Five Powerful Steps to Enhance Your Competitive Edge and Accelerate Your Career Progression
Taking the time to enhance your competitive edge can be one of the most important and worthwhile things you can do for your professional career. The truth is, few people actually take the time to think and strategize on how to differentiate themselves and increase their value. Instead, they let their career play out by passive default and are surprised when they are not where they want to be. Today is the day to take action towards optimizing your competitive edge and proactively design your future.
Here are some practical steps, to help you start the journey of enhancing your competitive edge today:
Step 1: Understand of the Rules for Success in your Current Environment:
A trusted mentor continuously tells us that achieving professional success is “not A game, it is THE game - so you need to learn the rules to win”. Understanding what is required to be successful in your current work environment is essential to building the foundation for your competitive edge.
Interestingly, it’s not always the strongest or most intelligent people in corporations that receive new opportunities and promotions. It's often the individuals that are most adaptable to change that will survive and thrive; the people who know who they are, what they want and how they will get what they want; the people that know their value and are positioning themselves to solve the most important and urgent problems; the people with the right relationships and visibility; the people that make their ambitions known; the people that align to the unwritten organizational culture; the people that the leadership team know and like; and the people that grow and learn faster than their peers.
Taking time to understand your current environment will help you identify how to position yourself for success.
Step 2: Get Clear on your Purpose, Values, Passions and Goals
In general, individuals tend to be more focused, engaged and productive when they set goals. Setting goals that align to your purpose, values and passions, increases your level of energy and enjoyment, thereby improving the likelihood of you executing on and achieving that goal.
Dr. Gail Matthews found that individuals are 42% more likely to achieve their goals if they write them down. But surprisingly only 3% of adults have written goals. According to Mac McCormick, these 3% make up the most successful and highest-paid people in every field, earning on average ten times as much in the same period of time as those people with no written goals at all.
Setting clear goals that align to your purpose, values and passions is key to getting what you want, staying focused, and positioning yourself for success.
Step 3: Establish an Authentic, Intentional and Consistent Personal Brand
Similar to a company, product or service, individuals also have a brand, which we refer to as your personal brand. A personal brand is the way others think, feel and experience you. Others form a perception of you based on a combination of what you have accomplished, how you behave, what you look like and who you are associated with.
Whether we want to or not, we all have a personal brand and the opportunity to use it to our advantage to further our mission. By being intentional about your personal brand, you can decide how you will present yourself to your target audience and gain some control of what others think, feel and say about you when you are not in the room. Why does this matter? Because it helps to amplify what you stand for, open doors to new opportunities and make a greater impact.
Being intentional about establishing your personal brand that is unique to you is an essential step to competitively positioning yourself for success and influencing the future of your career.
Step 4: Leverage Self-Marketing Strategies and Tools
Similar to a company spending money to market a product or service to attract new customers, you must implement marketing strategies to communicate your desired personal brand. In business, visibility is opportunity, so it is important to leverage self-marketing strategies to gain exposure.
Providing valuable insights and staying relevant to individuals you must influence to succeed is essential. To do this, you need to get to know your target audience better than anyone else – What is important to them? What do they value? What keeps them up at night? Clearly understand their problems and offer a solution.
Self-marketing can be done online or in-person and through partnerships via knowledge sharing activities. Check out the list below for inspiration:
● Write blogs, articles or white papers on the topic with new or different perspectives
● Share up to date and relevant information and evidence on the topic (publications, events, etc.)
● Present at meetings, lunch and learns, conferences
● Attend networking events and communicate with a strong elevator pitch
Step 5: Adopt High Performing Habits
In working through the steps above, you have already started practicing a high-performance habit by defining and positioning your competitive edge - but the work doesn’t stop there. Sustaining and evolving your competitive edge is crucial to maintaining your career progression. An effective way to continue on the path to success is through the adoption of high performing habits.
The key is to remain clear on who you are, what you want, and how you’ll get what you want, regardless of how that evolves over time. Your focus should always be on doing less but achieving more. Increase your productivity by getting ruthless in the prioritization of your focus and goals.
Life is short, and we only have a limited amount of time to leave our mark. Do you want to intentionally design your future or let it play out through passive default? The choice is yours. Follow the five steps above to see if you experience growth in your career by enhancing your competitive edge. The time you invest in enhancing your competitive edge will set you apart and bring you closer to actualizing your career potential and living a legacy you can be proud of.
Learn more about our Make Your Splash Program, that dives deeper into each step, by visiting www.splashstrategy.com.