8 powers that can transform your career


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courtesy of Andrew Martin (aitoff)

I’ve learnt a lot over 20 years working within the same company.

I started by installing software. I ended my time managing the company’s global sales and business development function. Between the two, I led the global delivery function and then moved onto lead the client relations.

At each step in my career journey, external factors have influenced my path, such as the company’s strategy, the leadership and the market. But I also realised that there were things I’d done, learnt and honed over time that gives me the ability to progress in whatever field I choose to work in.

So, what was it that helped me progress within those years?

Upon reflection, I realise that there are 8 key powers I’ve developed and practised to help get me to where I’ve wanted to go.

If I can develop them, anyone can, so these are exciting for me to share,

1. Embrace Responsibility

Three months into my first job as a software implementer, the company bought another in the US and my boss left the UK to set up the US office, leaving me to take on responsibility for the UK client base. I was in the deep end for sure, but I hit the challenge head-on with gusto, a little over-confidence but with a great support framework around me. I proved my ability to do something I could not have done without the opportunity presented to me. Admittedly, it was tough, but I came out the other side and we didn’t lose a customer. That experience contributed towards me securing a delivery management role.

If you are fortunate in getting an opportunity of increased responsibility outside your job scope, check where your skills may lack, locate the help you will need from others and go for it.

2. Take on the Unexpected

Whilst working in the Middle East on an implementation assignment, our Chairman got a technology lead from a company based in the locality. I was asked to fly solo to the location that evening, where I was to present our technology solution to what I thought would be a few technical people. The next morning, I was driven to their office to find 25 people made up of senior management, project managers, business analysts and developers/IT. They expected me to understand their design requirements in the morning, configure our application to automate their process over lunch and present back to their team in the afternoon. This wasn’t going to happen, but facing adversity head-on I managed to explain the main building blocks of the design and note down the technical questions I couldn’t answer. We didn’t get this client, but I managed to keep both company and personal credibility, whilst learning a lot. In future, I needed to ensure I got as much context as possible, get the best support I could and ask the right questions in advance.

Seize opportunities, whilst getting as much context, planning and preparation in the time you have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your manager or peers, no matter how dumb they may seem.

3. Help people

No matter which job I’ve had, helping people is a powerful mindset I’ve harnessed which has helped me transition into future roles. It is as relevant within an operational role as it is within sales or business development. For example,

The client for whom you’ve gone the extra mile may recommend you and your company when they are at their next job.
The new team member who appreciates your help in fast-tracking them into being a productive resource, may also be someone you might lead as one of your own team in the future.
Going the extra mile for your manager who may be promoted and in turn, may promote you.
Helping a prospect understand their problem, how your product can provide a solution and close a sale.
Seeing your job as an opportunity to help people provides you a greater sense of job satisfaction and you will feel good. You get your job done, it is more enjoyable and you will gain respect in the process.

4. It’s not who you know, it’s knowing what your stakeholders want and delivering for them

When I first started my career, my manager was promoted to the CEO and I was placed on a manager training programme exclusively for graduates, where I was the only non-graduate. At that time, I thought that you got promotion based on who you knew, not what you knew. Over time I’ve realised that I was placed on that programme because I was delivering on and above the demands of my job at the time.

Deliver on the requirements of your job excellently and ensure that your stakeholders see the full benefit of your efforts.

5. Succession plan for your own job

Sounds mad, right? Why would you do this? But, if you work with this approach in mind you can help train peers. Or, as a manager you can delegate responsibilities to your team, leaving you time to manage them. This will put you in an agile position to take on new opportunities, whether these are temporary secondments or to lead other projects. If you see a promotion opportunity, you may also be able to nominate potential successors to your role from within your direct team.

If you can identify ways to delegate whilst taking on more responsibilities within your existing job role, you have flexibility to extend your job scope and value.

6. Relationships, relationships, relationships

Earlier in my career, I worked with some very knowledgeable and well connected people. I did little to stay in touch and was a late-comer in seeing how important this is.

It is easy to forget and not value the relationships of peers and managers working around you. In the present day, using social media, it’s easier than ever to create electronic connections. Yet, ensure you nurture those connections that are most important to you by connecting with them face-to-face. They will help you in your career as advisers, prospects and partners.

7. Take a strategic view – gain altitude

Early on, doing my job was the focus. Doing it right and trying not to make too many mistakes. As I moved on, I gained an appreciation for the bigger picture, and adding value to the team environment and the company.

Gaining a sense of altitude in what you are doing makes you more aware of how you can position yourself into emerging opportunities.

8. Find an outlet

Outside of work, my outlet is long distance cycling events as well as a period of time commuting by bike. Have you ever felt inclined to respond too quickly to an email in the heat of the moment, or had a difficult situation with a client? For me, I used to consider how to respond on a cycle commute. More often than not, this saved me time by responding more concisely. Other times I didn’t respond, favouring a face-to-face to discuss. A therapeutic experience with fitness thrown in.

Find something outside of work which can give you time to reflect, take your mind off work and make you fresher to re-engage with work.

So, these are my 8 powers!

Whilst these are my examples, you can apply these powers in any job if you want to get on. Now that I have these, I continue to use them in both my work and personal life.

With some focus, perseverance and determination, you too can develop these and get to where you want to go.

What are the Powers you have developed over your career?

If you are just starting out, what challenges do you have?

I look forward to your thoughts below and @stuartpage

Stuart Page
WHAT I DO: I help clients find the best software solutions to transform their companies, through automating Learning Management, Talent Management & HCM processes and content. Ensuring my clients set out on their business transformation as effectively and cost-efficiently as possible. I offer subject matter expertise, advice and hand-holding through their journey.WHO I WORK WITH: For over 20 years, helping companies in the high consequence sectors of life sciences, transportation, energy, financial services, government, manufacturing and healthcare


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