Monday, June 20, 2011

10 Skills You Need to Succeed in Your Career

Here are some of the skills that I believe everyone who is serious about moving up in their career needs in order to succeed.

  • Customer Care - No matter if you are in the front lines or not, you have customers. They are either inside or outside the organization. Your success depends on your ability to serve them well and build a strong relationship with them. Reading up on customer service concepts and practices, attending seminars and possessing a customer-focused attitude should help you acquire this very important skill.
  • Problem Solving and Decision making - Being able to identify problems and being able to recommend or initiate the application of solutions is a valuable skill that bosses are sure to appreciate. The higher you go up in the organization, the more you'll need this skill.  Read up on topics like continuous improvement, Kaizen, Business Process Improvement or Re-engineering or Six Sigma. 
  • Personal Effectiveness - The ability to initiate personal change to achieve one's goal is an all important competency.  Read up on Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Follow Brian Tracy and other Personal Effectiveness Guru.
  • Leadership -  John Maxwell said that leadership is not a position but a disposition and I agree. If you want to become an effective leader, you need to learn it. There is a whole bunch of useful books on leadership that I can recommend. On top of the list are; Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner, 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell and Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.
  • Teamwork - Everybody wants a good team player. Nobody wants to work with people who are quarrelsome, difficult to be with and uncooperative. Some people think it's cool to be difficult, it's not. Learn to align yourself with your organization's goal or get out of it. Be committed to your role and work in cooperation with others. Enrich your emotional bank account with others and you'll be well on your way to being a great team player.
  • Flexibility - Organizations are getting more and more dynamic and changes happen at breakneck speed. Your job description won't be able to keep up with these changes. This is why you need to look beyond those JDs and do what you can to contribute. The more you are able to go outside that JD box, the more it will help you prepare for moving up in your career.
  • Learning - By the time you graduate from school, half the things you have learned would have been already old or obsolete. Lifetime employability means being able to learn new things and apply them to work. Establish a learning habit and apply as much of what you know at work.
  • Communication - Written, face-to-face and Communicating with the public are invaluable skills. They are sought after and key to your performance and leadership. No body who is expecting to succeed at work is exempted from continually developing their ability to communication. In fact I know some people who are successful on the account of their being great communicators. Continually improve your written communication skills, Join Toastmasters and learn assertive communication.
  • Creativity - is an essential ingredient to innovation and innovation is an important ingredient to profitability. It is of no wonder why companies seek people are able to show this skill. Creative people are capable of thinking out of the box, take risk and sell their ideas to others. Attend a creativity workshop, read about it and most importantly, look at what you can improve at work and take the necessary risk of challenging the process.
  • Technology - We're not going back to the type writer. Technology is just going to be more and more advance. Lagging behind on technology awareness is a dangerous thing in this world where organizations want to do things faster and more efficiently. Be always on the look out for what new technology is available and learn them.
Take an idea and then run away with it. 

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