Hope Solo, United States Olympic Goalie once said “I live for competition. It makes my life complete.” It’s Wednesday — have you been competitive at work today? The ability to compete in business is a time honored tradition that is revered much like typewriters, apple pie and baseball. It can also be fun. Moreover, when women compete against their peers to lead high-visibility projects, they have the ability to leverage their creativity, maneuver outside their comfort zones as well as have a little fun at work.
Creativity is one the “classical arts” of the business world that requires a woman to do more than just “connecting the dots” on a project. A savvy businesswoman will approach a new project by conducting research, consider past practice and then push the limits on new endeavors. For example, when the team considers leveraging traditional modes of outreach, I will suggest leveraging a blended approach that incorporates tech tools such as mobile apps to attract both people from a diverse audience pool and age group. Sometimes it takes a little more effort to be creative so that your work is timely as well as outside of the “cookie-cutter realm.”
It can be easy to complete work in the same method day in and day out because of a lack of interest or feeling complacent with your track record on tasks. Yet if you compete to lead at least one new endeavor each new fiscal year, you will learn something new and enhance your skills.
As a female communications professional, this often includes working with people who are outside of my formal team structure and learning new ways to communicate with staff across geographical boundaries. While this may pose challenges of its own, it shakes up my work week so I can leave my comfort zone behind to try new things. For example, the first time I wrote a memorandum of agreement, I had to work with agency lawyers, public relations professionals, internal and external staff all while learning more about federal laws above and beyond my scope of work. The effort paid off on learning how to create formal collaborations from birth to implementation. This also helped internal partners to contact me regarding future collaborations based on my increasing subject matter expertise.
Another reason for women to increase their competitive edge is the “fun factor.” When was the last time you had fun at work? I recently attended a training program where some of the participants were so focused on the business, they forgot that the creative process of work can also be fun. Moreover, when you take time to brainstorm at the office, it allows you to take a moment to consider the big picture. Instead of just jumping into a project simply because it must get done by a short deadline, take a moment to consider the goals and possible outcomes. It can also be fun working on unique projects with different people on a regular basis. Moreover, when a woman is competitive at work she can help realize her own potential on her own terms. Her peers will notice her zeal and then regularly leverage her expertise.
Tracey Batacan is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.