Seven Elegant Currencies of Life & Career Success
Happy New Year! You are entering a year that promises unprecedented levels of change and challenge, and that is certainly saying something given the tsunamis of change over the past decade! Here are seven currencies that successful people will use in 2016 to make it one of the best years in their life and career:
The concept of personal branding has been around for several decades. Back in 1997 best-selling business author Tom Peters told his Fast Company audience, “All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
Your brand is who people think you are. It influences virtually every personal and professional relationship you have. Your employer considers it to decide if you should be promoted. Your friends think of it before deciding to confide in you. Your customers make purchasing decisions based on your personal brand. So – what does your brand say about you? And in 2016, the stakes will higher than ever. Remember, unless you brand yourself, someone else will do it for you.
Webster defines humility as the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people. In a world filled with outspoken people who act as if they are better than the Average Joe, what business does humility having being on a list of what the most successful people will do in 2016?
A recent published study by the University of Washington Foster School of Business found, “humble people tend to make the most effective leaders (that’s right, the most) and are more likely to be high performers in both individual and team settings.” Humble people are seen as more committed to others, better listeners, and ultimately more trustworthy. People are more engaged when working for a humble person.
Humble people possess an accurate view of themselves, not a focus on strengths only or on weaknesses only, but a balanced and reasonable self-view. Humility requires high levels of internal strength to welcome critical feedback. A person of humility wants to grow and develop, not hear flattery and false praise. Thus a humble person balances openness and being teachable, with the iron resolve to remain true to core principles.
Leadership expert John Maxwell is often quoted in saying, “leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less.” Leadership is not about someone’s title – influential leaders are found in all levels of organization. Influence is earned, not awarded. Influence is not compelling, manipulating, or bribing others to act in a particular way. It is the ability to get others to act because they want to, not because you want them to.
In 2016, people who are effective influencers:
- Possess credibility in the areas in which they influence;
- Have built relationships based on trust, helping others, and consistently doing the right thing;
- Are terrific listeners who listen well before they speak;
- Inspire by describing what could be in such a way as people desire to join them, too; and
- Persuade by appealing to those things that motivate each individual to act.
Let me share the two best definitions of integrity I’ve ever heard:
- Integrity is doing the right thing even when nobody is looking.
- Integrity is doing what you said you’d do, even though the circumstances have changed.
In a world increasingly more accepting of good intentions rather than promised results, people of integrity will have a decided advantage in 2016. People of integrity are trusted. They’re reliable. They meet the expectations they set. They don’t make excuses why it was okay to not do what they said they would do. The more important the relationship or role, the more desirous it is to fill it with a person of integrity.
Mentorship occurs when a more experienced person invests themselves in a developmental relationship with someone less experienced and knowledgeable. Typically a mentoring relationship occurs outside a reporting relationship, meaning that people usually choose a mentor who is not their supervisor.
A key reason why mentorship will be a 2016 currency is that it is the tipping year where Millennials will make up a greater portion of the workforce than any other generation. Millennials are highly receptive to being mentored. According to this Harvard Business Review article, the top areas in which Millennials desire mentorship are:
- Career development;
- Technical and professional development;
- Leadership; and
- Technical/industry expertise.
Resilience is a state of attitude. It’s the ability to bounce back from misfortune and adapt easily to change. Consider the incredible changes and misfortunes you have witnessed during the last ten years: the Great Recession (and what it did to your career and retirement); political instability; threats of terror at home and abroad; and personal misfortune, just to name a few. 2016 does not promise an end to change and misfortune. Which is why those who remain resilient welcome the winds of change and adjust their sails accordingly!
Resilient people aren’t immune to an untimely illness or death, the unexpected sale of their employer, or a stock market crash. What they are that makes them different is how they can maintain a sense of optimism and adventure while life is going on around them. They don’t sulk, whine, or feel sorry for themselves. In the words of Kat King Cole, whenever they get dealt an unexpected blow, “they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again.” They aren’t bitter; they simply use misfortune and change to get better.
Last – but certainly not least on the list – is trust. To quote an earlier blog on trust, “With few exceptions, no one can succeed in much of anything without TRUST. An employer isn’t likely to hire or promote you if you are untrustworthy. A customer won’t buy from someone she doesn’t trust. A coworker will doubt your motives if he cannot trust you.” Trust influences your ability to influence others. We don’t trust those whose motives we doubt and who have proven unreliable in the past.
Steven Covey’s The Speed of Trust kicked off the trust revolution ten years ago. In 2016, trust will play a major role in the lives and careers of people. Fail the trust test and you impoverish your upside opportunities. When people don’t trust you, you’ll find that doors shut in your face and even the small things become more difficult to achieve.
You’ve probably noticed the interrelationships between these seven currencies…integrity and humility drive trust, trust raises influence, and all of them are key components of the brand called you. These seven currencies can be possessed by anyone who is willing to educate themselves and master each.
Boyer Management Group works with some of the world’s top employers by helping them get the most out of their talented people. Our extensive leadership development course catalog provides effective skills-building for everyone in the organization, from the new / developing leader to the seasoned C-level executive. Our coaching programs produce significant results in compressed periods of time. We also help job seekers, higher ed, and employment services connect people to better jobs faster. Our acclaimed career development tools, the Job Search Readiness Assessment for experienced professionals/skilled workers and Graduate Employment Preparedness Assessment for students/recent grads both assess and explain over 2,500 career and job search best practices. To find out more, please visit us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 215-942-0982.