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The Career Auto-Tune

What if we could auto-tune how we show up in our careers? You know, that tool that automatically adjusts the pitch of a voice or a musical instrument to blend, harmonize, correct off-key sounds and fit the overall sound of everything else around it. Auto-tune is a masterfully designed support tool to make any given audio or musical track better.

So, what if we could do that with our careers. Press a magic button that lets us adjust to the sounds (or people) around us. Be the perfect pitch and harmonize with our team members, clients, vendors, bosses and know exactly how to inspire the room around us.

What a euphonic experience.

How can we try to auto-tune our careers without that magic button?

A large part of finding harmony in the workplace is assessing how best to show up in a given situation. When working with likeminded teammates, this is a much easier task and requires only small adjustments to create balance and harmony. But in most situations, the auto-tune takes a bit more effort. It requires understanding social styles, communication needs and motivation. It requires nuanced communication and intentional steps to manage yourself and the rest of the room accordingly.

For example, when working in an advertising agency, you are typically working with an account team, a creative team and a project management team. Account people are usually very detail oriented with drive for results and a passion for relationship management. Creative people are just that – creative – which means that information needs to be presented in a way that is motivating, inspiring and very clear. And project managers are organized, buttoned up and committed to supporting the team around them. As you can imagine, the information needs and communication style for each of them varies significantly. And layer on top of that then the actual individuals involved who have different personalities, motivations and moods. This amount of diversity can make the auto-tune virtually impossible. (And the same holds true for cross-functional teams in any given industry – not just advertising.)

So, how do you actually auto-tune?

It boils down to:

  1. Relationships

  2. Reading the room

  3. Knowing the story that you need to tell

By understanding who you are talking to, what they need, how they assess and respond to information, etc. then you are able to auto-tune yourself to meet their communication needs. Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t be yourself and can’t show up in an authentic way. What it does mean is that you have tapped into a higher level of awareness in managing yourself which will lead to greater satisfaction in your performance, delivery, and impact to your organization.

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