Getting to success in life has become a new norm for many today. And people started prioritizing their personal life over professional success. According to a Korn Ferry research study from 2022 – thirty-two percent of the people interviewed have turned down an offer for professional growth because it interfered with their life priorities. Korn Ferry calls this a professional fear, but it is much more than that.
Human beings are indeed driven by fear, but in many cases, anxiety can be managed and used as a stimulus to develop ourselves and others and achieve tremendous success. Recently I met a person who was using an interesting technique to manage fear and grow as a professional and leader. This person is a global company CEO, operating in over a hundred markets. His philosophy on how to develop and not stop growing amazed me with its simplicity and, at the same time, efficiency. After a couple of meetings with this CEO, I have extracted the essence of the model he was using to stay on top and not lose sight of the future.
Although the philosophy of development was somehow developed in that person’s personal life, it is an effective strategy to keep yourself motivated, engaged, and efficient at work. I have cultivated it for myself and am offering it to everyone who wants to achieve more in life and work. It can be explained with one acronym – CAR.
But what it means to “drive your CAR” successfully? What can everyone do to better deal with the surrounding environment and plan and execute for future success? CAR stands for three simple things we can do at first sight. Although these three things look simple, they are potent strings for development. So let me show and explain them to you.
C as Competency
We have often heard of competency. This is the level of expertise one possesses to ensure success in work and life. Competencies are essential because they help us form the ground for success. But often in life and work, we do not recognize competencies because they have turned from a goal to something implicit in our behavior. The most powerful way to recognize people’s competency level is to identify the lack of some of it in time. The competency we show at work defines us as professionals. There is a variety of competencies to understand our unique nature. For some people, competency means to be great experts in their work; for others – it is skills connected with leading, influencing, and supporting people on the growth path. To succeed and develop in the right area, we need first to identify the final destination and assess our competencies level. Being competent means, with simple words, going on a path that suits our personality and attitude. Many leaders have gone through expert roles and then turned into leaders. It is a different approach toward leadership, but many see it as successful. Depending on personal attitudes and environmental specifics, a person can choose one way to develop. Still, the goal is to create a higher level of competency in the selected area.
An as Autonomy
Do you remember the last time when you wanted to develop a skill? Were you alone in this, defining your path, or maybe some other people have interfered with the way you have chosen? What was their contribution – just helping when you needed them or defining steps and amount of knowledge? Many of us fail into the trap of being directed by someone else when choosing to develop a specific set of skills or buck of expertise. In the workplace, this is often our boss who tells us how to do things, what they expect from us, the steps toward executing something, etc. Being in that situation is not new for many people. We have manuals, procedures, and instructions that most of us quietly follow. The excuses not to be active are mostly connected with internal standards, established workflows, and many more. But to develop, we need to move outside that zone and do things our way. Authonomy does not mean to do things by the book but to do them in your way, empowered to find your solution, steps, and approach. Authonomy, in that light, means to be exposed to freedom to do things the way you think they have to be done by being supported and not controlled by others.
R as Relationships
We do not work in silos when being at work. We often need to work in a group or interact with others to achieve results. Through the healthiness of our relationships, we can redefine how results are achieved. With more robust and better relationships at work, our results are improving. And the weaker the relationships we build are, the more effort we need to achieve the same results. Relationships are crucial for us because they help us and others grow by interacting with each other. In the complex work environment today, relationships can make or break success. Whenever a person wants to get better at what they do, they have to focus on the level of relationships developed at work and in life. The relationship quality, in that words, can be a crucial element in defining growth.
People nowadays search for magic formulas to get them ahead in life and work. But, with the growing number of people who “build virtual relationships,” the more we do to sustain real ones, the better we can become in what we do and want to achieve. With a unique combination of competency in a specific area, supported by created autonomy for the person and healthy relationships, everyone can ensure better results and sustainable growth for themselves, the team, and the organization.