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Ways to create your own opportunities at work


Instead of waiting for your boss to bring a new challenge to the table, or worse, wait until your next performance review to talk about how well you addressed last year’s goals; re a natural leader who is ready to move up the corporate ladder.

Growing opportunity

1. Specialize.

Each field has its standards. You can not be a journalist without learning the Associated Press style. Good luck when you get to a software engineering concert without a solid understanding of JavaScript. But once you have the basics, look for a skill or competency less known, but still necessary in your office.

Let’s say you’re fresh out of a university business program. You have probably learned the ropes of sales, marketing, accounting and more. Give yourself a pat on the back, but keep in mind that these are relatively common skills. Why not look for certification in advanced financial models? If you have a weakness for marketing, why not take HubSpot courses in content, SEO or inbound marketing? Very soon, you will be known as the expert in your area. This is how my career began as a speaker: I developed a reputation as the source of access for people who wanted to talk about superfans, and in a short time I had many requests that I started talking full time.

2. Embrace the conflict.

Conflict in the workplace may not seem like a way to win friends, but it does not have to be destructive. Matt Levy, the founder of Credera, recalls in a series of blog posts how he started off on the wrong foot with Rob Borrego, whom he had just invited to be the CEO of the company. By discussing their differences with respect and by deliberately generating trust, Levy and Borrego are now close friends. The strength of their association is based on that initial conflict.

Do not create unnecessary conflicts with your coworkers, but do not run away from them either. Think of it as an opportunity to better understand someone with whom you will spend 40 hours a week. It is likely that the other person responds in the same way. Goodwill is taken for granted less often than you might think.

3. Ask for help.

At first, asking for help may seem the opposite of creating your own opportunities. But consider the effect of Ben Franklin: by asking someone for a small favor, you want it for yourself. The reason is that, when you help someone, your brain rationalizes your actions by assuming that you should like that person.

The root of the opportunities is personal relationships. The Ben Franklin effect is not enough to build one of confidence during the night, but it can be the seed. For it to sprout, take care of it in the same way you would with a friendship. Somewhere between 70 and 85% of jobs are found through networks, in other words, building relationships. I have helped more than a dozen friends find work over the years, and most of the people I hired for various positions were referred by a friend or acquaintance.

4. Share factory-floor solutions.

In each company, the way in which management thinks things are done and how they are actually done are two different things. But while managers often have good reasons to push certain processes or products, sometimes they simply have not thought of the most efficient method. In the healthy cultures of companies, at least, leaders do not punish people for those discoveries; The leaders reward them.

Although the 3M consumer products company took some time to come up with the idea, its Post-It Notes were actually an employee’s alternative to reusable bulletin boards. When the worker continued to lose hymns from the church of the songbook of his church, he did not buy a bulletin board; He added a reusable adhesive strip to the back of his hymns. Advance to today, and the Post-it Notes are one of the most valuable product lines of 3M.

5. Be a mentor.

While mentoring benefits the mentee, it can also be a professional boost for the mentor. Mentoring others develop leadership and communication skills: detecting strengths and weaknesses, explaining things diplomatically and providing support advice is key to mentoring and management roles.

But mentoring does more than perfect leadership skills and capture the attention of executives. When that mentee matures, guess who will he look for when he needs a co-founder, advisor or investor? Guess who the other employees will turn to when they have a new project or opportunity in mind? It can be difficult to predict how, but mentoring is inevitably worthwhile for both parties



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