800″]“Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do…. If you’ve got talent, and you’ve maximised your talent, you’ve got a tremendous asset that can return ten-fold”
– Warren Buffet
Watching our currency bounce around on the financial markets recently has provided lots of media commentary about market volatility, changing global pressures, key influences and currency trends.
It’s also provided lots of thoughts around the need for establishing a stable Career Currency. Although we as individuals cannot control the value of our nations currency, we can establish influence and control over the value of our own Career Currency – regardless of what it is that we do.
A quick Google search on the term ‘Career Currency’ would lead you to believe that it is defined by the value you bring to a potential employer. But what about the value you hold right now, with your current employer?
The reality is your currency holds real value today, in the job you hold right now and it bears a strong influence on the future opportunities that lie ahead.
Establishing a genuine level of awareness and ownership over your Career Currency affords you immediate opportunities for development and leverage. Most importantly it allows you to remain in, or if need be, to recover a sense of control over your own career situation.
So what actually is Career Currency?
Quite simply it is the professional value an employee represents to their employer – be it a prospective or current employer.
Given that our currency can rise and fall just like any other, we need to firstly understand what the key attributes of Career Currency are.
I believe that there are four key attributes to Career Currency:
- Performance: Ability, Output, Motivation, Consistency, Ambition, Attitude
- Potential: Past and Future Learning, Growth, Ambition, Desire
- Relationships: Internal Relationships (including peers, reports and management), Endeavour, Influence, Collaboration
- Personality: Communication, EQ, Resilience, Endeavour, Behaviour
Your ability to accurately assess the strength of these four currency attributes not only provides you with an insight into the professional value you offer an employer but most importantly it provides the foundation for a practical and informed career strategy.
In order to truly maximise both your value and opportunity you need to ensure you are developing strength in each of the four areas. For most of us it is probably not too difficult to recall colleagues who were able to develop strengths in several areas but not all…. That person who was technically brilliant but problematic to work with due to their inability to engage collaboratively; or that ‘great person’ but whose performance let them and others down.
Failing to develop all four areas is like sitting on a three-legged chair – it’s out of balance; difficult and uncomfortable and the risk of falling is high. Without balance, both our currency and opportunity is subject to volatility and instability as is it is often only valued in certain scenarios or for short periods of time.
When I reflect upon the highly successful colleagues and inspirational leaders I have worked with throughout my career, there is a common trait that they each shared: self-awareness.
They took time to reflect on situations, examined their actions and the impact on those around them; they sought feedback and strived to develop outcomes that offered lasting value to the organisation they worked for. In doing so, they not only offered their employer lasting value, but they created opportunities for themselves often way beyond their original plan and developed great personal advocates in their peers and clients.
Typically an accurate self-awareness of Career Currency will allow you to make highly informed career decisions. Ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Where are you at and why?
- What are the most pressing considerations for you in your role right now?
- What can be done to enact immediate attention?
- How do I maximise my current career options?
- What are the longer-term implications or possible outcomes?
Loss of direction, purpose and motivation dramatically affects each attribute of our currency and presents some of the greatest dangers in your career. At a time when organisations are more focused than ever on efficiency and cost management, establishing a firm appreciation of your value and career situation has never been so important.
In doing so you are ensuring you understand the opportunities that may exist to enhance your future career prospects. Knowing then how to align your personal efforts with your key business objectives will ensure you are maintaining and growing your currency.
The benefits of establishing a clear and pragmatic view of your currency coupled with a career plan are numerous: ownership; empowerment; clarity; direction; confidence and resilience… and the list goes on!
What’s the value of your currency today?
I would love to hear your thoughts.
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