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U Is For Unity

“There is more power in unity than division.” ~Emanuel Cleaver, United Methodist pastor, American politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives

According to Dictionary.com, unity means “the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification.” I take that to mean that we can accomplish more as a unified group versus individuals doing our own thing. Who is your group, your tribe, your board of directors, your advocates who assist and advise you – not only with your work but also with your personal life? Do they know you as well as you know yourself?

When I conduct career coaching workshops, I tell my clients that they should not be the only ones conducting their job search. It is a lot of work so why do it alone? Instead all of you should enlist the help of others to not only give ideas and suggestions on where to send your resume or which companies to contact but they should also be marketing for you. Yes, I said marketing! These advocates of yours should not only distribute your resume to others but they should also contact others by phone to tell them how great you are. This is especially important for those job seekers who are considering a new industry, function, or career. Human resources people and/or hiring managers get many inquiries so they tend to hire the same types of people they had before. In order to break into that inner circle, you need people who can sell you – almost as if you are a product on a shelf. They need to describe your “product offerings” and explain in detail why you would be a true asset to the company even though you don’t fit their typical mold (i.e. you don’t have the required schooling or experience).

What if you are not looking for a job but instead looking to advance within your own organization? You still need advocates! Their roles in this case are to steer you in front of decision makers/leaders so you get the visibility you need. They can do this by assigning you to special projects, recommending you to work on matrixed teams so you interact with other departments, and/or creating opportunities for you to make presentations to senior management.

If you are an entrepreneur, advocates are essential to growing your business. Advertising can only go so far in promoting your product or service. Most people rely on recommendations from friends and family so advocates play a key role in introducing your business into circles of people you may have never had access to. They also can comment on your integrity and your work ethic that clients and customers can’t always experience early on so that builds instant brand loyalty quickly.

Regardless of how your unified group works for you, it is always advantageous to have such trusted advisors that you can rely on. If you don’t think you have such a group, start by being an advocate for someone else and learn what works for them. From there, approach others to assist you. You should have your advocates be from different industries, functions, etc. but definitely they must have different mindsets so they can give you differing opinions which will be invaluable for you in the long run.

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