Today’s news screams 2 headlines: Corporate Profitability is up and Jobs Are Loss. It is a tough time. Employees who want to continue to climb to the next level of responsibility rather than be a statistic must constantly manage the levers that help move their careers forward to get “a seat at the decision making table.”
The levers of success fall into 4 categories: Self Knowledge, People, Politics and Performance. But only 3 really make a difference. Performance is a given, the stakes to just play the game.
  1. Self Knowledge – Know your strengths and weaknesses and how those strengths match what the company needs. It is your resource and compass for navigating a very challenging journey.
  2. Relationships – Build relationships with others. It expands your capacity, adds to strengths, and compliments challenges.
  3. Politics -­‐ Get power players to say positive things about your value and potential. “It is not what you know, but who knows you and what they are saying about you” – George C. Fraser, Speaker and Author.
There are two key questions. First, What are the elements of these levers? Second, how do you make those levers work for you?
The Elements
Self Knowledge – Gain Self Insight
  1. Know what you want – Have a goal in mind -­‐ “A sailor with no port of destination will find no favorable wind.” Leon Tec M.D.
  2. Ask for feedback – “The most important thing to hear is what is not being said” – Peter Drucker-­‐ Business Management thought leader. Too often employees do not hear critical feedback until it’s too late. Seek it out when you can do something about it.
  3. Stretch – Be willing to take a risk to grow and gain new capability. “Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?” Frank Scully -­‐ Variety
  4. Fail forward – With stretching comes failure. Assess your ability to be resilient.
People & Relationships – Build Your Resource Network
  1. Collaborate – Work with others to help the team achieve a common objective. Be a source of information and ideas.
  2. Connect – Look for ways to link people, resources and ideas to advance what you bring to the team and the organization.
  3. Communicate – Be proactive with selling your ideas to the team and your boss. Sometimes the best ideas win. Those ideas might as well be yours.
Politics – Promote Your Value

Politics requires you to build relationships with key power players so that they understand and appreciate your value
  1. Take Charge – No one will look out for you but you. If you want opportunity, go after it. Remember, “No opportunities are lost. The other person takes those that you miss – Anonymous”
  2. Increase Your Visibility – Identify the people who can get you promoted to the next level. Make yourself visible even if it means being outside your comfort zone – attend the social events, volunteer for corporate sponsored events, and join local nonprofit boards.
  3. Develop a point of view about you–When the opportunity presents itself, be ready to state clearly and confidently why you have the right value proposition for current market conditions.
How do you make those levers work for you?
  1. Brand – Establish your value proposition in a statement that captures your passion, how it benefits the organization and can be presented in 60 seconds. This statement should contain the following:
    • Who you are – name and your specialty
    • What you do
    • Why you are the best
    • How to continue the conversation
  2. Plan – Create your 2-year plan; reduce the plan to monthly, weekly and daily objectives
  3. Execute -­‐ Implement the plan on a daily basis – do things on a daily basis that help implement live your brand. For example, if there is only 1 hour of free time in a day, that might give you an opportunity to simply set up an appointment with someone in your proposed network.
Final Thought
Take Action Now – “Start by doing the necessary, then the possible, and you are suddenly doing the impossible.” Francis of Assisi – Friar and Founder of religious order.