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Last week, during a discussion, I was asked if I had some good career advice for someone who wanted to quit his job. The following is some of the valuable career advice I have come across over the years I found to be true myself. This advice did not come from one person; in fact, I've even forgotten who it was from. But it was told to me... I am not sure in jest or in seriousness. But I did take this advice, which I know will serve you well. I can promise eventually you'll be measured by what you can contribute to a company. So, here's some career advice that will help you "measure up" and climb the corporate ladder.

1. Think Like A Business Owner

You want to impress your boss? The easiest way is to think like the business owner. Whenever things are not approved or does not work in a certain way in the company, there are usually good reasons for it. It’s just that you do not know them. Do not pass any judgment. Think like the business owner. If you are the business owner and the money is yours... would you do this? Would you make that decision? When you think like the business owner, your loyalty remains with the company.

2. Get Up And Get Going

Wake up in the morning and get going. There is no need to laze or delay. Sure you are human and I am not talking about the hard discipline of being a soldier and be in line when the instructions are called out. Still, you need to know what gets you out of bed in the morning when it is difficult. That’s what motivates you. What motivates you? Do you know?

3. Do The Right Things

Oh, the huge debate on doing things right and doing the right things. Don’t get into such arguments. It’s useless. What’s useful though is being able to practice them and use them to your advantage. Do the right thing when the time calls for it. Be guided by your moral compass, if you feel your ethical standards are suspect, well, put them in check. The higher you climb the more these standards will be called into action.

4. Do Things Right

Each and every system is in place so that there is a smooth flow of work. It ensures productivity, it ensures efficiency. Do it right. It means look into the details that goes in and out of the system. Someone needs to attend to the details. Because details are tedious, lazy people forgo such tasks. If you want to stand out, start doing this.

5. Stay On Track

Stay focused on what you want out of your career and do it well today. What matters is today. Not yesterday, that’s gone and no one bothers. Not tomorrow, because that’s too far away. You will be judged for the work done today. Do well on what needs to be done today and tomorrow will sort itself out. Yesterday, that’s too late to fix. Stay on track.

6. Don’t Worry About 5 Years From Now

Does it mean you do not plan? No, it doesn’t mean that. Don’t let plans that are too far away bother you. Again, what matters is doing well what matters now. Don’t get too agitated with things that aren’t working too well and you have no control over. Go with the flow. In the grander scheme of things, it probably won't even matter five years from now. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Learn how to land a career you love

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.