Sunday, 4 December 2016

Take Back Control

Compared to 30 or so years ago it is now expected individuals take greater responsibility for their career. Even those employed in large organisations are no longer relying on employers to provide them with all their career development needs. 

The last time most of us had any career advice was either at school or university. Discussions were invariably centred on vocational type qualifications and which organisations provided the best graduate training. 

We set out on a career path with a clear starting point, a vague mid phase and, beyond that, usually the complete unknown. Promotions follow, headhunters call, offers are accepted, and life goes on. 

Most of us spend at least 50% of our waking hours at work! We get up each morning and go through the same routine, with each day largely the same as the one before. How many of us can honestly say that we feel fulfilled?


Many elements can contribute towards job satisfaction, including:
  • You feel what you do is worthwhile or makes a difference
  • You are recognised for your achievements
  • Your views are listened to
  • You are working with people you like
  • There's a good balance between work and the rest of your life
  • Your daily tasks and assignments have variety and are challenging
  • The values of your employers match your values closely
  • The communication channels within the company are good
  • You have good working conditions and adequate remuneration
  • There's potential for future growth, with training opportunities
  • Your job takes you closer to your long-term goals

To a certain extent the degree of satisfaction you get from your work is within your control. 
Think about what it is you want:
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
  • Are reputation and status important to you?
  • Do you want responsibility?
  • Authority?
  • Creative control?
  • Do you have new ideas you'd like to try - or any additional duties you could assume?

These are all things to consider.
Feeling unfulfilled in your job need not mean handing in your notice and walking off into the sunset. You may have a job that you are happy with in many ways, but that does not fully satisfy you – it may, however, offer scope for growth and development. Firstly, evaluate what you have to offer your employer. 
We each have our unique combination of talents and abilities. What are yours?


Saturday, 2 April 2016

Is Your Motivation Waning?

There is much research into how to motivate people at work. However, I always advocate the starting point has to be with yourself.  What would your answer be to the question, what motivates you? Do you know?
What Motivates You?

Frequently I am asked, “How do I find a job that’s more rewarding?” Well, my question straight back is, “What is it about your current job that attracted you in the first place?”

So what does one do?  The first step is to raise your self-awareness and find out what are your core motivators, your key career drivers. 
  • Is it material rewards or power and influence?
  • Is meaning or purpose in your job your number one driver?
  • What about expertise, seeking a high level of accomplishment in what you do?
  • Are you driven by the ability to be creative and innovative in your job?
  • What do you think about relationships at work?
  • Does autonomy drive you?  Without it how do you feel, do you prefer to make decisions on your own?
  • How about security, having a certain and predictable future?
  • Moreover, what are your thoughts about status? Are you driven to be recognised, admired and respected?
Sadly what gets in the way of people enjoying their jobs is relationships at work. For many people the ability to seek positive relationships is crucial. Either their boss or their team is perhaps not as proactive or constructive as they would like or what it could be.

Statistics show people leave their boss not the job, nor the company.  However leaving your boss, does not solve the issues you were avoiding, all you are doing is taking the same issues with you to your next job. Once the honeymoon period is over in the new job, you find yourself unhappy and unmotivated all over again.  Work becomes like the movie Groundhog Day, and you find yourself back to square one.

Understanding what motivates and drives you is the first step to being happier in your day to day job. You will start to notice what is missing in your current job. If this is the case, speak to your boss or colleagues about doing tasks that give you an opportunity to thrive.

Being motivated by our work has a direct and positive impact on our performance, so it is a win-win for you and your employer.


Sunday, 14 February 2016

Build a Strong Relationship with your Boss and Take Charge of your Career

Managers are interested in employees who will help them accomplish the many goals set for their teams.  Self-starters, initiative takers, independent, results oriented individuals are often in demand. 

If your boss had a hand in hiring you, then you can be confident that he/she already thinks well of you.  Performing well can reinforce the message that the decision to bring you on board was the right decision. 

Following are some tips that will help you build a great relationship with your boss while building your confidence in your ability to “manage up.”

Put yourself in your boss’ shoes.  From their perspective, what are the stresses, the pressures, the goals, and the demands? 

Once you have a clear sense of this, you are then better able to make decisions, tailor your communications, and make contributions that will enable others to perceive you as an MVM—most valuable member of the team!

Also, see your boss as a person. Your boss is just like you—has worked his/her way up to the position they now have.  Therefore, they have lots of experience to share with you.  If they are willing, allow them to be your mentor.  Ask for feedback regularly, and get their input on your career goals. 

Be helpful and proactive. Since you have an understanding of what the demands are on your boss, try your best to contribute to them.  What are some actual accomplishments you can make to help further the team?  Where can you take the initiative to solve a problem or improve a process that wasn’t even on the radar screen?

Manage your performance review process. Record your accomplishments, and inquire about other ways you can contribute to overall team goals. 

Be Proactive and Manage Your Career

Be assertive about your career plan and ask for projects that will stretch your current abilities.  Be clear about the support you seek from your boss, and be equally clear about the deliverables you will produce.

Encourage bonding and building genuine rapport by engaging in occasional conversations about family, personal hobbies and other interests.  Share your information, but inquire about his/her interests as well.

Demonstrating a clear understanding of the strategic focus of the organisation will help others to perceive you a team player and a potential leader. You will gain the respect of your managers, and ensure your career is on the fast track.


Monday, 18 January 2016

Plan Your Way to a Cracking 2016

Do you find yourself tempted with yet another round of New Year resolutions to help change your life, and achieve your goals? According to Gallup about 90% of us fail to keep our New Year’s resolutions.  It is not the goal that is wrong, this is the easy part, but where it can go wrong is to do with commitment; this is the hard part. 

It’s not about having to try harder; the key is, do you have the motivation?  To increase your chances of achieving resolutions are to connect them to a strong purpose that will keep you in action, no matter how tough things become.  You need a strong ‘why’ that is bigger than any ‘but’. For example, "I want to get fit, but I don’t have time.”  Overcoming the ‘but’ is the hardest part.

To reach your goal starts not with the goal itself but a committed decision, a burning desire, a willingness to take repeated action, for as long as it takes and for whatever it takes.
Keep Growing

Here is a practical process to goal planning:

1.       Get clear on what you want. What did you tolerate in 2015? What was challenging? What do you not want to have happen again? Make a decision on what you want your life to be one year from now.
2.       Get clear on why – what are the reasons you must absolutely achieve this no matter what?
3.       Get momentum: Break it down into smaller steps and tasks. Identify one small thing you can do immediately toward achieving your goal.
4.       Schedule your actions monthly, weekly and daily.
5.       Take action. Masses of action. Stay committed to your decisions, but also, be flexible in your approach.  
6.       Review, measure and evaluate. What actions have worked well, what hasn’t? What can you do differently?
7.       Review steps 3-6 every week.

Remember to celebrate success and repeat the cycle as you continue to make progress.

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you, not much.

It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives or our careers, but what we do consistently.  There’s always a way – if you are clear on the purpose and you’re committed to take action.


Blue Monday blues? It might be time for a career change

Reportedly the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday typically falls on the third Monday of January and is said to be the result of the festive come-down and the reality of returning to work. Did you find yourself groaning about another Monday in the office this morning? Chances are, Blue Monday is not to blame. Have you considered that maybe it’s time for a career change?

If it isn’t work that’s getting you down, Dr Cliff Arnall (the psychologist behind the original study that highlighted Blue Monday as the most depressing day of the year) has some top tips for increasing motivation and happiness at this time of the year.

·      Be your authentic self – stop pretending to be somebody that you’re not. Embrace your real personality and your true hopes and dreams, and live your authentic life. If this means giving up your day job and pursuing your childhood dreams, then so be it. Don’t squash yourself into a predetermined mould.
·      Get rid of toxic people – negative people bringing you down? Then it is time to remove them from your life. While we may feel we are harsh cutting out toxic people from our lives, it is better for our wellbeing in the long run. Positivity and encouragement are key from friends and family.
·      Simply decide and choose to be happy – a favourite quote from the famous bard, “Tis nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so” – Shakespeare. Take charge of your thoughts. Happiness is not something to be found or to be sought after. You just decide and take action.
·      Understand your goals Dr Cliff Arnall advises a little bit of self-reflection and forward thinking - sit down with a piece of paper and title it “I choose to…”. Follow it up with goals you want to achieve throughout the year, whether this will be to learn a new sport or travel to your dream destination. While these may seem similar to New Year’s Resolutions, heading the sheet with a self-declaration enables you to take responsibility for your actions, motivating you to really take them forward in the following year.

Speaking to the BBC in 2012, Arnall said he was keen to use the day as a “springboard into looking at what actually matters in our lives”, a sentiment that aligns perfectly with reassessing your work-life balance. Do you need a career change? Does work fulfil you as a person? Are you suppressing a life’s dream that you’ve always wanted to pursue? Instead of accepting Blue Monday as the most depressing day of the year, why not use it as an excuse to start pushing yourself to achieve what you’ve always wanted?

While many feel it’s too late to switch directions, with the proper coaching and industry expertise, it is entirely possible to achieve your dreams. As part of the Baker Coaching New Years resolution, we have created a new online career coaching package called ‘Project Star’. This is an engaging and thorough career coaching programme that operates on a three step basis, guiding you through who you really are as a person, what career change would fulfil you fully and how to go about getting there. If you are looking to Explore, Dream and Discover a new year in 2016 why not get in touch so you can be part of this new programme when it launches towards to the end of this month.

Don’t box yourself in and sell yourself short – harness the Blue Monday buzz and get in touch today about maximising your career change potential. Call 01638 751087, email