Top Navy official says minding your 'Ps' can take careers far.
"The three Ps to success are preparation, positioning and a positive attitude," said Steffanie Easter, who serves as the civilian executive advisor for the planning and programming of all manpower, personnel, training and education resources for Navy's active duty and civilian employees.
Easter said the three Ps and mentorship have guided her throughout her career. She entered civil service at general schedule (GS) 5 and in 24 years has advanced to the senior executive service ranks - the civil service equivalent of admirals and generals.
"Preparation has to do with knowing what you do, being good at what you do, being able to communicate it to others and making sure everything associated with getting you through the door, like your resume or application, is lined up and correct," said Easter.
"That means educating yourself continuously. That means reaching out for help when you need it. That means being able to communicate your vision, your thoughts and your ideas."
According to Easter, positioning is being able and willing to accept the advice of others and step outside your comfort zone.
"It means being available to those who are trying to help you and being willing to do the tasks and take on the jobs you normally wouldn't do," she said. "It is about stepping outside of your 'comfort zone.'
"There was a time when I actually resisted taking a new position. I was in the [comfort] zone. Life was good and that was where I wanted to stay," said Easter. "That is an example of a point in my career where I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Everybody else was telling me to do something else, but I thought I knew what was best for me."
After taking the new position and learning new skills, opportunities opened up for Easter and she was offered a promotion she truly desired.
"That was literally a life-changing event. If I had not eventually opened up to the change in jobs, I would not be standing here today. That is positioning. You have to make yourself available and be open," she said. The third P is positive attitude.
"When you've prepared, have done everything you felt you needed to do and you still don't get the promotion or the opportunity, that is when positive attitude comes into play. 'I've done everything that I can do. I've taken the risk. I've leaned forward. This just isn't my time right now.' That is not the time to get a negative attitude. That is when you can use the help of a mentor. That is what mentors are for - to help guide you through those though times," said Easter who also challenged everyone without a mentor to get one.
"Find somebody you can develop a relationship with, who you are comfortable with, who can help guide you through your career," said Easter. "You need to find somebody who is willing to invest in you and give you the time, whether they look like you or not. You need somebody who will support you and give you what you need." Easter ended her speech by reiterating her message and offering a last bit of wisdom.
"Empowerment starts with you," said Easter. "Even though somebody can empower you - they can give you the authority - you have to take on the responsibility. With that responsibility, comes a requirement to give it your best, a requirement to walk-the-walk as you talk-the-talk, and a requirement to share it with others."
Story by MCC(SW) Maria Yager assigned to Navy Personnel Command, Millington, Tenn.
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|Title Annotation:||Around the Fleet; assistant deputy chief of naval operations for manpower, education and training Steffanie Easter's views on the three Ps to success - preparation, positioning and a positive attitude|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2010|
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