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How to Keep Your Boss Updated and Do It Well - YouTube

One assumption that’s easy to make but can really damage your career is that your boss knows what you’re doing and how well you’re doing it.

After all, they’re your boss. It’s their job to know what’s going on and to look out for team members, right?

Unfortunately, most bosses aren’t perfect and they’re definitely not mind readers. They’re busy people with worries of their own.

That’s why the best strategy is to take charge of keeping your boss updated on what you’re doing and to do it in a way that serves both of you well.

Why It’s Important to Keep Your Boss Updated

When done well, keeping your boss updated is one of your career secret weapons (more on that in a moment). And there are four reasons why it’s in your interest to make it a regular part of your routine.

Make it a regular part of your routine to keep your boss updated – it’s one of your career secret weapons.
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1. Helps you with your workload

When you keep your boss updated, you provide them with insight into the volume, complexity and impact of your work. When they know what’s on your plate, this makes it easier for you to get the resources you need, and it can also keep you from getting dumped on with more work than you can handle.

2. Makes your boss a better advocate for you

When your boss is informed and armed with your accomplishments in real time, they’ll be able to advocate for you more effectively and on an ongoing basis. And when it’s time to negotiate for more resources, they’ll be in the know about what you need and why you need it. In essence, the more informed your boss is about you, the better an advocate they will be.

3. Helps your boss pave the way for you

If you’re keeping your boss regularly updated, they’ll be in a better position to help you at the more senior levels of your organization. You’ll also be able in a great position to direct your boss to help troubleshoot or pave the way with senior people you can’t (yet) get to easily, whether that’s in your client’s organization or in your own.

When you find appropriate ways to involve your boss, it gives them an opportunity to feel part of the effort and, best of all, it’s easier for them to see you in action. They can see your successes and how you handle challenges first-hand and are then in a position to brag about you authentically.

4. Enhances your visibility with higher level managers

Your updates are fuel for your boss to use in keeping their bosses updated on all the great things going on across the unit. Just like you, your boss is interested in looking good with his or her boss too!

When you help your boss look good, they’ll feel more secure in their role. This in turn makes them more likely to be generous in sharing some positive press about you with senior management.

It’s Easy to Get It Wrong

Just because keeping your boss updated is important doesn’t mean everyone does it. And it’s possible to get it badly wrong. So much so that it backfires.

Take my client – let’s call her Linda – for example. Linda was proud of the thorough briefings she prepared for her update meetings with her new boss. Her one frustration was that their supposedly hour-long meeting was often cut short to 15 minutes or even canceled at the last minute.

Since she was often traveling to meet with clients but still wanted to keep her boss updated, she switched to an email update. By reading this one comprehensive document, her boss would know everything that was going on. She felt confident this would show her boss that she was working hard and staying on top of things even when she was away from the office.

When I met with her boss, I got a different story. He was frustrated with Linda because she couldn’t seem to get to the point. He dreaded their long update meetings and felt she was wasting his time with all that unnecessary detail. For him, even 15 minutes was a long meeting.

As for the emails, they were just as bad. He hated to read long, dense emails that you had to scroll down multiple times to get to the end.

Instead, he preferred a few bullet points or an informal “fly by” update and wondered why she couldn’t just “stop by and poke her head into my office with a quick ‘oh, by the way, we got that deal today’ or ‘I need your input on X’ like everyone else?”

Fortunately, Linda was able to change the way she updated her boss and they got back on track. But it almost derailed her career.

How to Update Your Boss Well

The “how” will be different for different bosses, and it’s your responsibility to get clear on what will land best with yours.

If they’re a micro-manager, you’re probably better off with more frequent updates and greater detail. If they’re “laissez-faire” or have a short attention span, then a few well-placed bullet points will do.

As an example, the best team member I’ve ever worked with, Charlie (not his real name) somehow knew my preferred update was in person. I had way too many emails and was always behind.

Charlie would stop by in the late afternoon and ask if I had a moment to speak (how did he know that I hate getting interrupted in the morning, which is my most productive time?!).

Then he’d sit down next to my desk and tell me the projects he’d finished, the ones that were still in progress, and the requests he had for me. Then he’d ask if there was anything else I wanted him to work on. If not, he’d be heading home after he finished his last tasks.

This made things easy for me as a new manager. And hearing Charlie’s update felt like a nice break. I was regularly amazed by how calm he was and how quickly he was able to handle his work without any hint of panic. It was also a smart way for Charlie to leave when he was finished with work without worrying that he was letting me down or feeling like he was sneaking off.

Not only did Charlie do excellent work, his updates helped me feel in control at work because I was never caught off guard. As a result, I was always happy to brag about Charlie and what a great job he was doing. If I was ever moving to a different part of the firm, Charlie would have been the first person I’d ask to come along.

Tailor Your Update to Your Boss

Bosses come in many sizes and flavors and you want to make your update easy for your boss to consume. Just as vitamins come in different forms (e.g., gel cap, chewable, liquid), your approach needs to suit your boss’s preference.

If you’re not sure, then ask them or someone else who knows. And then experiment with formats to see which lands best and is easiest for you to produce.

I like to think of it along the lines of content, framing, frequency and format.

  • Content: What to update your boss about
  • Framing: How to position the things in your update
  • Format: How to communicate your update
  • Frequency: How often you update your boss
Content – What to update your boss about

The key here is to make a conscious decision about what to include in your updates.

First, figure out what’s important to your boss. What you include will give him or her clues about whether or not you see the bigger strategic picture. For example, the organizational “housekeeping” that’s taking up most of your time this week may not deserve top billing whereas the insights from a 5-minute client call could be big news.

Second, think about the content from your own perspective. What are the accomplishments or milestones you’re most proud of? What issues or challenges are on the horizon, how are you handling them, and what help do you need from your boss? Where do you want to start planting some seeds for the future, such as workload and how close your team is to full capacity?

As a boss, here are the things I would want to know:

  • What you and your team have accomplished since the last update
  • Any challenges you’re facing (especially flagging potential future issues) and how you plan to deal with them
  • Any assistance or input you need from me
Framing – How to position the things in your update

From a framing perspective, think of it as a story or narrative that you’re communicating to your boss. What’s the overall impression you want to give, and what’s the language and phrasing that best conveys it?

For example, if you want to come across as competent and capable, then the way you frame issues and challenges needs to be matter-of-fact and include your proposed solution.

If you need your boss’s help, direct them rather than sound like you’re adrift without any idea of what to do. For example, “At this stage in the project, it would have a big impact if you connect with the head of the client team” instead of “Can you call the client? I’m worried they think I’m too junior.”

Finally, consider what you would want to include if your boss happened to forward or repeat the contents to a more senior person in the organization. Make sure it represents you well.

Format and Frequency – How and how often to communicate updates

Format and frequency are things for you and your boss to decide. I preferred weekly updates but biweekly or monthly could suit your situation better.

Depending on how often things change and how much detail you provide, I’ve found these three update formats can work whether they’re in writing or in person:

  • Very short and to the point – this is great if your boss has a short attention span and is very busy. The more senior your boss is, the more likely they are to fall into this category.
  • Reasonably detailed – this includes some charts or spreadsheets that capture key information such as pipelines or project updates. The broader a group you need to update, the more likely it is you’ll need an update like this. Also, a newer manager or a boss with micro-manager tendencies will like this. With this format, I’d recommend having sub-headings and bullet points to make it easier to digest.
  • A hybrid – this is an executive summary with the three main points along with the action or decision you need from your boss. Then everything else can be below your signature or attached as an appendix. When you’re not sure, this is a good way to go.
Updates Are Your Opportunity to Increase Your Visibility

Remember, your update represents you with your boss and potentially with more senior management. They’re a great opportunity for you to be more visible with people who matter in your career.

That’s why given the choice, I would go for shorter updates (as in three bullet points), in writing, sent weekly via email with the same subject line so it’s easily searchable as you get closer to review time. This is especially useful if you don’t get to see or speak to your boss frequently.

And while you want to take your updates seriously, don’t get bogged down with trying to make it perfect. The point is to get it going. Then you can get feedback and adjust.

As the saying goes, done is better than perfect!

So how about you?

If you’re already updating your boss, how has it helped your career?

And if you haven’t been doing it yet, how will you get started?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

The post How to Keep Your Boss Updated and Do It Well appeared first on May Busch.

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How to Keep Your Energy Up in a Demanding Job - YouTube

Imagine you’ve landed a hard-to-get job with a prestigious company that pays well. Sounds like nirvana, right?

That was the exciting situation Susan found herself in three years ago.

But recently, she called me for advice on this question: “In a marathon job that feels like a sprint, how do you keep your energy up?”

Or said another way, how do you keep your energy up in a demanding job?

Speaking from experience, amazing jobs often come with work that’s all-consuming. While it’s interesting and important, the problem is that there’s just so much of it.

At the same time, promotions can feel years away. As Susan puts it, “when you’re in the middle of it all, it feels like a giant slog. And I don’t want to get out of the game because I’m tired.”

If you’re wrestling with a demanding job you want to excel at, but it’s draining your energy and getting you down, then here are five actionable strategies to consider.

5 Strategies to Keep Your Energy Up in a Demanding Job 1. Take Mini Vacations

When I was working at Morgan Stanley, my mother suggested that I take regular breaks. She called them “mini vacations”. These could be just a few minutes to yourself in the privacy of a bathroom stall, taking a walk outside or finding a quiet space to do some meditation.

Taking breaks is essential for reducing stress, recharging your batteries and being able to bring your best self to whatever you’re doing. That means you’ll have more mental capacity for making good decisions and feel less exhausted at the end of the day.

Taking breaks is essential for reducing stress, recharging your batteries and being able to bring your best self to whatever you’re doing.
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I’ve found taking breaks helps me stay fresh in my thinking, and I’m less likely to get bogged down in unnecessary details.

How could you take mini vacations in your day?

2. Celebrate Mini Wins

Susan’s projects take months to come to fruition, so there’s a long wait between starting and having the end result. So the times for celebration are few and far between.

And if your work is the equivalent of keeping the trains running on time, then keeping the normal operations working smoothly and making sure nothing goes wrong means there isn’t even an event to celebrate.

In those cases, why not create your own mini wins to celebrate along the way? We all like to win, and this provides a built-in mechanism for feeling positive every day.

Celebrating mini wins provides a way to feel positive every day.
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One way is to look for mini wins in your daily activities, like getting through your commute calmly (I find listening to music helps with this) or giving a genuine compliment to someone else (both givers and receivers gets a boost from this kind of positive human connection).

Another way to create a mini win is to break your big project into a series of small steps. And you could treat yourself to a mini vacation when you complete each step.

If it’s a team project, you could create and celebrate these mini-wins together and enjoy the exponential benefit of lifting the entire group’s energy.

What would happen if you created and celebrated three mini wins each day?

3. Adopt a Green Plant

Studies have shown that having greenery around your work area helps reduce stress, improve productivity and increase creativity.

Even looking at nature through a window or having a fake green plant helps. But having real plants provides the added benefit of improving air quality too.

In an ideal world, every workspace would come equipped with a wall of greenery, but starting with just one or two plants on your desk can make a difference to your mood and energy levels.

What kind of green plant could you “adopt” for your office area?

4. “Reset” Your Brain

A friend of mine uses a Swiss Ball (the big ones you find in most gyms) to help reset your brain when you feel frazzled, stressed or weary. Her background is in neuropsychology and she assures me this is all based in science.

The way it works is this: She had me sit on it with my feet on the floor and bounce up and down in place for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to hold my breath. Then she had me stand up and do a power pose (like Super Woman).

When I stood up, I felt energized and strong. I felt rooted to the ground. My posture was better. I was breathing more deeply than before. Best of all, my brain had gone from feeling fuzzy to crystal clear.

Before the bouncing, I was going around in circles over a presentation I was writing. But afterwards, I felt confident that I knew exactly what to do.

(By the way, if you don’t experience this “rooted” feeling and calmness after you stand up, go back to bouncing some more.)

Obviously, you wouldn’t want to do this if you have any health concerns or dizziness (in which case as the saying goes, “don’t try this at home!”). But if you’re in good health and have a clear area for bouncing, I hope you’ll find it as helpful as I do when you need to press the reset button on your thinking.

5. Laugh More

Finally, there’s nothing like having a belly laugh to cut through stress and bring back your energy. But at work, most of us tend to be focused and serious. And even when we’re not working, we laugh much less than when we were children.

There are some days when I only laugh a handful of times, and none of them are deep, satisfying belly laughs. It’s usually when I’m working on my own and there’s no one to talk to.

This is the time when phoning a friend or watching a funny show on TV or social media can play a positive role.

My daughters have recommended shows to me – ones that made them laugh like Jimmy Fallon’s Lip Sync Battles or standup comedy routines from Live at the Apollo (I find Michael McIntyre hilarious).

So whether it’s calling a (funny) friend or laughing on your own, find ways to laugh more.

How many times do you laugh in a day? How would it feel for you and the people around you to double that number? As they say, laughter is contagious so you’ll be doing everyone a favor!

How many times do you laugh in a day? How would it feel for you and the people around you to double that number?
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What Will Make It Do-able?

There’s only so far you can push yourself and only so many times you can redouble your efforts before you burn yourself out. And that doesn’t serve anyone well.

So when the work you’ve loved and still want to do is becoming all-consuming, it’s time to pause and ask yourself, “what will make this do-able for me?” Then identify what’s needed to make your work sustainable.

Which of these strategies will you use to keep your energy up?

Leave a comment – I’d love to know.

The post How to Keep Your Energy Up in a Demanding Job appeared first on May Busch.

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How to Break Free From Challenges Holding You Back - YouTube

What’s holding you back from the success you want in your career and life and how long have you been putting up with it?

What would it mean to you if you could move beyond it?

These questions are fitting to ask yourself on the weekend of July 4th, which is Independence Day in the U.S.

Maybe something that’s holding you back from living the life you want to lead is external, like your boss who takes credit for your ideas. Or the job you hate but have to keep doing to support yourself and your family.

Or it could be something internal. Perhaps the fear of failure (or success!) that keeps you playing small, or the tyranny of caring what others think and trying to please people.

You always have a choice

While it’s hard to imagine when you’re in the midst of a situation, the reality is that in most cases you don’t have to struggle under whatever or whoever is holding you back (even if it’s yourself!).

You can declare independence and take action – the kind of action where you don’t need anyone else’s permission.

Which means that struggle is a choice.

There is always an action or choice available to you, even if it is simply to reframe how you’re thinking about or approaching the situation.

The classic example of this is holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s insight in his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ that even when every freedom is taken away, you still have the freedom to choose how you look at the situation.

In my case, my declaration of independence has been about leaving behind the parts of myself that aren’t serving me well and replacing them with what helps me move forward.

Specifically, I’ve learned to reframe the things I’m afraid of as opportunities to learn and grow. And I’ve given myself permission to do small experiments before I think I’m ready rather than wait until I’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s before moving ahead.

The key is to choose to take action and do something proactive.

There is always an action or choice available to you, even if it is simply to reframe how you’re thinking about or approaching the situation.
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Conversely, if you don’t or won’t take action, then others are likely to see you as just complaining. Worse yet, they may take advantage of this area of weakness.

Like the mean boss who knows you believe you “can’t” quit for fear of never finding another job that pays as well as the one you have. Or the rude colleague who knows you’re too “nice” to call him out on his behavior.

So, what might your Declaration of Independence look like?

Your Personal Declaration of Independence

Putting together your personal declaration of independence will empower and embolden you to move forward into the future you want.

It’s simple to create one. Even liberating!

Here are five steps to get started on your own declaration of independence.

Step 1: Choose what’s most holding you back

Choose the thing that is most holding you back in your life and career. An easy way to start is with the questions from that childhood guessing game, “is it a person, place or thing?”

Maybe that person is the proverbial mother-in-law (why do they get such a bad rap?!), a “bad boss” or a “frenemy”. And don’t forget to include yourself on the list. For decades, I’ve been my own worst enemy in the form of negative self-talk, perfectionism and procrastination.

As for “place”, it could be your office environment, your home town or somewhere else where there are aspects that keep you from being your best.

And a “thing” could be that extra glass of wine every night or the sugary “treat” you have at your daily coffee break.

Choose honestly and choose just one to start with.

Step 2: List all the grievances

List all the grievances you have with whatever, wherever or whoever you’ve chosen. Everything that makes you mad, sad or upset and that you no longer want to endure.

By the way, the Founding Fathers of America had 27 on their list. So don’t hold back!

Step 3: Envision the future you want to have

What do you want to be true? Make this an energizing and attractive future. One that you’re prepared to go to battle for (metaphorically, of course).

This is your “why”, your purpose. The clearer you are on what it looks, feels and sounds like, the more it will act as a beacon that draws you toward it and helps you make the changes you need to make to make it true.

The clearer you are on what your purpose looks, feels and sounds like, the more it will act as a beacon that draws you toward it.
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Step 4: Identify the change you need to make

It could be how you frame the situation you’re in. Are you seeing it from the perspective of glass half empty or glass half-full? What’s a more energizing way to look at the situation you’re in?

It could be your habits. What do you do, think or say that could be getting in the way? To what extent could there be a chip on your shoulder that’s driving those thoughts and behaviors that are holding you back?

It could be the assumptions you’re making. Can you see things from the other person’s perspective and understand why there may be a disconnect?

It could also be the environment you’re in that needs to change. Sometimes it’s just time to move on, especially when you can honestly say you’ve tried everything but nothing has worked.

Step 5: Capture your thoughts in writing

Whether that’s a one-page handwritten manifesto like the Declaration of Independence from the founders of the United States, a set of bullet points saved in your smart phone or something in between.

Keep it where you can refer to it regularly so you can be reminded of your “why” and stay the course.

What’s your next move to freedom?

On this Independence Day weekend, what do you declare your independence from?

What would it take to liberate yourself by taking whatever action you can?

And what’s the next step you can take towards the future you want?

Leave me a comment below – I’d love to know.

The post How to Break Free From Challenges Holding You Back appeared first on May Busch.

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What goes through your mind when you face a big opportunity or challenge at work – the kind that sits squarely outside your comfort zone?

Like the prospect of taking on a big new assignment you’ve never attempted before, or speaking up in a big meeting, or negotiating for a raise in pay?

Back in the day, these were just a few of the many things outside my comfort zone. And for the longest time, I allowed my busy-ness to be an excuse not to do these things even though I knew they would make a positive difference to my career.

Maybe this happens to you too?

Why even achievers stay in their comfort zone

Achievers are not immune to the gravitational pull of the comfort zone. Some might say we’re especially prone since we’re used to success and feel like we have more to lose.

Often, it’s fear that keeps us from jumping in. The kind of fear that shows up as, “OMG, I can’t possibly do or say yes to that – I’m NOT READY!”

In my case, I found myself:

  • saying no to the chance to build a new business in the London office even though I knew I should say yes to new opportunities (and even ask for them like many of my male colleagues did!),
  • saying nothing in our daily meetings where I could have been showing my leadership to senior people, and
  • waiting for “the right time” to bring up the subject of compensation (it never seemed to be the “perfect” time).

If you’ve experienced any of these feelings, you’re not alone.

The difference between preparation and readiness

If you haven’t made the time or effort to prepare, and if you haven’t spent even a moment thinking about the challenge or opportunity, then fair enough. You deserve to feel you’re not ready, because you really aren’t ready. This would be a good time to go and do the work to prepare.

But as an achiever, it’s far more likely you’ve done the work to prepare yourself, yet still don’t feel ready.

Maybe you’ve done some research, thinking and even practice, but know there’s still more you could do. Perhaps you’ve gotten advice and input from mentors and supporters, but there’s still doubt in your mind.

You can do all the work to be prepared and still not feel ready.

And that leads you to hold back from taking action, which can be a real problem for your career.

The problem with giving in to “I’m not ready”

The first problem with holding back because you don’t feel ready is that it leads to disappointment and downfall. It may take a while but holding back will sink you if you let it.

After all, it’s typically the acts of omission – the things you don’t do or say – that keep you playing small, not the acts of commission.

When you allow yourself to linger in your comfort zone, still preparing but never acting, you’re likely to miss opportunities. While there’s always another train, it arrives on someone else’s schedule, not yours. So it may be a while before the next one comes.

It also can also lead to talking yourself out of even trying to get ahead.

When you allow yourself to linger in your comfort zone, still preparing but never acting, you miss opportunities.
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The second problem is that holding onto the “I’m not ready!” script can sabotage your performance. So even when you’re thrust into action (like your name being called when it’s time for your speech or your baby being born which makes you a parent, ready or not), it’s hard to fulfill your potential.

When your inner voice says negative things, it keeps you from bringing your best self to the moment. You’re working against yourself, and that keeps you from performing at your best.

Readiness is a state of mind

In Apple’s CEO Tim Cook’s commencement speech at Stanford University earlier this month, he talked about the difference between being prepared and being ready.

The quote that sticks in my mind is, “Your mentors may leave you prepared, but they can’t leave you ready.”

In particular, he talked about the loneliness of taking on the mantle of CEO after his mentor Steve Jobs was gone. And even though they had worked for a long time to prepare for that moment, Tim Cook still felt he was not ready. Yet, he had to move forward and do his best.

The same holds true for you.

When you’ve done the preparation, readiness is a state of mind. You have to allow yourself to admit you’re ready!

To help you move forward and act and feel ready, here are five strategies I’ve found useful.

1. Do the preparation but set a deadline

Work (or preparation) truly does expand to fill the time. So give yourself a finite amount of time to get prepared and do everything you can in the time available.

2. Focus on what you know

There will always be more things you don’t know than what you do know. Focusing on the former will make you feel less confident. Instead, focus on what you do know and draw strength from it.

3. Use the 5-minute rule

Before it’s “show time”, take 5 minutes to summarize and synthesize your knowledge or message into three main points. Organizing your thoughts will give you further confidence that you can tap into the things you do know and the preparation you have done.

4. Give yourself permission to feel ready

When it’s time to step up, let go of the unhelpful “I’m not ready!” thought and replace it with “Yes, I’m ready.” Give yourself permission to go forward with the best possible mental framing.

5. Trust yourself

Few things in life go exactly as planned, and you’ll most likely need to improvise. That’s when trusting yourself so you can be present and “in the moment” will win the day. It’s time to let go of doubting your readiness and just breathe and trust yourself instead.

Let go of doubting your readiness and just breathe and trust yourself instead.
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Step up into your next level of growth and learning

When it’s your time – when that opportunity or challenge comes up – step up to your next level of learning and growth. Make the leap into the unknown. You’ll have more of a safety net than you think you do, especially if you’ve built the relationships with people around you ahead of time.

“When your time comes, and it will, you’ll never be ready. But you’re not supposed to be. Find the hope in the unexpected, find the courage in the challenge, find your vision on the solitary road.”

– Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

Act as if you’re ready. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. Call on your network, rely on your team, and lean on your supporters. Above all, take action.

As for how I ended up in London, fortunately, my managers wouldn’t take “no, I’m not ready” for an answer. I ended up having a golden opportunity that put me in a better position career-wise, and it was better for my family too.

So, how about you?

What do you need to give yourself permission to say, “Yes, I’m ready”, to?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

The post How to Be Ready for Your Next Challenge appeared first on May Busch.

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3 Often Overlooked Essentials for Landing a Job Promotion - YouTube

They say the average worker will hold 10 different jobs in a career before age forty. If that’s the case, many of them will hopefully come from promotions, whether that’s within your current organization or beyond.

With promotions being a key part of your career progression, the question is:

What are the “must do’s” or “must haves” to improve your promotion prospects and set yourself up for success?

If your list includes any of these “likely suspects”, you wouldn’t be wrong:

  • Delivering results
  • Having support from your managers
  • Managing your stakeholders well
  • Being seen as a leader
  • Having a sponsor and mentors
  • Being considered “high potential”
  • Having a high profile
  • Demonstrating your loyalty (or demonstrating you have a competing offer!)

In fact, you’d be in good company. These are all things I’ve heard from promotion candidates and the people who advise them.

But there are also a few answers I don’t hear nearly as much, even though they’re essential to getting to the next promotion level. In my experience, you’ll struggle to get promoted without having these as your foundation… no matter how great you are at your job.

I call these the “often overlooked” essentials of getting promoted, and I want to share three of them with you so you can be better prepared.

3 Often Overlooked Essentials for Landing a Job Promotion 1. Adopting the Right Mindset for Promotion

Your mindset – the way you frame a situation and the lens through which you look at the world – affects your behavior and performance. And your mindset is always in your control.

If you think you can’t attain something, you’re unlikely to take action and the result will be just as you predicted. On the flip side, if you see something as an interesting challenge or a learning opportunity, you’re likely to dive in and give it your best effort.

This is why it’s so important to adopt the right mindset about your promotion.

In my career, I’ve experienced both extremes. Sometimes feeling like “I don’t deserve it, I’m not good enough,” and other times having a sense of entitlement, as in “It’s my turn. I’ve been waiting a long time and they owe it to me.” Both mindsets present a problem because they lead to not taking constructive action, or any action at all.

Instead, it’s essential to have a mindset that brings you confidence and encourages you to take all the steps you can think of to land your next promotion. Adopting the right mindset is key to how you present yourself and your level of confidence.

Adopting the right mindset is key to how you present yourself and your level of confidence.
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When you frame your promotion in a constructive way, it’ll be easier to let go of the outcome, enjoy your work and be at your best. All of which are helpful to your promotion prospects.

What’s your mindset about promotion, and what might be a more energizing mindset to adopt?

2. Having the Conversations About Promotion

I used to think that if I kept my head down, worked hard and did excellent work, then I would get promoted. If only that were true. While that might work for your first promotion or two, it’s not a strategy you can rely on for the medium or longer term.

Yet so many people make the mistake of thinking that doing the job is the priority, and miss the key concept that promoting yourself and speaking up for your future success path is also part of the job. This is especially common for women. And I was one of those people too. 

I still remember toiling away at my desk when the other three people at my level (all men) were in the big boss’s office making it known that they wanted the promotion. They were having what turned out to be crucial conversations while I dismissed the activity as pathetic “sucking up” or blatant lobbying that couldn’t possibly work.

Wrong again.

What I learned is this: it’s a mistake to keep your ambitions and aspirations a secret.

Managers are not mind readers. You must have the conversations to let them know what you want and why it matters to you. Most managers even expect you to tell them. And for some, it’s the way they gauge your level of interest in promotion.

For a manager, it can even feel risky to pound the table for someone who seems indifferent about rising in the organization.

When you have an eye on a job promotion, it’s a mistake to keep your ambitions and aspirations a secret. Managers are not mind readers.
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Are you having the right conversations with the right people at the right times? Who do you need to speak to and when? What will you say and how will you say it?

These are crucial to get right if you want to get the promotion you want and deserve.

3. Having a Plan for Promotion

One of my favorite quotes is “Chance favors the prepared mind” (Louis Pasteur). When it comes to your promotion, this means investing the time to think strategically about your promotion and career.

The busier you are and the more important the promotion is, the more you need to identify the steps you want to take. It will help you greatly to understand what you need to do, when you need to do it, and why it matters.

When you have a plan, you’re able to prepare the ground with confidence and maximize your chances. You’ll know how to take advantage of unexpected situations and turn them into opportunities. You’ll be ready to have the right conversations in the right way.

Without a game plan for your promotion, it’s hard to know whether you’re on the right track and whether you’ve done everything you can do. And that can lead to regrets later, especially if things don’t go your way.

Your promotion plan doesn’t have to be elaborate. You just need to have one.

Your plan for a job promotion doesn’t have to be elaborate. You just need to have one.
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What’s your game plan for putting yourself in the best possible position to get a promotion? How will you hold yourself accountable for executing on it and taking the steps you know you need to take?

Give Yourself the Best Chance to Succeed

I remember the time when a colleague was told he was “on the list” for promotion to partner, but when the announcement came out the next morning his name wasn’t there. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a typo.

There’s no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to promotions. So if promotions feel challenging and uncertain, it’s because they are.

But when you get in the right mindset, have the right conversations and have a plan, you’ll greatly improve your chances of getting the promotion you want.

Investing time and energy in these three aspects now will put you in a far stronger position later… and it will put your mind at ease to know you’ve done all you can in the process.

Which of these three often overlooked aspects do you struggle with, and which can most help you land your next promotion if you focus on it now?

Leave a comment and let me know.

The post 3 Often Overlooked Essentials for Landing a Job Promotion appeared first on May Busch.

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5 Simple Steps to Advance Your Career When on Vacation - YouTube

Do any of these sound like you?

  • “I’m too busy to focus on the longer term.”
  • “I feel like I can’t take time off the day to day activities to plan for strategic long-term goals.”
  • “It’s tough to put in the time to think about my career strategy instead of focusing on the now.”
  • “I struggle with making my development a priority. It’s a challenge just to schedule time for it, and even when I do, I end up finding something else to fill the time that seems more important.”

When you put off thinking about your career and life, you encourage anxiety to build up. The issues are still lurking in the background, making it hard to truly relax. And that defeats the whole point of vacations!

Vacation is a great time to switch off from the day-to-day pressures of work, endless list of tasks, and the constant bombardment of calls, emails and social media notifications.

It’s also a great time to switch on to thinking about what you really want in your career and life. Like getting your next promotion or figuring out what the best next step might be on your career journey.

That’s because unlike the daily grind of your job, which you may well want to take a break from, your career is a strategic and future oriented topic that has a huge impact on the life you and your family lead. So, it’s worth some quality time when you have time to think about it.

This summer vacation, do it the smart way. Here are five steps for using your vacation time wisely.

5 Simple Steps to Advance Your Career When on Vacation 1. Set aside time to reflect and think

Being away from the hustle and bustle of daily life is an ideal time to think bigger, more expansive thoughts. You have the luxury of allowing your mind to escape from the tyranny of your “to do’s” and tap into the strategic thinking part of your brain.

Think about what matters most to you in your career long term, what you envision for your future and what needs to be true in order for you to get it.

Think about what you want to set in motion when you return to work and identify what help you need and who you could get it from.

Being away from it all allows you the time and space to be more creative in your thinking. And if you get called away by family duties, roll with the flow – you’ll have primed your brain to do more thinking and reflecting while you’re playing with the kids or having dinner with your partner.

If you’re an early bird and do your best thinking alone in calm environments, then you might like to get up an extra hour early to dedicate time for your thinking.

Or you can combine it with an outdoor activity or with some exercise. Being out in nature or doing something repetitive on autopilot (like swimming laps or jogging) are ideal for freeing your brain to do bigger aspirational thinking and reflecting.

You could even incorporate your loved ones or friends into your thinking time. Sometimes, it helps to bounce your ideas around with people who know and love you, and it can also bring you closer to each other by sharing in the creation of your future.

Teaming up with someone can also keep you from ignoring the time you set aside for thinking and ensure you actually follow through!

2. Think on paper

Even if you’re the most pro-technology person or trying to go “paperless” like I am, it can be valuable to write by hand.

Different parts of your brain get involved when you write instead of type. And this more holistic engagement brings greater rewards such as creativity and innovative thinking.

The other great thing about thinking on paper is that goals you put in writing will tend to stay in your mind and cause your brain to work toward that goal even when you’re not consciously thinking about it. Your brain keeps working behind the scenes on the goals you commit to paper, which makes it more likely you’ll achieve them.

You don’t have to come to a concrete set of answers right away – this isn’t a math problem with a single correct answer.

Thinking on paper is about letting your mind wander wherever it wants to take you. Point it in the direction of possibilities and options, not solutions or decisions. Which brings us to the next point.

3. Open your mind to your aspirations

Aspirations are your picture of success. How you envision the future for your career and life.

Aspiring and envisioning help you think about the kinds of skills and accomplishments you’ll need to succeed at the next level. They also help you get in touch with the “why” behind your career goals and aspirations so you’re not just defaulting to the next logical step on the escalator.

What would your 90-year-old self be proud to say about your life and career? What do you value? What would need to be true for you to be happy with the way you live your life?

If being at work and doing your job is like driving through crowded intersections and merging onto highways, then taking time to think and strategize on vacation is like getting up in a helicopter and seeing the overall landscape, recognizing where you want to go and identifying the best way to get there.

But while giving yourself the breathing room to look at where you really want to head, avoid the temptation to come to conclusions just yet. When it comes to future goals and aspirations, it often helps to live with them for a bit and let them sink in.

4. Home in on your next 2-3 actions

Once you’ve had some time to think, reflect and get inspired about your future aspirations, it’s time to identify the next practical steps to achieve them.

One of my mentors told me that to achieve your goals, “You just need to know your big goal and the very next steps. You don’t need to map out the entire plan.”

“You just need to know your big goal and the very next steps. You don’t need to map out the entire plan.”
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I loved that. It was freeing for me because it took all the pressure off of having a perfect plan to execute. These days, the world changes so quickly that if you laid out all the steps of a 5-year plan, it would soon become outdated and useless.

Going back to the driving analogy, all you need is the destination (that is, your promotion or other aspirations) and the next few turns. You can always rely on your internal GPS to make those inevitable mid-course corrections.

What are the next few steps that will most move the needle when it comes to setting yourself up for your next career steps?

5. Set up an easy win for your return

When you step back into the office, your day-to-day work is going to take over once again. So you need to be prepared if you want to use the valuable insights you gained from thinking strategically about your longer-term career.

Take a moment to put those key actions into your calendar. Embed them into your processes at work so they’ll definitely happen.

Maybe it’s sending an email to your assistant to set up a meeting with your boss to have that important conversation you’ve been avoiding. Or reaching out to a former mentor who you’ve been meaning to get in touch with. Or booking that course or signing up to get that additional credential to set yourself up for the next level.

Then, you can enjoy the rest of your vacation knowing you’ve already set yourself up for a win when you return.

Use Your Vacation Wisely

Resist the urge to turn off your brain entirely while you’re on vacation. Speaking from experience, that’s a major cause for re-entry trauma.

Instead, put the email away for a day and trust that this thinking time and strategic planning will pay off if you do it now. This is your opportunity away from the day-to-day hustle and bustle of work to create and set in motion the next exciting phase of your career and life.

Keep feeding your brain with thoughts that nurture your future and honor what matters most in your life, including your relationships and your work mission.

Your vacation is a golden time. Use it wisely to get clear on your career aspirations and plans and how to set things up so you can start the ball rolling when you get back to work.

How will you use your next vacation to put yourself in the best possible position to reach your career aspirations?

Leave a comment and let me know.

The post 5 Simple Steps to Advance Your Career When on Vacation appeared first on May Busch.

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5 Things to Do Mid-Year to Achieve Your Goals - YouTube

I love the month of June. Here in England, it’s when strawberries are in season, there’s Wimbledon tennis to look forward to (it starts July 1st this year!) and it stays light until almost 10pm. And there are summer holidays (the British word for vacation) to look forward to.

June also marks the middle of the year, which can be an unsettling time. Especially when you’re an achiever.

For some, the rest of the year can’t come quickly enough so we can see the fruits of our efforts. For others, midyear can feel like the middle of a long slog without an end in sight.

But as an achiever, you’re geared toward accomplishing goals and achieving success. And there are still 6 months left to accomplish what you set out to do in January.

The good news is this: whatever has (or hasn’t) happened so far, you can still finish the year strong. The great thing about the middle of the year is that there’s still time to achieve your goals for the year!

5 Ways to Set Yourself Up for a Great Second Half of the Year 1. Celebrate your wins

Start by taking a moment to reflect on and celebrate your “wins” so far.

It’s natural to think of all your shortcomings – like the things you’ve procrastinated on or otherwise haven’t yet done, and the things you have done that haven’t gone as well as you’d like. But that won’t serve you well.

Taking a moment to celebrate your accomplishments so far this year – no matter if they’re big or small – is essential to having a great rest of the year.
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Accomplishing great things is done by breaking them into smaller chunks and congratulating yourself and your team on the mini-wins along the way. This helps you set yourself up to have a winning mindset – by constantly having wins to celebrate!

2. Appreciate the people in your life

As you look back, think about all the people who have helped you along the way. These are people who have stood by you, given you support or advice, and advocated for you. They’re also people who have done the work that needed doing whether at work or at home.

Be generous in acknowledging the people around you for their contributions. And above all, let them know you appreciate them and share why you do. Being specific makes it more real for both of you whereas a general “thank you” can seem less genuine.

While expressing genuine appreciation is free, the benefits to both the “thanker” and the “thanked” are priceless.
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People matter. Relationships matter. When you’re good to people, it’ll come around.

3. Identify your second-half wins

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, think about ways to approach it with positivity. A great way to do that is to identify the three “wins” you want to have in the second half of the year.

It’s another take on the idea of visualizing your success, which is part of the success formula for high performance athletes. Let’s apply it to your work and career as well!

When you’re identifying these wins, fast-forward to December when you’re looking back on the year and tap into what would make you feel great if you had done those things.

And while I’ve suggested choosing three, the number is up to you. The key is to choose the ones that will be meaningful to you without having so many that it becomes unattainable.

Maybe these future wins you identify relate to building relationships (which ties into the Appreciation step). Or they could be specific projects you want to get off the ground. Perhaps it’s setting yourself up for promotion to the next level. Or developing an exercise habit.

There are no universally “right” answers, it’s just what will make a difference for you.

4. Create the conditions for your success

Having identified your future wins, it’s then about creating the conditions for your success. This means doing the planning and preparation now to make it easy for you to execute later.

Think of cooking shows where the chef has all the ingredients prepped and ready to go – the onions are already chopped and in a bowl, all the seasonings are in a small dish, the salmon filets are cleaned and ready to go. That means they can cook for the audience while looking professional and free of stress.

So go ahead and create the conditions that pave the way for your success.

Maybe it’s simply cleaning up your workspace (think “Marie Kondo-ing” your desk or office). Or reconnecting with people you haven’t contacted in a while, but who could be instrumental in your next steps and vice versa. Or it could be signing up for some training or arranging for coaching or mentoring that will help you hit the ground running for your next phase.

Do whatever it takes to set yourself up for your future wins.

5. Show up as your best self

The final piece of having a great second half is about you. Yes, you – that unique and extraordinary person who is about to have an awesome second half of the year!

Think about how you want to show up in the world. Think about who you are when you’re at your best. Really tap into that best version of your self. What are you doing and saying? What environment brings that out? Who are you with (and who are you not with)?

Get in touch with what it would it take to be your best self more of the time. Then make two lists.

The first list is what you want to do or say MORE of.

Maybe it’s celebrating small wins and appreciating the people around you (both things I forget to do and am working on!). Perhaps it’s encouraging your fellow team members by saying “yes, and…” instead of “no, but…”. It could also be creating a habit of drinking more water every day or speaking up in meetings.

The second list is what you want to do or say LESS of.

Maybe it’s finally getting rid of those “ums” and “likes” that are making you sound less professional than you really are. Or judging and blaming yourself as well as others, which makes for an unpleasant experience for everyone involved. And perhaps it’s to stop making assumptions or jumping to conclusions without checking the facts.

These are your lists and you get to choose what goes on them and how many items there are. Again, as with your future wins, resist the urge to make too long a list. Remember, you’re setting yourself up for success, not disappointment.

The Challenge for Achievers

One of my favorite quotes is, “Everything looks like a failure in the middle”, from Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

“Kanter’s Law”, as she calls it, is essential to keep in mind if you’re taking on new challenges and working on projects that take a while to come to fruition. That’s because there will be long stretches of time when you’re like the chef still assembling ingredients and the kitchen looks like a mess.

The middle of the year can feel that way too, with some projects still in the formative stages while others are like souffles in the oven still waiting to rise.

If you’re an achiever who likes to create, build and grow initiatives (or people), whether at home or at work, you’re going to face these challenges too. And when you do, you can turn to these five steps.

Set Yourself Up for Success

No matter how the first half of your year has gone, you owe it to yourself to set yourself up for success and finish the year strong.

How will you set yourself up for an awesome second half of the year, and which of these five steps will most move the needle for you?

Leave me a comment – I’d love to hear from you!

The post 5 Things to Do Mid-Year to Achieve Your Goals appeared first on May Busch.

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How to Get More Done When You Have Fewer Resources - YouTube

Imagine this scenario: “Congratulations – you’ve been promoted, and the organization is entrusting you with greater responsibilities!”

But before you can even start thinking about celebrating your promotion, you discover two team members have left the organization. On top of that, there’s a headcount freeze so they can’t be replaced.

What’s more, the regulatory environment means you’ll have to spend most of your time managing compliance and reporting rather than growing the business.

It seems you’ll have to re-prioritize an already prioritized (and urgent) list. Frankly, there’s no way you’ll get it all done.

So how do you overcome these challenges especially when you’re still an individual contributor or not yet senior enough to change the rules?

Doing More with Less

If you’re facing this situation and reaching a breaking point, here are three things you can do. These have helped me through times when we lacked the resources to get everything done.

1. Assess What’s in Your Control

Check your own thinking and understanding of the situation. Start by looking at what’s in your control. What are the things you can decide or change without having to get anyone’s permission?

When you’re in a tough situation, start by looking at what’s in your control. What are the things you can decide or change without having to get anyone’s permission?
Click To Tweet

Your brain is hardwired to jump to conclusions and take shortcuts, which is a good thing. Otherwise, you’d have a hard time getting anything done if you had to give due consideration on every single step you take.

But the side effect is that you can sometimes make inaccurate assumptions and fall back on existing habits.

Here are some questions to help you do your own assessment of the tasks and deliverables you’re responsible for.

Purpose:

  • What needs to get done, why is it needed, who is asking, and what is the intention behind the request?
  • What do you need to clarify and with whom?
  • Is there a simpler way to fulfill the intention than the specific task you’ve been assigned?

Standards:

  • To what standard does it need to get done? Where can you allow yourself to do “B+ work”?
  • To what extent are perfectionist tendencies driving your thinking?

Assumptions:

  • What assumptions are you making about the assignment or task and what’s required?
  • What if you were wrong in your assumptions (for example, you may assume you have to perform the task yourself when that isn’t the case)? And what would that mean for the way you approach your “to do” list?
  • How could you find out whether your assumptions are valid? Who would you ask and what would you want to know?

Assessment:

  • What could you stop doing or pause for the time being to make room for the essential assignments or tasks?

Your answers may bring insights to help you find a way forward. But whether or not that’s the case, it’s also useful to reach out to others.

2. Learn From and Enlist Others

Once you’ve considered everything in your control, zoom out and look at your wider sphere of influence. What are the things you can influence by reaching out to others, whether they’re peers, seniors or external parties like clients or service providers?

Who does this well?

  • If there are people who handle this type of situation well, can you speak to them to learn their methods and strategies?

Who’s in the same situation?

  • If you have colleagues (whether internal or external) who are facing the same issues, can you get together to share ideas on how you handle these situations?
  • Could you join forces to reimagine how the work can get done?

Who’s in the “supply chain”?

  • Many tasks are part of a bigger effort where your task depends on the input of other groups and vice versa. When that’s the case, how could you get other teams in the supply chain to pitch in on their parts to make it easier to complete the overall task?
  • By the way, connecting with others is also a great way to get to know people in other parts of the organization or even the broader ecosystem beyond your company. And convening others for the benefit of the organization is a great way to show leadership.
3. Talk to Your Manager(s)

Managers are often unaware of what it really takes to get things done and it’s up to you to let them know. When you do, it’s important to frame the conversation in a constructive way so they are most likely to embrace your viewpoint and suggestions and see you as a responsible leader rather than a complainer.

Managers are often unaware of what it really takes to get things done and it’s up to you to let them know.
Click To Tweet

For example, doing the precise thing they’re asking might take a huge effort while a variation on the task would take a fraction of the time to complete.

In those cases, you could check before you embark on the huge effort by saying something like, “I see what we’re getting at. I wonder if doing variation X would be sufficient because doing Y would take several days and affect the timeline on Project Z.”

When you’re having these conversations, it’s all about the how. Here are a few questions to consider as you prepare for the conversation.

Goal:

  • What are you seeking to accomplish through the conversation?
  • What would success look like?
  • To what extent are you asking for something your boss can sign off on, or will they need to raise it with others?

Timing:

  • When would be the best time to raise the topic?
  • When is your manager at their best?
  • When are you at your best?
  • Can you speak to your manager before you embark on the task?

Understanding their perspective:

  • Before you have the conversation, it’s essential to understand your manager’s perspective. What pressures are they under? What’s the intention behind their request?

Approach/Content:

  • What would be the most effective way to get their attention and have your communication “land” well with your manager?
  • Is this something they’re grappling with too?
  • Is this likely to be the first in a series of conversations or will one conversation be enough?
  • One way is to frame the conversation as an update on what’s on your plate and getting their input on how you plan to take the next steps.

If you’re reluctant to say anything, keep in mind you could be putting yourself in a worse position by staying silent if your manager thinks it’s an easy task but you end up spending a lot of time on it and looking inefficient.

Invest in Relationships

In a world where you’re likely to be asked to do more with less, it’s worth investing time to develop strong working relationships with your manager, colleagues and people in the broader ecosystem.

It’s the best way to ensure you can have these kinds of conversations when needed. It’s also a way to get support from others if there’s really no way around having to get it all done without new resources.

Now would be a good time to start building your relationships… especially if you don’t need to make an ask just yet!

How do you handle situations where you’re asked to do more with less?

Leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you.

The post How to Get More Done When You Have Fewer Resources appeared first on May Busch.

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How to Get More Done When You Have Less Resources - YouTube

Imagine this scenario: “Congratulations – you’ve been promoted, and the organization is entrusting you with greater responsibilities!”

But before you can even start thinking about celebrating your promotion, you discover two team members have left the organization. On top of that, there’s a headcount freeze so they can’t be replaced.

What’s more, the regulatory environment means you’ll have to spend most of your time managing compliance and reporting rather than growing the business.

It seems you’ll have to re-prioritize an already prioritized (and urgent) list. Frankly, there’s no way you’ll get it all done.

So how do you overcome these challenges especially when you’re still an individual contributor or not yet senior enough to change the rules?

Doing More with Less

If you’re facing this situation and reaching a breaking point, here are three things you can do. These have helped me through times when we lacked the resources to get everything done.

1. Assess What’s in Your Control

Check your own thinking and understanding of the situation. Start by looking at what’s in your control. What are the things you can decide or change without having to get anyone’s permission?

When you’re in a tough situation, start by looking at what’s in your control. What are the things you can decide or change without having to get anyone’s permission?
Click To Tweet

Your brain is hardwired to jump to conclusions and take shortcuts, which is a good thing. Otherwise, you’d have a hard time getting anything done if you had to give due consideration on every single step you take.

But the side effect is that you can sometimes make inaccurate assumptions and fall back on existing habits.

Here are some questions to help you do your own assessment of the tasks and deliverables you’re responsible for.

Purpose:

  • What needs to get done, why is it needed, who is asking, and what is the intention behind the request?
  • What do you need to clarify and with whom?
  • Is there a simpler way to fulfill the intention than the specific task you’ve been assigned?

Standards:

  • To what standard does it need to get done? Where can you allow yourself to do “B+ work”?
  • To what extent are perfectionist tendencies driving your thinking?

Assumptions:

  • What assumptions are you making about the assignment or task and what’s required?
  • What if you were wrong in your assumptions (for example, you may assume you have to perform the task yourself when that isn’t the case)? And what would that mean for the way you approach your “to do” list?
  • How could you find out whether your assumptions are valid? Who would you ask and what would you want to know?

Assessment:

  • What could you stop doing or pause for the time being to make room for the essential assignments or tasks?

Your answers may bring insights to help you find a way forward. But whether or not that’s the case, it’s also useful to reach out to others.

2. Learn From and Enlist Others

Once you’ve considered everything in your control, zoom out and look at your wider sphere of influence. What are the things you can influence by reaching out to others, whether they’re peers, seniors or external parties like clients or service providers?

Who does this well?

  • If there are people who handle this type of situation well, can you speak to them to learn their methods and strategies?

Who’s in the same situation?

  • If you have colleagues (whether internal or external) who are facing the same issues, can you get together to share ideas on how you handle these situations?
  • Could you join forces to reimagine how the work can get done?

Who’s in the “supply chain”?

  • Many tasks are part of a bigger effort where your task depends on the input of other groups and vice versa. When that’s the case, how could you get other teams in the supply chain to pitch in on their parts to make it easier to complete the overall task?
  • By the way, connecting with others is also a great way to get to know people in other parts of the organization or even the broader ecosystem beyond your company. And convening others for the benefit of the organization is a great way to show leadership.
3. Talk to Your Manager(s)

Managers are often unaware of what it really takes to get things done and it’s up to you to let them know. When you do, it’s important to frame the conversation in a constructive way so they are most likely to embrace your viewpoint and suggestions and see you as a responsible leader rather than a complainer.

Managers are often unaware of what it really takes to get things done and it’s up to you to let them know.
Click To Tweet

For example, doing the precise thing they’re asking might take a huge effort while a variation on the task would take a fraction of the time to complete.

In those cases, you could check before you embark on the huge effort by saying something like, “I see what we’re getting at. I wonder if doing variation X would be sufficient because doing Y would take several days and affect the timeline on Project Z.”

When you’re having these conversations, it’s all about the how. Here are a few questions to consider as you prepare for the conversation.

Goal:

  • What are you seeking to accomplish through the conversation?
  • What would success look like?
  • To what extent are you asking for something your boss can sign off on, or will they need to raise it with others?

Timing:

  • When would be the best time to raise the topic?
  • When is your manager at their best?
  • When are you at your best?
  • Can you speak to your manager before you embark on the task?

Understanding their perspective:

  • Before you have the conversation, it’s essential to understand your manager’s perspective. What pressures are they under? What’s the intention behind their request?

Approach/Content:

  • What would be the most effective way to get their attention and have your communication “land” well with your manager?
  • Is this something they’re grappling with too?
  • Is this likely to be the first in a series of conversations or will one conversation be enough?
  • One way is to frame the conversation as an update on what’s on your plate and getting their input on how you plan to take the next steps.

If you’re reluctant to say anything, keep in mind you could be putting yourself in a worse position by staying silent if your manager thinks it’s an easy task but you end up spending a lot of time on it and looking inefficient.

Invest in Relationships

In a world where you’re likely to be asked to do more with less, it’s worth investing time to develop strong working relationships with your manager, colleagues and people in the broader ecosystem.

It’s the best way to ensure you can have these kinds of conversations when needed. It’s also a way to get support from others if there’s really no way around having to get it all done without new resources.

Now would be a good time to start building your relationships… especially if you don’t need to make an ask just yet!

How do you handle situations where you’re asked to do more with less?

Leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you.

The post How to Get More Done When You Have Less Resources appeared first on May Busch.

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It’s my birthday today (yes, I was named after the month I was born in!) and I have a lot to look forward to. There’s competing in The CrossFit Murph Challenge on Memorial Day, my trip to Peru with my eldest daughter this fall, and my team and I have some cool plans for the business (stay tuned!).

While I tend to focus on the future, my team challenged me to reflect on my past, just for today, by asking me: what advice would I give my younger self?

Advice to my younger self

If I could go back in time to advise “young May” when I was starting out in my career, I would tell my younger self these four things. See if they help you too.

Focus on your super strengths

“Young May, get in touch with your super strengths and focus on using them. Just because you like challenge doesn’t mean you have to make things hard. And don’t equate effort with achievement.”

Your super strengths are the things you do well and love doing. They’re the things you do that come naturally to you. And when you’re using those strengths, you feel like you’re “in the zone” or “in flow”.

Things feel “simple, easy and fun” when you’re using your super strengths – they’re effortless and easeful.

My super strengths have revolved around communicating with and influencing people. One boss put it this way: “May, you can say just about anything to anyone and get away with it”. And I’ve described it as being able to “bring together disparate groups to collaborate toward a common goal.”

What are your super strengths and how are you using them?

Value people over tasks

As an achiever, I like getting things done. In fact, I like accomplishing tasks so much that I used to resent family members, friends and even my own team for interrupting me when I was in the thick of a project. The project could be as inconsequential as finishing an email or writing an equation in a spreadsheet.

As you can imagine, this didn’t make me a model daughter, mother, wife or boss.

I also used to think networking was a waste of time, or at least not as important as getting my work done. But the reality is our network of relationships are a key part of our success. It’s people who put us in touch with new opportunities, innovative ideas and enriching experiences, and not tasks.

Relationships are a key part of success. It’s people who put us in touch with new opportunities, innovative ideas and enriching experiences.
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I ended up depending too much on my narrow network and missed opportunities to build my external reputation, raise my profile and broaden my career options.

Since starting to value people over tasks, all my relationships have improved and my network is so much richer.

Where do you stand on the “people vs task” spectrum?

Don’t worry about finding your passion

I never knew what my passion was, or at least not how it related to my job or career. That’s why I’ve never liked the typical career advice of “follow your passion”. When you don’t know what yours is, that kind of well-meaning statement can cause a lot of stress!

I would have been much better off relaxing about it as I experimented with many different roles and activities.

Instead of going around in circles trying to find my passion, what ended up working for me was to put myself out there and allow my passion to find me. Because finding your passion is a discovery process and not about thinking yourself into knowing.

The more you experiment, the closer you’ll get to where you’re meant to be.

Finding your passion is a discovery process and not about thinking yourself into knowing.
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What I’m doing now is exactly what I was meant to do all along. And the path I took has been excellent preparation for what I’m doing now.

Have you already found your passion? Or are you still on your way to discovering it?

Don’t give away your power

As a “nice Chinese girl”, I deferred to authority figures and just about anyone else who had an opinion. I assumed everyone else had more knowledge and expertise than me. I valued harmony so much that I kept quiet even when I disagreed. Those with louder voices intimidated me.

On top of that, I used apology language and said “sorry!” even when others bumped into me! (Just last week someone called me out on saying “sorry” unnecessarily, so I’m still working on it.)

As a result, I gave away my personal power and made myself small and inconsequential without even realizing it.

Whether it’s a lack of confidence, not wanting to offend, or something else, you close yourself off to opportunity when you give away your power. And that means it’s harder to make a difference for the people and causes you care about.

The good news is you can reclaim your personal power at any time. For me, it began with a shift in my mindset. If you need to reclaim your personal power too, now would be a good time to start making the shift.

Have you given away your personal power? If so, what step could you take to get it back?

What advice would you give your younger self?

Whatever stage you are in your life, you’ve learned a great deal simply by living every day. And if you’ve made mistakes, you’ve learned even more of those valuable lessons!

So pause and reflect on the most important lessons you’ve learned. Especially ones that remain useful to remember, embrace and act on right now.

Maybe they’re about relationships. Perhaps they’re about your career. Or they might be simply about how you want to show up in the world.

Whatever those life lessons are, they have value. And they might just help someone else too if you’re willing to share them.

So how about you?

What advice would you give your younger self?

Leave a comment – I’d love to know.

The post Advice I’d Give My Younger Self appeared first on May Busch.

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