by Peggy Morrow
You are responsible for your own career success and development today. No longer can you depend on working for one company throughout your entire career. The average worker will be employed by at least four different companies throughout his work life and each of these may demand different skills and knowledge. That means keeping yourself constantly trained and updated in a number of areas necessary for success.
How do you measure up to these in critical areas?
Problem solving. The use of good judgment, effective conflict resolution and plain problem solving will be much needed and marketable skills for the future. Not that they aren't already. But the need will just accelerate. You don't have to go to a training class to learn these skills, although it wouldn't hurt.
Observe how your supervisor handles specific situations and ask questions. Practice what you learn in real-life situations. Instead of just concentrating solely on your immediate duties, start asking "why?" Practice identifying some of the roadblocks that impede the workflow in your department. Try to come up with an innovative solution, no matter how small the problem.
Every time you encounter a problem, don't look for someone or something to blame. Instead ask, "What caused this problem and what can we do to prevent it from ever happening again?"
Technical skills. The technological tools of the future are going to continue to keep changing and require a constant learning curve. You will be expected to be able to deal with each new development with a minimum of effort. Devices such as cell phones, electronic organizers and palm computers are already part of our lives, and software we haven't even dreamed of yet will be developed, along with new machines.
Ethics. Ethical behavior is more in the doing than of the telling about it You learn this skill by observation over time. Take note of the way people you admire use their expertise in diplomacy, courtesy, and honesty in various situations. If possible, seek a mentor outside or inside of your company, or both.
Ability to weather constant change. The office of the future requires flexibility and demands being open to the new innovations and ideas that will be introduced. It is a critical skill in keeping yourself employed. No company wants people who say, "But why do we have to change? Everything is running fine right now!" If an organization is to thrive and prosper in the coming years they must keep moving at a rapid pace or soon go out of business.
Persuasiveness. In order to be successful in our ever-changing world, you must be able to persuade people to your way of thinking. Consider taking courses in communication and negotiation skills at your local community college or, if it is available, take advantage of your in-house training. Again, observe people who you think are already doing a good job with these skills and learn from them.
How would you rate yourself on these skills? If you think you could use some improvement, get busy and find ways to improve them in order to ensure your success in the years ahead.
Copyright© 2007, Peggy Morrow. All right reserved. Peggy Morrow, CSP, is President of Peggy Morrow & Associates. She has over twenty years experience working in the areas of customer service, teams and time management. Author of two books on customer service, she has also published over 400 articles on management and customer service as well as being named a "content expert" for Inc MagazineÕs Web page, Inc.com. More of her work appears on FrogPond (http://www.frogpond.com/). For information about Peggy's programs, contact the FrogPond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email susie@FrogPond.com