There were two farmers who would pray for rain daily. One farmer would finish his prayer, then go back inside his home for the rest of the day waiting for the rain to arrive. The second farmer would finish his prayer, go out to the barn to set up the plow, then till the fields, and check the bags of seeds, fertilizer, etc. Which of these two farmers would be prepared to receive the rain?

Blog Post While Your Coworkers Quiet Quit

Prepare Your Field for Rain

The term “Quiet Quitting” is getting a lot of attention right now at the time of this article’s writing. While the people around you are doing less, you have an opportunity to do something different that will prepare you for the next level of your career.

The key to career growth is not only setting goals but also having the right behavior competencies and taking on stretch assignments. As you move up the ladder, you will need to develop these skills in order to be successful continuously. Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself for the next level in your career.

What Are Things You Can Do to Prepare for Rain?

Create one-year and two-year goals

What impact do you want to make in the next year that benefits both you and the company? What are your long-term career goals? Be clear about what you want and go after it with intention.

Having clear and written goals that you and your manager agree upon makes the annual performance review process a breeze, a genuine, and useful check-in. It is even better if you can partner with your manager to check in on a monthly or quarterly basis to discuss the progress of these goals.

Don’t wait for your manager to take the initiative on this. Draft some goals, and request a meeting to discuss the idea. Your idea to have a goal that has a strategic impact on the company may inspire your leader to do the same for everyone else.

Dress for the job you want not the one you have

A few years ago, I heard the phrase, “Dress for the job you want and not the job you have,” so I tried it for six months to see what would happen. I noticed all the male leaders above me wore a jacket and pressed shirts while I was wearing a shirt and tie or just a button-up shirt. I ditched the tie and put on a jacket instead.

Did this make me better at my job? Not. At. All. It had two profound effects I was not expecting though.

First, I felt more confident when meeting with leaders. Changing nothing else in my communication style and keeping the same high-level quality of work, I felt like I belonged when I met with senior leaders.

Second, senior leaders spoke to me differently. Their demeanor shifted from Jerry-the-worker to Jerry-the-colleague. They thought I belonged in their circle, too! The really weird part was that my coworkers who knew I had not been promoted started talking to me like I was a supervisor! (So, there were times I needed to take the jacket off as well.)

I was promoted to a manager role within six months of starting that experiment.

Grow in the competencies of the next level up

Do a self-check on your current behavior competencies and identify the areas you need to work on. Are there any leadership development programs or seminars that can help you close the gap?

If you are not in a leadership role and desire one, learn what the competencies for leadership are in your company or in general and begin practicing those behaviors. Great resources to get your started include the following:

Many years ago, I asked my Director during an annual performance review what I could do to demonstrate my leadership capability to the organization. This was before the jacket experiment, and maybe the better reason for my promotion to manager following the jacket experiment. She shared with me the competencies list for our managers and directors and asked which of these competencies I would like to work on.

I chose “Communication” because I had noticed that even though I presented ideas that would benefit the organization, there was something in my style that triggered resistance even when I was presenting the very thing leaders and clients asked for. We used the Korn-Ferry model and I was given a copy of the For Your Improvement book listed above for examples of how to improve. There was a noticeable improvement in gaining buy-in on projects and I was soon leading group projects throughout the organization. Okay, maybe the jacket thing was not the thing that got me promoted.

Ask for an assignment that will stretch you out of your comfort zone

These are assignments that are outside of your comfort zone and will help you develop new skills. They may be challenging, but they are also opportunities for growth. What stretch assignments can you take on in the next year to prepare for the next level in your career?

Conclusion

Take the time to develop yourself and grow your career. By setting goals, upskilling your behavior competencies, and taking on stretch assignments, you will be well on your way to success. Which of the above tips will you apply to advance your career?

Resources

Here are some additional posts and podcast episodes that relate to this article.

Prepare Your Fields for Rain to Advance Your Career BtR 328 – The interview that inspired this article

How to Advance Your Career with ROI – BtR 327

Boost Your Career with the Reading Habit of Successful People – BtR 269

While Your Coworkers Are Quiet Quitting Do This Instead