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5 Stages for Guaranteed Career Success

Bright Sparks Coaching Career HappinessHow many times have you heard or read “5 Guaranteed Stages for Career Success ”, quite a few I’ll be bound. There are gurus and career professionals around the globe, that all have a particular view of what career success is. Clearly, there are ways of getting on at work – not getting sacked is obviously one. However are there any great strategies, that you can easily carry out, that will give you an advantage at work? How can we up our game to aim for that job or career we hanker after? Well, don’t worry this Bright Spark has a few ideas for you to contemplate.

There are many ways to succeed in any job or career. That said, it is important to understand and how to use them so that they benefit you and your career. On the other hand, we can’t ignore great career theories such as Career Chaos and Planned Happenstance. These theories propose that luck, bring flexible and grasping opportunity play a big part in career success. However in the meantime, if you follow my 5 career development principles you will be successful in the long run.

1. Competence and skill will always trump “Passion”

Now this might be controversial is an experiential and relativist age, but passion will not trump great skills and workplace competencies. Developing workplace skills, building career capital and ability is the major reason that will lead to career success. It’s always important to be better educated, develop more valuable career/work skills, get more qualifications, etc. All necessary to move your career forward and create capital that you can draw on.

That said we all know of often highly competent people are sometimes overlooked. They can be overshadowed by less able and noisy colleagues who are better at telling the world about their “passion” without having to know too much more. They are usually better at self-promotion to gain more attention. However, the old adage holds true, that an “Empty vessels make the most noise”. It’s an old proverb that means that those with the least talent and knowledge usually speak the most. Speak the loudest, and create the most fuss, whatever makes their presence felt the most.

With that knowledge in mind, strategic workplace/career development skills, vision and competences will always win the day. However, if your competence and skill-set are not appreciated by your line manager or current employer, then it may just be a sign that you need to look elsewhere to be appreciated. Perhaps look toward to a job, career or an organisation that values what you have to offer more

2. See the bigger career picture

In general terms, those who view their job or career narrowly, or who do the least, will more than likely struggle to get ahead. Look into ways to grow into your job and career, and understand how your work can have an impact upon others. The very best get to know their own role inside out, although, they also acknowledge how their efforts contribute to their team and company. It’s then an opportunity to make yourself increasingly valuable to the department and organisation by expanding the scope of your job. This really backs up the points previously made about skills and competencies.

So, take some time and try to see the bigger picture of your role and career. Where can you make those important quick wins to raise your profile and help the team and company succeed? What do you need to do to go a bit further to give yourself a better chance of moving forward in your job? A little extra effort on your part will go a long way.

3. Play up and play the career game

All companies consist of people who are trying to get things done. Though we also know that people are also trying to move forward in their own careers and get ahead. We also know of those creepy self-serving behaviours and political animals are everywhere at work. Organisations develop rules of engagement (usually nonconscious) and how things should get done. Clearly then it is important that you understand the rules of the game, and what’s more learn to play by the rules.

This can involve getting down to a bit of self-promotion, making strategic connections, whilst developing and maintaining your relationships at work. If you feel brave, you may have to question, want to push back, or suggest changing the rules. However, this should always be done strategically and thoughtfully. Psychologist Robert Hogan calls this developing “sociopolitical intelligence,” and it distinguishes those who know how to play the game to get ahead. It is very important, however, to play the game fairly and be mindful of the effects on other people. We want to play by the rules and not break them deliberately as that will have consequences.

4. Bring reliable and trustworthy.

Turning up at work on time and getting the job done is obviously a vital part of getting on in your career. Nothing is more valuable than an employee who can be counted on, to meet deadlines, or pull their weight when times get tough. We all have to try to maintain our reputation of reliability with both clients and customers, either internal or external. It is very important to not make promises you can’t keep or take on more than you are capable of doing in the time span allotted. Remember to under promise but over deliver. Always be straight with people and your line manager when you fail to hit the mark and try to do your level best to make amends as soon as you can.

5. Building solid and lasting relationships.

Treating others as we would like to treat ourselves is always a good way to support our relationships at work. Bring fair and forgiving is important, as it’s the foundation of a good relationship. Building strong relationships with your peers and line manager is essential for getting the work done. However building strong interpersonal relationships are important because others can help you get ahead, point out opportunities, and make connections that will help your career move forward.

Nothing like that chance to press the flesh and put a face to a name of another member of the team or department. Therefore, getting out to network and meet people is the best way of being remembered; though try to be remembered to all the right reasons. Finding out about your personal career brand is a really good way to understand where you bring the most value to your career and your organisation or business.

On the flip side, there are exploitative people who will not follow the rules and may seem to get ahead in the short-term. Others may simply be lucky or “well-connected” and succeed without competency or trustworthiness. However, for most of us, creating and fostering trusted and lasting relationships are the keys to a successful, and satisfying, work career.


I am hoping by now that you have realised that these 5 little career development steps will help you make success at work. Of course, if you are like me you will need to see some cold hard evidence for this proud statement. Though my question to you is, what have you got to lose by trying this brilliant strategy?

The most important thing to remember is not do too much too soon, as you might be spotted changing behaviour by your colleagues. They may end up thinking you are one of those awful me, me, me self-promoters. The way to make these changes is quietly, confidently and deliberately bit by bit. Decide where you can get a quick win without trying too hard. Help your peers and colleagues at work to foster flagging relationships. Sign up for an online course to further your knowledge and skills to support your continuing professional development. Most of all create a meaningful strategy with short, mid and long-term goals that are achievable and motivate you to crack on at work.

In the end, it all depends upon your priorities, what you want to do in your career and at work. Whatever your priorities these 5 strategies will help you progress at work and maintain your career in your own time. So have a go at my 5 Stategies to Guarantee Career Success and let me know how you get on. Remember me when you make your first £1,000,000!

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