Think about the future of your career.
How does it feel?
Are you positive and hopeful about your career prospects?
Do you know where you want to be in the next six months, year, or two years?
Will you be able to reach those goals? Or are you experiencing a dearth of opportunities because you don’t know how to consistently grow and improve?
Do you feel that you are not being recognized and appreciated — monetarily, through peer-to-peer recognition, or through some other channels — because you are not able to improve your performance?
Most people don’t.
Most professionals feel disengaged with their job primarily because they don’t know where improvement is needed and how they can improve their performance for maximum impact and gain.
You can avoid being in this trap.
Whether you feel that you are stuck in your current career, irrespective of your industry, or that you cannot find opportunities to grow in your career, it is possible to overcome them with two simple steps.
The Two-Step Theory of Career Success
If you want to grow in any company, the simple, universal formula is to become better at what you do.
In a phrase, consistently improve your performance.
This is only possible when you set the right targets for yourself. Once you have the right targets, your efforts become focused and meaningful. You are able to declutter and prioritize work, and as a result, both short-term and long-term career goals become attainable.
Normally, most writers will use the following paragraphs to explain the importance of creating career roadmaps, planning, goal setting, breaking them into smaller objectives, and so on.
I believe that to be able to improve your performance, you have to understand just two things:
- Your company culture’s core values (what your company strives for)
- What you want to achieve from your job (what you want from the company)
When you are able to align the two answers, you will gain the perfect set of targets.
Understanding your Company Culture and Core Values
I can hear some of you saying, “Company first? Whose side are you on Hamza?!”
Let’s put it this way.
You’re part of a company, and your contributions play an integral role in aiding the company achieve its goals and vision. However, if you try to improve and those improvements are not relevant to the company, then your improvements will go unnoticed and unrecognized.
For instance, the culture at Logicose is based on aggressive and transparent growth — the more productive you are as a copywriter, the faster you grow.
In a phrase, your hard work as a copywriter pays off during bi-annual appraisals.
So, if I learn to be a woodworker or a very good website designer, and those skills are not used in any copywriting project (duh), should the company appraise me for the effort?
Doesn’t make sense, right?
But if I align my targets (monetary and personal) with the culture of the company, the results will be much different.
The culture at Logicose values productivity, commitment to competitive hard work, balance, transparency, recognition, and collaboration.
Therefore, the most sustainable method of improving my performance would be to set targets that will allow me to compete with myself — and become more productive or handle complex projects, or do both.
What values drive your company culture, and the company itself?
More often than not, values are something that you can only experience from your day-to-day interaction with your managers and supervisors.
So, what are they committed to achieving?
If you haven’t done that yet, spend a week understanding them. Then, list down the values that they respond to before setting targets for your performance.
Understand Why You Want to Improve
All of us want to live a meaningful life — a life of purpose and direction. When it comes to our career, we want to know that our contributions matter to the company, and the only way to know that is through on-job growth. This can be monetary, additional benefits, or even simple recognition through different channels.
So, why do you want to improve? Do you want recognition, a pay raise, new job responsibilities, or a promotion?
How will you achieve them?
For instance, my performance improvement targets (based on the values of productivity and commitment to competitive hard work) will look something like this:
- Exert and improve my writing process for quality or quantity, or both,
- Consolidating my writing process,
- Consistently repeating my performance,
Do my targets seem a little too precise to you?
Yes, they are very precise because I discussed them with my manager.
By discussing it, I was able set targets for the next appraisal (we have one every six months) and shorter monthly targets for myself.
Now, the biggest mistake people make is to set performance targets for themselves on their own, without involving their immediate supervisors (in my case, the editor, and the manager). As a result, they don’t know the quantitative impact of their improvement.
By simply discussing the targets with your supervisor, you understand the real, quantitative impact of your efforts and the level of support they can offer. When I set up the targets for improving my writing process (for quantity), I was assigned to group projects that had shorter deadlines and required higher throughput per day.
Conclusion — Your Road to Success
Performance improvement is all about understanding what you want, what your company is looking for, and then finding the right set of targets that will have the maximum impact on your career.
What do you think?
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All the best!