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goals

 

Many people have shared their views on who is responsible for career development.  Answering the question of where the responsibility lies, is like asking who is accountable for Usain Bolt’s success. While he was the face in the public eye, there were teams of people, each with their own duties, helping him become number one.

 

The employee needs to be passionate about the career path and have a desire to work hard towards being the best they can.  Like Usain Bolt, they need to put in the hours, training to achieve their goals and pushing to get to the next level.

 

And every employer, small or large, needs to appreciate that if they are to thrive as a company, they need to make investments to get the best out of their staff.

 

For people working for large organisations, training and development is often defined by the HR team, who plan for staff at different levels. A grad accountant for example, may be put through the CA program or form part of a rotation program to gain on the job experience. Senior leadership may be given an opportunity to take part in career development initiatives including career coaching, mentor programs or leadership training.

 

But for many people working for a smaller firm, these career plans are not in place and the emphasis is on the employee to ask for training and support.

 

While most employers are likely to cover the cost of training courses and further study, ultimately, the employee needs have a plan and know what they are aiming for. The long-term responsibility lies with the employee. You need to have a clear idea of what your career aspirations are and how you plan to get there. You should set goals and milestones that you can scratch off once completed. Ask your manager for regular one on ones, to discuss what you’d like to do, what support you need and to update them on your progress.

 

Career development is not all about training courses and further study though. Both the employee and the manager need to be thinking about opportunities to gain practical experience. The managers should be thinking about what else they can give the employee to do, where can they be seconded to and what the next step on the ladder is. For people working with larger firms, you should be looking for openings as and when they become available, whether it be a sideways move or a promotion, you need to let your manager know that you’d like to express your interest and be considered for the role.

 

So, if you don’t have a career plan in place right now, you need to put something into place. To round off, here’s a quick summary of the steps you should take:

 

  • Set some time aside to sit down and consider your long-term career goals
  • Break it down and list the things you want to complete in the short term
  • List any training or development opportunities you’d like support with
  • Set up a meeting with your manager to discuss your plan and make sure it aligns with the business to ensure you get the support you’re after

 

goals

The modern-day job search for graduates is becoming an increasingly competitive environment where an individual can find themselves pitted against hundreds of other applicants all in the same boat. The string tying all these graduates together is most likely limited industry knowledge and experience. However, as important as having experience is for any job search, there is one undeniable truth: that having and maintaining a positive attitude is crucial. Employers are looking for candidates that can add value, meaning that they are seeking future leaders that can inspire and promote business longevity. A positive frame of mind not only affects the way you view the world, but your environment and the people around you. This leads us to the big question: what defines a positive thinker?

 

Positive thinking and mental fortitude outlast skills

Skills get outdated over time as industries shift and change, companies are constantly re-skilling and providing ongoing training for their employees to build value in their business. Skills can be attained and bought whereas attitude cannot. Attitude, when compared to a skill set is timeless. Without the right attitude, you can’t form solid working habits which have to be practiced over time. Without the right attitude, you’ll be missing out on learning new things as you are unable to see past the mistakes. Without the right attitude, you won’t land the job you want as you are hindering your own self growth.

Mental fortitude is the ability to pick oneself up from life’s failures and capitalizing on them as lessons and opportunities. Possessing it will not only carry over into the workplace, but into your personal life as well. By viewing problems as an opportunity, you would find that focusing on finding a solution is a more productive use of your time and energy. Being proactive keeps your brain switched on and like a muscle, your brain will be more effective if trained over time. One cannot expect to attract or impress potential employers if one does not exhibit the energy associated with gaining success. Walking into a job interview can be an extremely nerve-wracking and intimidating experience for newcomers, so when a candidate with limited to no industry experience is being judged, having a resilient and positive attitude is a good start.

Setting goals sets you up for success

Goal setting is a way we can break down the bigger picture into manageable chunks. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the notion of “Finding a job”. By breaking down these goals into something you can control and visualize more clearly, you are not only able keep up the positivity but set yourself up for success. For example, if the overarching goal is to “Find a job”, then you would want to divide that up into mini goals like: ensuring your resume is up to date, knowing what field you want to work in, apply for x amount of jobs a day, etc. Completing these smaller tasks allows you to cross off a list, giving you a sense of achievement and keeping you motivated. By focusing on putting together the individual puzzle pieces, you’d find that the bigger picture will slowly come together in the process.

Don’t forget to reset

Maintaining a positive attitude is easier said than done. There will be some days that will test you, where you find it difficult to keep a smile on your face or to go about your day without any worries. We are human and are imperfect beings. Burnout is inevitable if we expect ourselves to endure everything life throws at us without taking the appropriate measures. Ask yourself: what can you control and what can’t you control? Sometimes we can’t control the negative things that happen to us but we can control how we react to them. When you start to feel like you are burning out, it is important to reset yourself and take a break. For instance, you have been to a few interviews, and haven’t heard back from any of them yet. Take a step back and think objectively: it most likely isn’t personal. By taking a break, you stop whatever it is that you are doing that is causing your burnout, and replace it with a totally unrelated activity. This allows you to leave the baggage and negativity behind and start anew with a fresh state of mind.

Student mentality and work ethic go hand in hand

Continuous self-improvement is essential if you want to stay relevant in the workplace. Every day is a school day, and there is always something new to learn no matter the context. Having a student mentality means that you are always asking questions and constantly analyzing yourself in order to understand how you can always do things better. Being self-aware is a highly sought management skill that establishes your work ethic and desire to progress. Through maintaining a humble attitude, you can only improve on where and who you are now. The journey of personal growth is after all, based on progression, not perfection.

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Have you reached a point in your career where you are questioning if you have chosen the right path? Are you ready for a career change but are going around in circles and at a loss as to where to start?

Recognise your fears

Fear is one of the key factors that prevents us from moving forward. Fear can have a paralysing effect on us, preventing us from making difficult decisions like changing career for fear of making a huge mistake. Perhaps you are worried about a drop-in income, a loss of status, concerns that you are throwing away all your hard work to date. In truth, if you didn’t have these fears it would be concerning. Fear is our body’s response to perceived threat and the reality is that there are very real issues to be considered before jumping in to a new career. However, fear in and of itself is not a reason to stand still and maintain the status quo. Don’t let your fear be the only thing standing in your way of a new and exciting career.

Stop researching and start doing

If you are considering a career change, the likelihood is that you have already spent endless hours online researching the idea – looking at job advertisements, qualifications and reading topical articles and blogs. If you have, the likelihood is that you are more confused and worried than when you started. Whilst all this googling can persuade us that we are taking active steps to change career, the reality is that when all is said and done we are in exactly the same position as when we started. In order to bring about change, you need to take some action. That means less time googling and more time spent pushing outside your comfort zone. For ideas on how to do this read on!

Use your network

It’s likely that you have developed an extensive network of contacts over the years through friends, family and social media networks such as LinkedIn. Take advantage of these connections. Connecting with an expert or mentor in your area of interest can be extremely useful as it will give you the opportunity to discuss your career aspirations with someone who has insight and experience and in turn benefit from their advice and coaching. They may even be able to arrange some job opportunities for you. You may also find it beneficial to discuss your goals with a recruitment agent or a professional employment coach for another perspective. Use your network to help find the appropriate person.

Don’t be a bystander – take some active steps

The best way to learn about a new career is to do so first hand. Take a leap and take some active steps to put you on the right course for a career change. You may find out that what you had in mind isn’t the right path for you but at least you will have learned something, excluded another option and reevaluated what you are looking for.

Some ideas you might consider are as follows:

• Attend a networking event with professionals in your area of interest
• Arrange a secondment or shadowing opportunity in your current employment if there is another department or team of interest to you
• Take up a voluntary position with an organisation of interest
• Consider additional qualifications you might need to prepare you for a new role
• Reach out to your network (see above)

Consider the timing

The thought of making a drastic change to your career path overnight can be daunting and overwhelming but taking action doesn’t mean you need to jump in with both feet straight away. You may have a lot of concerns about making this leap and be experiencing stresses and strains in your personal life. In this case, the best approach for you may be to wait until you are in a more secure position personally before you make any big moves. There is nothing wrong with taking a gradual approach to your career change as it needs to fit in with where you are in your life at present. The best course of action may be to dip your toe in to new possibilities by taking some of the steps highlighted above.

goals

Moving in to your first leadership role can be a daunting experience. Taking on additional responsibilities of overseeing the workload and management of a team can be a lot to take on. To best prepare you for the challenges ahead, we have pulled together some advice to consider in advance of your new role to allow you to make a positive impact from the outset and ultimately prepare you for success!

 

 

Set your own Agenda – You may be moving in to a new role with big shoes to fill. Perhaps your predecessor was very popular and successful in the role and you worry you won’t match up. Alternatively, maybe your predecessor struggled in the role and wasn’t a good fit. Either way, don’t stress about living up to or surpassing the reputation of your predecessor – be yourself! You are there to make your own mark and add your own personal value to the organisation. Whilst you understandably want to differentiate yourself from your predecessor this doesn’t happen overnight and trying to do so from the outset may rub your colleagues up the wrong way.

Set some Goals – Use your first few weeks wisely. Take the opportunity to set or clarify goals with your team so that you and everyone else knows what they are working towards. Transparency will allow your team to get a sense of what your priorities and values are and won’t lead to speculation and apprehension about any changes you may implement.

Build a Rapport with your Team – From the outset it’s important to engage with your team members and strike up a rapport with them. This doesn’t mean you need to be everyone’s best friend but there is no denying that a team will work hard for a leader that they like and respect. Getting to know your team by introducing yourself personally to each one and having one to one meetings if possible to establish their motivations and preferences of management style will be a good start. Do your best to remember everyone’s name – these small gestures can really help your team members feel valued!

Keep the Communication Flowing – Strong communication is key to driving your agenda forward and ensuring that your team members buy in to that agenda also. Keeping your team updated on objectives and deadlines as well as sharing progress and informing them of any potential changes will encourage your team members to trust you and your strategy. It is equally important to listen to your team. Take the opportunity in the early days to establish yourself as an approachable and collaborative leader who is open to hearing your team’s views, opinions, issues of concern and recommendations. Giving your team a voice and being open minded to what you hear will contribute to an engaged and motivated team which can only reap rewards.

We hope you found this advice valuable and take it on board as you approach your first leadership role. Start your new role as you mean to go on and you will undoubtedly make a positive impact!

goals

Disengaged Employee

By Alison Hill

The weather is warming up and the days are lengthening. It’s easy to feel that life is passing you by while you are stuck behind a desk. But before you chuck it in and take up a job in the great outdoors, ask yourself, Is it really time to change careers? Do you need to do something quite different to your present job? Or would some adjustments make you more satisfied? How will you know? And what will you do next?

There are three things to look at to help you decide if a career move is right for you right now.

The organisation you are in now

Perhaps you like the tasks you do, but feel that you don’t fit the organisation’s culture. Its values might clash with your own, or the people you work with are very different to you. You might feel that you are at a dead end and that your skills are undervalued. You may be involved in ongoing conflict with a manager.

The job you are in now

You might feel bored, that you have stopped learning, and that your tasks are routine and repetitive. Your prospects may be non-existent, and you may not be earning what you are worth. Perhaps you are concerned that your role will be outsourced in the near future.

External factors

Sometimes both the organisation and the job are just fine, but something happens in your life to make you consider a shift in career. It may be the birth of a child, relocation for a partner’s job, or the need to earn more.

Any of these may make you feel it’s time for a complete change, and they might be a sign that a career change would be beneficial. But maybe a smaller change would do the trick. Being dissatisfied in your current job is not the same as being unhappy with your entire career.

A career change is a big decision, and may involve further study or taking a few steps down the career ladder. It helps to have a very clear idea of what you are looking for, and to spend some time getting ready for a change. Here are some steps to take to prepare yourself for a career change.

 

  1. Make a list of your transferable skills and note where you may need to upskill. Plan how and when you will learn new skills. You might enrol in an accredited course, take some short courses online, or find a mentor to teach you ‘soft’ skills.
  2. Build your professional network. Attend conferences and networking events, update your LinkedIn profile, join groups and follow up the contacts you make.
  3. Build your personal brand. Know your strengths and weaknesses and work hard at your professional reputation. Create a clear, consistent image of yourself, in person and online. Use social media to boost your profile.
  4. Set your goals and make a plan to reach them. Being clear about the career you want and how you will realistically get there is the difference between dreaming and reality.
  5. Take a career aptitude test and consult a career adviser. Particularly if you are unsure about whether to make a change, a test that reveals or confirms your strengths, skills and ideal career direction is hugely beneficial. You can find out about Challenge Consulting’s career guidance programs here.
  6. Keep your resume up to date. As well as recording your positions and achievements, emphasise your transferable skills (such as strong oral communication, negotiation, or problem-solving) and even your hobbies if they are relevant to the career you hope to have. You may need to use your resume sooner than you think.

goals

Being motivated brings many rewards – it compels you to take action and pushes you to succeed. Advice about how to become more motivated is plentiful but if it’s not directed towards your personal motivation style, it might not be all that useful to you. When you know your motivation style, however, you can better direct your efforts.

Your motivation style affects how you behave as well as how quickly and successfully you achieve your goals. Usually people fall into two broad categories – those who are motivated towards achieving their goals and those who are motivated by fear of not achieving their goals. Both styles are effective as long as you understand which is your style and how to work with it.

Towards motivations

If you’re the type of person who is motivated towards goals, you tend to spend time thinking about what you will gain by achieving them. You love goals that come with incentives such as a bonus, promotion or pay rise. You also like goals that give you a sense of accomplishment especially when it’s coupled with positive feedback from others or, better still, an award.

As a towards motivation type you are an optimist and you usually see the world in a positive light. It’s a good way to be – just watch that you’re not spending all your time dreaming. Try to maintain a balance by making sure that you take the actions needed for achieving your goals.

Away from motivations

When you spend your time thinking about what will happen if you don’t reach your goal, you’re motivated by fear. It’s all about the consequences. Let’s say you’re studying to get a qualification. A towards motivation type might be thinking about graduation day and celebrating their academic achievement; you will be thinking about how disappointed you’ll be with yourself if you fail, and how embarrassing it would be to have to tell your family and friends.

Although as an away motivation type you tend to be a little pessimistic, you can make it work in your favour. This is especially true when it comes to wanting to change. You’re so good at imagining what your life would be like if you stay where you are and being fearful of stagnation, that you work hard to make the necessary changes.

The most important thing about understanding your motivation style is to use your style to its best effect. Once you do that, you open yourself up to growing both professionally and personally. Feeling motivated?

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FOUR TOP TIPS FOR REACHING YOUR GOALS

It’s great to set some goals for the future – they give you a sense of purpose and a roadmap for where you’re going. But setting goals is just the beginning – you also need to achieve them. Here are our four top tips:

  1. Lay down plans

Well-laid plans are well played plans. Break your goal down into milestones to give you a sense of control. Milestones are the steps to your goal and can be further broken down into tasks.

Let’s say your goal is to find a new job. Ask yourself, what do I need to do that? You might decide to start with updating your resume – that would be your milestone. Then ask yourself, what do I need to do that? Maybe you can start making notes on some of your recent achievements or research on the internet for some tips on resume writing – they would be your tasks.

Write down all of your milestones, their corresponding tasks and a definition for how you will know when you have completed them. Give yourself a timeframe for each and tick off each task and milestone as you go.

  1. Create new habits

Very often the process for coming closer to your goal means doing a particular task on a regular basis – it’s like building up a muscle. Each day you work on it, it gets a little stronger. If you’re looking for a new job, a regular task might be to keep checking job sites and honing your skills in writing engaging cover letters.

Make a habit of doing the necessary tasks. They say it takes three weeks to form a habit, so stick with it safe in the knowledge that it will get easier. When you’re starting out, put aside some time each day, then tell yourself that you only have to do your task for fifteen minutes and then you can stop. Nine times out of ten, you’ll find that you’ll be happy to keep going.

  1. Focus on the process

Research has shown that our brains tend to focus on the most difficult part of any task. Consequently, we’re often tricked into thinking that it’s all too hard and finding excuses for putting it off. And if we put it off for too long, we can give up on the goal before we even start.

To help us, we frequently hear advice telling us to visualise having already achieved our goal. Unfortunately this type of visualisation often results in fantasising about a future and procrastinating about doing anything about it. Better, more motivating advice is to visualise doing the processes you need to go through to reach your goal.

  1. Commit to the weekly weigh in

Each day ask yourself, what did I do today to get me closer to where I want to be? This question makes you accountable for your actions towards your goal and will help to keep you on track.

Another way to make yourself accountable is to tell someone what you are going to do over the week towards your goal. Be careful who you tell though because some people won’t be interested. You need someone who will give you a hard time if you’ve procrastinated about following your goal plan.

When you get to the end of your week, write a summary of everything that you achieved. If you’ve kept yourself accountable, you’ve probably achieved quite a lot and you’ll feel energised for the next week.

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Performance reviews are an opportunity to get some feedback on your work over the past year, but they’re also your chance to have your say on how you think you could become a better professional. Here are eight ways to do so:

  1. What you like about your job

Tell your boss what you like about your job. It helps them to understand who you are and how to keep you motivated and happy. Happy employees are more productive and contribute to a healthy workplace culture.

  1. What you want to learn about

Let your boss know what you’re interested in learning about. It helps them to plan where you might fit in a growing company. Employees who are continually learning continually increase their value in a business.

  1. What you would really like to work on

If there is an upcoming project that you want to be a part of, tell your boss about it. It shows your interest in what is happening in the business. Employees who work on projects that they are interested in are more passionate about their work.

  1. Where you see yourself in the future

Tell your boss where you see yourself in the future with the company. It shows that you are goal orientated and are keen to be a part of the business in the long term. Employees with a vision for the future are motivated towards achieving their goals.

  1. How you would like to contribute to the company’s success

Let your boss know what you would like to do to contribute to the company’s success. It shows that you are a team player and that you’re dedicated to common goals. Employees who want to contribute have a high morale.

  1. What support you need to do your best work

Tell your boss what support you need to do your job well – be it training, new technology, better communication, an extra pair of hands or anything else. If you don’t tell them, they may not think to offer support. Employees who speak up about what they need are more likely to get help.

  1. What isn’t working

Be honest about what isn’t working – be it a process, procedure or a type of technology. Managers who aren’t working with the systems may not be aware of inefficiencies and appreciate insights from the ‘trenches’. Employees who give feedback can help to streamline business processes.

  1. What ideas you have for improving practices

Suggest solutions for what is not working. It shows that you’re creative and insightful. Employees with ideas for improving practices show their leadership potential.

goals

Do you love your job and want to get better at it? Are you thinking of moving into a more interesting role at your current workplace? Or are you looking for your new dream job? If you’re serious about making some changes in your career, stop thinking about it and start putting some goal-setting strategies together.

Setting yourself a few time-bound, specific, challenging goals will give you the direction you need to find your way to where you want to be. Here are some strategies:

  1. Be specific

Give yourself clarity and vision. State in detailed, specific terms what you want to achieve. This type of goal setting ensures you won’t settle for less and be tempted to convince yourself that it’s ‘good enough’.

  1. Make it difficult

Make your goals challenging but achievable. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by making your goal too difficult, but you do want your goal to challenge you enough to stoke your enthusiasm for getting there. Remember, there is no such thing as an easy goal – if you never challenge yourself, you will never change.

  1. Set deadlines

Deadlines are great motivators – they keep you committed to your goal because they make you focus on what you need to do. Deadlines help you to break down your goals into tasks and milestones that will set you on the road to reach your goal.

  1. Understand the why

Understanding the why of your goal gives you the energy to persist when times get tough. It also gives your goal greater meaning and purpose, firing up your passion and inspiration.

  1. Prepare for the ifs

Rarely does the journey towards a goal come without a few twists, turns and bumps in the road. That’s why people have ‘what if?’ plans. There’s almost always more than one way to reach a destination and, as all scouts know, it’s good to be prepared.

  1. Keep your eye on the prize

Sometimes you need to close your eyes to see yourself. Try it. See yourself in your mind as being there already with your prize for reaching your goal. Breathe it in and let the feelings wash over you. Now go for it…

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Leadership takes on many responsibilities; it can be very busy and even tiring at times and therefore motivation levels can fluctuate. However, in this role you need to be able to keep yourself motivated because in turn it keeps the rest of your team motivated and thriving in the business.

It starts with keeping in check your own personal motivation – your passions, continuing to challenge yourself with various projects and remembering why you committed to these goals in the first place. What you are trying to achieve?

Sometimes the quickest way to lose motivation or even exhaust your level of motivation is to spend all of your time and energy trying to motivate and please the needs of your team. The truth is motivation is personal and you cannot force it upon others. Instead, leading by example through your own motivations, you can inspire others to motivate themselves and drive them to perform better. It’s showing the way towards success.

Methods for self-motivation can include:

• Learning new skills – What is needed for your current role? Where can you obtain these skills? Is there anyone who you can consult with for direction or advice?

• Taking appropriate leave breaks to relax & rejuvenate – Clearing your mind of distractions (and resting), taking the time to find out more about yourself or pursuing a personal goal or hobby.

• Spending time developing a self-improvement plan and setting goals – Where do you see your role developing in line with your business goals? Where do you see your team going and what do you need to do to help guide them there?

• Investing in courses and training that can lead to growth and development – Are there any conferences within your local area that are providing information on areas of development? Have you looked into local educational institutions and what courses they provide? Are there any online resources that you could review outside of business hours?

Building your own motivation by developing our skills and abilities also provides the knowledge and insight to pass on to others. If others within your team are seeking your advice or direction, you can provide recommendations and information on what you have looked into previously, helping direct others toward their future success.

Make sure to also keep following up on your personal progress and what motivates you, whether it is every month or six months. That way you can help keep your motivation levels consistent and on track.

If you are currently in a leadership role, what motivates you? More importantly, in what ways do you keep your drive and motivation consistent?