If your literature about finding success in your job is more than a year old, chances are it offers such traditional advice as “stand up and get noticed,” “knowledge is power,” and “strive to take leadership in projects.”
That was yesterday.
Today’s multi-generation workplaces mean the rules have changed, and if you still opt to take the traditional route, you may find yourself left at the gate while your teammates complete the race.
Let’s review the three standard directives, for example.
1. Stand up and get noticed.
Yesterday’s workplace was about one person stars. The brighter you shone as an individual, the higher you rose in the corporate sky.
In today’s high velocity work environment, the ability to work well on a team is a route to more success than being a lone wonder. In these times of dramatic changes and high risks, most of the Fortune 1000 companies are using teams to complete their most important work.
In fact, the new buzzword is “cooperative workplace” meaning that teams are among the quickest growing calls for employee involvement and action.
If you want to be successful, demonstrate your strong abilities to work well on a variety of teams.
2. Knowledge is power.
Yes, they have knowledge in their field that is far in excess of what the chief executive office usually has. But do they have power? No, the CEO still calls the shots because he or she has different characteristics that allowed them to gain power.
Secondly, even when you have knowledge now, it will never be enough to sustain your career. In the pace of rapid technological change that currently exists, what you know one day will be out of date the next.
Does this mean the old adage has nothing of value?
Not necessarily. Knowledge of any kind is no burden to carry around, but it should never be considered enough. Instead, it is the starting step. From what you know, you must constantly be learning the next step with an eye to the step after that. It is your ability to learn and to know what to learn next that is of value, not knowledge itself.
It is reasonable to assume that you will never really know enough; life-time learning will be a prerequisite for career success in the future.
Keep in mind that lack of knowledge can also be powerful too. For example, if you don’t know how to do something but you have to do it, you will envision a way to accomplish that task. In the process, you may discover a better way to get the job done than the current process.
Every so often, when you think you have complete knowledge on a subject, let your mind drift to how you would do the job if you hadn’t been trained to do it the way you are working now. That is the well from which your inspiration will spring, and that will make you a success on your job.
3. Strive to take leadership in projects.
Organizations are getting flatter and flatter. Hierarchical leadership is giving way to shared leadership and even servant leadership.
As a result, you may find you fit better into your organization by your flexibility in assuming whatever role is needed on each specific project. Sometimes you will be a leader; other times you will be a follower.
Leadership doesn’t necessarily mean being the person in charge—being a leader in the sense of commanding yourself to do your assigned projects to the best of your ability, working both alone or with others on your team.
That is a sufficient goal when you are getting started. When you demonstrate your agility in teamwork, only then will you be considered to be a leader of that team.
About the Author
Roz Bahrami is a blogger for SkyPrep, an online training software. Roz regularly contributes to blogs related to corporate training, L&D, and marketing.