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Three Keys to Success at Work

It has been my experience that the people who are most successful at work are usually well organized, communicate effectively and monitor their own performance. They didnít grow up with these skills; they learned them and practiced them until they became successful. If you not as successful as you would like to be in your career, it may be necessary to assess your performance in these three keys areas.

Being organized

To be organized you need to understand your job, your functions, and where you fit into the bigger scheme of things. You also need to incorporate some aspects of strategic planning into your working life. The major activities in strategic planning include some form of strategic analysis that looks at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, setting some goals for yourself and a plan to achieve them, and then some capacity to measure your success or failure.

Then take your plan and put into implementation mode. Focus on your priorities and look at how you manage your time. If you are spending all of your time in reacting mode, shift some of your time to be more proactive and move towards your goals. Start using the one simple word that will radically transform your life: saying ďnoĒ will free you from many unwanted and unnecessary assignments and responsibilities. You canít say no to everything, but donít be surprised if, after a while of responding with a firm no to unreasonable requests, those requests start to dry up.

You need to create time and space to be successful at work and being organizing, having a plan, and just saying no will help you kick start that process. Of course you have to stay with it and continue to be vigilant against distractions and nuisances at work, but over time you will make steady progress.

Communicating well

To communicate well you have to be able to share information with those that need it, either verbally or in writing. You should be able to describe a problem and, if necessary, ask for help. Effective communication also means that you have the ability to listen to and absorb information, and to decide who else needs to know about this situation.

Modern communication methods have almost eliminated the need to talk to people, but one thing that will never go out of favour is the capacity to listen. Too many of us are stuck in our cubicles, hidden too far behind our headphones to be able to know whatís really going on in the office next to ours, let alone in our organization or line of business. Get out from behind the barriers we have created and listen, especially to any young people in your work environment. Most of them have not yet become completely jaded or complacent, and many of them have great ideas, if only they had someone to listen to them.

Another thing that will help you hone your communication skills is to actually pick up the phone and call someone in your business or organization. Call one of your customers or clients just to see how they find your services. Open up your business antennae so that you can let some new information in. Donít be surprised if these efforts at practicing your communication skills result in more business. People may too busy at work but they are never too busy to talk about themselves or their own business.

Monitor your own work and your own success

To be successful at work you need to review and monitor your work and evaluate your own success. If you make a mistake, learn from it and donít make the same mistake again. If an unusual situation arises, take note of how you dealt with it and if it works, tell others about it. Look for improvements that you can make in your work and opportunities for growth. You may be lucky enough to have a supervisor, manager or mentor to guide you, but self-monitoring is the one true sign of a great leader in business or any field.

Take time at least once a year to review your progress against your objectives and goals and if something isnít working, change it and try something new. Check with your associates at work to see if your communication skills have improved and if they have observations or suggestions to make. People love to point out faults in other people so this should generate at least a few improvements you can make. Finally, commit yourself to a long term plan of being a success at work. Look at five years to start with and see how you do.

There are few limitations to the level of success that a well-organized person with good communication skills can achieve, particularly if they are willing to commit to a long term strategy of planning, improvement, growth and change.


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