How to Get Ahead At Work

Everyone wants to revel in their work and perform to a level where they are promoted. But as life often belies our plans how do you get ahead?

The starting point

The starting point lies in knowing what the organisation and your boss are trying to achieve. To grasp both issues you need to ask a number of questions.

Does the company have a clear mission? If so, what it is and does it align with your experience of working there?

Does the company have strong values? If so, what are they and do you agree with them?

Does the company have a future? If so, what is your role in it?

Once you know the answers to these questions it is time to decide what you want. To do so, contemplate two issues: the long-term and the short-term.

The long-term

Your long-term plan should consider the business sector and its future prospects.

It should identify what you want. Do you want to be a manager? Do you want to run the company? Because the surer you are the more likely you are to achieve it.

Once you’ve considered these issues decide how long it will take to realise them and whether or not they are realistic.

It may mean getting promoted, moving to another area of the business to get more experience, or moving to a new business more likely to provide what you want.

You will also have to develop the skills and emotional intelligence to work with different people from different disciplines in different settings.

You will have to get good at managing change too, because within the period of your long-term plan, the workplace, the world and your role will change beyond recognition.

The short-term

A short-term plan is also vital, as it will detail the day-to-day actions you need to undertake: it can cover any period from monthly to yearly or up to three years into the future.

Your monthly plan will focus concentration on the day-to-day work and provide space away from the negativity of naysayers.

Your yearly plan will concentrate on bigger goals and clarify what you have to do to make them tangible.

Your three-year plan will consider your grander ambitions and capture how you will pursue them.

In each case you can develop a simple action plan, which can be detailed on a single page for ease of memory and management.

Each plan will describe the work you have to do and the work you enjoy doing with the balance moving towards the latter as time unfolds.

Such an approach will improve your performance levels and ensure that you’re more likely to accomplish what you want.

The final issue to embrace is flexibility, as unexpected setbacks will occur and you will have to react quickly while also staying focussed on your overall plan.

So, to get ahead at work balance what you want with what the company wants and manage both through the detail of your long and short-term plans.