You won’t have clicked on this article unless you want to do the best job you can. A great place to start.

I’ve written this ‘how to’ from the viewpoint of someone who’s working with a company vision/direction that’s been set by someone else.

However, if you’re a business leader responsible for setting direction, this is still worth a read. After all, your vision won’t be realised unless you help shape the right environment.

So, as an employee, how do you create the environment for your success in the context of an overall company vision?

1) Be very clear on your objectives

This sounds really obvious, but in many companies, the more senior you are, the less focus there is on clear objectives. Peter Drucker’s SMART approach from 1954 still holds true. I recommend you contribute to writing your own objectives so they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. It’s also worth reviewing them every three months. Nothing stands still for long any more.

2) Identify the key enablers for you to succeed

Now you know what your objectives are, what do you need to achieve them? Think broadly about this; start with your own capabilities, then look at your team, your organisation, and external factors. Identify what you have control or influence over, and look at strategies and actions to optimise all enablers towards your goals. If something is important, but you don’t have control or influence over it, discuss it with your superior to agree a way forward.

3) Check that your compatriots have objectives that align with yours

It’s highly likely that you’ll identify that some of your colleagues are enablers for your success. Arrange to chat with them, share objectives and check that their own objectives align with yours. All too often I’ve seen conflicting (or duplicated) personal objectives cause problematic team dynamics that undermine the environment for success.

4) Communicate and collaborate

Extending from the point above, share your objectives with peers and your team. This will ensure clarity of focus and help foster teamwork and collaboration. Also, if you have a genuine interest in other teams/departments you’ll improve your understanding of company dynamics and how to work to best effect with different stakeholders.

5) Know your onions

Do everything you can to remain expert in your field. That may mean formal study, networking, reading/watching talks. External inputs will keep your perspective fresh and broaden your mind.

6) Seek forgiveness not permission

Assuming you’re not a crazy maverick and will always act with good intentions, take hold of the reigns to achieve your objectives.

7) Navigate well through failure

Not everything goes to plan. There are a zillion quotes you can find that will tell you failure is part of business (and life). How you learn from and navigate through failure is a key part of creating success.

Good luck! Do share any more tips, or thoughts on those I’ve noted.