Following an unpleasant experience I had early in my career after I had responded with “I don’t know” to one of my directors when I was assigned a task outside of my area of primary responsibility, I learned that while it was okay not to know, being given a task/responsibility outside of my area of primary skills/knowledge was an opportunity to learn and grow.
Consequently, I learned always to say, “please give me some time to get back to you on that, if you don’t mind.” By negotiating for time, I was able to research and explore both internal & external resources to come up with solutions; gaining new skills and knowledge in the process.
In addition, to further broaden my learning opportunities, I accepted projects (more work) with cross-functional implications, which also contributed to expanding my network and professional relationships across the organization.
To maintain ownership of my continuous learning and personal growth, I recently started employing the Marshall Goldsmith daily questions checklist approach, which I believe should help anyone constantly improve in their careers.
Ask yourself these questions daily and answer them for yourself:
· Did I do my best to learn something new and keep skills and knowledge fresh?
· Did I do my best to maintain a reputation for being positive and adaptive?
· Did I do my best to be a problem solver/solution provider?
· Did I do my best to develop and sustain meaningful professional relationships?
· Did I do my best to be authentic?
· Did I do my best to set my own career goals proactively?
· Did I do my best to work towards my career goals actively?
· Did I do my best to stay informed about current trends?
· Did I do my best to find meaning in what I do?
· Did I do my best to stay engaged?
· Did I do my best to be happy?
What questions would you add to the list? How well do you know yourself and what works for you? How does being in charge of your career and personal growth make you feel?