Seven pointers for mid-career motivation

Being mid-career requires looking at strengths and weaknesses in a very different way

It’s vital not to get stuck in a mid-career rut, but taking time out for an MBA/year travelling/family time is a luxury few of us can afford. Nor is it particularly productive to dwell on early-career ambitions, or scribbled notes from long-forgotten business degrees. Michael Schrage, a business researcher at MIT (by many rankings the best university in the world), has listed seven ways to analyse how you’re doing, and where you’re going.

1) Organizational impact matters as much as professional development

Time is money, so if you are going to learn any more skills, how will they practically impact your business? Schrage advises you to focus on learning that can impact business ‘in 100 days’.

2) Keener introspection facilitates greater external influence

The two are not mutually exclusive; insists Schrage; understanding your own priorities can give you greater confidence to communicate, manage and work with people, because you can see if they share your priorities.

3) Rethink, repurpose and renew what we’re already doing

Schrage is not a fan of the term ‘reinvention’, nor of ‘revolution’. Rather than wasting effort starting from scratch, he explains, you should look at the tweaks you could make to existing processes.

4) See something differently

It’s very well seeing something differently, argues Schrage, but you need to be able to communicate your new discovery with colleagues and customers.

5) Do something differently

This is the process of turning a vision into action; whether that be a testable business hypothesis or simply introducing new tools which could impact existing processes.

6) Measure the difference

Credibly measuring the impact of the above points is crucial to persuade yourself and others that innovating is worth the effort.

7) Build an arc

Continually ask what’s next, advises Schrage: innovation shouldn’t come in bursts; it should be constant.

Read Schrage’s original article on the Harvard Business Review website.

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