Reinvent Your Job

Lately I’ve reading books filled with great advice that I wish I’d known 3 years ago. I suffer from the belief that you find what you need when you’re ready to hear it, in other words, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. This week the whack in the side of the head was from The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell, written by Oren Harari, who captured the following idea: Reinvent Your Job Before It’s Too Late.

Even Our Skillsets have a Sell-By Date

Every day that goes by, our skillset and ‘standard way of doing things’ are a little less valuable. Harari writes that we should treat our skillset and our job like fish with a sell by date, continually reinventing them, making “obsolete some or all of our accustomed activities, before someone else does.”

From that perspective, he writes that your focus in your reviews should be on…

  1. Not how well have your performed your job, but how much have you changed your job?
  2. Not just what new skills you’ve learned, but how have you applied them to improving things in the organization?
  3. What innovative steps have you taken to boost a key objective of the organization (customer service, sales, quality)?
  4. Which of last year’s responsibilities have you delegated, automated, or eliminated – and what new responsibilities have you snared?

Colin Powell believed that approaching your job with this attitude benefited people in two ways:

  1. Their egos wouldn’t be caught up in their current titles or job descriptions and
  2. They would be assured of growth, development and authority in their organizations.

I think a key corollary to this idea is that you have to let the right people know that you’ve done these things. The right people being the stakeholders in the project called your Career.

Good for Job Seekers as Well

After beating myself over the head with this new idea for a while, I realized that this bit of advice can be just as helpful to someone who is looking for a new role. Drafting a resume can be challenging. Turning the questions around could be a useful means of surfacing accomplishments and achievements for use in bullet-points.

Just change the tense:

  1. Not how well have your performed your job, but how much did you change your job?
  2. Not just what new skills did you learn, but how did you apply them to improving things in the organization?
  3. What innovative steps did you take to boost a key objective of the organization (customer service, sales, quality)?
  4. Which of last year’s responsibilities did you delegate, automate, or eliminate and what new responsibilities did you snare?

Some time this week, take the time to walk through each of these questions and let me know how it goes. Did they help you identify new opportunities to demonstrate your value to your organization? Did they help you revise your resume with fresh new accomplishments?

Good luck!

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