It is all around us, cats do it, dogs do it, and even we humans do it; we communicate. Some communicate more than others. Communication is not one topic; it is the foundation of success. Before delivering some thoughts it is most important that you think before you communicate. Ask yourself: What do you want to communicate? What is important and what is not? What is the most efficient way to communicate? Is it better to write an e-mail or is it better to call-up the other person at an appropriate time? Will you interrupt the person?
All successful companies do market research, benchmarking and analyses of their existing processes in order to boost efficiency. In plain English, they learn and educate themselves: you need to do the same. Think of yourself as a little company. What would happen if you would stop educating yourself? It's a no-brainer: your knowledge would quickly become out-dated and the demand for your services would decrease accordingly.
There is a big difference, however, between learning and educating. We learn all day long, but it's not enough to really set you apart. You need to go the extra step and educate yourself knowingly. No matter if you decide to attend seminars, conferences, take courses, or simply get yourself books to read. In doing so, you show initiative for growth and contribution and either the company you work for right now notices it or another one will; either way it will help you to reach your goals.
Formal education is great but you must remember that the right attitude is greater; showing initiative is part of having a positive attitude. Building yourself does not only mean acquiring new knowledge or expanding existing know-how; it also means building yourself as a person, but more importantly as a member of a team. If you are in a company where there is no real teamwork you are going to have a tough time as a team player. In this case I suggest that you leave the company and find yourself a place where teamwork is spelled in capital letters. Why? Because in today's business world you will get much further by working as a team.
Why work if you don't have goals? Everybody has goals; some are just bigger than others. Since you are your own boss, you also need to motivate yourself. Set your goals and dreams as high as you want and have a plan how to get there. Of course the company that you work "in" may have motivational programs or activities, none of those will be as powerful as when you motivate yourself. Just like with the "can-do" attitude you need to remind yourself of your goals. In fact, you can combine these two. You want to drive a new Mercedes? Great, so get yourself a miniature version of your favorite model and place it on your desk, make it your background image on the desktop of your computer, or put a photo of one on your desk. Every time you are annoyed or lose the drive, it will remind you what you are working for.
If your company is publicly traded, buy stocks. It doesn't need to be a lot, but put your own money on the line for the company. It will make you work twice as hard. Of course, if you reach the conclusion that the company is a lost cause, don't bother – find yourself something new and move on. You are the boss; you decide who gets your knowledge and abilities.
How far you will go is up to you. Sometimes you won't be able to move as fast as you would like to, but don't let that get you down. Give your very best to whomever you work for, and in return you will get back the very best from your company; if that is not the case, somebody else will. Speak loud and clear, dress clean, speak up, collect your ideas on paper, work clean – and smart. No matter what position you hold within any institution, you will always be the chief.