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8 Truths to Shape Your Success

I’ve spent the better part of the year talking and writing about resilience, personal and organizational engagement strategies, and future-proofing your career in an up-ended world. Recently, however, I’ve been drawn to the thought leadership about managing professional growth that I was introduced to more than two decades ago.

I think these tenets for personal professional development have held up well, and I’m sharing them here, with minimal commentary, to fuel your search for more great days at work:

  1. You have primary responsibility for your job satisfaction and success. Luck may play a role. Managers and colleagues can support you or undermine you. But no one can “make” you engaged. Roll up your sleeves, figure out what’s important to you, and do the hard work.
  2. Your current position offers the best, most immediate opportunities for growth, achievement, and fulfillment at work. Don’t wait for what’s next. Your career is happening now. As your employer pivots in response to the global pandemic, look for ways to be a hero – or at least to add more value. It’s time to dust off your Growth Mindset and put it to work.
  3. Your personal values are the fuel for your growth and leadership. The key word here is fuel. Your values are your motivators, the guideposts you use to make decisions. They contribute to your authenticity as a leader. If you don’t know what’s important to you, it’s time for you to sit on a metaphorical mountain top and figure it out.
  4. Building on strengths is the fastest route to success. Buck Blessing, one of the greats in the workforce transformation space before it was called that, once said: “If you focus only on development needs, you’ll die a very average person.” Be like Buck. Fix career liabilities and use your strengths to become a star!
  5. You can’t do it alone. Constructive, continuous dialogue with your manager makes the difference. You may own your success, but your manager is uniquely positioned to help you connect what you want with what the organization needs. Managers, alas, aren’t mind readers. Go tell yours what you’re thinking about. Enlist their support. Offer ideas.
  6. Feedback is an essential ingredient of remarkable accomplishments. If you don’t know what to stop, start, or continue doing to get better you won’t be able to change. Ask people for feedback. This gets easier with practice. While you’re at it, give the gift of feedback to help others become more successful!
  7. Nothing happens unless you take action. Action demands a plan and the courage to carry it out. What’s the worst that can happen? Really? Take that first step. And the next. Shift direction if you need to. Keep going.  
  8. Your organization’s success depends on the expertise, thinking, and efforts of engaged individuals like you. As clichéd as it may sound, it is a win-win proposition. Discover and align what matters to you with what the organization needs. Involve others. Make your work work for you… and for your employer.

You can learn more about Managing Professional Growth (MPG®), our flagship engagement and development process, here.

About the Authors

Mary Ann Masarech

Mary Ann Masarech spent the first third of her career writing, designing, and marketing skills training for top-notch consulting firms. She acquired a broad base of instructional design and client experience building learning experiences in sales, negotiations, account management, customer service, selection interviewing and leadership skills. The programs she designed were all about the “how.” (When “X” happens, do “A, B, C.”) When she joined GP Strategies’ BlessingWhite division in 2000, Mary Ann began to explore worlds beyond skills: The internal workings of individual learners – expressed as personal values and goals, the puzzling workings of organizational culture, and the often complicated dynamics of trust and relationships at work. She quickly realized there was no going back. As Lead Consultant for BlessingWhite’s Engagement Practice, Mary Ann creates practical tools and strategies that clients worldwide apply to create successful businesses and thriving workplaces. Think of her approach as "research meets real world." She is passionate about great days at work – where individuals experience the highest levels of personal satisfaction, apply their skills to what matters most, and deliver their best work to drive their employers’ strategies. As lead consultant, she also works with senior HR and business leaders on how to take meaningful action on engagement survey results to drive organizational performance. She is co-author of The Engagement Equation: Leadership Strategies for an Inspired Workforce (Wiley, Oct 2012), has written numerous research reports and articles, and is a well-regarded speaker on the leader’s role in engagement and building a culture of engagement. Mary Ann's commitment to meaningful lives and meaningful work extends beyond her day job. She is a founding member of the Norma Pfriem Urban Outreach Initiatives, a not-for-profit that addresses food insecurity (serving 10,000 meals a year) and education of underserved adults and children. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University. She enjoys her mostly-empty nest with her husband, 2 cats and a dog, cooking, reading and running (not simultaneously) in her spare time.