Editor’s note: Each blog post in this “Career Pathways in L&D” series shares a learning leader’s story and ends with his or her tips and advice for training professionals.
Hard work, dedication, perseverance … These adjectives are just three that come to my mind when someone asks about the journey of my career.
My journey started as a customer service rep at a state agency in Ohio, and through the desire to continue my journey for knowledge and be the best at my job, doors started to open. Within three years, I moved on to setting wages in workers’ compensation claims and then had the opportunity to start a new department and become a workers’ compensation underwriter. It was with that same dedication that I earned five promotions in five years, including holding a position as a training officer. In this job, my role was dedicated to making the training environment better and more suited to our business needs. I was tasked with developing a training curriculum for different parts of the agency and teaching those materials.
My role now, as a senior business transformation specialist, is to be a key player in agency transformations for a large 1,800-employee state agency. This job includes problem-solving, business requirements analysis, process-mapping, project initiation and training. Every day is filled with collaboration with executives to develop process solutions and help make everyday tasks easier for staff so we can keep the agency moving forward.
Through the years, and trials and tribulations along my journey, here’s some advice I’d tell my former self:
- If it’s important to you, make it important to your stakeholders – quickly. If they aren’t given a reason to change, people are quick to resist it. Help your stakeholders understand why the project or initiative is important for the success of the business.
- Be open to compromise. While easy conceptually, compromise can be difficult in practice. Recognize that while we all think that our ideas are the best, sometimes, being open to compromise can make something magical happen.
- Stay calm. Human behavior is derived from emotion. Poor choices made during the heat of the moment can lead to lasting impacts. Stay calm, and level-set yourself.
At some point in every person’s career, it’s important to determine how he or she moves from one place to another. Here is some advice for newer training professionals on how to succeed moving forward:
- Vital to my success along the way has been meeting people and serving them in the best way I know. Going the extra mile eventually pays off.
- In true training fashion, never stop learning. Your passion and desire to learn will help you understand the business inside and out, keep your knowledge relevant, and leverage your ability to lend ideas and be a problem-solver.
- Market yourself. Don’t be afraid to point out where your strengths lie within the business and how you can assist in ways that others may not know about.
- Always have your game face on. This tip was instilled in me early in life. You are always interviewing, and making those interactions and impressions count, even on days where it feels as if it is in vain, eventually leads to success.