Results and Relationships Lead to Career Growth
Many factors contribute to career development, but two stand out as pillars for success—results and relationships.
Results are the primary driver of career success. Without the ability to consistently meet or exceed objectives your career will stall. Results are measured not only on the specific tasks accomplished or goals achieved, but also on the quality and delivery of the work.
It’s important to tie results into organizational objectives so that they are visible to others and connected back to your team or you, either through sharing on your own, by team updates or through other venues such as quarterly highlight meetings.
Sharing is not about grandstanding over what you or your team accomplished—and it’s never about being boastful. It’s about touching base frequently with others to socialize work and to get insights from key stakeholders as you progress work forward. This allows you to proactively gain additional perspectives into your work outcomes and enlist advocates as you incorporate their feedback into the final product. This approach is important for anyone working across organizational boundaries and especially critical for remote workers as it ensures a better outcome despite not being co-located with others. The results will speak for themselves; you and your team will get appropriate credit.
Results are tangible and in most organizations are frequently the key factor in propelling careers forward. Relationships, on the other hand, are more intangible but often become more important as a person advances into leadership roles.
Relationships often are the differentiating factor of career success among those who consistently deliver positive results. This is not about being political at work. It’s about establishing and building positive relationships with work colleagues, customers, leaders and others in your organization or industry.
Relationships require two-way communication. Intentional and frequent communication also allows the opportunity for more feedback or insights from your manager, key stakeholders or mentors. This, in turn, allows your work outcomes to be more aligned to larger objectives. As others you communicate with become aware of what you or your group is doing and the status of key projects, they may even become advocates and extend their influence where it can help achieve organizational goals.
People with outstanding relationship skills often use intentional operating mechanisms to stay connected and employ a communication plan tied to the purpose of moving things forward and keeping others informed. Leaders, mentors and others predictably accept the scheduled meetings or impromptu calls with these outstanding communicators as they usually find out useful information or get status updates they may not hear from others. They are asked for their perspectives or insights, allowing them to shape outcomes along the way.
I queried a leader who has built a successful career while also working remotely, on how she stays connected to so many people. She informed me she has a calendar that tracks who she meets with, how frequently, the purpose of the meeting, etc. She also believes in connecting with people on a personal level—inquiring about their lives, families, vacations, or things she knows are important to them. She readily compliments the work of others and gives credit where deserved and has learned that establishing these personal connections builds and facilitates trust—something she acknowledges is harder to do virtually versus in person, so she has been intentional about it.
Successful relationship builders that deliver results value mentors, build advocates and gain sponsors while they also develop their unique brand and broaden their network. They become magnets for high-profile projects and are often nominated for further leadership roles in the organization, get recruited by former colleagues who have moved to other organizations or get referred to external executive recruiters who ask others in their network about potential candidates for an open role. In effect, they often get pulled into new opportunities based on their past success, relationships and the network they have built.
Executive coaches are often hired to help successful results-oriented leaders who struggle with how work gets accomplished with others or want to improve their organizational effectiveness by developing better communications and relationship skills. The good news is that these behaviors and skills can be learned and mastered by those willing to be coached and try new methods of working with others. This not only allows for career growth, it promotes better relationships both in and outside of work as the new behaviors apply in other aspects of life.
How can executive coaching help you build stronger relationships, communicate more effectively and have more career success?
Lance Hazzard, CPCC, ACC, is a certified Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach helping people and organizations successfully achieve what’s next. He is Executive Coach and President at Oppnå® Executive & Achievement Coaching. Find out more about Lance and Oppnå® Coaching at oppnacoaching.com