Do you need to do a little coddiwompling?

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Coddiwompling in public affairs

This week I came across a wonderful gift – a new word.

Coddiwomple: to travel purposefully toward an as-yet-unknown destination.

It struck me that this is such a beautiful word for the start of a new year.

A new year brings so many things, not least the feeling of a fresh start, of energy from the festive break, and a desire to move forward, to progress. But sometimes that in itself can be daunting – what on earth do you do if you don’t know your end goal and the destination you are meant to be moving towards? Are you doomed to just mark time until things become clearer?

This is at the heart of so many career dilemmas and frustrations. For those of us that do not have a clear answer to what we want to do in five or ten years time, how do we still make best use of our time now?

To cut through this, I propose a simple maxim: whilst you are determining where you want to get to long term, prepare by being the best you possibly can be in your current role, and really knowing where you are now, what your strengths are, and where you could be growing.

You can move purposefully forwards – coddiwomple – towards that as-yet-unknown destination by positioning yourself as strongly as possible for the future, by focussing on how you can grow right now, the strengths you can develop, and being the best you can be.

Next steps

To help with this, I’ve developed two self assessment tools that look at the key behaviours and skills for (a) public affairs consultants and (b) in-house practitioners.

I hope they are helpful and would love to know your thoughts. If you’d like a word version which you could edit to include additional behaviours and skills specific to your organisation, please do get n touch.

One Comment

  • Guy Dennis

    Two other thoughts on same subject:

    – I read the Design Your Life book based on part of the Stanford MBA programme after reading an FT correspondent writing that it wasn’t typical self-help guff, and it is indeed very good.

    – In my limited experience, some people have a gift for being able to work out very quickly someone’s strengths and weaknesses, and what they would be good at. Such people are brilliant if one can find them. It’s a funny gift, with people having it being smart, but lots of very smart people not having it.

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