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 someone 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
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)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.