Bernard Bell, senior vice president for TV One, insists that he knows there is no mystery to business success. “The secret is that there is no secret,” he declares. The cable media executive contends that one’s ability to excel in business is a mix of understanding your company’s culture, knowing the importance of networking, and connecting with the right mentors to guide you and point you in the right direction. He also knows that there is no substitute for working hard or for being productive and responsible for outcomes.
Bell says that the book The Obvious: All You Need To Know in Business. Period. by James Dale (Hyperion; $17.95) echoes his sentiments on productivity and highlights more than a dozen fundamental business principles. He adds that this short, easy read is an overachiever’s manual to attaining success in any position. Dale applies these timeless truths for working more effectively:
Work is a verb. Seek out the challenges and tackle them. Volunteer for difficult assignments that address business needs.
Less is more. Minimize paperwork, conduct fewer meetings, and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy to enhance productivity.
Imagine you work for yourself. Identify ways to take ownership of your work. Take the initiative for solving problems, capitalize on opportunities, and pursue techniques for working faster, smarter, and cheaper.
Creating your personal succession plan
According to the Society for Human Resource Management 2006 Succession Planning Survey Report, more than 58% of companies surveyed use succession plans, which are career road maps for employees preparing to transition into higher-level positions.
“A succession plan is a great tool for moving professionals up the corporate ladder,” says Adrienne Graham, president of Hues Consulting & Management Inc., an Atlanta-based recruitment, consulting, and career management firm. “Unfortunately, too often these plans don’t represent the diversity of the general employee population, and minorities are either not included or not invited to participate in the preparation process.”
Graham maintains, however, that career advancement is a professional’s individual responsibility.
She offers this four-step process for creating a personal plan to fast-track your career:
Plan Ask yourself where you want to be in your career two, five, and 10 years from now. Picture yourself in those positions. Research industry trends to figure out what the expectations for those positions will be by the time you reach your goal. Consult with mentors as well as industry experts for advice.
Assess Conduct a gap analysis by comparing your current skills, experience, education, and contacts with those required for the job you want.
Improve Take the actions you identified in Step 2 and work to gain the experience and training necessary to move you to the next stages.
Evaluate Review your progress every three to six months and measure your results. Adjust your efforts as necessary.
A woman’s advantage
Although the medical practice she managed was already thriving, Cheryl Dorsey knew that strengthening her management skills would only benefit her company and help her work environment continue to grow and develop successfully.
“Leadership development is a crucial aspect of any well-run business,” says Dorsey, practice administrator for the Boston University Plastic Surgery