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It’s always tough to give advice on career success factors because there isn’t really a set of formula you can follow that guarantees it. A combination of various factors - in the right context and with the right character - will give your career a boost.


5 Simple Career Success Factors

For senior executives, these five career success factors will probably work more as a reminder. For career newbies, these factors will be your guide to a career boost (especially if you are in your first year of work). Practice these often and you will see the results:

1. Do Things Now

Do things NOW! Never procrastinate. Nothing irks a manager more than a newbie at work that is already showing signs of lazing or taking short cuts. Attack your work immediately. Have a plan of attack to the work that is assigned to you. Also, without procrastinating you can finish your work much earlier. This allows you to be assigned more work. As the trust with your supervisor increases, he/she will assign you more and more important work. Make a decision now to put in place a plan for this career success factor.

2. Know Your Next Steps

Never leave a meeting without clear next steps that you are required to complete. A date of when the work is expected to be completed by you is part of this next step. This also applies to your discussion with your supervisor. Always seek to clarify what’s needed from your end before you leave the discussion. If you are lucky enough to be chairing any meetings or are a project leader, remember that listing the set of next steps or action plan is your responsibility. When you have clear next steps; who and when the task should be completed, you become productive. You get a career boost when you are productive. It is one of the easiest career success factors to practice.

3. Notice

No, I do not mean giving notice. Notice here means being a keen observer of things around you and people. Now, it doesn't mean being nosy and to start gossiping. Every office has their dynamics. Do not be pulled into the politics that can hurt your career at an early stage. Notice here means to observe and to take note of things. When you notice things you become more careful. You also become better at knowing how things work in the office. You will blend in better. Notice and learn what are the norms of the industry, the ethics and the legalities. Notice the corporate culture and who is in charge. Sometimes those truly in power are those who can influence the bosses.

4. Be Nice

Among all the career success factors, this is probably one that is the easiest to do. Being nice doesn’t mean you go around volunteering to make coffee for your colleagues. It can mean very simple and sincere greetings of “Good Morning.” It can also be a pleasant smile. You need to be mindful to do this in order to transfer it to your colleagues. Ever noticed some people smile and greet for the sake of doing it? You can’t really feel that they mean it? All else being equal, being genuinely sincere and nice can give you a career boost. One sub point I would add to this is to be neat. This means being organized, clean and orderly. As a freshie with these efficient behaviors, you become nice to work with, as you are productive.

5. Network

Sure, you are new to the industry. There are very few people you know. But that should not stop you from finding out where people hang out and when. Start with your colleagues first. Where do they go for lunch? To network at a smaller scale is to get your face recognized. Then you can work on getting your name known. There is a caveat to this, while networking is one of the important career success factors - make sure you deliver good work. All the networking cannot give you a career boost if you do not deliver good work. These career success factors work well for career newbies and can give you a career boost. But remember to seek to do great work first before thinking about how you can boost your career.

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Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.


All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.

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