Can speaking up help your career?

Roughly two years ago, I had my Jerry McGuire moment. It’s the moment when you take out your computer and just start typing your thoughts. I found myself in a brain dump of information and decided to started writing to find a solution. As my thoughts went down on paper, I needed to ensure my words were articulated well as I had to focus on a solution.

I had been with my firm for nearly 17 years, and I knew that changes had to be made to take us to the next level. What was that next level? How would I be able to articulate this on paper? How would I go about doing this? It wasn’t my place to speak up. Wait. Yes, it was. I believed in my work and my firms mission, so why wouldn’t I speak up? Our executive committee was experienced, but I felt that I could infuse new ideas that could help progress us as a firm with our customers from a value perspective. So, I decided to craft my next journey. In a letter to our executive team, I precisely articulated what I saw as the solution to help us become ONE firm. I took my time to ensure my words were laser focused to solve our customers’ problems in a unique way that would tell a story and differentiate us. We needed a way to create “stickiness” and create scale, from our clients and consultants’ perspective.

Why should you speak up?

The answer is simple – speaking up will allow you to provide solutions instead of complaining.

Complaining about your current state is easy, and it’s what everyone does. However, to go from good to great, to elite status – you must be solution oriented.  If I was going to take the time to articulate our problems as a company, what solutions would I have to combat them? How would I go about solving these problems and how long would it take? These are the questions and answers that my leadership team would expect from me, especially if I was going to speak up in the way that I did to influence change. These are also most likely the questions that you will get when you speak up. But, don’t let this distract you from doing what is needed to take the next step. When speaking up for a greater cause and to influence change in a positive way, you must focus on these three things:

·        Believe what you do matters.

·        Attack the moment with confidence.

·        Articulate/Provide actionable solutions.

There are leaders and followers in life. I know, I’m Captain Obvious here with that statement. But seriously….we all need leaders, but we also need to remember that we have the opportunity to speak up and lead when the opportunity presents itself. I only share this much detail as I want my story to inspire you to think differently and challenge yourself to speak up. When you believe what you do matters and that your ideas can positively impact your business, then you will have the confidence to take that next step. Looking back at my journey, I did what was right and spoke up because I loved our company and knew I could help instill a growth mindset that would help people take peoples careers to the next level. You can do the same. My leadership team loved it, and I know yours will too if you communicate your message with clarity and preciseness.The alternative is to let emotion get in the way and allow yourself to not properly express your approach to the business outcome you’re looking to achieve.

In my experience, any good leader tries to create an environment where his or her associates can speak up to create something special, something unique or memorable. Don’t wait for that moment to come to you. Attack the moment with confidence and make sure you articulate your solution in a way that is measurable and positively impacting to your business. If you do that, you will see change happen right before your eyes.

Any success you have in your job needs to fuel the fire of your drive toward excellence. I am proud to be the most successful sales person in our company history from a revenue generation perspective. This feat took years of blood, sweat, tears and many years of “speaking up” when it was needed! Believe what you do matters! This approach gave me the confidence to communicate my ideas, backed with customer stories and proof points, to ensure my leaders knew there was a thoughtful strategy put in place to take us to the next level.

I am sure you or others have been frustrated in your career. Obviously, there are a variety of reasons for this to happen: you didn’t get the promotion; you felt slighted by a fellow employee; your client isn’t fair….I could go on and on and on. More importantly, here is my call to action for you – I want to hear from you and learn how you spoke up or how you plan to change your outcome? Use my story as inspiration and organize your ideas to be a thought leader to inspire change inside your organization. I can’t wait to hear from you and how speaking up inspired positive change.

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