Trust is currency in the business world. How them can an individual optimize trust into professional advancement?
Whether you are in the hunt for a career or looking to advance in your profession, the currency with the highest rate of exchange for both employment and advancement is the same – trust. Trust requires hard work and consistency to establish but is even harder to regain if you have devalued your trust ratio with poor or inconsistent performance.
At the core of proving your trustworthiness are three simple concepts (many parents will resonate with these values):
1) Do what you’re told
2) Do it when you are told
3) Do it with the right attitude
Regardless of where you are at on the ladder, there is usually someone on the rung(s) above you. Trust in its most basic form is the transaction of turning a request/order into an action. For example, your boss instructs you to do something and you do it. There was trust that you could understand the instruction, trust that you were a person that may be capable of accomplishing the task and trust that you would be a person that would follow through to completion.
When you are hired by an organization, they trust that you can fulfill certain functions. If you have the desire to move upward within the organization, you need to communicate that you are capable of additional responsibilities. Your ability to move forward is proportionate to your ability to master your current tasks. As you desire to communicate your advancement potential, take an inventory on how well you have completed your current functions – doing what your are told, when you are told and doing so with a good attitude.
If you have never been asked to do something outside of your everyday functions, this should be a red flag for you. What are the options? Is there really nothing outside of what you’re already doing that the organization needs help with? Not likely. Are you so important in your current functions that they cannot spare you for any other task? You are important, probably not that important. The lack of interest in you likely means you haven’t communicated that you are capable or trustworthy in some fashion.
If you haven’t been asked in a while, you may want to rewind the tape and see how you performed the last time your were approached with an opportunity. So often when our vision is on the big assignments, we miss the small steps that get us there. A good organization will give you chances to grow through a process. This process of maturation in an organization better prepares you to grow at a pace you can maintain.
Regardless of what you are being asked to do, as long as it’s not illegal, recognize this as your moment to do what you are told, when you are told and to perform with a good attitude. Every opportunity to perform a task outside of your regular duties is an opportunity show the leaders in your organization what you’re capable of (often times a few small steps/tests at a time).
What if you have been doing all this and you are still getting all the crap assignments? Either the organization is telling you what your communicated value is – you will have to judge whether this perception of you is accurate or not. If you believe you deserve more then you may want to request a review and ask some questions about your performance as well as what your opportunities are within the organization. The other option would be to walk yourself through an honest self evaluation and enlist the feedback from people you trust to give you sincere constructive criticism. If your self evaluation and the input from those you trust have led you to a place where you are confident that you have done all in your power, it may be time to find another team to work with.
Professional advancement is built one step at a time, establishing trust by mastering the tasks you have been assigned as well as taking advantage of the opportunities for additional responsibility that come your way. We often counsel people that life is about opportunity not convenience, as often the opportunities you will get to move yourself forward will likely come at many of the most inopportune or inconvenient times. You need a big picture perspective for setting your goals, but don't have your head so far in the clouds or your heart so far down the track that you can't see or take advantage of the opportunities that are right in front of you.
Jon Isaacson. Green belt in the puzzle art of business. Helping people clarify their vision, optimize productivity & follow through w/ creative solutions #MTWSL
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