Synergy Personal Development

June 22, 2021 by John Cunningham

When it gets tough, your options seem to shrink

No matter what kind of work you do, you are working for yourself. One day you may wake up and discover that your company is letting you go, your big freelance clients suddenly went out of business, or the social media account where you communicate with customers has blocked you for breaking one of their antiquated rules. Ultimately, you need to be responsible to yourself (and your family). Consider being the CEO of your career
Being the CEO of your career means that you think of your professional life with passion and vision. You consider your revenue streams as customers. And become more strategic about managing your career: not so that you build an attractive resume, but to do work that aligns with your mission and values. Here are four ways to do that:

Start with a vision

Entrepreneurs and executives alike have a vision of what their companies stand for and what they want them to become. They make decisions based not just on the immediate but also with an eye on the future.

Consider where you want your career or business to be 3-5 years from now. Then make a plan to get there. You will probably not follow that plan to the letter, but it will help you stay focused.

As the leader of your organization, you should have a mission and driving values that are the essence of why you do the work you do. If you have a company, these are the seeds of your corporate culture. As an individual, we call this integrity. Staying true to this vision will make others want to follow you.

You don’t need to be a genius or a visionary, or even a college graduate for that matter, to be successful. You just need framework and a dream.
Michael Dell, CEO of DELL.

Understand what your Stakeholders want

There is always someone else impacted by your work: your family, customers, boss, and colleagues. Understanding how you can meet their expectations and put forth your best effort while serving them is vital to achieving continued success. If you are not sure of your stakeholder’s expectations, ask.

Use goals to advance the mission

We have already talked about vision and values. Next, let’s look at method. Method focuses on the tasks, or deliverables, you need to achieve to make improvements, grow your market and achieve success as you define it.
As a teacher, I started planning lessons with the end in mind. At the end of the lesson, I wanted my students to be able to achieve X. Then worked the process backwards to the very start of the class where I chose an exercise that allowed me to evaluate their ability to achieve the target. Then, followed the adjusted plan for the remaining time.

Your choice of method is much the same. You know the goal. What do you need to do to achieve that? Once you understand that, the other pieces fall into place: What are the pitfalls you may experience (obstacles), and how do you know if you are making progress (measure)?

A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.
Bruce Lee
Basically DISC relates to four primary working style preferences, Ds, Is, Ss and Cs. Ds are dominant. They are take charge people who expect to see progress and have little time for reasons or excuses. The senior managers in a company are usually high Ds. Is are Influencers, they like people and enjoy conversations. If you are a high I, you will be quick to volunteer to help but may forget what you’ve signed yourself up for later. High Is are often sales people. Ss are steady. They find serenity in helping others and being a part of the team. Ss rarely push back, instead they choose to go along with the flow. You’ll find Ss in administrative and support roles. Cs are conscious. They prefer facts and data to people. Tell a C what you want done and by when, then leave them to their devices to figure it out. Cs like rules and are skilled at using systems. You will find Cs in detail oriented work like accounting and writing code.
If you are an I and your colleague is a C. They will have difficulty understanding your friendly and carefree style. Likewise, you may find them unwilling to listen to your ideas and opinions as those are speculations and not based on hard data.
Similarly, if you are a high D and you work with a high Ss, you may be frustrated that they seem to never make decisions or that they are unwilling to take a lead role in any project. While your colleague may see you as mean and overly direct, expecting the impossible.
These differences in working style can lead to caverns of misunderstanding. So what can you do? Adapt. Adapt to your role and the responsibilities of your position. If you are offering an opinion to a high C, for example, include some hard data to support your suggestion. The high D boss could make expectations clear to the I and S so that they know what is expected.
Before choosing an option that allows you to stay at the company, consider if it is really a problem with just one person or a toxic company culture.
Obstacles are the things that get in the way of your success. Do you need to work another job while you develop your passion? Are there too many applicants for the job you want? Is the cost of advertising or sales too high? Considering the roadblock to your success and coming up with some alternatives to break through those will improve your chances of success.
Finally, measures – you need to have some way to measure your success. Choosing effective measurement metrics will help you realize early on if you are moving in the right direction. Then, aid your ability to navigate effectively into the future
When choosing your measurement metrics and evaluating your initial data, take the time to study the results and consider if you are measuring the right things. Do the results of your metrics equate to the success you hope to achieve?
An example of this I recently encountered was in running Google Ads. My impressions and click-throughs looked impressive until I realized that people from 18-24 were being served up the ad impressions. No wonder they were not converting to my goal of booking free consultations. I adjusted my campaigns to reach people from 30-60, and now I am attracting the right prospects.

Do the stuff you do best

Focus on the areas where you make the biggest impact. As solopreneurs, we often need to do everything. Regardless of if you are a company of one, an employee, or a business owner; it is vital to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Then, delegate, as much as possible, the things that someone else could do faster and better.
In a company, we may ask someone who is skilled at making pivot tables to do that for us while we turn the draft of their report into a clear and well laid-out document. When we work for ourselves, it may be better to pay someone else to do the work that is not in our skillset. Then, we can focus on more valuable work.
By thinking like a CEO, you will improve the way you look at your work, no matter what it is or your position in an organization. You will make better decisions about how to grow your skill sets and live a life of value. It does not matter if you are the manager of a big company, an individual contributor, or a solopreneur; taking control of your professional life will enhance the value you provide to your stakeholders. And that will ultimately enhance your level of success.

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