3 Career Lessons You can Learn From Hip-Hop Cash King Jay-Z

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Photo: James Devaney / FilmMagic
Photo: James Devaney / FilmMagic

Recently Forbes released its yearly hip-hop cash kings of 2014, and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter took the no. 2 spot (with Sean “Puffy” Combs) by raking in $60 million. His latest album, Roc Nation, a partnership with Dusse Cognac, and mega concerts continues to keep him at the top of this list.

As Jay-Z continues to evolve, and reinvent the game of artistry and business there are some key lessons that we can all take away from the massive amounts of success he has garnered. If you are established in your career, looking to make a career change, or looking to become the next NIKE executive he provides us with a blueprint (no pun intended to his album The Blueprint). Whether or not you are a fan of Jay-Z or his music  – and between “Reasonable Doubt,” and “On The Run Part II” you have to nod your head to the beat of at least one track- there is no denying his ability to transcend cultural barriers and earn. The same thing that has made Jay-Z successful is the same thing that makes so many of our great leaders and people at the top of the careers successful.

Here are 3 key lessons that we can all take away Jay-Z’s career and apply it to our own career success.

1. Market Yourself

How Jay-Z Did It: I remember attending a Brooklyn Nets game, and as soon as you walked into the arena everything became synonymous with Jay-Z. From the new Brooklyn Nets uniforms, to the seats, and even the 40/40 club that is a part of the Barclays Center. Oh and let’s not forget that when the music is played during timeouts, or any other stoppage in play, it is Jay-z you will hear coming through the speakers. In almost every instance you are experiencing something Jay-Z.

What You Can Do: Do the best where you are with what you have. In most cases, it is unlikely that someone will run up to you and say “hey, look at all of the great work you’re doing. Fantastic! Come into my office, I want to offer you this high paying position thats is just right for you.

Be ready to let your boss know when you have done a good job. Forward any positive feedback you have received from clients or customers, and make sure you mention any successful projects. Don’t brag, but tactfully make sure your boss is aware of your accomplishments.

Looking for your next career move? Put together a portfolio or resumé that highlights your successes. Take the time to jot down the leadership positions you have held, awards you have won, and those people within your network that would speak highly of you as references.

In todays career space there is no time to sit back and twiddle your thumbs when it comes to your personal career success. Boss’s, upper management, and employers do not have the time to sit and beg you to talk about the value you bring. Impress them from the beginning and and market your success.

2. Stir Up The Pot

How Jay-Z did it: When Jay-Z took over Def Jam Records in 2005, he noticed that the same business model was being used in a changing musical landscape. Employees were comfortable, with no real incentive to work hard, and he wanted the culture to change. He wanted the people at Def Jam to try new things, take some risks, innovate and compete with one another.

He began to transform the organization after holding a retreat where he told the employees what he wanted, and how hard he expected everyone to work. He didn’t just talk he took action, and employees where intrigued by how hard he worked, and how much he wanted to learn about the business.

What you can do: If you are not in an executive position, or not the boss it can be difficult to lead the changes within an organization. But by coming forward with new and fresh ideas you can grab the attention of your boss and other people in leadership positions.

If you are building relationships with customers everyday you know what can be done to improve the process, and what would make your job more efficient, which would have a positive impact on the bottom line.

Be respectful of the people in a leadership position, but don’t be afraid to be bold. Stirring up the pot with a bold move can be the way to stand out sometimes.

3. Guard Your Reputation

How Jay-Z did it: If you are old enough to remember when Jay-Z had a few run ins with the law, then you know that Jay-Z has evolved into the man he is today. He understand that his brand is his cash cow and that organizations are not going to attach themselves to someone with a up and down reputation. Jay-z in one word is consistent with his messaging.

Jay- Z and his wife Beyonce are music royalty, and even until this day they are very tight lipped about their marriage and any personal information. Unlike others celebrities you hear more about their music, and other business ventures more than anything else.

What you can do: You don;t have to be as closed lipped about your marriage or significant other as Jay-Z, if you don’t want to be, but managing what you allow other people to see outside of work is important. We live in a world where we like to share everything with everybody, but some thing need to remain private moments.

Some professional openly display photos of their thirsty Thursday night out with the crew, or even have personal conversations at the office where others can hear. Don’t let your personal night out, or drama take precedence of the hard work you put in. Your professional reputation is a key factor in pay raises, promotions, and even job cuts. Remember that a reputation takes years to build, but only seconds to destroy.

One Response to 3 Career Lessons You can Learn From Hip-Hop Cash King Jay-Z

  1. Alexandria Williams says:

    Great and simple tips!

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