Positioning in the Work Place

Positioning is very important in the business world. It will literally make or break your career. Positioning is the stance you become known for in your role(s) at a company or in your career. The latter is very hard to come by, as it usually means you’ve done a great deal of research (usually at a graduate or PHD level) and you’re willing to stick with it, even as times changes. I recommend finding yourself a position or two, that’s deeply rooted in data. Something that you can stand by with certainty because the data has integrity and validity behind it. You should always look to seek out or to exploit your position in the work you do. Give very detailed and specific viewpoints on how your position led to successful results. Find some lingering or interesting problems/use cases in the work place and use your position to solve them. Advocate for your position in every huddle, sprint, team, department and company meeting when appropriate. The goal is to talk about your position so much that you become a SME (subject matter expert) on the topic and people start looking for your insight on their problems. I personally like creating frameworks, models, blog post and or documentation; which is very digestible to others and allows them to see your viewpoint. Schedule a meeting or two with peers and superiors to get their feedback; which will help you evolve your position. Take your position to industry specific networking events to test the reception of it to those in your industry and to get feedback.

As deeply rooted as you want to become in your position, you also want to be somewhat adaptable towards it. You won’t always be right and that’s Ok. Just like you own it if you’re right, own it if you’re wrong. Look to evolve your position over time. Don’t be afraid to steal from others to add to yours. It’s what all great artists do. It’s important that people can distinguish you as a SME for your position and not that asshole that only goes by that position.

Don’t take an interest in your position, as it can be very dangerous. An interest means you’re invested in the outcome. So being wrong is not an option if you have interest in your position. If your position is deeply rooted in data, than you can stand by it and evolve with it, as you understand things will change over time. We’ve all dealt with those individuals that have interest in particular software being adopted, contract being signed, person being hired, investment being made, etc… They’re usually guilty of not wanting to hear anything else or shutting down the opposition. I recommend always challenging these individuals because they usually always a hidden agenda. Companies have interests not employees. Employees are the most granular component of a business and thus should be adaptable as information is made relevant.

Have conviction (AKA data) in your position but know it will change over time. I recommend researching and writing about your position as much as possible. Who knows, it may be lead to a book. Write blog post both internally and externally to your organization. Your research should lead you to other like-minded individuals online or at events that you can bump ideas against. In the software world, there is literally a billion dollar business built around this notation called Github. Come to some consensus about some of the ideas thrown around with your new-found friends. Spread the word as much as possible through social media about that consensus. Maybe you’ll be asked to speak at an event or Meetup. Better yet, start a Meetup on it or ask to make it a subset of a larger Meetup for within the topic it rolls up to.

This all leads to traction in your career but starts with getting out the building, looking at the world and being curious enough to find a why for the patterns that you see from your unique viewpoint of the world.

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