In today's business world and economic climate, times are feeling a little precarious-right? That's why I decided to reach out to some of my wonderful friends out there and invite them to take part in a project where I could share some helpful hints with their readers on this VERY timely topic! We're all in this together right? Why not jump in and help each other out?
So if you're ready to kick start the "life-long learning" - here you go…
The trick to keeping your head above water and still climbing the ladder regardless of market rollercoasters? Adopt and adapt to CHANGE. Those who are willing to evolve, update their skills, enhance their industry knowledge and commit to lifelong learning will better weather whatever challenges that come their way as well as make themselves a more valuable asset to their organizations. The question is - will that be you?
The truth is that in almost every industry, jobs are being revamped in order for businesses to stay competitive. What we know today only truly represents 1% of what will be available in 2050. To thrive in this chaotic time - savvy leaders, sales professionals and entrepreneurs have to keep a mindful watch on new trends, ideas, innovations and advancements. Not just for the short term - but to help themselves better forecast what's ahead. There's no margin for "good enough" or "it's not my job." Want to succeed? Be the person who stays one-step-ahead, keeps your eye-on-the- future and accept the challenges as opportunities to advance.
Secrets of success? Try these...
Step One: Take a look in the mirror: Smart-start your rise to the top by assessing where you are NOW and where you want to be in the FUTURE. What skills do you already possess? What are you great at - and honestly - what needs work to you must be aware of the skills you possess that help make you a valuable employee? Know your company - and where it's headed. How can you get ahead of the curve? Know your market - what's trending in your own backyard? If you are not aware of your strengths and your value, it is probable that you aren't using them to their greatest advantage. Even if you are aware of your strengths, start expanding your level of expertise and learn new skills to increase your value.
And don't just take your OWN word for it. In addition to self-assessment, it's important to also get feedback from your team leader or colleagues. When asking for an evaluation, perception is the name of the game. You can have all the right motives, justify your behavior, and defend your attitude to the hilt. However, if everyone else perceives you in not always the most positive light - then you have some things to work on. You need to address their comments not by tirelessly defending your actions, but by working to understand what it is you say and do that creates this perception in other people's minds. While it takes great confidence, even courage, to ask for honest feedback, it's the first step to assessing your skills and seeing where you need to make improvement. This is NOT the time to take the back seat or demonstrate that you're comfortable in the status quo. Not when a commitment to learning is so necessary in order to stay employed.
2. Keep Your Skills Up to Date. What new skills could you acquire that would make you STAND OUT from the CROWD - not just in your organization-but your field. What current skills could just a refresher course or a re-boot based on the rapid advancement of technology? One of the greatest things about living in the time we do is that there is ALWAYS an opportunity to learn 24/7 online - from great books, to incredible videos, to audio podcast to workshops on demand. There are three areas that you should pay special attention to in today's market:
- Social media: If you're not using social media, get on board. It's not going anywhere. The exciting thing about social media and blogs are that they allow you to connect and speak one to many-not just one-to-one.
- Presentation skills: In almost every business these days you'll be called on to step out of your shell and into the limelight in some capacity. I took some of the best tips I know for giving a dynamite presentation together (and I've been at it more than 25 years!) You can read them here: How To Give a Dynamite Presentation
- Leadership: It doesn't matter what role you play in your organization. To succeed in today's world you've got to take the lead in your career, your future - and your life. I put together a video which takes some of the best "bits" of my 10 Ways to Stand Out From a Crowd book which just won the IPPY best business book of the year. Bookmark it and use it to help you stay on track - especially when you're having "one of those days." (And remember - we ALL have "one of those" every now and then. The trick is not to string them all together!) Here's the video:
3. Find a Mentor and Learn from a Pro: I'm a big fan of the mentor and protégé relationship. It's an incredible way to stay sharp, keep learning and give back that which you've learned so you're passing that wisdom along. Find a mentor that works for you. Generally they are someone you look up to, someone who has found a degree of success in your field and someone with a willingness and desire to give back. While it may seem that these successful pros are too busy or too accomplished to ask, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn how eager (and flattered) they are to lend a helping hand. (Go ahead - ask! You'll be so proud of yourself - and they'll be honored!)
No matter what field you're in or how much you know, there are people who can teach you something more. Make sure you take advantage of any opportunities you have to learn from the pros in your business or profession. It's an important part of your commitment to lifelong learning. Oh - and when you've mastered a skill - don't be afraid to find a protégé that you can help mentor yourself!
Don't Stop There ! Leaders truly are lifetime learners. Take a cue from them and go out of your way to consistently fine tune your skills, stay current with industry trends, read the professional and trade journals that relate to your industries. Get out there and network with like-minded professionals by joining business associations, attending conferences and creating networking circles which provide the opportunity to meet your competition firsthand, see what the latest trends are, make new friends and challenge each other to do more. And by the way - think outside the box - and outside your own area. Find 10 people in your business across the country and reach out to them. Set a date and time each month to meet via teleconference and share ideas! You can try a free service like freeconferencecall.com to get together in a virtual mode without having to travel. Or you can use technology like Skype where you can actually see each other! I LOVE technology!
Committing to lifelong learning requires time and dedication. And while you may think you don't have the time to implement all these ideas, if you want to gain ground in today's world, you need to make the time to be a student of your industry and of life. It's how the best get better - and how you too can "Stand Out From a Crowd!"
Thank you for the opportunity to share some tips and techniques with your readers! Like you, I'm committed to lifelong learning and sharing that valuable information with people just like you! Learn more about growing your business, leveraging your leadership skills and staying motivated in a changing and challenging world by visiting me online at http://conniepodesta.com . I'll see you there!