It’s no secret that I believe Professional Development has a vital role to play in being a successful Data Professional. To broaden the discussion on the blog I enjoy inviting others to share their thoughts here. In today’s guest post Greg Masuda shares advice for pursuing career advancement.
Greg is an accountant from Baltimore with a proven talent for writing about trends in the business world. He’s a die-hard Orioles fan and loves traveling to conferences to share wisdom and learn from other professionals. When he’s not hard at work crunching numbers, you can usually find him networking on the golf course.
Former chairman and CEO of General Electric Jack Welch says the secret to career advancement is “Find out what your boss wants and then over-deliver,” according to MichaelHyatt.com. That’s the A, B, C and D of getting ahead: Go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty.
His advice goes beyond the standard “work hard, show up on time, get along with your co-workers and follow the rules.” We all know “Grim Jims” who never advance beyond their current positions, despite their observably hard labor. And you know what? There is nothing wrong with people who are happy in the middle or being part of the masses that produce the goods. As a leader, you want more Grim Jims so your path to the top is clear.
Take a look at these tips that further advance your career.
- Maintain a clean and organized desk, Penelope Trunk advises in her article, “The Brazen Careerist,” for Bankrate.com. The FBI uses such signs of disorganization or clutter as an inability to perform the given role or job description, according to Trunk. One need not be a FBI profiler to unconsciously make the same determination when visiting a coworker’s cubicle or a subordinate’s office. Most aspects of successful businesses — regardless of the industry — is in the details. How can a manager trust a slob at his desk to provide the correct specifications for an item’s manufacture? It sounds trivial, but it’s utilized more than workers think. Managers at GE are required to leave a perfectly clean desk at the end of every workday.
- Be generous with your time, praise, help, instructions and attributions to managers regarding your coworkers’ contributions if positive. Again, like childhood, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Now old enough to know that only sticks and stones will break bones, employees are also old enough to drive and will barely hear coworker’s taunts in the parking lot as the electric windows on their new luxury cars slides up to provide them with insulated silence.
- Provide vocal, positive feedback to your manager at staff meetings, Robert Half International recommends on CareerBuilder. Taking elementary school as a guide again, employees should sit as close to the front of the “class” as able and take notes.
- Be social in social situations such as the water fountain, coffee pot or break room. But limit this time to courtesies and brief greetings. While a Robert Half International study indicated that almost 40 percent of office workers allege this time to help their productivity by increasing warm fuzzies and bonding, consider that this figure implies that 60 percent of their co-workers might think them to be wasting time and shirking work.
- If the thought that such office congregation might be misinterpreted, use your own funds to bring breakfast pastries to the office once a month. You need not max out the American Express business credit card to buy a couple dozen doughnuts. The gesture is well worth the $20 you’ll drop.
The most powerful thing you can do to get ahead is find a mentor within your company or in your field. Choose someone who not only can offer solid advice and feedback, but can also make the right introductions when you are ready. Word-of-mouth recommendations carry significant clout when it comes to climbing career ladders.