In the Star Trek series, all characters had to ask Mr. Scott to beam them up. And while that is an excellent strategy for leaving a hostile planet - it is not a great one for your career. You should not be relying on others to control your power and destiny. Instead, you should engineer it yourself.
To do this effectively, you need to understand your own strengths, opportunities, and how you are different than the “competition.” You should address any weaknesses BUT spend most of your time leveraging your strengths. That is why people hire and promote you. This is true whether you are inside counsel looking to advance or a law firm attorney building a book of business.
To assess yourself, you should take the following steps.
- Analyze your performance reviews
- Write down the feedback you have received in the past
- Ask clients, business partners, peers, mentors for feedback
If you decide to reach out to people to understand what makes you unique, you will get some great information.
Here are some potential questions you can ask:
- What makes me unique or what is my superpower (something you do better than others)?
- What is different about the way I work or my results?
- What are you passionate about in terms of work? What types of matters excite you? (i.e., “I have always loved solving puzzles and putting together…”)
- What are you known for within your organization? (i.e., most knowledgeable on employment issues facing universities such as harassment)
- What do others say about me when I am not in the room?
- What should I continue doing?
- What should I start and stop doing?
Once you have all of this information and look for patterns, and while you need to understand deficiencies, it is more critical that you understand and leverage what you do better than others.
Understand the Competition
You may be wondering why you need to understand the competition if this is about you being the best you. And it is --- but if the competition seems to have the same “strengths” and is positioning them the way you were thinking of – is that the best way to stand out?
Here are three ways to understand the competition:
- Review their LinkedIn Profile and Bios
- Google them
- Ask trusted advisors who know them
You are doing this research not to become a faint copy of your competition. Instead, you want to put out the authentic version of you that sets you apart. Seeing what the competition has presented themselves may push you to embrace more of your unique attributes.
Develop Your Brand and Brand Channels
Using the information you have found out, your next step is to develop your own unique brand channels and leverage the brand channels (such as career documents, storytelling, speaking, and writing). In past blogs on brand and brand channels, you find information to help you best position yourself.
If you invest the time in this work, you will not be like the characters on Star Trek asking Mr. Scott for more power because you will be your own power source.
Want to learn more about how to become the in-house leader you are meant to be?
Check out Sheila's 10 Tips for In-House Counsel Struggling to Advance.
In this guide, Sheila shares her time-tested tips for in-house counsel to release fear, jump-start your career, and propel towards promotion.