Strategies for Excelling at Work

Strategies for Excelling at Work - mbaMission Career CoachesIn this new blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

In our career coaching blogs, we talk a lot about how to get a job. (Click on “Career Advice” in our Blog Topics directory on the right side of the page for easy access to previous postings.) However, it is also important to focus on how to excel at work.

Excelling at work requires you to exceed role-related performance expectations, but what exactly does that mean? The following steps can help you determine ways to succeed:

  • Understand precisely how your performance will be measured and what it means to excel in your company culture (e.g., valued core competencies, cultural norms/processes, team dynamics).
  • Seek specific and ongoing feedback from your manager and colleagues.
  • Manage your brand. Avoid bragging, but know your value and your two to three key selling points. Take responsibility for any mistakes, and change your behavior to ensure you do not repeat them.
  • Look for opportunities to go the “extra mile.”
  • Be proactive. Offer solutions, not just problems.

At the same time, identify and create an action plan to achieve your professional goals (i.e., Why did you take the role? What do you want to get out of the experience?). Think about the skills you want to develop and/or enhance as well as experiences you want to gain while in the position. The following steps can help you formulate an action plan:

  • Write down your goals and set milestones to achieve them; hold yourself accountable.
  • Share your goals with your manager and mentor(s), and seek their advice. Ask for “stretch” roles and assignments.
  • Volunteer to join task forces, new initiatives, or project teams that enable you to leverage your skills and build new ones while increasing your exposure throughout your organization.
  • Seek out training opportunities—whether through internal HR offerings, professional organizations, conferences, or colleague recommendations.

And finally, build and nurture your network within (and outside of) your company by doing the following:

  • Understand who is respected and admired by the organization; identify what behavior and attributes are rewarded. Seek the opinions of those you respect.
  • Identify people in your network who can serve specific roles—for example, providing guidance based on their knowledge of the company and you, serving as an advocate who promotes you and your skills within the company, or asking clarifying questions to help you stay true to yourself.
  • Build networking into your current job activities and responsibilities. Create relationships and personal connections with those with whom you interact throughout the company.
  • Reach out and congratulate people in your network on their job promotions, big accomplishments, or awards.
  • Pay it forward; show your appreciation, share your knowledge, and help others.
  • Take advantage of any mentoring opportunities that your company offers.

All of these actions have the potential to lead to greater job satisfaction, increased job responsibilities, and accelerated career promotions. Like your job search, your journey to career success requires significant investments of time and effort—but the rewards certainly are worth it!

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!

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