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When It Comes to Career Success, It’s the Little Things That Matter

I was asked the other day if there was one big Aha moment that led me to start my consulting business. I couldn’t remember just one, I remembered several.

In one instance, there were a number of smart and talented young analysts at the commercial bank where I was a manager who were simply...stuck. They’d worked extremely hard to earn their degrees but they were experiencing setbacks in their career, because of what they weren’t taught in college.

There was also the brilliant young woman who would doodle in meetings and had body language that made her come off as bored and disengaged. It turns out she had an excellent memory and didn’t need to take notes. But her manager didn’t know that.

That is why I started Patricia Cook & Associates. I knew the professionalism, poise and polish that my clients expected. Yet, as a manager, I could so clearly see the issues—many of them small and incredibly fixable—that were holding some of the members of my team back.

It was the little things that were getting in their way. It was frustrating, because I could see potential being wasted, all around me, and because I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to be successful...and can be...if they are given the right tools.

Soft skills are essential to that success. In research by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center they found that 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills).

Luckily, the skills that are essential for long-term career success can be learned and taught. And that’s what my team at Patricia Cook & Associates and I have been doing for the last 15 years, and trying to do it in a way that’s fun, engaging & empowering. Even though technology, social media and communication methods have changed many things over the years, helping people gain the skills they need to be successful at work has remained my key focus—not only because it’s good for people, but because it’s good for business.

Successful companies know that investing in their people pays dividends. I’m truly convinced that being the best in the business begins with bringing out the best in your people.

In many ways, the trainings and workshops we offer seem more important than ever. Because as the world keeps changing, often quickly and dramatically, companies are facing big questions, like:

“How can we give our employees the skills and confidence they need to navigate all kinds of situations?”

“How can we keep our employees engaged and motivated?”

According to a Gallup report on the American Workplace, 51% of the workforce is not engaged and 16% are actively disengaged. That means they do not start their day with a sense of purpose or end their day with a sense of accomplishment. That’s a big problem! But my experience has shown that to be engaged in your job, not only do you need to know your assigned role, have the training to do it and have the cross training to help out others on your team to continue to move forward, learn and grow—you need to feel respected and know your opinions matter.

That’s why the work we do at Patricia Cook & Associates is not limited to new hires. Even seasoned employees, managers and organization leadership can benefit from a refresher—reminding people of the little things that make a big impact on how you are perceived and how you can make others feel valued and important.

Speaking of the little things that matter, you may have noticed things look a little different around here. Yes, I’ve recently updated my website! I’m so excited to welcome you to my new online home. Take a look around and familiarize yourself with our services, beliefs & team.

I’d love to hear more about the challenges and triumphs your company and employees experience and what you think about our new website. Please leave a comment or drop us a line on the contact page if you’d like more information about how we can help your business reach its full potential.

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