Categorized | Career Development

Managing Yourself for Success By Herbert C. Smith, Ph.D.

climbing the ladder and keep a lookout

Management as a business discipline is a relatively new practice in organizations. Peter F. Drucker is generally considered to be the thought leader of modern management. He’s authored more than 35 books and hundreds of articles on the subject. His ideas have had a significant impact on the framing and shaping of people in organizations worldwide. At the core of modern organizations are talented people. They have always been and will continue to be the key asset for institutions.

In our recruiting practice, we maintain that the most important and valuable asset of any organization are human resources. Our objective is helping people to be successful and understand the concept of self-development as an important tool.

Managing yourself for success is the critical next step for personal, academic and career enhancement. It begins with knowing yourself. For the first time in history, we live in a period of exceptional opportunity for managing yourself for success. The rise of online universities and education programs, the acceptance of entrepreneurship and business start-ups, the growth of small, family-owned businesses, the break-up of global conglomerates with exceptional separation agreements and compensation packages, all contribute to the opportunity for individuals to take new intelligent risks, fund new ventures, and establish multiple careers. Today, if you have the knowledge, guts, determination, ambition, and fundamental smarts, you can rise to the top of your preferred choice of work regardless of where you began.

It’s important to understand that available opportunity requires that you take total responsibility for your growth and development. Many individuals still believe it’s the duty of the organization to manage the careers of people who are employed. Not so. You have the responsibility for being your own CEO. You should begin today to carve out the place you desire in the organization. You must know when to change course. You must keep learning, growing and being productive for the rest of your life. Imagine; college graduates today have more than 50 years of work life ahead of them. How long will you contribute to your own development?

To become and remain a high performer, you must become comfortable with yourself, know where you fit in the organization and trust your instincts as you develop a deep and genuine understanding of who you are, what you know, how you learn, what your strengths are, your values and where you can make the greatest contribution. Managing yourself for success requires a focus on achieving pure excellence. You will have to continue to reinvent yourself. You will have to make something some different out of yourself. It isn’t enough to just find a new job or new ways of doing things.

Decide today to take charge of your future. Knowing what you have done well will prepare you for understanding what you have learned and how you perform. In charting the course for managing yourself for success, here are 10 points that may prove helpful.

1. Individuals must make the shift to believing that they alone are responsible for their own careers. This may be the most difficult part of managing yourself for success. All of our training and work experiences have been the responsibility of management. We can no longer assume that doing a job well is enough, and that promotions will be the natural result. Organizations today and tomorrow expect good work and long hours from their professionals. It’s up to each person to exploit opportunities for growth.

2. Taking the time to be clear about what you want to learn, then developing a plan is crucial. The forethought and foresight that come with being a life-long learner, one who eagerly acquires skills to enhance career paths to assure continued growth, demand focus and a plan for action. Review the plans on quarterly basis and adjust for industry trends. Stay focused and on track.

3. Know what makes you successful. Take time to know your strengths and areas that need more development. Have a clear picture about your personality and the environment where you perform best. Try not to get buried in the day-to-day tasks. It is fine to do a personal and career sort at least once a week.

4. Pay attention to the market you’re in and look to other disciplines for new opportunities. Keep looking for the new opportunities. Managing yourself for success will help you to remain sharp and alert to additional skills and competencies that may be needed for the future.

5. Know how to react and deal with change. Change is the only constant we can count on for the future. Know how you learn. If you are a reader acquire books on the subject. If you are a listener, attend seminars. Learn from others how they have survived change. What skills are needed? Where can you get them and quickly?

6. Know who you are, and what your values are. When you are clear about your core values, future opportunities are easy. Seek relationships that fit your value stream. Your personal philosophy can be expressed in how the organization espouses its values.

7. Accept the fact that changes caused by structural shifts create opportunity. The opportunities for success are very evident. Look for the strategic advantage that lie ahead. Focus on the future, not the past.

8. Do not take change personally. If you find yourself caught in organizational changes that are necessary for the organization to survive, then you’re not the only one to be impacted. Stay positive, go on the offensive and demonstrate your skills at delivering solutions.

9. Establish Career Collaborations. Recognize the importance of working partnerships, collaborations and teaming for improvement. Develop and establish new arrangements with other people, groups, and organizations to create new alignments for managing yourself.

10. Create your own future. The only way to predict the future is to create it. Managing yourself for success requires that you lead the change that is engulfing you and others in the organization. Develop a new tool kit and contribute to solutions. It is very likely that you will be positioned for new challenges.

Managing yourself for success is the first step in competing for opportunities in which you create options. Remember, you are totally responsible for inspiring, encouraging and empowering yourself to harness the personal and professional power to achieve true excellence.

Herbert Smith is Chairman of H C Smith Ltd, a retained executive search and consulting business in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He is also chairman of Smith International Enterprises USA/Hong Kong. He’s a life member of the National Black MBA Association and serves on the board of visitors of the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito School of Business at the Claremont Universities, Claremont, CA.

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