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FCW : November 30, 2012
November 30, 2012 FCW.COM 23 Look for mission areas likely to maintain or increase in priority during this time of budget uncertainty. Adam Cole Adam Cole, senior director at CEB, works with federal executives on business and workforce strategy in the areas of employee engagement, employment branding and performance management. It is often the case that career advice centers on networking to some extent. Networking for networking s sake is not especially helpful. Of course, connections can come in handy down the road, but you should network with a purpose. Who is aligned with a program you are interested in? Who is a subject-matter expert who could help you improve your technical pro ciency? Purposeful networking has a dual bene t: It increases the transparency of opportunities to an employee, and it should help the employee perform his or her current job better. To take full advantage of opportunities, it is helpful to have a "mobile" mind-set. High-performing employees cannot expect to stay in one place throughout their federal careers and still realize all their ambitions. Go on the offensive: Look for mission areas likely to maintain or increase in priority during this time of budget uncertainty. Be introspective about your interests and how well aligned they are with your current role. Avoid chasing titles, and focus on the experience a role affords. The public sector is still very hierarchical, by and large, and job level is highly coordinated with tenure. But increasingly, it is the person with the great idea, irrespective of the amount or kind of experience they possess, who shapes opportunities. Do not be afraid to speak up, to share your ideas and to solicit ideas from those around you with a common interest or goal. The guidance of superiors is important, but employees should not abdicate responsibility for their own advancement. Rather, employees should pursue performance feedback at every turn to support self-development. They should seek out in uential leaders and subject-matter experts who can expose them to new and interesting projects. And they should participate in any formal programs offered by the agency in areas such as mentoring [and] also training in broadly applicable skills such as business acumen and managerial effectiveness. Be proactive and do not sit back and wait for people to make things happen for you. Sam Davis Sam Davis serves as vice president of the American Management Association's Enterprise Government Solutions division, which provides training and development to agencies such as the Social Security Administration, U.S. Postal Service and Department of Veterans Affairs. The No. 1 scenario to consider is looking at your life and your career through a learning perspective and centering around lifelong learning. Leadership skills and a very clear understanding of what it takes to be a successful leader are going to be paramount for the success of young people coming into the federal workplace. The key components and the behaviors necessary for these individuals to not only be successful but also recognize they themselves need to develop are what we refer to as the four Cs: critical thinking and problem- solving, effective communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation. Over the next few years, we are going to see a turnover in the federal government, and federal agencies are going to bring in a large number of new people. We want to emphasize to young employees the importance of developing leadership skills because they are going to become leaders. They will have an opportunity to progress very quickly in their careers if they do understand these behaviors and put them into practice on a daily basis. Do not take for granted that things are always going to work out. Be proactive and do not sit back and wait for people to make things happen for you. You need to make things happen for yourself. That really centers around being aggressive and trying new, different things. These kinds of behaviors quite candidly get the attention of more senior leaders and hopefully will allow these folks to put themselves in situations that will enhance their careers.
November 15, 2012