Book review: Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success by Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm and author of the #1 international bestselling book for millennials, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.
Millennials get it.
87% of them believe business success should be measured by more than profit. They state the #1 purpose of business is to improve society.
Now what they must do is get themselves ready and positioned to make their voices heard to advance their careers and make a difference.
In his latest book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, Gen Y expert Dan Schawbel serves up advice for Millennials to do just that.
And in doing so, he also provides some serious personal leadership lessons: the value of flexibility, understanding one’s impact on others, moving past focusing on getting, appreciating patience, and balances life’s contradictions.
Dan notes that both hard (what you do) and soft (how you do it) skills are necessary for success, with neither one alone being sufficient to drive career success. “By gaining and mastering communication and other soft skills and developing your own emotional intelligence, you’ll become the person everyone wants to work with.” Because the world is constantly changing, he rightly urges his readers to be open to options and opportunities, including the value of learning to flex communication styles across multiple generations.
“Just about everything we do – even the way we sit, walk, eat, or play – communicates something to someone.” Understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses – made simple via a self-assessment – and their impacts on others builds a great foundation for being authentic. Too many leaders gloss over or even avoid conflict, so Dan points out the importance of accepting and giving criticism. Nothing improves unless feedback is sought and acted upon.
Give without the hidden agenda of getting
Millennials have been tagged with the “Generation Me” stereotype. Looking to debunk this attitude, Dan observes, “It’s all about generosity. Help others achieve their goals and they’ll (hopefully) help you achieve yours.” Volunteering, being a team player, and making others look good are important to making a difference for the world and for one’s self. “In a world where information is only a few clicks away, being able to get answers isn’t nearly as important as being able to work with others to create solutions.”
The reality of the business world is that often times one must work within the status quo in order to drive change. Change takes time and involves others. Dan writes, “Appreciate the wisdom and experience that older generations bring to the table.” Set reasonable expectations, devise a career plan, establish goals, secure a mentor, and accept that it takes time to see everything come together.
Life means balancing paradoxes
Dan provides three big messages for getting this one right:
1) Advancing one’s career is all about tactfully and professionally wrapping one’s accomplishments in ‘we’ messages of “how all of that benefits your team and your company” and avoiding the ‘all about me’ bragging trap.
2) A boss can either be a best friend or a worst enemy. Which one it turns out to be depends on how thoughtfully you balance task completion and relationship building with your boss.
3) Balance your fear of failure against the failure that comes from never trying.
One doesn’t have to be a Millennial to appreciate this final life and leadership lesson, “We learn from those who have been there before and we teach those who come up next.”
Book cover courtesy of author