1. Develop your way to remember.
One of the simplest, yet most impactful pieces of advice I have received was to find out how to remember things. Developing your way to remember is an incredibly important steppingstone on your road to growth. Whether it’s journaling in a notebook, typing meeting minutes on your laptop, or using an online project management tool to track projects, developing your way to remember is essential to your development. In addition, it gives you ownership in how you track and schedule your day-to-day. Having notes, project status updates, or even theoretical knowledge of your industry catalogued somewhere for you to reference is vital. When a question is posed, you have an answer key at the ready! This catalog of information in an easily accessible format allows you to be organized and accomplish tasks and goals efficiently and with ease. It helps lessen the stress of worrying about what’s left to be done or how to approach a difficult task. If you do not know what you’ve done or what you’ve been instructed, then how can you take actionable steps toward growth and development? An organized reference point allows you to remember what is left to be accomplished and how you can accomplish it.
2. Invest in yourself.
The asset class that has the highest return on investment is yourself. When you block time to take inventory of what you have to offer, you can focus on key areas and receive substantial rewards by improving those areas. There are countless resources available to you to sharpen your skillset and encourage your growth. Whether it’s a self-study course on financial modeling or a YouTube series on coding, the opportunities are seemingly endless to hone a craft of your choosing. Once you’ve taken the time to hone your craft, LinkedIn offers free skill assessments that reward a “skill badge” upon passing the assessment. These skill badges are often used by recruiters and other searches to help filter top candidates and service providers to help their company. Personally, I was able to gain a skill badge in Microsoft Excel as a product of my personal investment of enrolling in a valuation and finance self-study course which deepened my knowledge and augmented my Excel skills. The comprehension and proficiency that I gained allowed me to land my current role at LBMC as an Analyst in the Business Valuation and Litigation Support Services group, a significant step up in my career. With a little grit and extra work in my spare time, I was able to boost confidence in my financial understanding, enhance my technical abilities, and land the job I wanted with incredibly talented individuals.
3. Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions.
As the old adage goes, “There is no such thing as a dumb question.” We all tend to not want to believe this, but we should. Sure, there are ill-phrased and thoughtless questions, but each question, no matter the nature, is a quest for knowledge. And on that quest for knowledge is having the courage to ask questions. Do not be afraid to ask questions. While you might not want to seem foolish, it is more efficient to ask questions in the moments that you are weighing them so you can continue to work effectively and learn quickly. When prepping for a meeting with a client or manager, write down at least five questions. Each question will have natural follow-up questions, and by the end of the meeting, around 20 questions will have been answered. From then on, you will be a master on the topic and can own that knowledge thereafter. As you navigate how to best formulate these questions, try to first find the answers yourself. This extra thought could afford you the answer without question and can enhance your critical thinking skills. On the road to growth, asking questions can be one of the steepest hills to climb. It takes courage to put yourself out there and admit that you don’t know something. The more questions you have under your belt, the more comfortable you are fostering your curiosity – and the more comfortable you are reaching out to others who are masters of their craft.
4. Get to know your managers and senior leaders.
Taking the time to reach out to managers and senior leaders might be even more daunting than asking specific, knowledge-based questions. This is another area that requires a courageous leap to put yourself out there. At LBMC, we have a coaching program that gives dedicated mentorship to team members from managers in their shared service line. Senior leaders have navigated the territory where you currently are – and have excelled. If you think your professional experience is specific to you, then think again! You are not alone, as these leaders have shared your experience at some point in time. They have established careers and understand the nuances of the job. Take advantage of the opportunity to gain access to their “10,000 hours” of experience. When you get to know your managers, you learn more about how they developed as professionals and can figure out even more the why of your role. Furthermore, good managers have your best interests in mind. When you get to know them better, they get to know you better. This will allow them to understand your goals and help cheer you on in your development. If someone has trotted the ground you are on, then why not get to know how they got through it? Navigating the twists, turns, ups and downs are all at your disposal if you harness your bravery to reach out.
At the heart of growth and development, curiosity and courage are the driving forces. If you treat your role from the lens of a student wanting to learn as much as you can, then you will progress quickly. Be courageous to foster your curiosity. Dare to learn and reach out. And with all the knowledge you pick up, be generous to share with those who, like you, are curious at heart.
Do you have a growth mindset with a skillset primed to be leveraged? Join our team.
Andrew Comegna is an Analyst in LBMC’s Business Valuation and Litigation Support Services group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.