Dying to Get Ahead? 10 Tips for Reinventing Yourself!

This is interesting guest article written by Carly Chynoweth on "Dying to Get Ahead? 10 Tips for Reinventing Yourself!"

There are all sorts of reasons to change who you are at work. Team players might want to become team leaders. Process-driven rule-followers might decide to reinvent themselves as creative thinkers. Whatever the reason, it is best not to turn up at the office one day in proper shoes only to return to your trainer-wearing slacker ways a week later — not least because people will assume you were simply job-hunting. Take a strategic approach with these tips.

1. Know who you want to be

Know who you want the new you to be. “The first thing is to identify how you want senior management to perceive you,” Gabriella Goddard, an executive coach and author, said. “Look at what you are doing now and think about what you need to change.” According to Diane Bradbury, the managing director of Spring Personnel, you should look at people who are already successful and identify the sorts of behaviours that they demonstrate.

2. Get the look

Freedom of expression is for artists and students. Appearances matter, so if you want to get ahead, dress the part. “If the bosses are suited and booted, you should be, too,” Miss Bradbury said.

3. Get a piece of paper

Reinventions demand confidence; qualifications can help this. Chris Burney, the head of retail sales at Daisy, a telecommunications company, is only 26 but has already reinvented himself twice, most recently when stepping into a senior management role. “I had completed [management] qualifications so I knew I had the knowledge and the grounding to help me do the new job,” he said.

4. Consider your comfort zone

Going from being seen as someone who lives by the book to a creative lateral thinker is easier if you take small steps rather than trying to change everything at once. Ms Goddard helped one such manager to develop a reputation for creativity by asking him to become the person who suggested brainstorming sessions in meetings rather than, as in the past, the person who wanted to make sure that people stuck to the guidelines. “It is about looking for creative ways to improve the process you are already comfortable with,” she said.

5. Get your manager on side

Managers want the best for their people and are open to being pleasantly surprised. Tell them what you are planning and they will probably help, Emilie Duquenne, the learning and development director at L’Oréal, said. “Being proactive is always well-received,” she said. But don’t forget to manage the image you portray with them; if you are constantly asking for help with operational issues, they are unlikely to peg you as a strategic thinker.

6. Think down as well as up

“Bosses are likely to be pleased if you reinvent yourself overnight, but colleagues might find it more difficult,” Miss Bradbury said. Be open and honest about what you are trying to do, but be prepared for some resistance.

7. Take the bushel off your light

The most convincing evidence that your new approach is serious is good results. “You should be volunteering for some prime projects and volunteering to lead them,” Ms Goddard said. “You may have to start with a smaller project until you get a better reputation, but you have to put yourself forward and you must deliver on what you promise.” And make sure that the right people notice what you’re doing. “Don’t just do it and hope that someone notices.” Becoming a mentor is a good idea, Mrs Duquenne said.

8. Clean slates can help

If you are making a big career change rather than simply refocusing your efforts — swapping from finance to marketing, say — you may be better off at a new company where you can make a fresh start. Yet it is still possible to fall back into old habits if you are not careful.

9. Consistency is key

The change will take three months or so to feel normal, Ms Goddard said; during that time, you will need to make a conscious effort to maintain the new you. Don’t let yourself slip back into old habits when you are stressed or under pressure. Technical experts who move into management are frequently tempted to return to a hands-on approach, particularly if time is tight. Remind yourself what behaviours your new role requires and stick to them no matter what.

10. It might not work

“If senior managers have a very fixed view of you … or someone dislikes or distrusts you, then after three months of trying you will still be back where you started,” Ms Goddard said. If so, it is time to try somewhere new.
How Some Successful People Reinvented Themselves:

The singer Elvis Costello was a computer operator in a cosmetics factory in London.

The actor Danny DeVito worked as a hairdresser in his sister’s salon.

The bestselling novelist John Grisham was a lawyer.

The actress Pamela Stephenson retrained as a clinical psychologist.

The comedian Jo Brand was a mental health nurse.

Martha Stewart, the businesswoman and former prison inmate, started as a stockbroker.

~ Coutersy of Admin Secret!

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