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If You Have This Key Behavior, You’ll Be More Successful Than 90% Of People

If You Have This Key Behavior, You’ll Be More Successful Than 90% Of People

An important CEO decided to retire from his chocolate-making business empire that he had spent the past 40 years building. Gathering his two sons into the office, he announced that the younger son would take over with immediate effect.

The older son was so upset and didn’t understand why his younger brother would now be CEO of the family business. He questioned his father for hours asking why this was so.

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Speaking to the older son, the father said: “Go out and find me an idea for a new chocolate flavour. Go to our suppliers and find out what new flavours we can invest in.”

The older son went off and returned proudly saying: “They can potentially supply us with new flavours including raspberry, coconut, and pistachio!”

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Steve then asked the same of the younger brother who came back after a while saying: “They can definitely supply us with new flavours including raspberry, coconut, and pistachio. They said they would be willing to negotiate a cheaper deal with us if we invested more in the raspberry and coconut. They even said they were currently looking into new flavours which they will let us know about and negotiate a discount if we decide to bulk buy any new flavours they make.”

The father then turned to the older son and exclaimed: “That is why your younger brother is taking over the business.”

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The Key To Success Is Initiative

What the story above shows is that most people don’t think outside the box. How many times do we sit at work and do exactly what we’re told, never deviating from instructions? We very often fall into this trap of doing the bare minimum to get by, but does this allow us to achieve success?

The answer is NO. Feeling the need to be managed in all areas and being told what to do restricts us of having influence in anything. Successful people are the ones who know things aren’t black and white – that a+b doesn’t automatically equal c. They are the ones that think of more efficient ways of doing things and show their out-of-the-box thinking to the people around them.

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It’s all about being proactive rather than reactive. Being reactive can keep you stuck and stops you from moving forward – while this may be fine for some, if you want to get ahead and be more successful, being proactive will up the trajectory of this line propelling you to different heights. It’s about being active rather than passive and not letting things happen to you but rather creating your own path for opportunity.

How To Become A Proactive Initiator

If you find you’re stuck in a rut or you want to be more successful at work but you’re unsure of how to propel yourself forward, there are some habits you can adopt to not only help yourself, but ensure you’re being noticed by the people with influence on your career.

  1. Take ownership of your problems: Realise that no one is responsible for getting you where you want to be other than you. Adopt the mindset that it’s up to you to find the solutions to problems and own them. It’s all too easy to pass the blame or the responsibility onto someone else but thought process doesn’t lead to success.
  2. Focus on what you can control, not on what you can’tThe reason many of us get stuck is because we end up focusing on things we can’t control which leads to frustration and the tendency to give up. By focusing on what you can control and coming up with solution-focused ideas you are much more likely to find a successful resolution and lead by example in the process.
  3. Use SMART goals: This is a favourite when it comes to reaching your goals and dreams. And implementing the SMART guidelines (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) in your career will put you in good stead when it comes to achieving what you want.
  4. Be consistent: It’s not about being proactive once or twice – making sure there’s consistency with your being proactive is key to getting noticed and stops you from reverting back to being reactive. Always think of ways that things could be done better or find other work that may need doing or would be beneficial to your boss.

When it comes to being successful, whether it’s in your career or any area of your life, it’s all about having the ability to have initiative. Waiting around for something to happen or being told how or when to do something means we are never truly in control of our outcomes. So remember to be proactive and use your initiative because this allows you to do more than required and open yourself up to better habits and more opportunities.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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