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These Words Sabotage Your Promotion

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You know those famous last words, right?

Be careful of what you ask for because you may end up getting it?

I started out strong in my career with lots of high hopes about what I could achieve. I enrolled in every training course that was offered, thinking that if I filled my head with concepts about how to get things done,  I would get my promotion. 

My first boss, Brian, a recently promoted eager-to-please-everyone kind of manager, wanted to do great things in our department. I was part of his team and wanted to show him what I could do so I asked what I needed to get to my next promotion.

“Show me what you can achieve!” he told me. Pumped up by the promise of a possible future advancement, I worked my ass off for 2 years running. My performance reviews were the best I had ever have. Even colleagues would come up, out of the blue, to congratulate me.  I felt pumped, happy because I knew what was coming next. 

It was not what I had expected.

My boss got promoted, due to his team’s outstanding results, in good part, thanks in part to my efforts.

Before he left, I asked him for the promotion he had promised.

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Sorry, said Brian, I can’t do anything right now. But I will speak to the new boss who is replacing me so he will reward you as you should be” 

I was gutted. The hardest part was facing people at work. I felt they were sorry for me but no one ever said anything to my face and that only made things worse. For the next 3 months, all I could talk about was: 

– How I could have got that promotion, but my boss… (fill in the blanks!) 

– How I should have got a better position but my boss… (fill in the blanks!) 

– It’s so unfair because my boss… (fill in the blanks!)

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Do you see the warning signs? 

I made Brian my manager the prime decision-maker in achieving my goals in life. I essentially gave him the keys to decide what I would achieve or not, I gave him the opportunities to define who I be and when I would advance. He stalled my career but he did not take away my resolve to make it happen.

If you have a great boss great things will happen at work. When your boss is crap, great things can still happen but the way forward needs to be adjusted.

Looking back, I thank Brian, because of him I made a decision that year to move into a another department. I set my sights on getting promoted into a different department because I did not not want to have to prove myself again with the new boss.

So let’s look at where you are currently in your job. Do you use the killer words sometimes? Often? Can’t get those darn words out of your brain? 

I want to, but…

I should have, but…

I could have, but… 

It might have been, but…

How do you feel every time you say something like that to yourself when you speak about your job? Now, imagine the impact these words would create in your mind if you continuously used them to describe what you could have done in your career? 

I changed the way I spoke about myself. It took me a year to adjust my course and this is how I did it. 

These 3 things changed my approach got me closer to my promotion. 

j1em-lnv-eg-jacob-sciacchitanoNumber 1

Never become too comfortable in your job. When we do it so well we become complacent and stop learning. What took us days to achieve we can now do in hours so we have more time on our hands. How do we spend that time is significant for our growth. For example, I asked myself what else could I learn about my current job that would prove to be useful in my new one? What know-how could I leverage?  Who else was skilled who could help me in exchange for my help in their jobs?

I asked people, what is the number one thing that keeps them motivated in their jobs? Almost everyone answered, when they are learning new things. So what kind of new things are happening in your industry that you would like to know more about? What new program can you learn? What articles can you read to help you understand more about your job? What courses are available for you? For example, I approached my HR department and asked them for time to study to prove that I was serious.

Number 2

Before I got promoted, I asked myself, what kind of skills do I need for that next promotion? Up-skilling yourself is the most important factor in moving laterally if you cannot move upwards because you happen to have a “horrible boss”.  Go out and interview co-workers to find out more about their jobs and the kind of skills you require to move to another department. Believe me, Ask them and You Will Receive!

I asked the director of the department I wanted to move into for an interview and I got 5 minutes of her time. I put everything I had in my heart in that conversation. 

The best thing is, she listened, and asked me a few questions. The fact that I was working AND studying cinched it. 

You cringe… I could never do that??! Really? You would be surprised at how passionate people get when they love their work! People love sharing their skills and knowledge, but you will never know that until you step out of your complacency and ASK! That director only gave me 5 minutes of her time but she also suggested that I speak to her assistant for anything else I needed. That got me a foot in the door. 

As an example, this is a possible script when you ask for that interview: “Hi! My name is Shirley, I work in (…) and I love what I’m doing (…)! I am curious to find out more about your department and what you all do, because everyone here only says great things about your team (…). I know you are busy but can I buy you lunch/tea/snack/ so you could spend a few moments to answer a few questions? I’d love to know more!  

Number 3

What is it going to take to shift your mindset from “poor me, my horrible boss does not want to promote me” to “what do I want to achieve in the next 3 months in my job?”  When we view ourselves as victims, and use defeatist words like, I could have, I should have, If only … we are imprinting in our minds that we have no choice BUT to remain where we are. It’s someone else’s fault that we are miserable at work!

This is what I did. I replaced the negative words in my mind, with:

– What else is possible, if I do (…)

– What would it take for me to achieve (…) in the next 3 months? 

– How can I learn/reach/achieve (…)? 

When we use questions that begin with “Why”, our brain tends to pull us back into the past and the merry-go- round-of all our excuses lights up with all its bells and whistles! Questions that begin with “What” and “How” are more empowering as they force our brains to look forward for new options, and options give us choice. When we choose, we move forward. 

I wrote my questions down – pen and paper helps me think better – and came up with some possible options. Then I took one of those possible options and ACTED! Taking swift action creates momentum and once momentum is going, it makes it harder to back down.

For example, pick up that phone and make an appointment to speak to someone TODAY about something you really want to do/learn/know at work. Or even better, get up from your seat, walk down those stairs to the person’s work space and ask them if you could speak to them for a moment and ask for an appointment. 

Miracles happen within our brain when we start walking!

I’d like to to hear from you! 

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Yes I really do, I reply to every email.

Shirley

Shirley Soodeen - Business Coach Luxury Fashion

Shirley Soodeen – Business Coach Luxury Fashion

Callum Connects

Denise Mossis Kipnis, Founder & Principal of ChangeFlow Consulting

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Denise Mossis Kipnis’ curiosity in people and the world, lead her to set up ChangeFlow Consulting.

What’s your story?
I’m driven by curiosity. Having been the only one in a room who looks like me for most of my life, I developed a curiosity about who stays, who leaves and who thrives in minority/majority situations including when and how connection and collaboration happen. I was a systems thinker long before I knew what that was, always asking why and so what; and seeing the pieces, the whole, and the places in between. So helping people and organisations move through the complexity of transformation feels natural to me.

What excites you most about your industry?
I see change and inclusion as two sides of the same thing; I don’t practice one without the other. Some people see change as death, as loss, as exhausting. And it can be. But I see in the work I do as an opportunity for something new or hidden to emerge. When an organisation understands that it is first a group of people, who themselves represent and belong to groups of people, and it begins to tackle what it would mean to understand and learn from all that talent, all that diversity, to have them all working for and not against the organisation, to truly unleash all that their people have to offer; that’s magic.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Change and inclusion are personal values as well as professional strengths. For me, living and working outside of the States was a bold experiment to see whether any of the stuff I’d learned about change and inclusion would work outside of the US. My husband and I targeted Asia specifically: it would be the greatest contrast, culturally speaking, for me; and a unique career springboard for him.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Although I’ve practiced in other cities, I am biased towards Singapore. In some ways it’s what Los Angeles is to the rest of the United States, a microcosm of sorts. The regional/global nature of it means that so many different nationalities and cultures are represented. As a result of this mix, you never know what you might get. In some situations, cultural dynamics are obvious, sometimes subdued. The variability is compelling.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself.” Michael Rouan.

Who inspires you?
Often it’s a “what” not a “who.” I can get inspiration from a passage in a book or a situation in a movie, as well as a turn of a phrase or watching people interact. I often make the biggest connections between the various threads I’m working on when I’m sitting in someone else’s event.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’m honestly not blown away by much. Instead, I’m struck how circular things can be: ideas often come back around with a slightly different twist and I watch the way it shakes things loose for people. I recently sat through a workshop on Self as Instrument, and despite being thoroughly versed already, I learned something. In preparing for a panel on design thinking, I unearthed a new language to describe things.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
You’ve caught me at a good time. I’m sitting in appreciation and gratitude for all my experiences, because I wouldn’t be who I was today if all that has happened, didn’t. And yet one thing comes to mind: It wasn’t until I redesigned my website two years ago (shout out to Brew Creative!) that I realised I hadn’t made explicit agreements with my past clients as to what I could share publicly about our engagement, or whether I could use their logos in my promotional materials. In my business, confidentiality is so important, and yet I need to be able to talk about the work as reputation and experience leads to the next success, and so on. It turned out a lot of the contacts I had known had left the organisations where the work was done, so they couldn’t help at that point. So the practice I’m carrying forward is to get those agreements up front, and to make sure my relationships in client systems are broad as well as deep.

How do you unwind?
Science fiction, puzzles, wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Home. I don’t travel to relax, I travel to learn and explore.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Built to Change, by Ed Lawler and Chris Worley. To my knowledge, it’s the first pivot from advising organisations away from stability and toward dynamism, from strategic planning to strategizing as an action verb; to blow up the traditions and rigidity that impede organisations from developing change capability.

Shameless plug for your business:
We’re taught that there are two kinds of people: those who see forests, and those who see trees. There is a third type, my type, and we see the ecosystem. Worms, climate, birds, the spaces in between. This is the perspective organisations need to be successful in solving complex problems and thriving in change.
ChangeFlow uniquely blends four disciplines (two of which are multi-disciplinary in themselves): organisation development, culture and inclusion, change management and project management.

How can people connect with you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChangeFlowConsulting/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dmorriskipnis/
LinkedIn Company page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/4862954/
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.changeflowconsulting.com

Twitter handle?
@ChangeFlow

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Connects

Agnes Yee, Legal & Compliance Recruiter of Space Executive

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Agnes Yee started Space Executive in Singapore, which is a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

What’s your story?
After graduation, I joined a design media company as a Business Development Executive, during the era when ‘reading a magazine online’ was unheard of. I believe that laid the foundation for being unfazed by rejections.

I fell into recruitment pre-GFC and rode the highs and lows in the early years. A decade later, I decided to set up my own recruitment company, partly because I could. I’m acutely aware of the face that being an Asian female in Singapore is sometimes a privilege, and that many women in the world are living a very different existence.
Thereafter, we joined Space Executive as part of a merger. I am currently the Partner of Space Executive, a recruitment company focused specialist disciplines, including Legal, Finance, Digital, Sales and Marketing and Change. We also run Space Ventures, a venture capital business, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
On a daily basis, we’re influencing how one spends a third of their day. It is interesting how the Internet has transformed the industry, and I’m excited to see how we can harness technology to bring us to the next phase of this business.

The VC is an extension of applying our skills and experience in reading people. We very much invest in the people as much as the idea. Being a native Singaporean, it’s been exhilarating watching Southeast Asia becoming a hotbed of ideas; and young entrepreneurs simply daring to dream.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m a born and bred Singaporean. I love that I speak both English and Mandarin, grew up playing with Indian friends and eating Malay food.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore for the low barriers of entry to set up a business, but has to be China (and Hong Kong) for their hunger and constant innovation.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
青春不要留白 which translates to ‘Don’t waste your youth.’

Who inspires you?
Anyone who has gone against the grain.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It wasn’t recent but reading the article on https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html never fails to blow my mind how little time we have left. Charting our lives in weeks, and realising I only have enough time left to enjoy 60 Christmas turkeys, read 300 books (all if I’m lucky); and mostly, I’m left with the last 5% of the time that I spend in-person with my parents.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’m cognisant that every decision I made in life has brought me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t change one thing. But I’d really like to have had more time to travel.

How do you unwind?
Exercise and wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Trekking any mountain in Asia. It brings us back to the most basic. To overcome elements of nature and our own mind.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Start with Why, Simon Sinek

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive started in Singapore, a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies. We assist organisations in accessing a targeted and specialised, and often times transient talent pool.

Out of Singapore, we have recruited across 14 countries; and have embarked on our global expansion plans with offices in Hong Kong and London this year, and US, Japan and Europe in the following years.

Space Ventures provides funding, management and financial guidance to young businesses with original ideas. We have invested in peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring, social media education, and other start-ups spanning diverse industries. We are always interested in hearing more about new ideas.

How can people connect with you?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/agnesyee/

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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