Are You a Proactive or Reactive Contributor to Your Career? (Part II)

We will begin our journey by having you take a few small steps toward building your confidence and the desire to move forward with this new proactive approach. An ‘example’ of your first step might look like one, or all, of the following:

  • Anticipate project requirements;
  • Once you receive a project, analyze what the logical follow-up will be;
  • Ask many questions to gain information and understanding of every project;
  • On a daily basis, anticipate your leader’s needs; and
  • Use your To-Do Lists and Notebook consistently every day.

Following are some hypothetical scenarios related to the steps above:

  • If you have access to the ‘project needs listing’ read it through to envision what your role and contributions as the Assistant will be – this may be title cover page, table of contents requirements, layout requirements such as instructions for font, spacing, graphics, maps, bios, CV’s, etc., that you will be able to produce, or gather together well ahead of time;
  • When you are creating daily correspondence; check to see if the recipient is in your database and if not, enter the data with a note about the letter details, additionally watch for follow-ups to that letter, and ‘cc’s’, and record them in your notes and your boss’ calendar;
  • In line with the project needs, try to align your printing department with your needs as far in advance as possible; and
  • Contact your graphics department for any maps, special graphics, etc., that you simply do not have in your arsenal, and/or do not have easy access to.

While these are simple steps in launching the proactive process, they will have a positive impact on your level of self-confidence, and professional attributes.

Taking these actions is also clearly indicative of one that has a vested interest in fully participating in the success of your group’s projects, and consequently, the potential for significant firm revenues.

If your department ‘bids’ on projects (e.g., for the provincial/federal government) you will be receiving RFP (‘Request for Proposal’) documentation, which will clearly define the requirements of the proposal your firm is to submit. This document clearly states the requested submittal technique, together with guidelines for the layout of the finished document(s) for review.

Regardless of how you acquire the specified parameters of a client or potential client request, raise queries which will enable you to be proactive, and get the compulsory ‘pieces’ of a project together for your group as soon as you are able. Moreover, taking these steps can lighten your workload once putting the ‘final’ package together for submission, as you have already completed a good share of the requirements well in advance of the deadline.

Naturally, once you have the necessary materials together, you should offer them to your leader for discussion and review. I am confident that your efforts will be most appreciated and acknowledged by your team and the whole firm.