It’s now completely normal to talk about company culture but we’re still quite a long way from understanding and harnessing the power of culture when it comes to our careers.
Strange really, because in many ways personal culture is more powerful and more tangible than organisational culture. Unlike corporate cultures, our personal career culture will never be ‘Under New Management’ or subject to hostile takeovers or less-than-credible 180º turns.
Here are 5 simple ways to start exploring and identifying your unique career culture. 5 ways to help you question, then effectively communicate the culture behind who you are and what you do.
1. Re-read Your Job Description
- Remember all those bullet-points you memorised ahead of your interview? Take another look and ask yourself how many of those bullets actually describe what you do?
- If you find any duties or responsibilities that aren’t 100% accurate, write some bullets of your own. Knowing what you do is the first step towards understanding and appreciating your unique career culture
2. Analyse Good Outcomes
- Think about a recent outcome you were pleased with… How did you achieve this result? What pleased you most? How would you describe your working style? (methodical, determined, innovative, collaborative)
- Compare your achievement of this result with your experience of colleagues & friends. Do you work the same way? What do you do differently? Where do your strengths lie? The clues to your career culture are always there in your work. All you have to do is know where to look
3. Identify Your Values
- Think of your values as the collection of principles and beliefs that are most important to you. From treating people with respect, to going the extra mile, to getting the job done (and done well!), your values are the rock-solid foundations for your career culture
- Your values are always there, always positive and they are waiting to be explored. Ask yourself What is important to me? Why are these things important? How do they influence my attitude & the way I behave? Once again the evidence is all there in your experience and the way you like to work
4. Think Differently About Talent
- Let’s not be coy, you are multi, multi-talented and it’s not arrogant to say so. Many of your talents are also unique to you, they are therefore key elements of your personal career culture
- To learn more about your talents, ask yourself… What am I good at? What do other people say I’m good at? What little things do I do without thinking, making them look easy? Chances are they don’t come easy to everyone, they utilise talents you have earned
5. Know What Keeps You Going
- When it’s cold, raining and the last thing you want to do is go to work, what gets you out of bed? In addition to the obvious answers, there’s usually a deep down goal or two that uniquely motivates you
- Goals are central to your career culture. The more you know about the goals that move you, the easier they are to talk about, the easier people find it to understand you and appreciate you for who you are
Next time you read an article about culture. Next time you’re sitting in a meeting, listening to someone talk about the importance of culture. Think about what they are saying and why all the same culture-led advantages, strengths, values, talents and goals also apply to you. No single company, person or country has a monopoly on culture. Culture is there for us all to appreciate, learn from and understand. To put it another way, your career culture is you!
Yes, You and Your Career Culture Are Absolutely Unique
[Image courtesy of Rupert Ganzer]
This article was co-authored by Hazel Oatey and Paul Diamond. Hazel is a Professional Development Consultant, who specialises in personal growth. Paul is a Career Development Coach and the author of The Career Explorer’s Journal. To explore more questions about your unique relationship with work, download The Career Explorer’s Journal today!
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