Managing your own success is much like any other business project. It requires strategic thinking, good performance management, communication skills, leadership and a strong dose of humility.
Before you can deal with and manage your own success, you need to define what success means to you. Then you can develop a plan to help you achieve it.
It’s likely that plan will require at least some of the skills and tactics outlined here.
Of Forbes’ list of ten habits of successful people, seven happen before you arrive at work. Getting enough sleep, rising early, eating a good breakfast and avoiding the commute all help you be more effective at work.
Entrepreneur Richard Branson also stresses the importance of looking after yourself well – he says most of his good ideas strike when he’s relaxing in the bathtub!
Many successful people credit notetaking with helping them achieve. Behavioral science expert Caroline Webb, author of the excellent book How to Have a Good Day, recommends this approach: “Write it down as soon as it comes to mind. Use your intelligence for getting things done, rather than trying to remember what you need to do.”
If you aren’t a leader yet, take on responsibilities that demonstrate your potential. This is an approach taken by Theo Epstein, President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, and named by Fortune magazine as the greatest leader in the world in 2017.
He makes the point, “Whoever your boss is, or your bosses are, they have 20 percent of their job that they just don’t like. So if you can ask them or figure out what that 20 percent is, and figure out a way to do it for them, you’ll make them really happy, improve their quality of life and their work experience.”
Success depends on active and honest performance management – both of your team and of yourself. Working with a mentor is a good way to solicit honest feedback and proactively plan your day-to-day strategies as well as your long-term career. For those further on in their career, working as a mentor can be just as insightful and rewarding.
John Kotter, Konosuke Matsushita professor of leadership at Harvard University, draws the distinction between management and leadership: while “management is a set of processes that keep an organization functioning … planning, budgeting, staffing, clarifying jobs, measuring performance, and problem-solving when results did not go to plan”, leadership is very different.
For Kotter, leadership “is about aligning people with the vision,that means buy-in and communication, motivation and inspiration”.
Communication skills aren’t only an important part of being able to do your day-to-day job effectively; they ensure your visibility within the organization and play an important role in building your professional network.
In today’s digitally connected world networking takes on even greater significance; bringing new opportunities – leading some commentators to argue that building and maintaining a wide, strong professional network is more important than your job for your long-term career success.