a daily to-do list

As you compile your list, be realistic about how many things you can accomplish. If you are new at creating daily to-do lists, include only half the number of items you think you can complete. Also, be diligent about keeping low-priority activities and urgent but unimportant tasks off the list. Otherwise, you may be tempted to take care of these items first and then have no time left for important work.

Begin by addressing tasks that are both urgent and important. These are the things that must be done immediately, have tight timelines, and support your top-priority goals.

Next, address tasks that are important but not urgent. The more time you can spend on important tasks with serious long-term consequences, the more effective you become.

Delegate or schedule a time to address tasks that are urgent but not important. Let others know when you’ll be available to meet with them or briefly give them ideas for solving the problem on their own.

Use your to-do list

If you are not prepared to undertake a task at its scheduled time, focus on the next priority. Complete it, then return to the original task. Don’t delay that primary task more than once.

Cross each task off your list as you complete it. You’ll feel a sense of satisfaction. You will also clearly see what tasks you have not yet finished. At the end of the day, transfer any remaining high-priority tasks to your to-do list for the next day, and schedule a time to complete them.



  1. The first is do great work with my current clients.
  2. The second is to grow and develop my business.
  3. The third is to speak and write about my ideas.
  4. The fourth is creative pursuits, some kind of creative pursuit that’s not going to necessarily bring me money, but is going to fulfill me.
  5. And the fifth is to nurture myself and my family. Those are my five top areas of focus.

And that is our time management problem. What we want to do in the moment is different than what we want to have done by the end of the day. And so we really need to be strategic about what we’re going to do and what we’re not going to do in order to make sure that we’re not eating all the wrong things, and that we have to bring back to our table—our desk—a to-do list, a calendar, a set of tasks that represent what’s most important to us, our highest priorities, the things that we most want to focus on in a year.

Peter Bregman — CEO, Bregman Partners, and Author, “18 Minutes”


View unexpected downtime as a gift and use it wisely
5-Minute Blocks

  • Schedule an appointmen
  • Make a quick note
  • Update your schedule

10-Minute Blocks

  • Make a brief phone call
  • Outline a meeting agenda
  • Read and respond to an email

30-Minute Blocks

  • Skim journals, magazines, and newspapers
  • Plan your weekly schedule
  • Outline notes for a report

Check your progress

  • “Am I completing the tasks I set for this week?” If not, what’s preventing you from doing so? For example, are you underestimating the amount of time needed to complete certain tasks?
  • “Am I making progress toward achieving my goals?” If not, you may be including too many C-priority tasks in your schedule.
  • “Do I feel more focused?” If not, you may be failing to cluster similar tasks together or to take occasional breaks.
  • “Can I sustain this schedule?” If not, restructure your schedule to match your energy level or reassess your priorities



You know, we talk about time management, but you can’t manage time. The only thing you can manage is yourself

So rather than thinking about time management, think about self-management: How is it that you can use your day—how is it that I can use my day—to get the most bang for the moment that we have?

I scan through my email before I start and discover there is one—the 201st—that is absolutely critical to moving my project forward, I can handle that one email and possibly even ignore the other 200, and end up making more progress than if I had tried to do every single email. Because the secret to time management and to organizing your day isn’t do as much as possible. It’s make as much progress as possible.

Do those first. Then, if you feel like it, do all of the rest of it. But you can’t manage time. All you can manage is your decisions about how you’re going to spend your day and what you’re going to do.

Stever Robbins — President, Stever Robbins Inc.



Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson12 part2

Analyze Your Current Activities




People who are the least stressed about their finances typically follow a few rules.

Start by calculating how many hours you have to spend on work each day, week, or month

Then estimate the time cost of everything you need to get done

Finally, rebalance your time to focus on the career and personal activities that matter most.

Life and work are dynamic, and change is to be expected. You can’t simply set your schedule and leave it for the next 10 years. So you’ll need to constantly revisit your time budget to make sure you’re investing your time wisely.

Elizabeth Grace Saunders — President and CEO, Real Life E Time Coaching and Training


Create an activity log

  1. Lists each activity you engage in and how much time you spent on it.
  2. Includes even minor activities, such as tidying your desk and taking coffee breaks.
  3. Labels each entry with a specific category, such as “email,” “internet browsing,” “phone call,” “planning,” “meetings,” and “supervision.”
  4. Assigns a priority to each entry, based on the priority of the goal it supports. Unless they are associated with specific high-priority goals, activities such as managing paperwork and chatting with coworkers are generally C-priority activities



The key thing, of course, is the trust and the respect and the honesty in this kind of interaction and relationship. So when we looked at the data, it was interesting. There was spending this much time on the internet or it might start with a work-related thing and then wander on. Too much time on email. Long coffee breaks.

That took trust, respect, and honesty in assessment and good communication between the leadership and the professional

Aus Al-Tawil — Acting Manager, Reservoir Characterization Department, Saudi Aramco


Analyze patterns

  • What kinds of activities are consuming most of my time?” Are you spending a lot of time on paperwork, coffee breaks, or returning voice mail messages?
  • “Do some tasks tend to cluster at certain times?” Do you spend most of Monday mornings responding to email? Do you often have unexpected visitors after lunch? Do meetings cluster later in the week?
  • “Does this use of time match my most important objectives?” Spending most of your day on the phone may be appropriate if you’re in sales, but not if you work in accounts payable
  • “How much of my day is spent on A- and B-priority activities?” Your ultimate goal is to spend most of your day on high-priority activities, with C-level tasks taking up a small portion of your time

Identify areas for improvement

  1. Decrease the amount of time you spend on C-priority activities. Look for ways to eliminate or delegate lower-priority tasks.
  2. Identify the underlying causes of your time challenges. If you understand why you are doing something, it’s easier to change your behavior.
  3. Look at what’s working. If you were particularly productive during a certain time period, think about what you did and why it worked. Then try to apply those behaviors to the rest of your schedule
  4. Determine the best time to do certain activities. For example, you may notice that checking and responding to email first thing in the morning puts you behind on your tasks for the day. You decide to set aside time for email right before lunch instead—after you’ve made progress on key tasks.

Netflix: Jessica Jones S2

  • Reflective season about what Jessica’s priorities are
  • Priorities reflecting human tendencies about family, where no matter how detached a person may seem, the natural workings of family will always apply
  • Great character evolution for Malcom and Trish
  • Exciting how the villains of S1 and S2 have similar twists, and also this time a step-notch higher when it comes to morality
  • Exciting how S3 handles Jessica’s and Trish’ relationship

Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson12


Prioritize Your Goals

Use your goals as a guide

When you focus on your most important on-the-job objectives, you:

  1. Gain a sense of direction for you and your team
  2. Devote less energy and time to non-critical tasks
  3. Increase your motivation and job satisfaction



It’s a five-step process: Identify, decide, offload, allocate, and commit.

First, identify low-value-added tasks. Look at your daily activities and decide how important each one is to you or your firm.

Second, decide whether to drop, delegate, outsource, or redesign

Third, offload tasks. I heard from many participants that delegating was the most challenging part of the exercise, but ultimately the most rewarding.

Fourth, allocate freed-up time. The ultimate goal is to fill hours you saved with more business-critical work

Finally, commit to your plan. It’s crucial to share your plan with your boss, colleague, or mentor. If you don’t, it’s too easy to slide back into bad habits.

Jordan Cohen — Productivity and Innovation Expert


You can perform at your peak only when your activities align with your values. Lack of alignment in this area can cause you to feel stressed, unhappy, and dissatisfied. The starting point of peak performance is for you to choose—based on your values—what goals and tasks are most important to you.

When you set your priorities, think about:

  1. What is really important to you?
  2. Of all the things that are important to you, what is most important?
  3. What do you believe in and stand for?

List your goals

To effectively guide your actions, goals must be SMART, that is:

  • Specific. Goals should clearly define what you are going to accomplish.
  • Measureable. You must be able to measure progress toward your goals.
  • Action-oriented. Your goals identify concrete behaviors or processes.
  • Realistic. Goals can be achieved given existing constraints, such as time and resources.
  • Time-limited. Each goal should have a deadline by which it needs to be accomplished.




First, get specific about what you want to achieve. Also, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal

Second, decide where and when you will act on your goals

For instance, you might decide that if it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, you’ll spend 30 minutes at 9:00 a.m. researching new sales leads. Studies have shown that this kind of planning will help your brain detect and seize that opportunity when it arises, increasing your chances of success by roughly 300%.

Try to shift your mindset to a “get better” mindset instead of holding yourself to impossible standards of perfection.

Finally, focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do. Research on thought suppression has shown that trying to avoid a thought makes it even more active in your mind.

Remember, you don’t need to become a different person to become a more successful one. It’s never what you are, but what you do

Heidi Grant Halvorson — Asssociate Director, Columbia Business School, Motivation Science Center


Types of goals

  • Unit goals

What your group as a whole will do to bring value to the organization

  • Individual goals

What you will do to contribute to achieving your unit’s goals

  • Personal development goals

What you must achieve to grow and find satisfaction, in and out of the workplace

Long-term versus short-term goals

Short-term goals are achievable within one or two months. Long-term goals can take several months or even years to reach

If the organization or external environment has changed and a particular goal no longer creates value, modify or eliminate it. Before making any changes, be sure to get buy-in from your boss, team, and other involved groups.

Prioritize your goals

  • Which goals does your organization value the most?
  • Which goals will have the greatest impact on performance and profitability?
  • Which goals best position your team for future success?

Priority A: Goals that have high value and primary importance.

Priority B: Goals that have medium value and secondary importance.

Priority C: Goals that have some value but not much importance right now.



And to this day I think about that decision, and it bothers me because I can’t tell you who was in the meeting. I can’t tell you what the meeting was about. My daughter remembers that I missed her graduation. So I guess the advice out of that is: Set your priorities. Hold tight to your priorities. Because no matter what else happens, if you keep true to the things that are important, you’ll make the right decision

Terrie Campbell — Vice President of Strategic Marketing, Ricoh Americas Corporation


Analyze Your Current Activities

Track your time



Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson11 part6

Help Others Manage Their Careers

How developing others benefits you

If you challenge team members appropriately and delegate effectively, they will produce results that benefit everyone. Likewise, when you focus on your employees’ goals, interests, and values, you build trust and engagement—increasing the odds that good employees will stay with your organization.

  • Keep intellectual capital. Good employees have a wealth of skill, experience, and ideas that can be difficult to replace.
  • Attract other good people. There’s an expression that “like attracts like.” Smart, committed employees are likely to help recruit additional talent.
  • Control costs. It’s expensive to recruit, hire, and train replacements when talented employees leave.



First, he should have honored my aspiration. A former CEO once told me, even if the customer isn’t always right, he still deserves to be heard. This applies to employees as well. To keep them engaged, happy, and productive, you need to listen to and understand their desires, no matter how unrealistic they are.

Sometimes it can be difficult to envision employees in the roles they aspire to. But making an effort to do so will show them how much you value their work, and foster the type of engagement that will propel your company forward.

Whitney Johnson — President and Cofounder, Rose Park Advisors


Help employees clarify goals

To effectively guide people’s careers, you need to have regular, candid conversations with them, preferably several times a year. Make sure to cover:

  1. Their current interests. Has a recent project given them new insight about something they enjoy and want to pursue more deeply? Or has a task become routine and hence no longer stimulating? What have they loved doing recently? What frustrated them—and why?
  2. Their skills. Review any new learning, training, or certifications they have completed since your last meeting. Staying apprised of your employees’ capabilities helps you better craft stretch assignments.
  3. Their values. What rewards are most meaningful to them right now? An employee who is eager for promotion may want a prestigious assignment that will get them noticed by upper management. A team member who recently started a family may yearn for a flexible schedule that allows for better work/life balance. Or an employee may want to reduce work hours in order to go back to school.
  4. The level of support they can expect from you. Do they need any additional resources or guidance? In contrast, is there anything they’d like to be able to do with greater autonomy? Assure employees that you will regularly scan for opportunities for them.



So I think the challenge is really finding out where people are in their career, [and] what’s important to them. Some people don’t want the next promotion. What they want is an opportunity to work on projects that they enjoy and have time with their children, or have time to take nice, long vacations. Whatever that is, you have to figure out — help that employee figure — out what’s important to him or her, and then work to develop [him or her] in the way that makes the most sense for that particular person. It’s very easy to try to do cookie-cutter development, and it just doesn’t work.

So I think if you can make that space, take people off-site for a little while, allow more time than you normally would for a regular one-on-one meeting, and just really take that time where you can get to hear them and find out what’s going on for them personally, what do they want professionally and what you can do to support them in those goals.

Robin Jarvis — Senior Manager, Leadership Development, H-E-B


Create developmental opportunities

  1. Use new insights to reshape their jobs. Consider redefining the person’s current role so that it better matches their interests, values, and skills.
  2. Evaluate career options together. Identify a next career step or possible path within your organization. Together, discuss whether that role would give your employee enough challenges and opportunities to learn. Does it satisfy their current core interests? If the answer is yes, work with the employee to develop a plan that prepares them for the role
  3. Make introductions. Identify people in the company who you think could provide growth opportunities and guidance for your employee. Whenever possible, help to arrange meetings.


Take it to the team level

The motives of the participants in collaborative job crafting may vary. Some team members may want to swap tasks to better tap their own skills. Others may want to take on tasks that will help them hone new skills. Still others may just be bored with doing the same old tasks and are looking for more variety.

Step 1: Current task assessment. Members individually identify tasks they would like to spend more or less time on.

Step 2: Skills development wish list. Members individually identify skills they would like to improve over the next year.

Step 3: Information exchange meeting. Members present their task assessment analysis and their skills development lists to the group.

Step 4: Offline discussion. Members take a week to informally discuss possible ways to tailor responsibilities, swap tasks, or collaborate to improve job satisfaction, skill building, or career opportunities.

Step 5: New task agreement meeting. Members meet to draw up a new division of tasks within the team.



And over three years, they went from number 93 to number eight, to number one in the world. Because they got that right. And what’s really wonderful is in their sense of real diversity, they all truly appreciate one another. And they also keep on growing, continuing to see what does each one love, what does each one not love. And see how they can disperse the tasks and be a sustainable and successful team.

Carol Kauffman – Director, Institute of Coaching, Harvard Medical School


Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson11 part5

Overcome Career Setbacks

Cultivate career resilience *

Cultivate an “assignment mentality” toward work. Remind yourself that your current job is not a permanent state, but a step along a journey. Contribute your best effort and focus on what you can gain from the experience to take the next step in your career.

think of your job as temporary rather than permanent:

  1. Invest in your networks and your skills. You know that you’ll use them to make your next move. These actions will also make you better at your current job.
  2. Avoid emotional pitfalls. Nothing in life is permanent, yet because you see your colleagues on a daily basis, it can be easy to think of them as a second family. However, work relationships should be only one of many sources of companionship.
  3. Keep perspective. Your job is not the whole of who you are, nor does it determine whether you are successful in life. The happiest, most productive employees don’t rely exclusively on their jobs to give them purpose. They lead fulfilling lives outside work, too.



And you really want to be working your network. That’s important, as well. You want to reconnect with people. Especially if you’re not going to work every day, you may have lost your social life. So you reconnect. Have coffee dates with people. Get together. Find out where there’s some new opportunities

absolutely prepare an elevator pitch. That’s being able to describe who you are, what your strengths are, what you’re looking for going forward, to everybody that you meet–in about 30 seconds or less. That’s really important.

But embrace it as an opportunity. Don’t stay home and feel bad and be moping around and waiting for the phone to ring. Use this as an opportunity, proactively, to create the next opportunity for yourself that’s going to be fulfilling and joyful and something that is going to really be fun to do every day

Lauren Mackler – Coach, Consultant, & Author


Begin your recovery *

  • Gather yourself emotionally. When you receive difficult news, your body automatically goes into “fight or flight” mode. Adrenaline courses through your body, which makes it hard to think rationally. In this moment, say as little as possible. The first thing out of your mouth is not likely to be useful for your reputation or future career.
  • Take a hiatus. After you’ve had some time to cool down—whether it’s 24 hours or several weeks—you can begin the process of reevaluating your career

Reframe a career setback

  1. Switch the questions. Swap “Why me?” and other questions that provoke self-pity for action-oriented inquiry, such as, “What can I do to move forward?” or “What positives can I gain from this situation?”
  2. Set “negativity appointments.” Rather than let negative thoughts consume you, schedule three 3-minute appointments each day where you allow yourself to think about the setback. During the rest of the day, if negative thoughts occur, mentally set them aside until your “appointment.”
  3. Try to see the event or decision from the company’s point of view. This helps you forgive where necessary and gain insight that may help you avoid repeating mistakes.
  4. View failure as a beginning, not an end. Profound reinvention and great success often spring from a setback.

Rebound from a career setback

four steps to guide your path back to career success:

1. Face reality

  • Do a financial assessment. To lower your stress, figure out how long you can take to look for a job and whether you can reduce your expenses in the meantime.
  • Decide which battles need to be fought. Choose efforts that restore your reputation rather than those that only drain your energy.
  • Talk it out. Share your story with trusted friends or family to manage negative emotions you may have from the setback before jumping into a new job search

2. Recruit others

  • Reach out. Use your network for informational interviews, insight on job opportunities, and connections.
  • Enlist your network to tap members of their networks. A Stanford University study found that nearly 30% of job seekers found jobs through distant acquaintances. *

3. Rediscover your mission

  • Look to the future. When something ends, it’s a chance to start anew. What do you want to do? Where can you contribute most?
  • Stay engaged. Volunteer, take on a temporary project, or sign up for a course to learn something new. In addition to keeping you from dwelling on the setback, these activities can expand your capabilities and network.

4. Rebuild your reputation

  • Develop a simple narrative. Be consistent in your account of the events that led up to your setback and what you learned. Don’t disparage your former employer or colleagues—it makes you seem unprofessional.
  • Focus on your strengths. The quicker you start using your talents again in a positive, visible way, the quicker your reputation will rebound.
  • Brush up your elevator pitch. Be ready with a pithy explanation of what makes you stand out.
  • Tend to your online presence. Make sure your social media profiles are up-to-date and positive.
  • Get allies to help rebuild your reputation. Tap old colleagues, mentors, and other contacts with credibility to attest to your skills and character.

He then rewrites his resume and develops an elevator pitch that highlights his distinctive skill set. He also develops a quick explanation of his layoff, noting it occurred after a merger, and that it gave him a chance to reconsider what kind of work was most meaningful to him.



It was painful from the perspective of the amount of time that it took, but at the end of the day I’m very happy. So sometimes making those bold decisions can really cost you. But it’s been a great move in my career.

Cherie Matthews – Vice President, Leadership and Talent Development


Break out of a career rut *

  1. Identify five to seven jobs in your company or new career options that excite you. Consider a wide range of options, not limiting yourself to what is practical or seemingly possible.
  2. Look at the list to discern underlying themes. Are you searching for new learning opportunities? Are you interested in working on social issues? Do you want to unleash your artistic side? Would you prefer to not supervise others? Use these underlying themes to narrow your list down to two or three possible job options.
  3. Collect data on your shorter list of job options. Conduct informational interviews and read up on any new career paths or companies that interest you. Tap your networks to get feedback on the options you’re considering. Surface issues you should think about before making a change.
  4. Once you’ve completed your data collection, consider opportunities in your current organization. Can you redesign your job to accommodate your new career interests? Are there other positions in the company that would be a better fit? If so, explore these possibilities with your manager or sponsors.
  5. If you can’t find possibilities in your current organization, consider expanding your search to other companies. At the same time, broaden your network to help steer you through the process.


Career impasse is a time when things aren’t working at work. We’re unhappy, and we don’t necessarily know why. Is it what we’re doing every day? Is it where we’re doing it? Is it the people we’re doing it with? Is it all three, or some combination?

Career impasse is a wake-up call. It’s a message that there are parts of the self, parts of your self, that are not being lived in your daily life that need to be lived.

Now, the difficulty comes with the fact that, when we are unhappy and we know something is wrong, our instinct is to move away from it, to deny it, to put off looking at it, to lean away. My suggestion is to lean toward it, to honor it as a wake-up call, to look more deeply into this unhappiness, to allow that unhappiness to speak to you. What is the message behind the unhappiness? What isn’t being lived in your life?

There are many different types of thoughts and thought patterns that could intervene, that could prevent us from really opening up and looking at what the impasses bring us. But if we can recognize this resistance as it occurs, and remember that our job is to lean toward it and honor it, then we will be able to use this opportunity to open up and allow something to speak about what we need to be doing next at this particular time in our lives

Timothy Butler — Senior Fellow, Harvard Business School


Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson11 part4

Explore Opportunities

Take a broad view

  1. Deepen your core expertise. For instance, if you are a marketing analyst in a business unit, making a lateral move to the same role in a different unit will deepen your marketing skills and increase your understanding of the company’s business model.
  2. Broaden your skill set. For instance, you may be managing a unit that has experienced sustained success, but you could develop new skills by accepting a similar position in a unit in need of a turnaround.
  3. Manage work/life balance. For instance, you may want to reduce your level of responsibility so you can deal with an illness in your family or go back to school

I had a very unusual experience when I was running strategic planning for BD in Europe earlier in my career. And I was offered a job as a manager, having been a director. But the manager role was one where I had the opportunity to run a business, have people reporting directly to me, and to learn a whole series of new things

Vince Forlenza – President and CEO of BD, the medical technology company, on how he zigged and zagged his way to the top

Know what your organization offers

  • You’ve invested time and effort building your personal brand at your current employer.
  • You’re familiar with the culture—its strengths and idiosyncrasies—and can work effectively within it.
  • Your have networks of contacts within your organization who can direct you to in-house opportunities.
  • Your organization has a vested interest in keeping you—you have knowledge and experience your employer does not want to lose

First I asked myself, in that other job, Could I add more value, could I create more value in the world than I create today? Second, Would I learn more every day so that I could add more value next year? And third, Do I like and trust the people there as much as I like and trust the people I’m working with now?

Rob Markey — Global Practice Leader, Customer Strategy & Marketing, Bain & Company

Begin your search

Some organizations suggest that you visit their career management center, check the job bank, and then follow their guidelines. Other companies ask that you begin by talking with your supervisor, who can help you either redefine your current role or identify potential opportunities elsewhere in the organization

  • Take the initiative to deepen your understanding of the business, with the goal of uncovering additional opportunities.
  • Try to imagine your organization as outsiders perceive it. What opportunities and challenges would they see?
  • Gather as much information as you can through colleagues, company meetings, shareholder conference calls, online forums, and external contacts

You need to focus on doing a good job. And you need to focus on “How can I challenge myself?” Sometimes, challenging yourself [could mean] that you may not get a promotion, that you may volunteer to go and do another job that doesn’t require or doesn’t involve a promotion but it challenges you

That challenge is going to push you to develop the skills that you may not have, [to] develop knowledge that you may not have. And believe it, in time you will have promotions. In time, you will be at the right place at the right time, and all those skills that you have developed through challenging yourself will pay off. And that’s how I have managed my career, focusing on challenging, focusing on stretching myself. Promotions — they came along the line

Esther Alegria – Vice President, Manufacturing and the General

Manager, Biogen Idec

Ask yourself:

  1. Which departments or business areas have momentum? A department that’s growing rapidly may be eager to add someone who is already familiar with the organization’s mission and culture.
  2. What opportunities exist for me in a different market, location, or country? Relatively few people are willing to relocate for their jobs, yet companies are hungry for workers who have experience across multiple markets.
  3. What entrenched problems does our organization face? How could you get involved in helping solve them?
  4. What opportunities do I see? Are there unaddressed customer needs? Are there areas in which the organization could grow?

Gather a productive informational interview:

  • Use a referral when possible. People are especially open to meeting with someone who has been referred by a colleague they respect. Once your contact has given you permission to be in touch with the person, reach out to introduce yourself and broach the subject of an interview. Say something like, “Hello, my name is _______. I’m currently working as a ______and am interested in learning about ______. My colleague ______ mentioned that you’d be a great person for me to talk with. Could I have 20 minutes of your time when it’s most convenient for you?”
  • Remember—you’re asking for information, not a job offer. Perform research and arrive prepared with good questions.
  • Respect your interviewee’s time. When you request a meeting, ask for no more than 20 minutes—and be sure to honor the time limit. Thank the interviewee afterward with an email or note.

Define your next role

  1. How essential is the position to the organization? Research has shown that jobs that are critical to the organization, and for which you are better qualified than most others, are strong career bets.
  2. What are the opportunities for advancement after you’ve been in your new position for a few years? Are the people occupying the next position in your desired career path likely to stay where they are? Does the timing for further advancement look good?
  3. Is it time to take on a global assignment? In many companies, gaining international experience is an expectation for career advancement.

The first key question is to access your current level of global readiness. How much do you understand about your company and your industry from a global dimension? Are you interested in culture, language, music, cuisine? And are you good at building trust across cultures and establishing relationships across cultures? Those things would contribute to your current level of global readiness.

But the second question to ask yourself—which is probably even more of an important question—is how motivated are you to become even more globally ready? Is this important to you? Do you want it? Is this the right timing?

Andy Molinsky – Author, Reach and Global Dexterity,Professor, Brandeis University

Propose your idea

When you present your idea:

  1. Give practical suggestions for implementing it. Offer ideas about who could do your current work if you were to step into a new position.
  2. Find out if you would need training. Ask your supervisor if they would feel more comfortable giving you a new assignment if you acquired certain skills. In-house or off-site seminars, apprenticeships, or workshops may be a low-cost way to boost your skills.

Your employer may be more willing to agree to an incremental, temporary, or transitional career move, such as:

  • Grow in place.” You could negotiate changes to your current role to gradually add desired responsibilities or scope.
  • Membership on a cross-functional team. Can you partner with employees from different departments to bring your idea to fruition? You can gain great experience by working on a cross-functional team. In the process, you can also expand your networks and gain insight on other career paths.
  • Job rotation. Some companies offer special assignment or rotational roles. These can range from one-day to six-month assignments—or longer—depending on the program and opportunity. Such jobs can be an ideal way for you to try out a new role and broaden your qualifications.
  • In-house “internship.” Could you forge an agreement to “intern” under a supervisor to learn a new role?

Your aim is to pick an opportunity that doesn’t stretch you too much or carry too great a risk. As a general rule, the risk is probably too great if it seems that you’ll need more than six months to learn enough to make a meaningful contribution to your organization.

75% of US adult job seekers turned to personal connections when looking for work. *

Look outside your company

look for a job outside your organization if:

  1. Your core interests don’t match what your employer can offer.
  2. Market volatility has made your employment precarious.
  3. Your position doesn’t have a viable career path. Some jobs provide few opportunities for growth.
  4. You’ve made a change in your personal life that will make continuing with your current employer difficult.

36% of millennials plan to look for a job at a different organization within the next year, compared with 21% of non-millennials. *

Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson11 part3

Develop Learning Agility

Use learning agility to increase career options *

Success in the era of lattice careers requires proactively exploring new ways to do your work, nurturing your curiosity about related fields, and learning to synthesize information quickly to respond to today’s increasing complexity

You’re an agile learner when you:

  • Embrace opportunities to acquire new skills and experiment with novel approaches
  • Spot trends that could impact your organization’s future
  • Rapidly analyze problems and synthesize information
  • Recognize that what worked in the past may not work today
  • Dare to challenge the status quo and advocate change

I’ve moved in different positions. And I’ve been in the situation of having to explain to a different audience “Why you? Why this position?” And one of the things that allows me to do that is that learning is very important as a value to me in my journey.

And even now, I don’t have a clear next step. The way I say it– when I see it, I will know it – whether it fits in with my values and my learning agenda

Vinod Parmeshwar – Director, Global Human Resources, Oxfam, America

Cultivate a growth mindset *

two basic kinds of learning mindsets:

  1. People with fixed mindsets see an individual’s success as a confirmation of their inherent abilities and failure as a sign of insufficient innate talent.
  2. People with growth mindsets don’t focus on appearing smart or gifted. Instead, they put energy into learning, accepting occasional failure as part of the process

Basic assumption
Fixed Mindset- Talent and intelligence are static.
Growth Mindset- Abilities can be developed

Approach to challenges
Fixed Mindset- Avoid challenges –failure is a sign of inherent weakness
Growth Mindset- Embrace challenges—failure is a learning opportunity

Reaction to criticism
Fixed Mindset- Avoid and dismiss criticism as not useful.
Growth Mindset- Seek and learn from criticism

Reaction to others’ success
Fixed Mindset- Someone else’s success is a threat to me
Growth Mindset- Someone else’s success inspires me

Effect on learning
Fixed Mindset- Puts the brake on learning.
Growth Mindset- Accelerates learning.

adopt a growth mindset:

  • Recognize when you’re avoiding a challenge. When you’re afraid you might embarrass yourself or fail, it’s sign that you’re stuck in a fixed mindset
  • Realize you have a choice. You can retreat, or you can reframe the challenge as an opportunity to learn
  • Have an inner dialogue. Use language that reflects a growth mindset—for example, instead of saying, “I’m not interested in learning how to use big data because I have never been good at math,” say “Learning about big data will help me improve my market forecasting skills, and I have coworkers who can help me if I have questions.”
  • Deliberately switch to the growth mindset. Take on the challenge, seek feedback, and learn from setbacks

Practice learning agility
steps you can take:

  • Pursue your personal interests and satisfy your own curiosity. You never know what knowledge may become relevant as your job evolves or as you consider new career opportunities
  • Build an intellectually diverse network. Make sure to include people with different skills, training, and positions than you
  • When you face a challenge, don’t jump on your first solution. Ask whether there are new technologies or emerging practices that might be relevant, and force yourself to formulate more than one approach
  • Seek multiple opinions. Tap your network to get diverse input on the different approaches you are considering

Dampen your natural defensiveness. Take time to carefully assess the information and advice you have collected before responding to critical feedback

Accept that you will feel resistant and make mistakes along the way. Resistance to change and temporary set backs are inevitable in the learning process

Search for lessons in unsuccessful and successful outcomes. It’s easy to take successful outcomes for granted, but ask whether alternative approaches might have led to even greater success, and whether a solution that worked well today may not work well in the future

No rocket science—lobster goes in because he sees the bait. Can’t swim out because the hole is narrow on the inside. And so, we’ve been catching lobster like this for a long time.

Just recently, somebody had a crazy idea to put a video camera down there to see how this actually works. Remarkably, what they found was, these things don’t work. Lobsters routinely swim in and out of these traps. The only way we catch lobster is luck, if you happen to pull up the trap when the lobster is swimming in there and the poor guy didn’t get to swim out.

So all these years we’ve had success lobster-catching by luck. And I think we need to learn about, from this example, is the idea that—you know what?—when we have success, let’s diagnosis it. Let’s understand why did it work. Was it luck? Or was it something systematic we did that we can learn from that we can apply later?

Ranjay Gulati – Professor, Harvard Business School

Ask yourself—and seek genuine feedback from colleagues on—questions such as:

  • Did you consider a broad rannge of approaches?
  • Did you take smart risks?
  • Did you learn along the way, making appropriate adjustments?
  • Did you balance the need for analysis with the need for speed?
  • What could you have done better?
  • How can you best apply what you learned to contribute to the organization and advance your career?

ANEW: aspiration, neutral self-awareness, endless curiosity, and willingness to be bad first.

Aspiration is basically just having the ability to make yourself want to learn things

neutral self-awareness–to get very clear about where you are starting from when you’re presented with a learning challenge

endless curiosity People who are great learners, they’ve learned how to re-engage that childhood curiosit

People who are great learners focus their internal monologue in two places. They say to themselves, “I’m going to be bad at this because I’ve never done it before.” And “I bet I can get good at it. I’m going to be bad, and then I can get good

Use job crafting *

In job crafting, you alter your own job to better achieve a personal objective. For instance, people use job crafting to adjust their work/life balance, to minimize boredom, or to improve their overall job satisfaction

three ways to use job crafting to enhance learning:

Task crafting. Change the bundle of tasks you work on or the amount of time you spend on different tasks, so you can devote more time to those with higher learning payoffs

Cognitive crafting. Broaden how you frame your work to emphasize learning goals

In the end, when you’re thinking about job crafting, a few things to consider: One, how does this affect your organization, your manager, and your department? Two, think about involving your manager in this particular endeavor, because it could really help you as you’re developing your own career and for the organization. Finally, job crafting is a win-win. Make sure you really communicate that to everyone that’s involved.

Judy Shen-Filerman – Principal and Founder, Dreambridge Partners

Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson11 part2

Forge Relationships
Build your developmental network *

Proactively seek connections and work to sustain them by building your developmental network—the set of individuals you trust and to whom you can turn to for advice, guidance, and a sympathetic ear in exploring professional options

Your developmental network consists of different kinds of advisors including:

  • Developmental network members—people inside or outside your company or industry who provide information and discuss career options with you
  • Mentors—people inside or outside your company or industry who agree to give you more intense advice, feedback, and encouragement
  • Sponsors—people within your organization or industry who have the positional or political influence to help you advance

Instrumental and personal support *

People offering instrumental support give advice and assistance about career goals. They might, for instance, help you identify new skills to master, ensure your resume makes it to the right person, or discuss career options with you

People offering personal support help you thrive as a person. They might help you talk through a conflict you’re having with a coworker, problems balancing your work and personal life, or ways to rebound emotionally from a career setback

People who might belong to your developmental network include

  1. Leaders in your organization
  2. Peers
  3. Junior people who can provide fresh perspectives
  4. Members of professional groups
  5. Industry experts, including academics, journalists, and bloggers
  6. Community members you admire
  7. Old friends who know you well and will give honest feedback

People in these roles …Information sources Provide …Information about professional trends and career opportunities

Nurturers Support to build your confidence and see you through career setbacks

Allies Public and private promotion of your talents and reputation to others

Role models Examples of career decisions and pathways to help guide your career progression

Friendly critics Honest feedback about what may be holding your career back

Be curious about others. Notice information they share about their professional interests, places where your personal interests and hobbies might overlap, or similarities or differences in your backgrounds

Stay in touch. Are there articles you want to share; upcoming conferences you can meet up at; or events, such as birthdays, to acknowledge?

Always thank people for advice or perspective. Send an email or note to thank them directly, recognize their contributions in written documents or in presentations, or take them to lunch to thank them for their time and wisdom

Expand your developmental network:

  1. Volunteer your time, both at work and in your community
  2. Join affinity groups at your company
  3. Participate in social events connected to work
  4. Reach out through social media or blogs to link to people with similar professional interest
  5. Ask your manager or coworkers to introduce you to people they respect
  6. Offer to help others—reciprocity strengthens your network

Develop this network

  1. Look for diversity. Include people with a range of perspectives, expertise, and backgrounds. You want contacts who will help you consider new ideas
  2. Include listeners. It’s often easy to find individuals who’ll dispense advice, but having people who will listen while you talk through a problem can often be more useful
  3. Cultivate relationships. Don’t call only when you need help. Provide assistance and advice when you can

“So I think being very broad-minded about who can be helpful and being willing to be helpful to them as well is an important piece of the puzzle. And I don’t think I really think about these relationships in a transactional way”

They were kind enough to reach out to me. Perhaps I need to be kind enough to respond to that-
Linda Hill — Professor, Harvard Business School

Using social media to cultivate your professional network:

  • Introduce yourself. Use LinkedIn or a similar platform to summarize your work experience and explain why you’d like to connect with someone
  • Share a link. Perhaps you’ve read a news article or blog post and thought of someone in your network. Drop them a quick note with the link. This shows your engagement with the professional issues of your industry
  • Share your story. A strategic, well-written post about an accomplishment, new project, or job change can keep your network informed about your career direction. Remember that most people see a large volume of information daily, so make your words count
  • Promote your personal brand. A website, blog, or social media page can help you project your capabilities, talents, and vision. Make sure that all content is professional, so you feel comfortable no matter who sees it

Find mentors and sponsors

Mentors *

Common misconceptions about mentors

  • They counsel only junior people: People at every career stage seek mentoring. Consider the senior executive, for example, who asks a younger employee for mentoring on social networks
  • You need only one mentor: Given the pace of change in organizations, it’s more realistic to align yourself with several mentors
  • Mentoring is a long-term relationship: Not necessarily. In fact, someone may mentor you for a limited amount of time in order for you to gain a specific skill or experience
  • Only the mentee benefits: Mentoring should benefit both parties. When you ask for someone to mentor you, explain what you can provide in return—whether it’s feedback about an aspect of the organization, specific skills, or a promise of help in the future

How can you find mentors? *

  • Your company’s human resources department. Explain what kind of help you are looking for—a human resources staff member may be able to match you with a suitable colleague
  • Community and personal circles. Perhaps you know someone outside your organization who has excellent negotiating skills or an admirable work/life balance. Ask that person if you could meet periodically for advice
  • Social media networks. LinkedIn, your university’s alumni directory, or a professional association’s website may help you find potential mentors
  • Someone younger or more junior. Don’t limit your search to peers or those more senior than you. Perhaps a junior coworker with different experience would be a valuable mentor—and they would also gain from the relationship

First thing with a mentor you often have to say, “I just don’t know how to do this. I feel out of my depth. What would you do?” And then you’ve got to be prepared to listen to what is being said to you.

That then gets to the second thing, which is you can’t be in a situation where you are asking a mentor, where you’re assuming that they’re taking the decision. Actually, you are taking the decision. So you can’t confuse advice and the decision making that in the end must come back to you

the third thing that I’ve worked out that is really important on this journey is that you often have to be outside of your comfort zone. But each time you do it you do it, you draw on the fact that: “Actually, I’ve been here before. I know what this feeling feels like, and it’s great. And it gets easier.” And of course, you still rely on those mentors to guide you through and remain connected, acquiring new people along the way that can offer you that important advice

David Lammy – Member of Parliament, London

Sponsors *
identifying potential sponsors, focus on people with:

  • High regard and influence within your company or industry. Look for people in positions of power who are likely to be aware of your previous contributions, or who can benefit from your help
  • Belief in your long-term potential. Sponsors will step up to champion you only if they believe you can deliver outstanding results. They publicly link their reputation to yours, and therefore they need to be able to tout your capabilities without hesitation
  • The clout to give you protection. To advance, you’ll need to accept challenging assignments. If your project suffers setbacks, your sponsor can be a vocal advocate, helping you secure additional resources or time and minimizing any negative consequences for your career

70% of sponsored employees felt satisfied with their career advancement, compared with 57% of unsponsored employees. *

How can you find a sponsor? *

  • Helped you get your last promotion or high-profile assignment
  • Connected you with influential people or clients in your organization
  • Invited you to an important meeting or event that you otherwise wouldn’t have attended

If no one comes to mind:

  1. Increase your visibility by introducing yourself to senior leaders at all-company meetings
  2. Ask for opportunities to speak at company forums
  3. Contribute constructive content and comments to online company forums
  4. Volunteer for cross-functional projects to make new connections
  5. Research potential sponsors’ career histories and the work they care about most
  6. Request meetings with potential sponsors for career-development advice
  7. Offer to collaborate on a project of interest to a potential sponsor
  8. Ask potential sponsors for specific kinds of help such as introductions to other leaders or stretch assignments

women and minorities are unaware they need sponsors. Instead they:

  • Assume someone will notice excellent work. Studies have shown women in particular believe if they quietly work hard, the quality will “speak for itself” and they’ll get noticed by people who can help advance their careers
  • Mistake a mentor for a sponsor. Many organizations want to diversify their leadership and have formal programs explicitly aimed at providing mentorship for women and minorities. Mentors play a valuable role but don’t necessarily have the motivation or influence to push for their mentees’ advancement
  • Believe sponsorship isn’t a viable option for them. Women and minorities may be discouraged from soliciting this kind of arrangement, since they don’t see many role models like themselves in influential positions

One. You’ve got to stand out. You have to have visibility. So do they know who you are? There’s so many different ways for you to make that happen. Whether it’s on the job or volunteering in your organization, make sure that you’re out there really presenting, doing your job the best that you can, so that when you’re out there, they really see you at your best.

Two. There’s always so many social opportunities–the barbecue, the end-of-the-year celebration. Do some socializing, talk to them. And just get to know them as people and they can get to know you as a person as well

Finally, make sure you really communicate with your manager. We all know that sponsorship is critical for career advancement. Involve them. Get his or her input on how can you make that relationship work. Really help them understand that it can be a win-win for yourself and for your company

Judy Shen-Filerman – Principal and Founder, Dreambridge Partners

Ask for career help

When you ask for help, be sure to:

  • Explain your goals. Let the other person know specifically what you admire about their work or experience, and how you believe that person can help you
  • Focus on mutual benefit. Explain what you can offer the other person—whether it’s specific knowledge, insight, or support in their current role. You might say, “I know you have really focused on environmental sustainability in our production efforts. I’d like to lead an effort to reduce waste in my department, and I have several ideas to share with you …
  • Outline how you envision the relationship functioning. Keep your initial expectations modest and considerate of the other person’s time. For example, you might say, “I’m starting a professional development network for all of us who have been recently promoted. I’d like to try meeting once a month

Allow your candidate time to respond. Say something like, “I’d like to give you some time to consider this. May I check in with you next week to discuss this further?

A mentor does not have to be someone in your company. A mentor can be someone who appreciates your professional side, your personal dreams, and quite frankly, someone who looks outside herself or his self, who really wants to help someone else develop just as she had herself. We took different paths, but that’s all right. As long as you respect one another and you have that open communication, that makes a difference in getting a good mentor.
Blythe McGarvie— Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School

Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson11

Take charge of your career *

Your career requires action and attention from you. Think of it as 90% your responsibility—and only 10% your company’s.

You need to take the lead in managing your career because:

  • Your manager juggles multiple responsibilities and priorities, and may discuss your career aspirations only at an annual performance review
  • There are often many paths to career success, and your manager may not know all of your options
  • Your manager will appreciate your willingness to set goals, keep your expertise current, and ask for growth opportunities
  • You are the best advocate for your own interests

Career management is an ongoing process in which you:

  • Discover your interests and values
  • Cultivate new skills as your organization and industry change
  • Forge supportive relationships within and outside your company
  • Set career goals and track your accomplishments
  • Develop a “personal brand”
  • Overcome career setbacks

I was frustrated, and as I reflect on it now, I learned a few important lessons. One is that I have to take charge of my own development. I can’t wait for other people to help me. And in that regard, the thought I have is, if it is to be, it is up to me. So I have to take ownership of my development.
-Doug Conant is the former President and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company

Understand the changing career landscape *

In a career lattice, there are no fixed career paths, but rather many possible ways to advance. Individuals may move upward or laterally—or even take a few steps back—as they continuously broaden and renew their skills.

Today, when cross-functional collaboration is the norm and lines have blurred both within and across organizations, careers are more likely to take shape within the broad, flexible framework of a lattice. In this lattice, managers change positions more often, and they move in different directions. They may move up, laterally, diagonally, or even downward in order to advance. For management careers built in today’s new order, you are in charge of your path to advancement, not only deepening but broadening your expertise along the way

Career lattices provide more flexibility than career ladders. Navigating across lattices allows you to:

Diversify your skills. When you consider multiple career paths and prepare accordingly, you cultivate a broad range of expertise. This makes you more valuable to your current employer—and to the market as a whole

Improve work/life fit. On a ladder, you move up only when the position above you is free. In contrast, a lattice has flexibility. You can often determine how fast, in which direction, and when you move. You and your manager can discuss several possible paths, acknowledge trade-offs, and devise creative approaches to your career development

Redefine success. Rather than measuring yourself by your title, salary, or seniority, the career lattice allows you to define and pursue meaningful, satisfying work

A strong commitment to a secondary interest may make you better at your regular job. It can broaden your skill set and networks, allowing you to bring fresh insights to your work

Talent retention. When managers work with employees to develop a work schedule that makes room for two vocations, employee loyalty increases. People who have dual careers tend to be dynamic, entrepreneurial, and curious—all ideal workplace qualities

Burnout protection. Supplemental pursuits are typically very different from “day jobs.” These secondary roles provide different stimulation that may help prevent boredom and burnout

Capabilities and skills diversity. Employees with a second job will likely be able to apply knowledge or insight from that area of interest to their regular work

89% of US employees would consider making a lateral career move with no financial incentive in order to gain personal satisfaction, pursue a new career path, or take up a professional challenge. *

Redefine success *

Today’s careers are less like ladders, they’re more like works of art. This is why in my research and in my work helping leaders develop, I advise people to think of their careers very much like that. Like artists

First, artists build on a foundation of expertise.
You need the ability to communicate, to motivate your team, to build a network of supporters around your initiative.

Skills are necessary, but they’re not enough.
In business, that means being able to know and show why what you do matters to you and to others—what difference it makes

Expertise, meaning, and courage are things that are a lot harder to build and hold onto on your own. This is why artists congregate: to teach and inspire and support each other

“identity workspace”—that is, a community which helps you bring what you do closer together with what you are

And if you’re a manager, ask yourself, is your team or your organization an identity workspace for the people who work there? Do you encourage people to find their voice and defy convention? Because if you do, they won’t just be more satisfied and creative and productive. They will also think twice before leaving, because they will know that they can’t grow as fast and express themselves as fully elsewhere

Why self-knowledge is important

You will deliver your best effort for your organization when you know:
Your core interests

Your values

Your strongest skills

It’s important to periodically assess your career priorities. You many easily mistake a job you do well for one that satisfies you. If you’re not engaged, you may ultimately burn out

Discover your core interests
Research shows that people whose jobs match their strongest interests have the greatest likelihood of satisfaction. You can usually learn needed skills; it’s harder to build a sense of connection to work that doesn’t fulfill you. A job that addresses your deep-seated interests will keep you energized and resilient

Researchers have identified eight common core interests. You are likely motivated by more than one. *

Technology application
Like to figure out how technology can be used to make life better. You are curious about how things work.

Quantitative analysis
See data and numbers as the best—and sometimes only—way to figure out business solutions.

Conceptual thinking
Enjoy developing theories and thinking and debating abstract ideas

Creative production
Love to turn original ideas into something tangible. You flourish in seeing and acting on possibilities

Counseling and mentoring
Find nothing more enjoyable than teaching and helping others.

Managing people and relationships
Thrive on dealing with people and enabling them to produce results

Enterprise control
Prefer to be the “one in charge” and the decision maker. You like to be the final authority in the situation

Influence through language and ideas
Flourish in communication—whether written or spoken. You love to express ideas and to persuade others.

And it takes three things to really fit in your job and do your best —that is, a skill fit, a value fit, and an interest fit. And they’re all critical

So, the more it is a skill fit, a value fit, and an interest fit, the more you’re going to be productive, the more you’re going to bring innovation, the more the job is going to be really meaningful to you. And meaningful work is what we’re all after.

Identify your work values

  • Your work values include …

Financial reward

If you care about …
Salary, bonuses, benefits, stock options, and other opportunities for wealth creation

  • Your work values include …

Intellectual stimulation

If you care about …
Opportunities to try new things, expose yourself to a variety of ideas, and explore problems

  • Your work values include …


If you care about …
Chances to work with people you like and admire

  • Your work values include …

Social mission

If you care about …
An ability to help communities, spread ideas, and participate in positive change

  • Your work values include …


If you care about …
Opportunities for recognition and influence

  • Your work values include …


If you care about …
Chances for flexibility, independence, and work/life balance

Assess your skills

To assess and build your skill set, begin by brainstorming a list of your existing skills


Technical expertise

Developing software code, operating and maintaining equipment



Writing, speaking, translating


Emotional intelligence

Connecting with people, conveying warmth, defusing conflict



Imagining, inventing, designing, engineering



Creating a vision, motivating others to follow


Project management

Establishing and managing a schedule, anticipating barriers, troubleshooting



Record keeping, data management, data analysis

After you’ve reviewed your skills, ask yourself:

  • Do I have any skills that are overlooked or underused in my current job? If so, how can I harness them?
  • Do I have any significant gaps between my current skill set and the skills I’ll need to grow?
  • What skills would be logical for me to develop next?

But before you decide to develop new skills:

Assess how much you need. For instance, you may need to learn to speak some Mandarin to communicate in business meetings, but spending hours trying to master the written language may not make you more effective at your job

Weigh the benefits. New skill development requires time, effort, and often money. Develop the skills that interest you most or are the most transferable, no matter what direction your career takes.

Envision the future. Think about what skills your organization or industry will need in the future. What would make you a more attractive hire?

Deepen self-awareness
To develop a more complete picture of your interests, values, and skills, gather input from several sources:

Source of Information

Imagine you’re at the end of your career, considering your legacy. Finish these sentences: “I am most proud of….” and “I wish I had done…”

Write down what you like best about yourself and where you struggle

Colleagues, friends, and family

Ask them to respond in writing to the following questions:

  • What seems to make me most fulfilled and excited?
  • What work should I stay away from, and why?
  • What is my reputation?
  • What about myself do I have trouble seeing?

Formal assessments
Review past performance assessments and 360-degree feedback surveys to see how your manager and colleagues view you.

Take a personality test to gain insight about your innate preferences. Tests are available online or through a human resources representative

Passion is the fuel that pulls you through those difficultperiods. If you don’t really love what you’re doing and you’ve got togo through all the ups and downs of a career, you might not make it.But the reason other people do make it and reach new heights is theylike what they’re doing. And so that’s why it’s so important. It’s notan accident, or it’s not incidental to success. It’s a criticalelement of reaching your potential

Watch for these signs that you’ve outgrown your current role and are ready for a change

  • Restlessness or boredom
  • Envy of what others do for work
  • Inability to imagine a future you want to move toward
  • Tendency to overreact to small problems
  • Need for more intellectual challenge, financial compensation, flexibility, or autonomy

Cultivate your personal brand *

When it comes to career growth, a strong personal brand is crucial. Organizational leaders usually look beyond positions listed on resumes when deciding who to appoint to a committee, tap for a role, or trust with a major account. They want to understand what distinctive contributions you can make

To cultivate your personal brand

  • Discover how you are currently perceived. Ask a handful of trusted advisers what they see as your strengths, and then identify common themes. Do an internet search on yourself to see what potential employers and network contacts are likely to learn about you before you meet
  • Decide how you would like to be perceived. Identify what skills you want to emphasize to stand out from the crowd and position yourself to achieve your career aspirations
  • Develop distinctive skills and experiences that support your brand

Take classes, pursue volunteer work, build informational networks, and seek job assignments that allow you to deepen your expertise and reputation.

Communicate your brand value. Develop a short statement that captures your unique brand value. Take advantage of opportunities to make presentations, participate in online conversations, or write content for forums both inside and outside of your company. And build network connections that can spread word of your distinctive value

So how do you create your personal brand? The first step is to come up with your brand idea—the different, tangible value that you, and only you, bring to a business situation. Keep your brand idea small and focused

Next, work on your packaging. Your verbal and visual identity should play off your brand idea.
Visibility, messaging, and attractiveness are crucial for a brand.

So remember to cultivate sponsors. Get others to sell your brand. After all, if you don’t brand yourself, other people will. And they may not brand you in the way that you want to be branded

Evaluate culture fit *

Review these four types of workplaces. Do you have a strong preference for one cultural style over the others?

  • The company as community. In this type of company, there is an all-for-one, one-for-all spirit in which trust, teamwork, and peer-to-peer loyalty are bedrock values. Customers, partners, and investors matter, but the needs of employees come first. The basic premise is that happy employees provide excellent service and produce great products
  • A constellation of stars. A collection of hard-driving, fiercely competitive individuals form the core of these organizations. In organizations built for stars, success relies on individual achievement
  • Not just a company, a cause. In these companies, the mission comes first. Employees are motivated more by their collective impact on a social cause, or by identifying with the people they serve, than by individual achievement
  • Small is beautiful. Some people, whether they are motivated by personal ambition or a social cause, just prefer working in small organizations. Small organizations are easier to navigate, with few obstacles between ideas and action

And I think really the lesson that I learned overall is that not only do I need to be able to sell myself and sell what I bring to the table, but it’s also about finding the right cultural fit when it comes to the workplace

And it can take some trial and error, but it’s also up to you to figure out what works for you and then to state exactly what you bring to that environment

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