Three Key Principles of the Blitz Approach

We saw it this week: the economy hiccups, companies restructure and employees scatter in search of shelter and protection for the career they’ve fought so hard to build.

In times like these, many are faced with difficult decisions.  Should I stay with my company or seek another position in another company?  Should I go back to school to learn new skills and ride out the wave?  These are not easy questions to answer.  Mostly because they imply considerable additional effort to maintain the success already obtained or in hopes of obtaining some advantage in the future.  Rather than fall victim to change, success comes faster when you are braced for any organizational turbulence, whether it’s a simple restructuring, buyout, merger or foreclosure.

If you want to be successful in today’s dynamic corporate landscape, you’ll need a well-planned approach to navigating the streets of corporate change.  Your journey on the road to success begins with the three keys of the Blitz Approach; that is, managing perception, developing a real strategy and building a team.

The first key is the mastery of perception, or an advanced form of tooting your own horn.  Too many employees rely on their reputation to be the prime mover for their success in the company.  More than ever, employees work hard and accomplish great things but act as if someone in a position of authority will notice them and automatically record their performance in the company’s notebook of outstanding performers.  After enough points have been earned, the company will reciprocate with a raise, promotion or other recognition for their exceptional contributions.

Organizational leaders are busy trying to understand how to respond to market and industry dynamics, so they don’t effectively measure an employee’s value, if at all.  These responsibilities fall on the employee.  If you want upper level managers to know that you are doing great things and they should keep you by their side, YOU have to communicate that value to them.  Defining the value you should communicate is accomplished by highlighting those characteristics the managers deem important, which can be found through observation.  If you combine this key with a team-based approach, you can add considerable horsepower to your reputation.

The second key to increased success is the creation of a strategy map.  While the future is an unknown to all of us, it’s useful to have an idea where you want to go.  Most of us don’t travel to a strange city without a map, general directions or a GPS, unless you don’t mind being lost.  The life of your career in any organization is no different.  One day opportunity is here, the next day it’s gone.  By charting your desired course, you identify the potential twists and turns, roadblocks and speed bumps on the road to your ultimate goal.  Many times these are new skills that you need to develop, influential people that you should network with or worthy individuals on your team.  Getting it down on paper locks it into your subconscious, which will always be on the alert for any opportunities that get you closer to your goals.

The third key is teamwork.  It is approaching your career from a team perspective; that is, I help you and you help me.  Most of us feel that it is our own efforts that get us recognized and rewarded.  That’s assuming someone sees them.  However, consider the impressions you could make if you had a team of individuals paving the way to your advancement and the marketing of YOU.  Imagine having others help you identify the obstacles, accomplish tasks, build new skills and identify the impressions managers hold of you.  This information would certainly add detail to your career map.  It’s frustrating to spend a lot of time and effort trying to impress a manager that doesn’t know you or you have little interaction with.  This is where the team benefits really pay off.  You’ll gain access to their network and perspectives on your career development that could save a lot of energy.  For those in the highly political arena, your team will serve as a force against unfair practices that unfortunately thrive in these organizations.

While each key is useful, in and of itself, it’s the combination that will open the doors of opportunity.  A team-based approach provides sufficient direction and motivation to get you to your desired destination. As your team engages in regular meetings, you will optimize your approach by adding more detail to your map and reducing resistance to your efforts by improving how others see you.  Then, as you gain success, your team will increase synergy and grow in efficiency and effectiveness.  Improvements made to any key will improve the other keys, resulting in a self-sustaining, self-motivating path to getting what you want from your career.

Todd Rhoad is the author of Blitz The Ladder.  He is the managing director of BT Consulting, an Atlanta-based career coaching and consulting firm.