Best Career Advice: Fires and Followup

In Forbes, Kristi Hedges shares her top-ten tips in “Executive Coach Reveals Best Career Advice Ever

By chance her first two tips are very relevant to executives with ADD.

Fortunately, our ADD makes first tip very easy for us to start:

1. If you see a fire, run into it.

…in chaos, there is opportunity. Most major career accelerations happen when someone steps into a mess and makes a difference. In the technology sector, people will remark that one year in a start-up is like five years in an established company. There’s ample opportunity to stretch your wings, wear many hats, and create a name for yourself when there’s not a set plan to follow. You can find the same opportunity in any organization, if you seek it.

Remember that you also need to create a good name for yourself. Run into the fire then do something useful.

Hedges’ second tip, alas, is a lot harder for people with ADD:

2. Follow up.

If, as Woody Allen made famous, 80% of life is showing up — then 90% of career success is following up. Our organizations are rife with lack of accountability, whether by intention or incompetence. Be the person who meets deadlines, holds others accountable, and heck, even remembers to say thanks when it’s due. Following through on your commitments is trust-building, and the opposite erodes it quickly and indelibly.

The good news is that we can learn to follow-up. That we can build systems (and use other staff) to help us do this “90%” success factor. It’s hard (and it requires us to make choices on how much we take on, as we learn to budget how much time it takes to do things completely). And we can do it.

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Want to read Hedges’ other eight tips? Check them out here.