The Magic Formula of Ability, Opportunity, and Courage result in countless examples of successful careers. These three attributes can make such a big difference in the performance of employees. Why are Ability, Opportunity and Courage the deciding factors in career success?
People will tell you there is no Magic Formula for success in the workplace. I disagree. In my 40-year banking career, I have seen the Magic Formula of Ability, Opportunity, and Courage result in countless examples of successful careers. These three attributes can make such a big difference in the performance of employees that firms like Deutsche Bank are now screening potential hires for it.
Why are Ability, Opportunity and Courage the deciding factors in career success?
In today’s fast-paced and turbulent world of professional services, it is no longer enough to work long hours and demonstrate proficiency in your respective field. To get ahead as an investment banker, lawyer, consultant, or accountant in today’s competitive world, you must find a way to succeed on teams and on projects while also distinguishing yourself as an individual. Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor your own and other people’s emotions, to distinguish between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use this information to guide your thinking and behaviour. According to a study by American Express,1 EQ is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership2 and personal excellence. EQ can help you to understand the corporate culture and its unwritten rules, relate to bosses, colleagues, and clients, and become a top-level performer – even in the first year on the job.
Employment opportunities come to you through your immediate boss and your network. If you master the parameters of your current job, then your boss should identify opportunities that will allow you to grow your skill set and motivate you to progress. A good boss will help you to map a career growth plan and provide opportunities for you to step up. These new opportunities will allow you to expand your skill set, confidence, and competencies. This could mean increased exposure to clients, more responsibility on an engagement, an opportunity to lead a team, and so on.
Networking is an approach that can broaden the number of people you know, the number of people who know you and the number of opportunities you are presented during your career. People who network are more likely to advance by better connecting the dots to a successful career. Networking is the key to developing relationships, differentiating yourself internally and expanding your career opportunities. If you have a solid network, then you will find out when a new opportunity is about to arise and you can check a new job offer with people in your network to make sure that you are making a wise decision. Networking was crucial to me as a junior person in professional services, and it is just as critical to me today. Networking can benefit you at every point in your career and can lead to finding sponsors who can change your career trajectory.
About the Author
James A. Runde is the author of UNEQUALED: Tips for Building a Successful Career Through Emotional Intelligence. He has worked at Morgan Stanley for over 40 years, the longest-serving investment banker at a single institution in the United States.