Succeed in Your Position: Ask THE Right Question
I recently visited a client and spent some time speaking with his team members. One of them, a woman whom he just hired, took me aside and spoke to me at length about her background, her work experiences, and what she considered her own unique set of skills. After she finished bringing me up to speed she asked:
“Given everything I just told you about myself, how can I best contribute to the success of my new boss and this organization?”
What a great question! For two reasons. First, because she framed her own success in terms of facilitating the success of those around her. Second, because her question portrayed a desire to find a unique way that she, and she alone, could best contribute to the organization.
Most people (with nothing but the best intentions) take nearly the opposite approach when they enter a new position. They look around them, identify every single problem in sight, and then volunteer to solve each of them; often without fully considering whether or not solving these problems is the best application of their particular talents.
Wanting to help is important, but not enough
Listen, I get it. As IT people it is our natural tendency to want to help others and tackle every problem we see, and I am the last person in the world to suggest we stop doing that altogether. I would, however, suggest it is valuable to take a moment to reflect on which problems you choose to really dedicate yourself to… Choosing the right projects (those that both exploit and develop your unique capabilities and value) can have a huge impact on how you are seen by your colleagues–and on your career overall.
Think about it before you volunteer for the next big project that falls into sight.