Ah, Hindsight

rrtrack_headerA career is an interesting journey. I once thought that the path was set in college with the choice of major and target job post-graduation. Boy, was I ever wrong.

Lately, I have been struck by just how much I have learned from all the jobs and roles I have had. I conclude that risk-taking and eagerness, coupled with a little bravado, got me through the early years. Now, I work off the richness of my experiences.

It’s important for professionals at every stage of their career to reflect on where they are and what they have learned. That’s why I think the March 27 roundtable, “What I Wish I Had Known…” sponsored by PRSA-NCC is so smart.

I wish I had known:

  • Being inclusive always beats handling things alone to “get it done.” Hands down.
  • Creating opportunities for authentic feedback from all directions is critical. Get it from the people you work with all the time, the people you work with rarely, your staff, your boss, your customers, your family. By asking you get the opportunity to learn and move forward smartly.
  • People are complex. Don’t think that you ever know enough about someone to read into their responses; you don’t. You need to ask questions and listen if you want to connect and understand.
  • A quiet or non-response does not mean the person has no thoughts or nothing to say. it means you aren’t asking the right question and/or setting up the right environment to invite input.
  • Absent of the right environment for honest communication, the “real” discussions will occur as side conversations instead of directly addressing  questions and issues. (Also known as: the reason why the rumor mill and informal communication networks will never go away.)
  • It’s best to think of your work life and choices as a path, rather than a ladder. That image if each new role being a run on the same ladder just doesn’t hold up. it you are narrowly thinking that you need to find that next higher rung your missing many opportunities.

Enough from me. What are your lessons from your career journey so far?

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