Little Things Can Add Up to Big Opportunity – Make Them Part of Your Career Development Process

Little Things Can Add Up to Big Opportunity – Make Them Part of Your Career Development Process

Do you have a career development plan? Is it written down? You see, in our business experience, people talk about this much more than they actually do it. Somehow it just gets lost in the shuffle. We hear it all the time. ‘I have too much going on this week – I’ll start that next week’. ‘Maybe I will hold on until I see what the company business plan looks like’. ‘There is just no point to trying to manage my career like that – I’ll just keep doing my job the best I can and keep that as my focus’.

Whether it is procrastination, poor time management, self-delusion, or just neglect, there is a huge gap between what we as business professionals know we should do to be successful and what we actually do.

So that is step one – just being one of the few who actually makes the transition from thought to action on career management will set you apart from many of your peers.

Step two is the process you use to do your career planning. Do you have one? Chances are that if you have been in the business world for a while you have probably been exposed to several approaches to development planning. In this article we won’t go into the specifics of development planning. There are many sources and styles to choose from – it is less about picking the right one and more about just choosing one and getting started.

Step 3 is of course the career development planning process itself. Here you will likely see some delineation along the lines of something like this;

A� Strengths – what to do to keep them at a high level

A� Areas for improvement – where more work is needed

A� Short term goals

A� Long term goals

This format or a similar one is a great beginning and provides the guidelines for your continued growth toward success. However, we find that a gap often exists between this formal plan and your day-to-day activities. We can call these things in the gap ‘the little things’.

It is precisely these ‘little things’ that will add up quickly for you and provide the greatest short term benefits. They really aren’t so ‘little’ after all. And it turns out that they are the easiest things to do! That’s why we wanted to write this short article to remind you not to miss them.

One of our favorite sayings in career development is ‘Do the little things right – every time’. So what are those little things? Most can be broadly categorized as;

A� Working with people – Basic people skills, good listening skills, how to negotiate, influencing, and how to talk to anyone

A� Reputation, image, and perception – Building and maintaining a strong reputation, business ethics, and your work ethic

A� Your daily work life – managing relationships, behavior in the workplace, meetings, working with teams, and managing upward

There are lots of little things but they are easy to excel at if you pay attention to them. More importantly, the cost of missing a few of the little things can add up to big trouble for your career. Make them an important part of your short term development planning.