In this look-after-myself, climb-the-ladder, corporate world, it is commonplace for managers and executives to work to cover their ass. When they do that, their direct reports’ talents, capabilities, and career progress are pushed aside in the name of window dressing.

One way to avoid that trap is to know the unwritten rules and to keep a watchful eye to avoid being blindsided. [Click here to read   AND click here to read ]

Another way is to frequently check your job alignment to the goals of the department, division, and corporation, respectively, with the prime mandate working in reverse order, that is, corporation always comes first, next the division, and lastly, the department/team. If your activities are aligned for the “greater good”, you likely will be safe, or, in this world of all-jobs-at-risk, we shall say, “safer“.

In a polite and nice way, ask your boss for a brief meeting to review your main activities and to ensure your goals are still aligned with his or hers. That “review” should take about 5 minutes, since this ought to be more chat than formal presentation. Then, ask, “What changes do you recommend for my top 3 goals for the next month or so?” You want to ensure you give your boss every chance to keep your goals fluid enough to keep pace with the changing dynamics of the pressures and changes imposed upon your boss’s performance.

For the first few sessions, expect that you will be tested or merely patronized. After a few sessions, your boss ought to see the value of such meetings with you and will begin to adjust your goals to help accomplish larger or more meaningful chunks of his or her goals.

No matter what is going on in your corporation, no matter what chaos is swirling about you or your boss, try to discover, align and focus on 2 or 3 very impactful goals. A bit of deductive reasoning and a few meetings with your boss ought to accomplish that alignment and focus.