January 14, 2013 Six Tips for Career Enhancement (as printed in the January/February edition of Oynx Magazine onyxmagazine.com)
We are entering the New Year with anticipation of a period of economic recovery. A period in which 23 million un-employed Americans, 15% of who are African-American will be able to reenter the workforce. A period which may require us to redistribute our income, to support trends in changing employment law and the redefinition of employee benefits, while providing economic stability without fear of falling over the proverbial fiscal cliff. In 2013, we anticipate the unemployment numbers will continue trending down and there will be an emergence of the new corporation led by the growth of small businesses as job creators, and the number of opportunities increasing for minorities as the demographics of our nation changes the face of America’s workforce.
Anticipating better times ahead is great; however; those who weathered the storm, maintained employment, or for those reentering the workforce, now is the time to take accountability for your career and to create rewarding work experiences. In taking accountability for our careers, we shift the burden of dependence for career success from the employer to a shared responsibility between self and the employer. It is time to shift into action and away from the paralysis we experienced during economic crisis and reengage with our careers. We spend a third of our day at work, not including the time we spend commuting or working prior to or after the official work day, it is to our benefit to take an active role in creating a positive and productive work environment that promotes career success.
The following six tips will enable you to enhance your work experience and support your career objectives.
1. Know your organizational Protocols. We are all familiar with the written policies and procedures that govern what and how the organization works. We fail to distinguish between the unwritten rules referred to as practices and protocols. These protocols are activities that have become entrenched in the organizational culture. You may have heard the saying – that’s the way we have always done it. We are accountable for following the policies and procedures, regardless of the protocols. Don’t let a protocol derail your career success.
2.Be Efficient in the use of organizational systems and tools. Efficiency means successfully completing a task using as little time as possible. Today’s mobile society has equipped us with a cadre of systems and tools designed to enhance workforce productivity – laptops, smartphones, tablets to list a few. However, the constant use of those tools outside the workplace may lead to a decline in workforce productivity. – Assess how often you are utilizing systems or tools to maximize productivity. For example, while having dinner, you constantly check your email to ensure that you don’t miss anything, you view the request and move on….but forget to go back and complete the task or respond to a critical question. This action alone promotes inefficiency. Important note – know your company’s IT policies – using organizational tools or assets other than for company use can quickly hinder your career success.
3.Optimize organizational resources. We have all heard the saying no man is an island. Technical proficiency does not stand alone. How does your role fit into the overall operations? Create a network of resources that support your goals and objectives.
4.Have an affinity with your organization’s Product or Service. We often introduce ourselves in relation to the title or position that we hold, however we stumble if asked “What is your company’s strategy and how does your role contribute to its success.” Developing an affinity with the organization’s product or service allows for you not to only know what you do but answers the question of why you do it.
5.Understand Leadership. Leaders are often viewed as an enigma, mysterious, puzzling, and ambiguous… yet it is the role we are striving to achieve. Understanding your organization’s leadership requirements to include competencies, behaviors, and language will enable you to demystify and create a more productive relation with those more senior than you and assist you in your preparation for a leadership role.
6.Be Engaged! Companies are spending an exorbitant amount of time and resources on employee engagement, while employees sit back and wait for them to find the magic button. Unfortunately, there is no magic button; it is up to each of us to determine how we show up. Engagement is defined as a heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization, which influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work. Get involved; support the company’s corporate events, the charitable drives, the picnic, or the holiday gathering, after all it is your work community.
In closing – when policies, procedures and protocols are aligned with the efficiencies of tools and systems, we optimize our resources through product affinity and collaborative leadership to enable an engaged workforce. Success in the workplace is equal to Technical Capabilities + Business Acumen + Organizational Affinity. Have a great 2013!
Daphne B. Latimore is the Founder and Chief Executive Consultant of D.B. Latimore Professional Services Group, LLC. DB Latimore Professional Services Group, LLC is a woman-owned, veteran and minority business specializing in improving workforce productivity at complex organizations. For more information please visit www.dblatimore.com