Saturday, March 31, 2007

How To Fast track Your Career

I was have been down last week and was fast sinking in to what appeared to be a bottomless pit of anger and self-righteousness. It was due certain event (actually non-event) in my career front. I reached out a friend and colleague whom I respect and discussed this non-event.

We were generally chatting and he mentioned three things consultants ought to have to fast track their careers. Though I didn't pay much attention to it at that time, as I mulled over, I was impressed with those 3 simple and yet comprehensive things he mentioned. These are not just for consultants but for anyone who want to advance in any group envrionment.

Here they are:
  1. Know your stuff: This is basically saying, you should be up to snuff on the things you are supposed to be doing and knowing. It doesn't mean you know it all but it the ability to always learn and be ahead of the curve.
  2. Communicate well: This is a must for consultants who are always on the move and interact with newer group of people over and over again. But, our ability to communicate succinctly is one of the core skills that we need in all spheres of our life. I have a colleague who is excels in 'two minute summations'. He is a senior technical leader who quietly listens to our all our dribbles and steps in at the right time to put forth his views and summarize the core of what appeared to be an aimless discussion. Almost always, these summations are effective and re-focuses our meetings and that sets him apart from the rest.
  3. Network: This is a catch all phrase, from expanding our contact base to PC (politically Correct) expressions. Lot of time, this means turning a blind eye to the 'dead moose' on the table and let the foul smell permeate. But it also means how we stick to our core beliefs and yet interact and communicate in a way that doesn't ruffle feathers. It might not get you to where you want to be all the time but wouldn't adversely impact either.
In my case, I am fairly comfortable with the first two but the last one is a continuous challenge. I am more comfortable in doing things than politicking and in PC talks. Regardless of the definition of advancement, these skills (politicking and PC) are as important as doing things to progress in any group environment.

So where does the fast track come in this? It comes in the degree to which we are able to internalize and successfully execute on all three fronts. What say you?