Career pursuit in Nigeria or anywhere in the world is not an easy task especially if you’re ambitious and not just working to earn a living.
You dream and start with high expectations and hope of moving very fast, you get on your marks with determination, passion and confidence of good success in a short while and you begin to run. To think it, it appears as though it’s something that can easily be handled specially because you want it and you love it, but as time unfolds and you keep facing challenges, disappointments, setbacks, oppositions, temptation, seduction, and distractions, you become overwhelmed and weary.
You begin to reconsider if you’re actually cut out for what you’re doing. Your errors begin to weigh you down and your regrets won’t let you be.
You struggle to forgive yourself for your mistakes and miscalculations; you can hardly forgive yourself for not being wiser and smarter. You look at your contemporaries who appear to be getting it right and moving faster and further away from you, you begin to wonder if anything is the matter with you, in fact as a typical African you may begin to assign spiritual and diabolic reasons for your frustrations and start spending most of your time addressing physical and logical matters with spiritual remedies – you assume somebody called an enemy is working against your progress at work and all that hmmm, i can feel you my people, but this morning Ill really want us to apply our minds to solutions with all diligence because it’s the place to deal with the issues of life including career.
There is no organisation where everyone becomes a director. In fact, not everyone will eventually become a senior manager, group head, GM, these top positions are not for everyone. The higher you go the fewer the positions and fewer the people. In fact when an organisation promotes people too frequently and they end up having more than the required number of people in top management it affects the whole business set up, the business becomes top heavy, promotion becomes slower, remuneration value higher, politics more intense and factions more fragmented. It’s not a good place to be for any business.
In view of this reality i’ll want to ask this morning, are you listed among the top 10 performers in your organisation?
In terms of your relevance, contribution, skill sets, capacity, commitment, solution mindedness and being on top of your game are you listed among the top 10 value builders in your organisation?
Another question, without thinking too deeply can you immediately mention five people you think are the most valuable members of your organisation? Please I’m not talking about positions here I’m talking about how indispensable they appear within the scheme of things in the business – I’m talking about your colleagues who will go on vacation for five days and it will appear they’ve been away for a whole month irrespective of their levels and positions – people so key the business can hardly do without them. Are you like that? Do you belong in this category? If not, why not? Let’s apply our minds to this; I don’t really submit it’s a spiritual matter.
Look at the whole of your organisation, think about it; check out the purpose, the operations and the growth agenda, what’s the business priority?
What is the heartbeat of your organisation, what matters to the business the most at this point? What is that thing top management is most passionate and concerned about? What is their challenge, burden or winning hand at the moment? What would bring them the greatest pleasure, excitement and fulfilment? What is causing them sleepless nights and long hours of meetings? Think about it and identify it clearly.
Then ask yourself and determine the most valuable service or contribution you can make to address the pain and/or contribute to the passion of top management.
What is the service you know you can render to your organisation now, from your position or office that will touch the hearts of top management? What can you do to help with their pressure and sleepless nights? Are you with them and standing by them? Can you feel what they feel and empathise with their worries and concerns? Do you care about their cares or all you’re concerned about is your own welfare, salary, convenience, closing hours, bonuses and benefits once you do your work right?
Are you angry at them or envious and you’re looking out for their errors, mistakes, incompetence, weakness, greed and selfish, oppressive tendencies? Can being like them change them?
Why don’t you do the right thing and have the right attitude knowing that loyalty is best tested when leadership appears to be in the wrong. If they’re doing what you want then your loyalty has not been tested.
To shoot into the top 10 employees in your organisation identify out of all your skills, that one skill you know is relevant to what top management wants now and make a plan to be excellent at it, become excellent in that area and be the best when it comes to that particular competence. Ensure no one in the organisation is better than you at it. Make sure every time that competence is needed, you’re the reference point, you’re the one everyone is looking for, and you’re the only one or the best with the answer.
Then identify your number one customer in top management, other customers within the organisation and other customers outside your team and organisation.
Make a plan to be extremely valuable to them. Give them the best customer service possible, go the extra mile for them, start thinking for them and providing answers to questions they’ve not even thought about. Exceed their expectations, cover their gaps, save them from embarrassment and ugly situations, let them find you reliable, dependable and trustworthy.
Be their number one fan, committed to seeing them succeed, excel and profit. Be there for them genuinely, don’t blackmail, frustrate and upset them. Even when they’re angry at you and are unfair to you and even cheat and take advantage of you, don’t take it personal, listen, they know they are wrong and their consciences will fight for you but never forget to always be kind, and supportive because for you to grow and succeed your customers must always be right. Don’t be foolish and be a victim of every mess, just be wise, stating your case, making clear your views and positions without anger, animosity and grudge – always willing to help and support even those that are against you in the interest of the business.
That my friend is the fastest and sustainable approach to locating yourself in your organisation’s top 10 employees.
Look into yourself and examine your past experiences. How far has your own ways and strategy brought you? Can your strategy guarantee a greater career future?
What do you really like to do and where would you really like to work? Identify these two and build your career around it. If you are in a place you don’t like, doing what you don’t like and working with people you don’t like you are wasting your time and career life.
You can’t just sit and complain and talk and murmur and do nothing about your problems and challenges and expect change. You must initiate your own change!
To regain your enthusiasm and drive and passion and progress at work, go and have a meeting with your boss today. Ask him or her to please tell you how you can add more value to the team and organisation, the area where your boss really needs your help and support and how you can be more relevant and useful. I promise you, your boss will be very surprised and impress because such a gesture is not common, your boss will begin to trust you and confide in you. He’ll be willing to help and support you through career. You’ll become top of mind for your boss knowing he or she can count on you because you are willing and obedient; apply your mind … hmmm! Enjoy your day.