Ten simple rules to follow to guarantee success in your career

Woman on a ladder searching

As a professional with over 10 years in business, I have been fortunate to have worked with some very successful executives around the globe.

What follows is a brief outline of 10 simple rules that, if followed, will guarantee career success.

Rule One – It’s your career!

This first rule is about recognising that this is YOUR career so make sure you are in the driving seat. Decide what you want to pursue, assess your options, understand where you are, make a plan to bridge the gap and then take action – it is that simple! You can take your career in whichever direction you choose as long as you make the right decisions and take the required actions consistently and persistently.

Rule Two – Be very clear why you got hired

Every job that is created, whether in a business or a charity, is nothing but a problem that requires solving. How well do you understand the problem you’ve been hired to solve? One way to understand this is to think about what will go wrong if you didn’t do your job properly or at all. Once you understand this, the next thing to do is to ensure you are solving that problem you were hired to solve.

Rule Three – Respect the performance management process – don’t fight it

Every organisation, large or small, will have some way of assessing your performance and this will be the basis on which you will be rewarded. Naturally, the larger the organisation the more formal this process will be. Do yourself a favour, seek to understand what this process is and respect it. Learn it and abide by it and make sure it works for you – trying to fight it will only hurt you financially.

Rule Four – There are others that matter, besides your line manager

It is unlikely that the job you do impacts only your manager. Chances are that it would touch a wide range of people all of whom should be considered as key stakeholders. These will include; your manager’s boss, his or her peers, key personal in support functions like finance, HR and IT. It is important that you invest the time to get to know and address their needs.

Rule Five – Do more than your role requires… and then some

If you want to experience an upward progression in your career, you would need to deliver more than is required of you consistently. As mentioned in rule two, every job is a problem that needs solving so the quickest way to get promoted is to solve the problem you were hired to do then seek bigger problems from your superiors to solve.

Rule Six – Seize opportunities to reinvent yourself

From time to time it is good to reinvent yourself and re-establish your reputation as a high performer. The perfect time for this is when you start a new role or have just been given a poor performance rating. Seize these opportunities to wipe the slate clean, set some challenging goals and put rules one to five into action. You will immediately get noticed as someone to watch.

Rule Seven – Don’t do it alone

Every successful person you know needed some help at some point in their career so why try to do it alone? Seek out mentors who are already doing what you aspire to do and ask them to help guide you. You will be surprised how much time successful people dedicated to helping others. They know too well how much they had to rely on someone else to help get them to where they currently are.

Rule Eight – Become an excellent communicator

The more senior you get, the more important it will be to deliver effective communication to deal with people successfully. Invest sufficient time to develop your communication skills and learn to speak in public if you currently don’t do this. It will be practically impossible to lead without ever needing to speak in public. Learn to craft your written statements in ways that are succinct and get the message across with impact.

Rule Nine – Master the art of networking

Business is done through and with people. Learn and master the art of meeting and engaging with people. Be very proactive in meeting people and take the necessary actions to build and maintain those relationships. Growing and maintaining a network requires time and effort so put in the time. You should seek to meet new people regularly and these days you can do it from the comfort of your home, online.

Rule Ten – Execute like a true professional

Finally, rule number ten is about execution. Most people will say they wish they can manage their time better. The reality is, you can’t manage time. Time moves at a constant pace so managing it is technically impossible. What you can manage is your actions. Be brutal about what you spend your time on and prioritise wisely. Focus on spending your time doing things that are important and never waste time on trivial stuff whilst there is an important, urgent task waiting to be done.

About the Author

Buchi Onwugbonu has more than 10 years’ experience in leadership roles for large corporates, SMEs and public service organisations. He has held senior roles in finance, consulting, operations and commercial, globally, working at companies including British Airways, Technicolor and Accenture. He is currently a Managing Director in the Telecoms and Technology sector. Buchi has a passion for helping people develop their careers and actively mentors aspiring leaders around the globe. He maintains the fundamental belief that you can take your career anywhere you want as long as you’re willing to put in the work and successfully changed his own career path on numerous occasions.  You can find a copy of Jump! here: https://goo.gl/FhMMMO

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