REINVENTING YOURSELF IN THE WORKPLACE BY BILI ODUM

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Writing an article is hard when you
have competing demands and high-level deliverables with unforgiving time
constraints. So, you can imagine my high reluctance to do this article, when I
was asked. Another reminder from Mary Okorie jolted me into setting a deadline
to write and deliver. However, let me quickly say that this article won’t be a
long one, but it would be instructive on how you and I can reinvent ourselves
at work.

In order to make this article
practical or I should say relatable, I would personalize my views, and essentially
share my take on how I would reinvent myself in the workplace, which I pray
would be useful to you.  
“Why should I reinvent myself at
work?” The simple answer is that the workplace is constantly changing and being
disrupted by accelerating internal and external influences. Standing still,
staying the same, and not reacting (or being proactive) in the face of
disruption and change, can and would leave me behind, the wrong place to be. I
am sure you have heard the story that once it is morning in Africa, whether you
are the gazelle or the lion, you have to wake up and start running or you would
be eaten, in the case of the gazelle, or go hungry in the case of the lion.
Standing still, for the lion, the gazelle or me, in the workplace, my dear
colleague, is not an option.
Without
a doubt, reinventing myself in the workplace has led to new responsibilities,
created new opportunities, expanded my network of relationships and enabled me
to realize huge financial and non-financial rewards.

 

I
know for a fact that self-reinvention requires deliberate personal effort. There
must be that focused intentionality, on my part, fully self-driven, to improve,
to be better, to grow and to achieve distinction
. In
other words, I should be the primary driver of my reinvention in the workplace.
Waiting for someo
ne else to drive me to reinvent myself, if at all, should be
the exception rather than the rule.
The next question, I should ask and
attempt to answer, is, “How do I reinvent myself?” Hmm. This is hard to answer.
There are many ways. This article can’t share all the ways. You have to explore
this yourself too and obtain answers that would work for you. Here are three of
mine.
Firstly, is to learn new skills. Having only one skill would limit
you in the workplace. One skill is not enough. You need more.
I
reinvented myself when I acquired, for example, the skill of typing. I am
typing this right now, using a wireless keyboard into an iPhone app called
Notes. With this skill I do not depend on anyone to output my thoughts in
writing. My speed is super-fast. As a result, my thoughts can be quickly
translated through my typing skills into a memo, an email, a presentation, a
report, a proposal, an article, a book, all of which I have done. One skill
with multiple benefits. I appreciate this skill for the time it has saved, for
the opportunities it has led to and for the rewards that I can’t begin to
enumerate. I am deepening the skill further. Other skills that I acquired that
have reinvented me in the workplace are my relationship management skills, my
writing skills, my speaking skills, my presentation skills, all of which were
acquired, I must stress, with deliberate effort.
What, if I may ask, are the skills
that you require to give yourself a makeover in the workplace. Assess yourself
and make a deliberate effort to acquire them, and use them. There is no point
acquiring a skill and leaving it to lie unused. So, if you have unused skills,
now is the time to wake them up and put to profitable use in the workplace.
Secondly, another way to reinvent
yourself is to embrace (not ignore or fight) change. Technology, for example,
is changing everything. To me technology is an enabler. I have embraced
technology 100%. I use technology to give me the advantage. Right now, this
entire article is being done with my iPhone. I am using a wireless keyboard. I
am using a simple Notes App. I am using a digital dictionary. No electricity
required. No office required. After I am done, I would switch to my email App
and mail it out before the deadline. I could even copy it and share with a few
colleagues on WhatsApp to review and revert within the hour. Only digital
technology would have made this possible. Imagine the stress I would have had
to go through if I have not embraced and exploited technology. This applies to
my work. Technology and the required devices (phone, laptop, iPad, etc.)
provide leverage and leverage puts you in a position to add immense value and
deliver measurable outcomes at work, efficiently and effectively.
For my third and last point, let me
end by saying that feedback is critical in reinventing yourself in the
workplace. Every feedback should be taken constructively even if it is not
given constructively. You should be grateful if you are given feedback. Seek and
use feedback as an invaluable input for reinventing yourself and taking
corrective action. I recall many years ago, during appraisal, giving feedback
to one of my reports who was not a graduate, explaining to him that he had to
work on getting a degree if he wanted to advance further in the workplace. He
did not take it well at the time. He did, to his credit, reflect further,
created an action plan, got a degree, and the rest is history. This action
accelerated his growth in the organisation we both worked for back then. He
runs his own organisation now. Imagine that. Feedback is powerful. Use it to
reinvent yourself.
I hope the above is helpful. Send me
an email (bili.odum@ubagroup.com)
and we can continue the conversation. Use the subject line: Reinvent!
 
———
Bili
holds an LLB (Hons) degree from Edo State University, Ekpoma, Nigeria and was
enrolled as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1990. A
member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United Kingdom), the Nigerian
Bar Association and the International Bar Association, he is also an alumnus of
the Lagos Business School (Chief Executive Programme 18) and the New York
Institute of Finance.
He has
held high-level strategic positions in top financial service institutions in
Nigeria, with responsibilities that encompass Asset Management, Structured
Finance, Legal Advisory, Corporate Governance, Human Resources Management,
Administration, Knowledge Management and Business Communication.

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. Wawu this is topnotch to say a little.

    Thank you Mr. Bili this article will go a long way for. This same write up has helped me some years ago to pursue a degree which I am onthego to get in the shortest possible time. This again has boosted my inner strength to enrol for and pursue a tech career.

  2. Quite interesting ropic and perspective on reinventing oneself.I will also add that undertaking tasks based on compelling circumstances to survive might seem reductive to some people. I think that reinventing oneself could also be a psychological state of mind to not only survive but to also grow oneself and others. I believe that those who reinvent self are not only adaptable, but also innovative and pace-centers. Remember we admire apple brand because most of their strategies and products reflect deliberate steps to imagine a future before it dawns not necessarily waiting for a smart response to competition. Thanks for reminding us all the need to reinvent ourselves.-Endy

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  7. The good thing about reinventing yourself is that it adds value at both ends – to you and your workplace.
    I'm trying to do so at the moment, as a major resolution this new year.
    This article therefore strengthens me.
    Thanks for sharing.

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