Thursday, 8 September 2016

24 Fundamental Principles to help you Stay Ahead!

Perhaps the strongest trait that I have carried with me throughout my professional journey is having a ‘Fresh pair of eyes.’ 

When I sought to move from an Embassy job to the hotel industry, Hyatt International took a chance with me, bringing a rank outsider into a team of experienced hoteliers. What helped was my deep sense of curiosity about everything around me, which translated into an eagerness to learn the ropes of a new trade, and to acquire the skills needed for me to ‘give my best shot’  in terms of the defined KRAs.

What is fascinating about a hospitality job - particularly roles in Sales, PR, Banqueting, F&B - is that it turns you into a first-rate multi-tasker. In a PR person’s day for instance, one might be doing multiple things: addressing a press briefing in the morning; working on a newsletter or advertising campaign; helping to organise a food festival; thrashing out the details of a marketing strategy with colleagues from Sales; hosting a Lifestyle Editor for lunch; organising a couple of press one-on-ones in the late afternoon; catching a quick drink with a hotel guest in the evening; and then getting ready to present a hotel event in the late hours. 

It is a chequered palate, and you must be able to handle all of these elements dexterously and with aplomb. A tall order indeed – but one that keeps you involved and highly satisfied at the end of the day.

Having enjoyed every moment of a breathtaking, 22-year-long roller-coaster ride thus far, I have picked up certain insights along the way on what it takes to keep things going, no matter what you do or where you work.

These rules have stood me in good stead at Indian and MNC companies alike, and have been further refined while interacting with a multicultural, multi-ethnic and multinational workforce.

Here, then, are 24 Fundamental Principles to help you stay ahead of the game, in no order of priority -

  1. Be virtuous and sincere: High levels of honesty, integrity and transparency go a long way – a very long way – in your career. Uphold these virtues, no matter what. 
  1. Be accessible: With technology in your palm and at your fingertips, there is really no excuse. Be there when people seek information. 
  1. Be reliable: You owe this not only to others, but also to the identity you have carved for yourself, and to the brand you represent. 
  1. Be source of rich information/ generate new ideas: Nurture the media, the industry and the young minds. Be nurtured by their exposure to a wide range of issues, and develop a winsome two-way information and knowledge-sharing street. 
  1. Be proactive: Give complete information, both to internal and external publics. Walk that extra mile to tailor-make it, and go beyond the brief. 
  1. Be respectful: After all, today's cub reporter will be tomorrow's editor, and today’s management trainee tomorrow’s CEO. 
  1. Be Punctual: Adhere to timelines, however acute they may be. This may be the single most important reason that keeps you ahead, and your competition behind. 
  1. Be genuinely friendly and not falsely flattering: Believe me when I say that people can see through the sham. 
  1. Be professional: Would you like to be any other way? 
  1. Be keenly interested:  In people, in issues, in the news, in your job. The six inquisitive men are your best friends for life. 
  1. Think Out of the box: Bring a sense of uniqueness to your role, put forth new ideas, look at things and issues from a new angle, develop new approaches – all, mind you, while staying within the overall company profile and the defined set of principles and practices. 
  1. Be the Brand you represent: In all aspects that define you – your physical personality, your ideation, your work ethic and professionalism, your communication skills – be the best brand ambassador of your company that you can be. 
  1. Idolise: Develop mentors along the way – your immediate boss, a person you have a dotted line to, the company CEO, an industry champion, and an international whiz kid in your chosen field – and keep on injecting doses of inspiration in the course of your work day. 
  1. Be a Mentor: Be a mentor to the people you manage or who are junior to you in experience. Be a friend, guide and philosopher to others. Set fine examples and get emulated. You will be remembered for years, and in the most positive fashion. 
  1. Be tech-savvy: Today, we live as much in the virtual world as in the real. Every day some other new technology or gadget is added to an already long list. Learn new software, befriend a new gadget; get on top of the game. 
  1. Befriend Web 2.0: Make this your strongest ally. Be seen, be heard, be read 24/7 and what’s more, be able to control what is seen, heard or read about you. Tailor-make, monitor, regulate and police what appears about your Company on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, YouTube, and all else that is out there. 
  1. Develop a penchant for the written word: Learn to write well - whether press releases, annual reports, speeches, backgrounders, letters to customers, PPTs, talking points, newsletters – the list is endless. 
  1. Get in sync with the spoken word: Hone your oratorical skills, blossom out behind the mike; make yourself and your company proud by shining out there. 
  1. Be a perpetual learner: Keep adding to your skill set. 
  1. Become part of a larger pie: A colleague or another department needs a helping hand on something? Be their go-to person. Be the resource your media contacts discuss story ideas with. Be well-conversant with and develop a reputation for discussing Company Mission, Vision and progressive game plan.  
  1. Tune in to the Trainer in you: Train and nurture the talent within and across your organization. 
  1. Crave for Knowledge: Know your industry well, and deep dive into the functioning of the other departments as well. 
  1. Network: Take part in industry seminars, forums, panel discussions. Network with relevant trade bodies, alumni or ex-employee associations. 
  1. Be Superman-ly: Learn to multi-task – that’s the nature of your role, after all. Wear different hats, learn to beat the stress without allowing it to impact your efficacy, deliver under pressure, and be a positive team-player and leader.

Work driven by these ethical standards and a persona modelled on these simple yet mindful cornerstones ensure a steady scaling up the ladder of personal and professional success in the most satisfying and permanent way possible.

Try it!

Picture Courtesy - Google Images

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