This Is Not the Career I Ordered – How Fitbit helped my career The power of accountability

Written by Caroline Dowd-Higgins. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on August 20, 2014 with No Comments

“No matter where you reside on the company organizational chart, there is room for improvement.” -- Caroline Dowd-Higgins

Everywhere I go, I’ve noticed that elevators are almost empty and stairwells are filled with people tracking their daily steps with wearable fitness devices.

I’m a Fitbit user and I’m happy to report that this accountability device has improved my health and my career more than I ever imagined.

I check my mileage, my stairs climbed, and my calories burned a few times a day to ensure that I reach my self-established goals.  Fitbit also sends me a progress report each week telling me about my best days and celebrates my milestones and accomplishments.

In my ongoing effort to de-stress, live in the moment, and integrate my life and my career in a healthy way, Fitbit has been a tremendous tool.

Many organizations are implementing wearable fitness devices as part of a wellness plan to promote movement during the workday. It increases productivity and communication when people get up and out from behind their desks.

PVH Corp. (www.pvh.com), which grows global brands including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, has an incentive program for employees who wear a fitness tracking device and accomplish distance goals within a certain time period. Employees earn gift cards and prizes as a reward for investing in their wellness. It’s good for the employees and ultimately good for the company.

I’ll admit – I appreciate accountability. I like a plan, I’m a competitive person and I love to achieve. My Fitbit holds me accountable and gives me credit for achieving my objectives. It’s like my own personal audience who applauds me for a job well done.

This got me thinking about how I could hold myself accountable in other ways that related to my career. How I could tap some human accountability masters to join me in my quest so we could inspire each other to achieve our personal goals?

As an executive coach, I have always subscribed to the philosophy of building your Personal Board of Directors and I have added a new resource member to that team. Who is your Career-Fit Master?

Here are some ideas about how you can hold yourself more accountable in your professional life to advance and improve in your career. Think about what you would like to get credit for and rally your personal team or coach to help you make it happen.

In-Person Conversations:  With email, instant messaging, and smart phones at our disposal, it’s rare that colleagues who work in the same environment seek out an in-person conversation. Besides gaining additional steps or stairs towards your daily goal, a personal conversation shows that you care, illustrates your active listening skills and provides you with a mini break from an established routine so your brain stays fresh and productive.

Managing Up: Your boss is really busy doing his/her work so it’s imperative that you give him/her a regular accounting of what you have accomplished. Think of it as a progress report with a brief monthly email outlining what you have achieved and what’s coming down the road. Don’t wait for the annual performance review. Be communicative – tell your boss what you are doing really well so they can recognize the great work you are doing now.

Celebrate the Wins:  On the agenda of every executive resource team meeting at my workplace is an opportunity to report wins. This boosts morale and gives credit to individuals and teams who should be recognized. Take it a step farther and create a Wins Board – a public way to announce and celebrate accomplishments and people who deserve to be recognized. Create a culture you want to work in and extend a well-deserved compliment or notation on the Wins Board to show colleagues that you notice and you care. If you are the boss, this is especially important. Your colleagues want you to recognize their good work.

How Can I Be a Better Boss or Colleague?  No matter where you reside on the company organizational chart, there is room for improvement. Hold yourself accountable and ask your boss and your colleagues – How can I improve? Listen graciously – show your appreciation for the feedback and carefully consider how and what you can implement to become better at what you do. The act of asking is an important step in gaining the trust and respect of colleagues.

How Can I Help You?  In addition to asking for feedback, offer your help to others. Leaders become extraordinary by helping others succeed. Whether you are entry-level or a C-Suite executive, leadership behavior is part of your own career management. Be accountable and ask how you can be helpful.

Pick a Stretch Goal:  My daily Fitbit distance goal is six miles. I plan to increase that number soon because I am now achieving that goal with ease and I enjoy a challenge – plus the activity is good for my health and my mental focus. Consider a stretch goal for your career. Do you have project envy for a colleague’s work? Are you interested in a promotional opportunity or a career reinvention but don’t know how to get started? Identify a stretch goal and then assemble the players who can assist you in making it happen. Successful people ask for help.

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About Caroline Dowd-Higgins


All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered" (now in the 2ndedition) and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name. She is Vice President of Career Coaching and Employer Connections for the Ivy Tech Community Collegesystem and contributes to Huffington PostThrive GlobalEllevate Network,Mediumand The Chronicle newspaper in Indiana.Her online show:Thrive!about career & life empowerment for women is on YouTube. Caroline hosts the award winning podcast, Your Working Lifeon iTunesand SoundCloud. Follow her on FacebookLinkedIn,Google+,and Twitter.

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