5 Top Tips to get ahead of the game

Driven by new technology, increased competition and customer choice and the relentless pace of change, the business world and workplace is changing - and fast.

The things that helped people to job and career success in the past have long gone - no one should expect a 'job for life' any more. The stakes have changed.

It's now far more about demonstrating your 'employability' - the unique value you can add and contributing more that you cost.

There is a brilliant article in the FT by Jenny Palmer that shows some of the key skill sets that today's graduates need to have now more than ever to survive and thrive in the workplace. To read the article click HERE.

As she wisely comments, perhaps the stakes are high for gradates post-recession. They need to consistently deliver in the workplace, now more than ever. But let's not forget that the companies for whom they work must also do the same for their customers and stakeholders.

But in short, a company and its workforce must ALL be ahead of the game. BOTH must be able to differentiate themselves individually and collectively in a tight and competitive market.

So with this in mind, here are 5 top tips to put you ahead of the game:-

1. Think differently - see differently

  • The things that have brought you success so far give no guarantees for the future.
  • Learn to look forwards not backwards.Look at the familiar but see something different.
  • If you always do what you did, you'll always get what you got.

2. Explore and innovate

  • The more rapid the change, the sooner our usual approaches lose their punch.
  • We can rely on defence, hanging on to our old habits and hoping they'll protect our future. Or we can count on offence and attack the new challenges coming at us. It's our choice.
  • Organisations now need people who will attach the future rather than protect the past.

3. Stay optimistic and opportunity-minded

  • Change grabs people's attention. And our reactions to it usually reveal more about us as individuals than about the situation itself.
  • Optimism versus pessimism? A positive emphasis on opportunity, as opposed to a negative emphasis on problems.
  • It's a simple difference in outlook ? but has a profound difference on how it affects your performance.
  • What's your bias when change hits?

4. Manage your own motivation

  • 'Command and Control' styles of management are out. Empowerment and self managed teams are in ? we are the people in charge. EVERYONE is a leader now.
  • We need to be self-starters and not rely on our manager to turn into our emotional crank for us. Our work now includes responsibility for self-management of our attitudes and motivation level. This is the logical, unavoidable extension of the new ways in which we're in charge of our own careers.

5. Make job changes - carefully

  • At no time before have people had so many job choices or been such career nomads.
  • As a result the scene is littered with bad career decisions.
  • It's one thing to manage a career aggressively? to navigate constantly towards opportunity. But it's something else altogether to become a career flirt, one too easily charmed by the temptations dangled by the next would-be employer.
  • Far too many people are changing jobs because they can, not because they should.
  • Before accepting that new job offer, ask yourself whether you are running FROM something or TOWARDS something. Think about addressing current job disenchantments head-on, right where you are. Otherwise, they may follow you to your next position.

Mark McCormack is Business Development Manager at Creativedge Training and Development Ltd. Creativedge is the UK's leading 90 minute training specialist, and creates bespoke courses, programmes and events that are delivered by the innovative 'rapid results' training method. The company offers a variety of options for the delivery and ILM (Institute of Leadership & Management) accreditation of its training, including virtual training sessions which can be attended by up to 100 participants. The company is headquartered in Milton Keynes.