Guest blog: The secret of success – what career boosting traits do successful people share?


There are three keys to a successful career. The first one is simply “gsd”, which stands for getting stuff done, as if you are proactive and productive and get on with the tasks you are given, your boss will try hard to keep you. Furthermore, employees in the gsd category will tend to do tasks before they are asked, saving their bosses from having to over-manage. Traditionally, business psychologists and management consultants have thought that gsd depends on talent, but the main driver of gsd is in fact ambition. So, no matter what job you do, the more ambitious you are, the more you get done, and employers will always value that.

The second key to success is “rdw”, which stands for being rewarding to deal with. This is mainly about working well with others in the business, though you may just be highly compatible with the organisation you’re in (in which case this will come more naturally). On its own, rdw can be a different path to career success than gsd; and these are often two different types of employees too. It is not uncommon for bosses to employ people who get stuff done (but don’t socialize much), and balance that out with fun people who may not be quite so focused (but are rewarding to deal with).

Last, but by no means least, the third key to a successful career is “pef”, which stands for person-environment-fit. This factor has received a lot of attention recently, especially with the popularity of employee engagement surveys. And the reason is obvious: the most sought-after employees (people who get stuff done and are rewarding to deal with) will quit any job unless they find it fulfilling; and the degree to which a job is fulfilling depends on how well it aligns with one’s long-term goals and core values. In summary, top employees should be able to get ahead, get along, and find meaning at work – that is the ideal situation.

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