Essential Career Advice

from Geoffrey James…

If you own your own company or work for yourself, congratulations! You can skip this column.  For everyone else, here are the inviolable and eternal rules for keeping your boss happy:

1. Be true to your word.
Your boss wants to trust you. Really.  Therefore, whenever you accept an assignment, follow through religiously, even fanatically. Do what you say you’re going to do. Never overcommit, and avoid hedging your bets with vague statements like “I’ll try” and “maybe.” Instead, make your word carry real weight.

2. No surprises, ever. 
The secret fear of every boss is that employees are screwing up but are not saying anything about it.  So even if you’re afraid some bad news might upset your boss, make sure he’s informed. Note: If your boss consistently “shoots the messenger,” you can ignore this rule–because his behaviour shows he doesn’t really want to be in the know.

3. Be prepared on the details.
Your boss wants to believe you’re competent and on top of things.  That’s why she sometimes picks an aspect of your job and begins randomly asking penetrating questions. Therefore, whenever you’re meeting with the boss, have the details ready so you can answer these queries with grace and aplomb.

4. Take your job seriously.
Bosses appreciate individuals who truly care about what they do and willing to take the time to achieve a deep understanding of their craft. Bosses need people who have unique expertise. You don’t have to be a pro at everything, but you should definitely have a specific area of knowledge that your boss values.

5. Have your boss’s back. 
When you see your boss about to make a foolish decision, it’s your responsibility to attempt to convince him to make a different one. Make your best case, and express yourself clearly. However, once the decision is actually made, do your best to make it work–regardless of whether you think it was the right one.

6. Provide solutions, not complaints. 
Complainers are the bane of your boss’s existence. Nothing is more irritating or more boring than listening to somebody kvetch about things that they’re not willing to change.  So never bring up a problem unless you’ve got a solution to propose–or are willing to take the advice the boss gives you.

7. Communicate in plain language. 
Bosses are busy people and have neither the time nor the inclination to wade through piles of biz-blab, jargon and weasel words. When dealing with your boss, speak and write in short sentences, use the fewest words possible to make a point, and make that point clear and easily understandable.

8. Know your real job.
Regardless of what it says on your job description, your real job is to make your boss successful. There are no exceptions to this rule. None.  And, by the way: Your boss’s real job is to make you more successful. The reversal of these priorities is the source of almost all organisational problems.

Grow! announce membership of ICF

Yes!!…Grow! are accepted as members of the International Coach Federation. The ICF provide the global standard for coaching practice and coach development. Looking forward to 2016 🙂


The Agile Career Manifesto 2015

 – with apologies to the agile manifesto 2001 🙂


tread lightly and go get 'em

tread lightly and go get ’em

We follow these principles:

Satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable ‘stuff’

Welcome change. Agile career processes harness change for the employers competitive advantage

Deliver visible value often, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale

Build alliances around motivated people. Give the rest a wide berth )

The most efficient and effective method of enhancing your career is face-to-face conversation with key stakeholders

Getting what you want whilst supporting your employer, is the primary measure of progress

Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential

At regular intervals, reflects on how to become more effective.Tune and adjust behavior accordingly.


Lynn Wade offers coaching and workshops, for groups and individuals, that result in happier people achieving greater heights!  Agile Collaboration, Creative Conflict. Career Growth.

Call 0771 738 2332

Does your company use the advantage…Dyslexia, ASD and ADD

More than 1 in 10 tech workers have Dyslexia/ASD/ADD :

Those workers learn and think differently to the others.

Those workers present great competitive advantage when their differences are recognised and developed.

Those workers are still hiding their difference, because the advantages aren’t known by employers.

What a waste! What an opportunity! Want to do something?

Call me to find out what you can do – 0771 738 2332 – Lynn Wade


culture change: five monkeys

Funny-Monkeys-Funny-Monkey-Picture-011-FunnyPica.com_This is one of my all-time favourite true stories:

A scientist puts 5 monkeys in a large cage. At the top of the cage is a bunch of bananas.Underneath the bananas is a ladder.

One monkey begins to climb the ladder.The scientist sprays him, and the other 4 with ice-cold water jets.The monkey on the ladder jumps off, and all 5 sit for a time on the floor, shivering and bewildered.Soon,  another monkey begins to climb the ladder.Again, they are all sprayed with ice-cold water.When a third monkey tries to climb the ladder, the other monkeys grab him, pull him off the ladder and beat him.

Now one monkey is removed and a new monkey is introduced to the cage. Spotting the bananas, he begins to climb the ladder.The other monkeys pull him off and beat him.

The second one of the original monkeys is replaced with a new monkey. Again, the new monkey begins to climb the ladder and, again, all the other monkeys pull him off and beat him.

At the end of the experiment, 5  monkeys  who have never been iced down – attack and beat any new monkey who makes a move on the  bananas.

“Cultural acquisition of a specific learned response among rhesusmonkeys” by Stephenson et al


3 little words about you


Do you actually know how your peers would describe you if asked by a recruiter…or a new VP?

Most clients I ask don’t know the answer…which is kinda risky.

I don’t do 360 focals with clients  anymore – it takes time, and tends to bug the person whose being asked, but if you can’t answer how your peers would describe you, you could be exposed.


What works well is a simple email to 6-9 colleagues just asking:”what 3 words best describe me?”

Let ’em know you’re doing a quick survey to check your ‘keepin it real’, or whatever low-key phrase fits. Just make sure to include a good organisational spread, especially the Key Influencers on your career progress.

Then you’ll have your answer…and what to focus on, to build your personal brand for when the next recruiter asks.

will your CV survive the first 30 seconds?

18% of recruiters spend less than 30 seconds on a CV, and 68% spend less than 2 minutes.



Are you using key words on your CV or covering letter that recruiters like, or dislike? Improve the chances of your CV getting attention by making sure a ‘skim read’ by a recruiter creates the right impression.



Check out  the worst and the best key words voted for by recruiters *:

Worst Phrases                                      Best Phrases
38% Best of breed                                    52% Achieved
26% Think outside of the box             48% Improved
22% Synergy                                              47% Trained/Mentored
16% Thought leadership                       44% Managed
16% Value add                                          43% Created
16% Results-driven                                 40% Resolved
15% Team player                                   35% Volunteered
13% Hard worker                                  29% Influenced
12% Strategic thinker
12% Dynamic
12% Self-motivated
11% Detail-oriented


The best words are all action words, so to really stand out from the crowd attach a number, or metric, or outcome to the action..and don’t forget to check your LinkedIn profile too.

* This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,201 hiring managers and human resource professionals between November 6 and December 2, 2013



Lynn Wade: The IT Career Coach coaches people and teams to be the best.

Find resources to help your career at   Follow Lynn on twitter @itcareercoachin