Thursday, December 27, 2012

Peer power: career development fuel

Who do you think is playing a pivotal role in our career development? Our managers, coaches, mentors. Absolutely! But not only… I have uncovered through my own journey that my peers are those who significantly enable my growth dreams.
3 transformational experiences that shaped my thoughts:
1.       Gold mine of pure genuine feedback
In today’s fast paced world, where knowledge is not a privilege of a few anymore, not a constant but a dynamic variable, networks of passionate learners in self-development are emerging. Central figure in them are the learners themselves who grow and learn together from one another. In contrast to traditional approaches where we are all used to trusting a master in whatever, these networks are a powerful source of gold - constructive, unpolished, pure feedback from a peer. What you need to do in return is just give back the favour. 
A few years ago I had the great pleasure to join one of these networks– Toastmasters.

Toastmasters is a club-type organization where the members ultimately aim at improving their communication, public speaking and leadership skills. This experience has beaten by far everything I knew back then, it accelerated my learning tremendously, letting go of fear of rejection and failure I opened up my senses and soaked in every piece of feedback. My peers in the club became my friends and my best teachers!

2.       Network growth accelerator
Joining the HP HR MAP program I actually joined an incredible team of about 30 talented HR professionals from all over the globe. Each one of them has brought to the table great unique viewpoints, experiences and last but not least networking power.

Although we work in a 300 000 people organization it takes only a few minutes to get an introduction to an internal stakeholder to solve a problem, to explore existing practices in whatever hour of the day! Should I need external perspective, voilà my mailbox can get filled super-fast with the best external local sources from every place of the globe.

3.       Everyone can get good results, but exceptional results come with peer power team-ups
Sometime ago I took part in a project on building a thorough analysis on a critical opportunity in our people strategy. I have undertaken this endeavor together with a colleague, where we were given a slide deck done by another group as a benchmark. Each one of us separately was quite enough to deliver an analysis similar to that deck and that would have most probably been good enough a solution. However, we were not sole players anymore, we were able to leverage off our capabilities and most importantly we were exciting and challenging each other. The solution we built went beyond expectations and was discussed with the top leadership level in our function. This experience has done more for my career development than anything else and it was extremely fun J

Last but not least, allow me to share an observation in the people management arena. Performance feedback is not anymore solely the manager’s responsibility; instruments such as 360 degrees feedback are gaining popularity bringing objectivity in the process. However what they also bring along is peer power! Now your manager’s feedback becomes as important as your peers’, as your customers’, as your subordinates’.

How do you proactively leverage your peers for your career development? How do you give back?
The herein thoughts and ideas shared are solely opinions of the author.


  1. I have had the privilege to watch over the last several years as Daniela has turned into an outstanding professional, yet truly fervent and passionate young women. Her smile is intoxicating and passion unlimited.
    This blog is no surprise and surely expected from a person who has proven a dream is a dream till you decide to make that dream your passion and focus. As a little girl who grew up surrounded by a political system that suppressed any thoughts of making a dream come true, Daniela has proven that anyone can dream and with encouragement and advice has proven that “All Dreamers Can Really Get It”. I wish you all the best and know that your followers are in good hands and will be encouraged to succeed in wherever their dreams want to go.
    As fellow dreamer who has lived dream after dream I have come to realize that belief is a powerful word and that the state of knowing and feeling certain that something special is coming your way is real. Through my own personal experience I’ve found that creating that state of certainty, to believe in your dreams, is possible and that…… “I Get It”.
    Daniel R Snowdon

  2. Thank you Daniel for you kind support and trust! Echo your thoughts on the power of belief, especially when coupled with action on getting yourself and your environment ready as the special moment emerges.
    Would love to hear back from you on my future posts and learn from your ideas and comments!