More so now than ever before, career success depends on how you behave and relate to others rather than simply having knowledge and expertise that people might need. People want to work with people they like, they enjoy working with people who are similar, pay them compliments and co-operate to get things done. So for career success today ambitious folk are seeking like-minded others who share their passions, show desire, and contribute to progress towards real achievements that they can be proud of.

Two observations from a recent discussion on accelerating talent success help us to get inside the mind of ambitious people today: 

‘People with talent have a psyche of seeking a challenge … if they are not allowed to do that they will go!  Harnessing this is key.’

 ‘Allow failure – eradicate fear of failure, encourage learning and confidence to have a go!  Current leadership behaves in a way that demands short-term answers if something goes wrong, creating the wrong atmosphere and culture’.

These two quotes illustrate the value of relationships and behaviours from people in the business and their ‘career influencers’.

The discussion was about the importance of Millennials developing the behaviours that put them in control of their careers: building greater self-awareness earlier (around personal drivers, nature of their ambition etc.) that can then lead to a more deliberate plan of action, other than simply following a path already laid out.

The behaviours that seemed to be important are:

  • Relationship building – it can’t be just about getting the task done
  • Inquisitiveness – asking questions
  • Learning – reflecting on what worked and what didn’t, and drawing conclusions
  • Delivering – building a reputation for getting things done.

There was recognition too that in today’s, busy, every-day life, people do not take enough time to review their experiences: ‘How are you feeling about it?’

There also needs to be consideration of what could be done differently:

  • Get leaders to have career conversations with their people
  • Be more discerning about the people brought in (and make sure they are self-directing)
  • Engage people to be more around their careers and career options
  • Be clear that self-direction is a requirement.

 Clearly behaviour is shaped by the environment in which people work and in how the organisation operates. This can be defined through the organisation’s purpose and values, but for values to be real they need to be demonstrated. This is often brought into reality through the people processes within an organisation: ‘If they don’t demonstrate ambition and growth, they’ll never get through the selection and training.’ 

Feedback and support were raised, as well as the different roles ‘career influencers’ can play. Strong inter-personal, trusting relationships that provide open and independent insight had been a valuable personal experience for many in the room:

‘My mentor told me – you might not know what you want to do, but you know you don’t want to do x, y, z.’

Do these views resonate with you? How is your organisation responding to these challenges?

Take a look back at our recent post on the growing demand for a different type of conversation and look out for our future post on the new psychological contract coming soon.

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