27 September 2023

Career temperature check: The golden question to ask yourself

Start the conversation

Bruce Kasanoff* provides a simple temperature check for your career that could instantly tell whether it’s sick or flourishing.

Do people seek me out?” is a golden question. That means the answer also reveals the answers to other vitally important questions.

Golden questions are powerful time-savers that bring you very quickly to key insights.

Depending on your role, you can phrase this question slightly differently.

Do colleagues seek me out?

Do others in my industry seek me out?

Do clients seek me out?

That is, when someone has a problem or opportunity, do they tend to come to you first, or not at all?

“Yes” indicates others see you as expert and trustworthy.

It also suggests that you are able to listen to their problem, understand it, and provide helpful responses.

“No” suggests you are falling short of where you need to be to advance your career.

A “no” answer should also cause you to ask clarifying questions whose answers can help you shift your tactics, behaviour and habits.

You could, for example, ask a series of ‘why’ questions, as in this quick example.

Original answer

My colleagues seldom seek me out.

Why? They perceive I’m a bit uncertain or lacking in confidence.

Why? I’m quiet in meetings or sometimes ask too many questions.

Why? I never wanted to be in this role; I never trained for it.

Becoming a professional whom others seek out is the fastest and most direct way to strengthen your career.

It encapsulates a whole series of perceptions and judgments that others hold about you.

They include your skill level, motivation, training, specific strengths and weaknesses — even your personality.

By adopting a laser-like focus on this one golden question, you can better tailor your actions and advancement tactics.

You can even pick a subset of colleagues or clients, focus on ways that you can help them, and test different strategies for improving the ways in which you interact with them.

If they start coming to you for help, then you know you are on the right track.

People are at the heart of every business and every business outcome.

When you become more valuable to other people, you instantly raise your career trajectory.

*Bruce Kasanoff is the founder of The Journey, a newsletter for positive, uplifting and accomplished professionals. He can be contacted at kasanoff.com.

This article first appeared at kasanoff.com.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.