Implementing ideas from two different books that very much speak to the fundamentals of my internal passion and drive. The first is the Slow Fix by Carl Honore. After reading ‘The Praise of Slowness’, I plan to pick up each and every book written by this author. His thoughts are beyond refreshing and presented in a realistic manner where you can apply them to the workplace, home even relationships to achieve success. After just finishing his next ‘The Slow Fix’, I am ever so inclined to share how these ideas relate to Career Coaching. The main points include tackling problems with a long term plan in mind. It may not even be a problem you are looking to overcome, it could be strategy for achieving higher employee retention or gaining increased market share for your novel product.
Regardless of the subject matter, the idea of Slow Living allows you to step back and truly analyze an approach before springing into action. There is so much value in this level of thinking in order to truly prioritize what can realistically be achieved short and long term. Throughout the book the author refers to specific situations where significant results have been achieved starting with Slow Thinking. I would be remiss not to mention the problem solving approach is not the only benefit of Slow Thinking, but for the sake of subject matter I will stay in this lane or I may go on forever.
The second book is Blue Ocean Strategy by W Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. This read was also a game changer for my views on innovation. My interpretation of the book establishes a method to outrun competition, not by competing in the same space, but developing a ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ meaning a whole new avenue of thinking. A common trend in achieving this success is giving the consumer (buyer, end user, etc) what they want before they know they want it. Sounds trivial, right?
This is where the loads of planning I preach comes into play. Tackling ‘Subject A’ step by step with proper organization gives you the ability to analyze from a high level view and build strategic advantages. These advantages will propel you straight past the competition. Even in a position of power, this level of thinking should never subside. It is a revolving door to stay ahead and maintain growth. Entrepreneurs, sales and marketing departments, along with many others know it well.
'Why' the Effort
My goal of this blog article is to establish clarity why this applies and is crucial to personal career development. With reference to the two topics mentioned above, approaching personal and professional growth is a winner. Whether your long term goal is to climb the corporate ladder, become a successful entrepreneur or retire by 40 with a cabin in the woods, take your career continuum as serious as financial and health stability.
When laid out as simply as that, it appears outrageous not to have a plan of attack for each aspect of your development, but do you?
This is my plea to spend time (our greatest asset) as responsibly as possible and since we allot the majority to work, again the breakdown seems simple. This type of behavior begins with developing a personal portfolio. There is nothing holding greater value for the long term professional game than your portfolio.
Each piece with the exception of structure is personalized. It is a time to review work history, accomplishments, promotions and any other features highlighting who you are and what your journey has resembled. Consider this portfolio a structured timeline of your professional life.
I hope the value of this timeline is starting to become apparent, but if not, envision this situation. You have an upcoming review with your direct manager and feel there should be a well deserved promotion on the table for the start of the new year. Instead of walking into the meeting with a few thoughts sketched out on your latest company letterhead notepad, you have an entire portfolio organized to visualize exactly what you have done throughout the year and results produced because of those efforts.
Not only does preparation display initiative (Blue Ocean Strategy), while your manager may have your best interests in mind, they also have a lot coming across their planners. This organization will avoid any potential projects or initiatives slipping through the cracks.
The second behavior combining professional development and the features mentioned above is a business plan used specifically for presenting ideas, or the interview process. Again both of these initiatives are meant to allow you to stand out from the crowd. A SWOT analysis for the current marketplace structure or knowledge of the topic at hand are valuable ideas to include in a business plan. Again, the business plan is personalized for the candidate regarding the end goal and of course experience level.
Both of these documents create value for the end user through emphasizing productivity, but also personal accountability. Through an organized checklist of what you accomplish with your time, you increase visibility for yourself. Of all elements that could be overlooked, it is this one. In the long run, the only person tracking personal and professional progress for you is YOU. When is the last time you accepted or presented a challenge to management or yourself? If you have followed these steps, you just need to peak back at your portfolio to easily lock down the answer. This initiative is essential.
To reiterate this is my personal ask of you to start a personal portfolio and other supporting documents in order to hold yourself accountable. Depending on your strengths, you may not need a professional to help you get organized, BUT in the event you need assistance, I am here and am happy to help. Watching my clients thrive through these initiatives creates and propels my professional journey. Let’s make it happen together!
Rebecca Wagner - I actively find flow through unparalleled focus on propelling the careers of others. These posts will help to share my thought processes about development, self-awareness and growth.