Your story, one year from today.

A conversation with Divya Selvachandran

We all reach a point in our careers when we take a moment and think: “I am doing OK. As long as I keep on top of things, I will keep doing just fine.”

If this has ever happened to you then I encourage you to read on.

Falling into a repetitive routine is easier than you would think: especially when responsibilities start to pile up. But we cannot afford to become trapped in this passive regime:

“In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying” ― Lou Holtz

Easier said than done- your inbox is about to explode, the Prime Minister has an emptier calendar than yours, not to get started on that pile of documents you have been trying to ignore for 2 weeks.

I decided to meet with Divya, a successful manager and inspiring leader who has never gone a day without thinking about her professional development. She is a mum and works full-time in a global firm, yet is able to fit learning into her everyday schedule.

Here are some of her top-tips to help and motivate you along the journey to self-development and career progression.

Q: Why is it important to build your network in the workplace?

Experience has taught me that the bigger and better my current network is, the more new valuable connections I am able to make. When I moved back to the UK from China, I was able to move to a new role thanks to the help of someone I had met in my previous company.

This connection provided me with more credibility than a CV ever could because I can use my extensive network as an endorsement of my skills.

Q: Who has helped you the most to progress your career?

My previous manager. She never directly provided me with a solution, but rather helped me to discuss and break down the problem. In this way, I was able to answer the questions by myself and I learnt to trust my own conclusions.

This allowed me to confidently own my role.

Q: How did your relationship with your manager develop?

We kept in touch after she left the company. It started off as an employee relationship and became a mentoring one over time, as I still call her whenever need be. Mentoring relationships are an interesting one,

it all comes down to who you want to keep in touch with and what questions you ask when you meet.

Q: How do you constantly learn in the workplace?

I like to ask myself where my career is going and attempt to plan what I will have achieved by the end of the year. I write down the story of the year ahead, or three things I want to achieve and I ask myself how interesting it is.

If the story is not compelling to me, why should other people be interested in it?

Similarly, I ask everyone in the team to write down what they want their review to say about them or what they want to accomplish. As a result, I am able to understand how other people in the company and myself can help them achieving their set goals. I have confidence in the efficacy of this technique because

I believe people who do not push themselves to be better cannot be truly happy on the workplace.

Q: What are your thoughts on hierarchal structures in mentoring?

I very much value peer-to-peer mentoring, as I’ve benefitted from the consequences of this in the past. For example, with someone whom I met in the workplace. Despite being on different teams, we often challenged and helped each other in order to both progress in our careers. We both learnt a lot in this process and it proved to me that

effective mentoring or coaching are not necessarily top down relationships.

Q: How do you foster a learning culture in your team?

I always ask everyone to present what they are working on to the rest of the team so that a stream of constructive critique and feedback is always present. I then encourage peer-to-peer teaching and mentoring. I identify people who can best teach each other and I try to connect them so they can improve and learn without my direct input.

Talking Circles is a cloud software that takes this responsibility off the hands of managers. We match employees based on their skills and goals in order to foster internal knowledge sharing. In this way, everyone is able to teach and learn from peers, taking ownership of their career development.
Talking Circles encourages individual employees to make full use of their learning opportunities on the workplace, shaping the learning experience around the learner and teacher’s needs.

To find out more, visit Talking Circles

By Mia, TC Marketing Team