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Advance in Your Job in 5 Simple Steps

Advance in Your Job in 5 Simple Steps

While “work hard and do your best” is of course good advice for advancing in your job, those ideas can be a little abstract. Here are some specific suggestions for perspectives and practices that will help boost your performance and your position in order to get ahead at work.

1. Deliver More Than is Asked For

Your career is, in many ways, like the rest of life: go the extra mile, dig deeper, and it will pay off. Maybe not every time, maybe not as quickly as you’d like, and maybe not in ways you will recognize immediately, but eventually it will. Have faith in yourself that even if it seems like your boss or coworkers aren’t noticing your extra effort (or worse yet, are taking the credit for it), the investment you are making in yourself by delivering more than is asked for is a worthy one. More often than not, your extra effort will be recognized and you will be compensated for it in one way or another. Here’s a tip to help put that over-deliver mentality into action: think “Plus One.” There is always one extra step that can enhance every project or assignment. Think of the Plus One in every opportunity.

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2. Don’t be a Vocational Snob

When you get a certain procedure down and feel like a pro at it, challenge yourself to take your duties a step further and learn something more about the thing you seem to already know everything about. The world never stays the same…life never stays the same…there is always more to learn. Don’t write off the veterans in your industry. They are still around for a reason. Observe their good work habits and emulate them. Conversely, the older you get, the more people there will be who are younger than you who are as good as, if not better, than you at your work. Choose an attitude of growth vs. being intimidated and stay open to learning from anyone and everyone, including the newbies.

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3. Say Thanks…Creatively

Don’t save your gratitude for the fourth Thursday in November or “customer appreciation day.” If a client, colleague, vendor, coworker or your boss does something worthy of you saying thanks, do it. And, be smart about it: say thanks in the format that will stand out the most to them. One more email in their inbox might not be the way to go. Given the giant wave of digital communication every person in the professional world is surfing every single day, a good, old-fashioned, hand-written note might cement you in someone’s mind as a unique and extraordinary individual.

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4. Make Your Boss Look Good

Too many people are consumed with how to make themselves look good. Take a tip from the late Zig Ziglar: “You can get everything you want out of life if you help enough other people get what they want.” Apply that principle to how you work for your boss. What does she need? What stresses him out? What would make her life easier? What would make him look good? What information does she need for her boss? Remember that making your boss look good should not come at the expense of making others look bad. Nobody, including your boss, likes a suck-up. Be prepared, anticipate needs/problems, and aim to always put your boss in a positive light.

5.  Be Bold

Not obnoxious. Not pushy. Being bold means taking action to do the right thing, despite fear and discomfort. It isn’t about being obnoxious, slick, or manipulative. To be bold is to initiate strong, positive action at a time when others would give in and take the easy path. Be bold and watch your career advance!

Featured photo credit: How to Climb the Corporate Ladder Effectively via ehow.com

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

What to have for dinner tonight?

Which route to take to work?

How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

For example:

If the problem is “always late to work”…

  • Why am I late to work?
    I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
  • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
    I feel so tired in the morning.
  • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
    I slept late the night before, that’s why.
  • Why did I sleep late?
    I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
  • Why did I drink coffee?
    Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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3. Simplify Things

As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

5. Think Laterally

Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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