As we approach the end of the competitive award season which included the winter Olympics, the super bowl, the academy awards and March madness, it was wonderful to see time after time the Dark Horse emerge as the winner.  Not many predicted the huge victory of the Seattle Seahawks or the emergence of Lupita Nyong’o as the Best Actress in a Supporting Role. 

Like the Dark Horse, the Careerist is not expected to emerge as the winner in an organization.  The attention is on developing and preparing those assessed as the future leaders of the company.  This is not a criticism of organizations, leaders are needed to set and lead the execution of the strategy.  Leaders serve as excellent wingmen, whose responsibility is to set the path for the careerist to be successful.  This is done by creating a work environment that is conducive for the careerist to be productive.  Astute leaders recognize that the sustainability and vitality of the company lies within the ranks of the careerist.

So what is a careerist?  A careerist is a person that concentrates on being the best they can be, applying their skills or trade in the work environment.  I hesitate to use the term careerist because it often is perceived negatively, as one looking to advance at all cost and at the expense of others.  However, my experience has taught me that while  a segment of the workforce looks to advance at whatever cost, it is a more common experience that the majority of workers,  desire  to come to work and do a good job. 

Why are careerist winners?   Careerists are winners because there is a direct correlation between business success and workforce satisfactions.  Careerists possess distinct characteristics that define winning organizations.  In addition to their functional knowledge, they possess organizational knowledge.  Common traits are:  the willingness to engage, the ability to be perceptive, transparency, the power of discernment, and collaboration.  Often times, there is a stigma associated with a careerist.  They are perceived to not have potential, are stagnating and have low motivation.  There is also the danger for a careerist to become counterproductive, when they fail to adapt to organizational changes, cease to acquire new skills in their discipline and lack agility.

To become a winning careerist: 

1)      Lean on your wingman – leaders and managers are there to ensure that you are informed and can perform your job

2)      Avoid accepting the stigma – there is no disgrace in choosing to work in your profession and not actively pursue the corporate ladder

3)      Don’t be an enigma – careerists are not a mystery to the organization. Share your knowledge for the good of the company

4)      Be the Dark Horse – emerge as the winner and lead your organization to success.  

And the winner is…….The Careerist.