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Some Practical Thoughts on Professional Success.

May 30, 2011


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Want to distinguish yourself at work?

Good!

Just because “work” isn’t the very highest priority of us Christian professionals doesn’t mean that we aren’t called to do it well.  God calls us to excellence in all things, including our professional lives:  whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters (Colossians 3:23).

What are the best ways (beyond just doing good work) to stand out in the work place?

Lately I’ve been thinking about this question.  It started when I served as part of a panel discussion at the w2wlink Ascendancy Awards.  All of the panelists were successful working women, and we were asked to discuss issues related to “raising your profile” at work.  Here’s some advice I’d like to pass on, some of it’s mine, some of it was gleaned from the brilliant women who shared the panel with me.

1. Seek out mentorship. Have the courage to ask an executive to mentor you – the higher the level, the better.  As a young professional at the Trammell Crow Company in the (1990’s), I went to the Chief Operating Officer to ask him to be my mentor.  Gulp.  But I knew going in that this was a man who loved the Lord and who valued his family.  I also knew he was invested in diversity and I knew I would need a champion in order to excel in a male-dominated commercial real estate company.  So I did it.  You should too!

– “I want to do well in this company. Will you mentor me?”

– “I won’t bug you or take up too much time”

30 years later “the Chief” and I are still in touch and I consider him an invaluable resource.

2. Get educated. Learn everything you can about your industry and your clients/customers.  The better you understand what your customers need and want, the more valuable you’ll be.

3. Distinguish yourself. Work hard and produce results, but also find other things that you can be known for doing well: write articles, offer to lead panel discussions or make presentations.

4.  Find your sponsors. Identify other people in the organization who will support you and highlight your accomplishments, don’t think “I will just get noticed.”  Also be generous with your own praise.  Take note of a colleague’s contribution and refer to it in the company of others.  Women especially may benefit from “cheerleading” like this, since we tend to be reluctant to toot our own horns.

5. Look beyond. It may be counter-intuitive, but one way to stand out at work is to look for groups outside your company you can become active in and offer your skills to. It will make you well-rounded, and will bring value and experience back to your company.


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