As much as we would like it to be, careers are not built on sand dunes. The key to career management is to decipher how successful careers are built, figuring out how far you want to go, analyzing what’s getting in your way, exposing your self to new tasks that build your skills and finally getting noticed favorably by the top echelons of management.
Here are some quick tips to get your career zooming.
What’s your degree of goodness?
How good you could be? Are you underselling yourself? You may be too critical of yourself. In order to get clarity on these building blocks, get yourself a validated and confidential 360-degree review and thereafter sit down with an experienced facilitator to get debriefed on your behavior. This would help you in building a high degree of confidence and you will be prepared to accept negative feedback whenever it comes.
Get a career board of directors
Since most of us are not the best career advisers, seek out one or more people who could don this mantle for you. Your advisor could be your boss, friend or a professional colleague. Periodically bounce your thoughts, assumptions, concerns and opportunities by them for an unbiased opinion and work on it.
Understand the building blocks of career
Most of us believe that career is all about getting ahead in the corporate race of fancy titles and dollars. Its easy to get cynical and believe that successful people are political or sell out, suck up, stab people in the back, use their contacts and so on. The facts are dramatically different from this; though some of these may give an adrenaline boost to the career, in the long term these tactics pull your down.
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What keeps you going is performing and problem solving on the current job, having a few notable strengths and seeking new tasks, which you may not be adept at. It’s about solving every problem with tenacity while looking for what you haven’t done yet and getting your self-ready for it.
Getting noticed by the right people
Top managers are aren’t as interested in glitz as many of us would like to believe, they are interested in people who take care of problems, spot opportunities, ward of disaster and have a board repertoire of skills. They are looking for bold performers. To get noticed, volunteer for projects that will require interacting/presenting to senior management. Stay focused on the activities that contribute to the organizations growth. You can pick a big problem and work manically to solve it, you need to be seen and heard, but on substance not fluff.
There are trade offs
Many people turn down career opportunities based upon current life comforts only to regret it later when the opportunity has passed by. Studies have indicated that the most successful General Managers had unrelated career moves, which seemed distasteful at that point of time. Most successful careers would require moving around during the years that are most inconvenient and painful, when you have kids at school or aging parents to take care off. Set your mind to it and remember to grow you must move.