A Whole New World
March 31, 2016
Sounds like I’m putting an entry into a dating website, or indeed announcing myself on national TV on a well-known dating programme (again, note age). But I’m not, I have recently left the massively comforting and supportive arms of a FTSE Top 20 finance services powerhouse to branching out on my own, and as an associate with Quantum.
So what does this feel like? The reason for the dating analogy is because I imagine there is a great deal of synergy regarding the feelings and emotions that run high when you put yourself ‘out there’ again for the World to judge and people to critique. Essentially, you’re putting yourself back on the Market! Consider,
Am I ready for this?
Confidence, or lack of it, is something that can make or break the decision to do something different. Am I good enough? Am I qualified enough? Do I look the part? Do I have the financial means to make this happen? Do I have the time to make this work? What happens when it fails? I could go on…. There are always things that are out-with your control, the trick is to minimise these and focus on the factors that ARE within your control – this in itself instils confidence and a sense of empowerment. Generally, there has been a point in time when you’ve made the decision to make a lifestyle change – don’t forget this moment.
How do I get myself out there?
How to self-promote has changed massively over the past decade and continues to do so. Long gone are the days when a lengthy and detailed CV is solely responsible for you getting the next role – today it’s all about networking and ensuring that your personal brand says what you want it to say. Yes, it’s a cliché that people buy people, but it’s true. Regardless of industry background and knowledge, there are a core set of professional qualities that all successful people manifest and in these lie the unique selling points that secure you the next job. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. can all provide a window into your life. As can the CV you provide to potential employers and agencies – is all this information selling the you that you want to promote?
How do I make an excellent first impression?
A Harvard study suggests that it takes under one second for us to ‘judge’ someone when meeting them for the first time. Under a second! It’s unlikely that a word has been uttered, but already strong views are formed based on absolutely everything that hits the other senses – facial expression, colour worn, posture, dress code, perfume/aftershave, hair colour, polished-ness…the list is endless, and absolutely within your control. After this, things like handshake, tone of voice, body language and the content of what you say comes into play – again all within your control. Know your audience, and prepare in advance. I must say in my role with my previous employer I had to work with a vast range of people – the CFO, brand and marketing directors, actuaries, employee relations consultants, project managers, the Executive Committee, the list goes on – and I pride myself in being an absolute chameleon in terms how I presented myself to get the best out of each interaction, and trust me it worked.
How does what I say make me sound plugged in?
Like everything else, there is almost a fashion to follow in terms of what’s en vogue from a business etiquette perspective. I’ve seen it during my stint within finance services, the massive swing from huge amount of detail and ‘knowledge is power’, to simplifying everything with a focus on sharing intel. Also, the use of anagrams – due to the pace of change, these are used less and less. Unfortunately, what are in place are ‘buzzwords’ and ‘in phrases’. Resist as you might, you will be lured into ‘reaching out’ or ‘crystalizing your thoughts’ as some point just to feel like one of the gang. Keep up to date on what these are, you nail your appearance and drop in a few buzzwords – you’ve got your stakeholder on board.
This is not an exhaustive list – but some of the main questions I recall having during the making of significant lifestyle changes, those being leaving the teaching profession to move into corporate development, returning to work from maternity leave, and deciding to set up my own business. And I keep asking myself these questions as one thing I am not is complacent. Also, this is my list. I have seen development in this area regarding corporate change benefit pan-corporate culture change, transformation programme success, senior leadership team impact, talent development, succession planning and employee engagement survey scores.
I am very passionate about the emotional side of career building – it’s hugely overlooked in most industries and the great thing about being an Associate with Quantum is that they too recognise this and are equally as enthusiastic about providing coaching and development in this area.
Personal impact, Coaching, Your Brand, returning to Work, Manager to Leader – a small sample of how we can support you and your business. Or work with us in creating a bespoke development plan to maximise you and those around you.
Get in touch.
And for those of you around my age, sorry for the Blind Date theme tune that’s now firmly in your head.
For you young ‘uns, Google it.