How to succeed in any job – ADAPT!

Are you starting a new job or new career path and lacking confidence in how to succeed?

Have you been in your role for some time but have grown tired of watching your co-workers overtake you on the corporate ladder of success?

Although you have experience and understanding of how to do your job well, you are overlooked by management for a promotions and/or new opportunities and you can’t work out why.

You work hard. You arrive on time. You smile at your boss even though half the time you want to push paperclips under his nails. So what is it you are doing wrong?

In the world of business, often just being able to do your daily task/s well is not enough to move you a few rungs higher on the corporate ladder.

What senior executives are looking for is not always the person who does the job with precision, but the person who is able to adapt and grow with change.

Here is an example. The company undergoes a restructure. Do you;

A. Notice a mild sense of excitement at the new opportunities to change and grow. You roll up your sleeves and ask “What can I do to help?” or
B. Call in sick. You smile to yourself thinking “They can’t fire me if they can’t find me”.

Two extreme examples granted but the point is you can see that one person acknowledges the change and goes on working to the best of their ability. The other allows their fear to overcome them (“OMG they are totally going to fire me!”) and runs for the hills.

Here is another example. Perhaps you work in a busy office where people are assigned specific tasks. One of your co-workers calls in sick. Do you…

A. Think “oh well, guess that part of our business won’t be moving much today” or
B. Realise you have worked alongside this person for a while and your work load for the day is light.  You offer to step in and fill the role for the day assuring your boss your own tasks won’t be jeopardized. You’re excited as this gives you an opportunity to try something new and grow your skill set while supporting a co-worker who is unwell.

If you were a manager and you had an opportunity to promote from within, which staff member are you going to choose?

I call it adapting. Like a chameleon, you change your appearance (or this case, approach) to blend to your surroundings (or opportunities).

As a child in my family we underwent drastic change frequently. My father was a state manager for a major business chain and each time a new store was launched, our entire family relocated to the new town so he could launch the new store. To my young eyes my parents never resisted the opportunities to relocate and launch yet another new store. They simply rolled up their sleeves, packed the house and set forth for the new town. Each town bought new opportunities. For me that was either a new school (new subjects, new teachers), new friends, new sporting teams to join. It was an exciting time. The few times I made an attempt to resist the change I experienced heartache and pain. It was much more enjoyable and more beneficial to my growth as a person if I decided to adapt to the change.

Adapting to change is now just part of who I am. This ability to adapt has resulted in me being offered senior or management level roles in almost every job I have held in my life and often within short time frames. Within 6 months in one role I went from a junior position in the company to running an entire department –a role previously engaged by someone who had been at the company over 5 years. In another role which was weekends only, after 9 months I was offered the store managers position in a full time position. Another example was going from design graduate straight out of University, hired as a cadet, to becoming the youngest senior project manager the company had ever employed. I did not stop there though. I went on to become the 2ic for the business and rather than managing my just own team, I now manage all the teams. The only person above me at present is the owner of the business.

Grabbing hold of opportunities.

Being proactive.

Adapting to change.

These traits are what Managers (myself included) look for in staff and this is what excites me when I see it displayed in a new person. I can see that person’s potential to grow and keep growing! They will undoubtedly rise to great heights and I do my part by creating opportunities for that growth to continue.

You may be reading this at work right now. Have a look around you. I bet you don’t have to look far to see an opportunity to extend your skills or lend a hand, or apply a change. It could be something simple like cleaning the kitchen because the person who usually does it is in a meeting. Or maybe your company is in the process of applying a new procedure you have been resisting. Set your alarm for 30mins and spend that time reading and testing the new procedure.  This small chunk of time will be greatly appreciated by those driving the change. You never know, they may even promote you to the champion of change!

“Adapt or die” from Brad Pitt’s character in the movie “Moneyball.”

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