How I Emptied My Email Inbox?

In the first part of the this blog post, I discussed the very real and growing problems that are a result of the increasing volume of email.  In this post, I will tell outline the simple process that I use to empty my email box each week.

The important thing to remember is that there is not one method that will work for everyone.  The way you use email for your work is a function of many things including your job function, your colleagues, your managers and customers or clients, therefore, the solution for emptying your email box on a regular basis will vary.

This is how I approach the task. Read more

10 Principles for a Successful Career

10 Principles for a Successful Career

  1. Make your first impressions count.
  2. Expect change to happen. Change is the only constant and adaptability will help you navigate any storm.
  3. Be bold, but not careless.
  4. People are the key to all professional success. The quality of the relationship you have with your colleagues, customers, clients, business partners, managers, patients and investors will have a direct impact on your success. Focus on successful outcomes for them and your own success will follow.
  5. Information is power. Know everything you can about anything that matters.
  6. Practice the skills you use in your profession like a rock star, a professional athlete or a blockbuster actor.
  7. Focus on the 80/20 rule in all aspects of your career.
  8. Build and maintain a robust professional network of people you know and trust.
  9. You may be the smartest person in the room, but no one will know if you can’t communicate effectively.
  10. EQ always outperforms IQ.

Teamwork – There is no “I”

In November of 2012, I wrote a blog post about the culture associated with Tough Mudder– the obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie (see A Muddy Corporate Culture). I also discussed the need to understand the culture of your organization.

This past November, I participated in my first GORUCK Light. Fellow Georgetown alumnus, Jason McCarthy is a Special Forces veteran and launched GORUCK events to prove the quality and durability of the rucksacks he was selling. The story of how Jason built this company is very interesting, especially for entrepreneurs (or entrepreneur-in-training). Read more

Keys to Career Advancement

Kaplan University and LinkedIn recently published the results of a survey of 1,000 individuals about their views on career development. The headline is:

Nearly eight-in-ten survey respondents agree they need to obtain new skills to advance their careers

This is Career-ology’s core belief.  Career advancement is based on continuing skills training and development. Don’t wait for your company to provide the training you want– find it and complete the training on your own. YOU are responsible for building YOUR skills set.

Here is a brief summary of the survey’s key findings:

  • 78% respondents agree or strongly agree that they need to obtain new skills to advance their careers.
  • 64% agree or strongly agree that continuing their education will play an important role in their career advancement.
  • 53% agree or strongly agree that they need a more systematic process for planning and tracking their career journey.
  • 68% respondents indicate that they would like a better method for finding opportunities to be mentored or to serve as mentors for others.

It doesn’t take a survey to tell you what you already know.  The question is . . . what will you do about it?  You can read the full press release at Kaplan University’s website.

Gratitude in the Office – An Experiment

This is a great experiment by SoulPancake showing the personal benefits of expressing gratitude. Gratitude is not only for your family and friends. . . tell you colleagues, peers, boss and customers what it is about them that you appreciate.

Who in your career has been influential? Who did something really amazing for your career? Remember professional relationships are the key to your success. By expressing your gratitude, you’ll improve the quality of those important relationships and feel good yourself. Everybody wins! Check out this 7 minute video.

Best Advice from Leading Executives

Business Insider compiled a list of “best advice” from 22 top executives. I’ve pulled the top 10 bits of advice that apply to new professionals and summarized it here.  The full Business Insider post will provide the context for each quote and reveal who the wise sage is behind each pearl of wisdom.

  1. There’s a finite amount of time you’re going to be doing this. Do this really, really well. – Terry J. Lundgren, CEO, Macy’s
  2. Never to look back in regret but to move on to the next thing. – Richard Branson, founder and chairman, Virgin Group
  3. I see a bunch of good choices, and there’s the one that you pick and make great. – Marissa Mayer, VP, Google
  4. First, it’s good to solicit your people’s opinions before you give them yours. And second, your people will be very influenced by how you carry yourself under stress. – Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs
  5. You’ve gotta learn to listen!” – Maureen Chiquet, Global CEO, Chanel
  6. Follow my instincts and take the risk. I wanted to create a new way of looking at retail – Tory Burch, co-founder and creative director, Tory Burch
  7. Never forget Warren, you can tell a guy to go to hell tomorrow — you don’t give up the right. So just keep your mouth shut today, and see if you feel the same way tomorrow. – Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway
  8. Just remember, it’s a small business and a long life. You’re going to see all these people again. – Richard Parsons, former chairman, Citigroup
  9. Always have the courage of your convictions. Always state what’s on your mind. Follow your gut. And observe what other people are doing around you. – Joe Uva, former CEO, Univision
  10. Remember—you’ve got to make your deposits before you can make a withdrawal! – Steve Schwartzman, chairman and CEO, Blackstone Group

Inner Confidence

Last week, I attended several networking events with current college students.  Each student’s level of confidence varied.  I believe that some of them could be more confident based on their accomplishments to date.  Others– just a few– were a little more confident than their resumes could support.

Confidence as a professional often comes with experience (i.e., years on the job).  At Career-ology, we believe that you can acquire, practice and develop most of the critical professional skills in a proactive way.  Very simply, instead of simply waiting for the passage of time, adopt a mindset or way of thinking about inner confidence.

John Keyser, a highly accomplished leadership coach in Washington, D.C., has a great blog post today.  John writes, “When we have inner confidence, we:

  • Realize that asking for help is a sign of strength
  • Allow ourselves to help others learn, grow and succeed
  • Want our colleagues to do great work
  • Are comfortable sharing credit for success
  • Shine the spotlight on others

Read John’s post, “Inner Confidence Coupled with Humility,” to learn how to become a more effective leader, a more successful professional and a better person.

 

Imitation and Your Professional Development

IMG_0977 IMG_0978When it comes to your professional development, you can practice and acquire many skills that you need to be successful.  Some of these skills include public speaking, networking and business writing.  These skills along with the resources and methods for acquiring them are the subject of my book, Career-ology 101 which will be published later this fall.

You can acquire many other skills by observing other professionals and practice those skills using imitation. These skills are often referred to as “soft-skills” and some examples include: teamwork, conflict resolution, decision making and time management.    Read more

Underemployed? Argh! Now what?

You worked hard in college, landed your first job and now you find yourself “underemployed”– working at a job that doesn’t fully utilize your skills. You are bored at work and are looking for additional training from your employer.  Now what?

First, assess your situation compared with the broader market:

  • 41% of college grads Say They are “underemployed”
  • 63% say they need more training
  • 77% of new grads expect their employer to provide formal training
  • 48% received formal training from their employers Read more