Every week, we'll be sharing brilliant insights from our conference and podcast guests. From CEOs and senior leaders, to upcoming new talent and inspirational trailblazers, we'll be unlocking their wisdom on our blog.
This week, we're sharing thoughts from Mike Sherman: Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer for BT. Mike talked all about the importance of our voices in our careers - how establishing it and positively using it to manoeuvre through life can put us in positions to showcase your excellence and achieve where others didn't think possible.
Our voices are instruments which can put us on a good path or a negative path depending on how we choose to use them. When we navigate through our careers, we can definitely have a tendency to take on the voices of the people around us.
Mike Sherman is a strong advocate of blocking out the negative voices around us. There are more doors open than there are closed and there are always people that are going to judge us, that will try and figure out reasons why we can’t achieve, but these aren’t things that we should be listening to.
When it comes to establishing our voices for excellence, we need to walk on a path where we are able to be open about what we have gone through, as this is what we can use to be the best examples to others. Essentially, by making the most of our careers, we can best help others to navigate through theirs also.
When it comes to walking on our unique paths, these were things that Mike talks about based on his own experiences that helped him establish his voice as he advanced up the ladder in his own career and achieve unparalleled successes.
Take risks early in your career - As you get older you have more responsibilities and thus you’ll have more voices in your own head which will tell you why you shouldn’t do certain things - “you can’t do that start up”, “how are you going to get money?”, “how are you going to pay the bills?”. Life can get in the way so taking those risks early when there are less burdens can prove beneficial for you. Even the mistakes that you can make are important for learning the lessons needed to teach people that come after you in your career and lessons that you need to make the right decision in your own career.
Establish the type of excellence you want to be known for - When you do so, you will be able to ensure that the right people talk about you in ways that you want to be referred to and the brand that you create through excellence can then be used to open doors for yourself down the line.
Reflect on your failures - As a leader, you have to reflect on those things which did not pan out. What did you try? What worked and what didn't work? What could you do better for the next time? You might not fail massively, but you might have micro failures on your path to success. Reflecting on what key things you've learnt will prove essentially for honing your voice as it's only by seeing all the avenues that didn't work, will you be able to see what does work for you.
Don’t be afraid to speak up - Mike experienced a situation where he felt like he was compelled to speak up to a colleague who used a racial slur when talking about Obama to him. Mike realised that by not speaking up then and there, not only did he not feel right about it in his own heart, but the colleagues that were sitting with him were white and would get the wrong idea from him not speaking up about the situation. Many of us might have or will be in similar situations in our careers also and for all of us, we have a responsibility to speak up in the moment and correct people where we feel they are wrong because we all have a duty to ourselves, to be true to ourselves, no matter what level we are in our careers.
You can watch the full talk with Mike Sherman here:
Writer: Tonte Bo Douglas