12 New Rules for Career Success

These 12 rules for career success are tried-and-true principles that can streamline anyone’s success.

Breanna Olaveson Jan 1, 2017

LeeAnne B. Linderman, executive vice president of enterprise retail banking for Zions Bancorporation, frequently speaks to university students about career goals and success. The advice she gives isn’t new. “It was something I read years ago by Barbara Moses titled ‘Career Intelligence: The 12 New Rules for Work and Life Success,’” Linderman says.

“When I read it I thought, ‘This is information that students who are nearing graduation could really benefit from.” What Linderman uncovered years ago still rings true to students and professionals alike. 

1. Ensure Your Marketability. The most successful people aren’t just good at marketing a product — they know how to market themselves. They recognize their skills, understand the market they’re working in, and think of everyone they work for as a client.

2. Think Globally. People who think globally have an advantage. Their opportunities expand, they discover new work and life principles, and they understand the need to be adaptable.

3. Communicate Powerfully. Persuasively and Unconventionally. Today’s world is driven by communication. Those who can do it well streamline their success. They know how to capture attention and keep it by using the right words, writing clearly and being concise.

4. Keep Learning. The most successful people thirst for knowledge, especially when it comes to their industry. “For the first hour of every morning, I’m reading,” Linderman says. “I get up and eat, and then I’m on the iPad reading publications, news feeds — anything. The pace of change is so rapid. I love keeping up with all those trends.”

5. Understand Business Trends. Successful people know how current trends could affect them. Do you recognize trends in your industry? Do you know what new technologies could shape your work? Do you recognize potential threats? If so, you’ll be more successful than those who don’t.

6. Prepare for Areas of Competence. “Business is very fast-paced,” Linderman says. “Jobs that exist today may not exist tomorrow. But new ones will — jobs that we may not be able to imagine today.” It’s more effective, Linderman says, to focus on developing competencies — skills that are transferable among a wide range of possible jobs. People who are strong team leaders, who are adept at effective conflict management and who can motivate teams to higher levels of performance, for example, are situated to be successful in a variety of jobs.

7. Look to the Future. Successful people live in the present but look to the future. They monitor trends and keep up on current events and projections.

8. Build Financial Independence. Financial independence gives people options. People who save money not only enjoy the benefits of living well but also allow themselves flexibility in the future. For example, they can take a new job that pays less but offers more experiences to build competencies.

9. Think Lattice, Not Ladders. Everyone’s heard the maxim “climbing the corporate ladder.” It brings to mind the image of a person who succeeds by progressing from level to level within a company. But this idea, Linderman says, is shortsighted and outdated. “We should all be looking for opportunities to learn new skills and to take on special projects that give experience and build competencies,” she says. “I like the visual of a lattice instead of a ladder, because a lattice zigzags.”

10. Be a Generalist With a Specialty or a Specialist Who’s a Generalist. Specialists know how to operate in high-pressure environments. Generalists have skills that are easily transferable, like organization and time management. Successful people see the benefits of both skill sets.

11. Be a Ruthless Time Manager. Time is a precious commodity. People who manage their time well get more done in less time and work strategically to reach their goals. Evaluate your time commitments and know your limits.

12. Be Kind to Yourself. When working toward success, it’s especially important to be kind to yourself and to avoid burnout. Set realistic expectations and celebrate your successes.

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