Watching the Australian dollar bounce around on the financial market this week has provided lots of media commentary about market volatility, changing global pressures, key influences and currency trends.
It ‘s also provided me with a lot of thinking around the importance of 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 new 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 – be it internally with your current employer or externally with a new one.
Establishing a genuine level of awareness and ownership over you 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
- Relationship 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 your 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 ‘top person’ but whose performance let them and others down.
Failing to develop all four areas is like sitting on a three-legged chair – you are out of balance; you feel difficult and uncomfortable and the risk of falling is high. Without balance, both our currency and our opportunity is subject to volatility and instability as 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 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 Career 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 the value of your career currency.