By Nancy Fredericks
Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.thrivewithnancy.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.
Today’s blog emerges from a lazy, rainy afternoon, sunk deep in my comfy chair, reading on a wide variety of topics.
The material was mushing together as it drifted into my unconscious, forming and shaping. Zap…Eureka!
“That might make an awesome blog! Well, at least an interesting one.”
The “Alley-Oop” comes directly from a sports story.
The term is interesting as it derives from the French term allez hop! the cry of a circus acrobat about to leap. But here in America, we relate to it more from sports. It is that fantastic player driving against all odds to bound, upward, and sco-o-o-re!
That is precisely why I want to use “Alley-Oop” in a business blog because, more often than we realize, as executives, we need to drive through barriers to achieve our success. It has an against all odds, take no prisoner, attitude in pursuit of one’s objective.
Let’s explore three business statistics along with “Career Alley-Oops” that will change the trajectory of your career.
Harvard Business Research1 found that employees working in a high-trust company have 106 percent more energy. Perhaps you’re one of those executives who doesn’t trust your boss or senior management. And yet trust is one of the coins for success in the land of business.
Does this mean there is no hope for experiencing a thriving career?
Alley-Oop Drive: I’m in no way attempting to defend senior leaders’ poor behavior, and I want to voice a different point of view that may be a career game-changer.
Along with a whole slew of my clients, I lament who we were as we came up the ranks, harshly criticizing and distrusting our boss. Years later. After assuming my boss’s role, I realized there is much more to decision-making than I knew. My judgment with this new knowledge made me apologize when possible and re-evaluate my assessments.
Judgments for or against always rest in your hands. Negative assessments regarding your boss or senior management will damage your career long-term, so you need to handle them or move to a trustworthy work environment.
If all of this is true, what can you do?
Here are three “Alley-Oop” mental shifts you can take into your hands right now:
1. Assess your objections with an “I own this attitude.” Take a step back and evaluate why you don’t trust this leader. What are the specific actions or behaviors that leave me feeling this way? Could it be I’m seeing this through my lens, and there is another way of viewing it? What am I missing?
2. Rarely can you change another person, especially your boss. To the best of your ability, stop judging others and instead focus on your performance, professional growth, and skill development. You’d be surprised how building up your reputation as a go-to employee will change your lot in the organization.
3. Find trustworthy champions to support you in the organization. Your network of supporters will provide a sense of security and offer helpful assistance in guiding you along the way. Remember that you don’t want to wallow in “Spiraling Down” conversations. Rather you want you and your cadre of champions to focus on “Spiraling Up” with solutions and guidance.
Downside: You may be so even-handed in your calculation that you remain in an untenable situation for far too long. Leaving may be what you need to do.
ADP research found only 3.8 percent of the 51 million workers studied were upskilled (additional skills) within two years of being hired.2 A big reason for the low less-than-encouraging statistics is lack of upskilling chances. Employers either didn’t provide education or didn’t offer prospects for better positions in their company.
Alley-Oop Drive: It’s up to you to determine the developmental gap between where you are now and where you intend to be in the future. This focus will add effective propulsion to your career. After all, who knows your passions, strengths, and aspirations better than you? Isn’t it time to become the agent for what you bring into your career? There’s rarely anything standing in the pathway of a fulfilling career other than yourself!
This shift recharges your energy, lowers stress, boosts job satisfaction, confidence, and expands your work experience.
Downside: If you’re not bold regarding what project add-ons you assume, you may find yourself with too many comfortable, un-growth tasks leading to burnout and never being considered a potential leader. Or even worse not assigned any upskill projects for your growth.
Women are switching jobs at the highest rate in years, according to McKinsey & Company and LeanIn, in what some call “the Great Breakup.”3 If you’ve got to leave, you’ve got to go.
However, if you’re tilting back and forth in your decision, you might want to negotiate and open doors to areas that interest you and draw on your passions and strengths.
You’ve read enough statistics to know that when you spend time in these areas, you’ll receive greater recognition, higher job engagement, improved resiliency and perseverance, enriched creativity and innovation, enhanced job satisfaction, boosted productivity—not to mention you’ll be way happier. That all sounds like a fulfilling career well worth stepping up for yourself.
Alley-Oop Drive: As a well-respected employee, you have more leverage than you realize to change your career future. Isn’t it time to roll the dice and see if you can transform your career right where you are before moving to a new organization?
Challenge yourself to assume accountability for being the agent of your development and direction where you’ve already proven your value before leaping to the unfamiliar. This shift requires embracing risks, but why wouldn’t you? What do you have to lose? You already intend to leave, so not a dangerous one.
Downside: You’re right. This approach may present a risk. Yes, it requires boldness and laser-like intentionality with your boss and senior managers.
And it also mandates solid, winning concepts to adapt your position to suit you better and improve your company’s future. The upside…well, you’ll enjoy them for the rest of your working life.
Have fun “Alley-Ooping” your career wins!
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