As the holidays approach us, I’ve already attended many events and get-togethers to celebrate the festive time. Some of these events have been with colleagues and clients, and others with family and friends.
Many of the conversations focus on people’s plans for the holidays. When the discussion switches to work, I find many of us reflecting on the current state of our career.
Given that I spent my early years working as a career advisor, it’s easy for me to slip into that old role, and listen to people discuss their career concerns and opportunities.
I’ve been also thinking about careers a lot lately, because I recently read the book, You Incorporated, by my colleague Inés Temple. It’s chock full of practical advice for how all of us can build a more satisfying career.
However, what makes Inés’ book so special, is the author herself.
She’s the CEO of LHH’s Peruvian and Chilean operations. She has spent more than a quarter century helping people find their own “job utopias,” as she likes to say. Not only is she a CEO, is one of the most well-known CEOs in her home country of Peru.
Her book was first published in Spanish, and after seventeen editions, has sold more than 130,000 copies across Latin America. This is quite the achievement and speaks to how readers have found her insights valuable. Last month, the English translation of her book was launched in the United States.
I recently chatted with Inés about her book, her career, and her advice for those looking to give their careers a boost.
What was your primary motivation to write this book?
For over 25 years, I have been working with thousands of executives, professionals and employees, helping them make the transition from one job to another. I help them identify new goals and ambitions, and figure out what their passions are and what they really want to do with their lives. I also try to help people understand how to present themselves better in a job market that is getting more and more demanding. During that time, I have received thousands of thank you notes from readers who emphasize how the book helped them advance their careers. In fact, many of them have found their true goals in life, their ambitions, and their passions.
What must leaders do to support the career development of the people they lead?
Leaders play a very critical role in the career development of the people they lead. We need to help our employees become more employable. A lot of companies are afraid that if they help their people develop, they will leave. We have found just the opposite to be true. The more employable our employees feel, the better aligned they will be with company goals and the more they will be able to add value. They will better understand what is expected of them, and how that value is created, measured and delivered.
So, we leaders need to see clearly what value we add to our subordinates, clients, suppliers, bosses, and the board. We need to be aware that that value has to be consistent with the company’s mission. It also has to be coherent with what we want to do with our own lives and where we want to go in the future.
So, we leaders need to empower ourselves and empower our teams in order to give them the tools for increasing their employability.
You cite three strategies for anyone who feels they need to boost their career? Can you describe what they are?
The first is we need to each develop what I call differentiating skills. We need to invest in ourselves and make sure we are developing the capabilities that produce sustainable results and add clear evident value. Some of the most important ones deal with our ability as leaders to be empathetic, to lead change and develop teams.
The second important thing we must do is build networks of trust. In my experience, I find most people only think of building their base of contacts and relationships when they are looking for their next job. You need to be proactive in building your relationships all the time. Networks of trust open the doors to better opportunities, gaining new insights on business opportunities and providing the social support we all need to succeed and thrives in our careers.
The final strategy we have to pay attention to is to take care of our personal brand. Our personal brand is the impression we give others. Everything we do in how we relate to others, our responsiveness and reliability, our attitude, the passion we bring to our work is all remembered by others.
So, there you have it. If over the holiday period you are going to spend time thinking about your career and how to give it a boost, the ideas from Inés Temple can act as an important road map for you to follow.
This week’s Gut Check for Leaders asks: Do you need a career boost?
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