position for change

How to position for change: “Who are you,” exactly?

Today, we are going to tackle a bit of an evergreen question that professionals often struggle with, and that is how to talk about yourself. Whether it’s advancement into management or positioning yourself for another job or industry change, the way to talk about yourself in an effective and meaningful way is to ask yourself this question:

Who are you… as a contributor, as a leader, as a team member, as a manager?

Too often, people rely on their past performance to be enough evidence or justification for advancement. However, the problem with this thinking is that if you are trying to do something new or bigger, then your past performance is going to be a limiting factor in many ways. After all, you don’t want to communicate only what you are capable of within the framework you operated in previously.

Instead, you want to be able to communicate what you are capable of in a bigger or different role. When you answer the core question of who you are, influencers and decision-makers have an alternate way of framing your eligibility other than exclusively by the duties and responsibilities of past positions.

So how do you answer the question of who you are? There are 3 ways.

Position for change by using nouns that describe you as an individual.

Problem solver. Innovator.

Educator. Advocate. 

Networker. Mentor.

Position for change by describing what you are trying to accomplish overall in your work.

Avoiding the trap of doing the same things over and over.

Striving to support my colleagues’ development.

Becoming a super-connector.

Getting involved in cutting-edge projects.

Position for change by identifying personal qualities that you bring to the job.

High EQ professional. 

Creative thinker. 

Willing to ask tough questions, even if they are unpopular or uncomfortable.

Now, coupled with your past experience, “who you are” becomes a window for influencers to gain insight into how you would perform in a completely different role, or a bigger role with more responsibility.

You might also like:

The learning cycle at work

Rethinking how to be assertive

Navigating change: how to be visible and protect yourself

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