A Career B12

Recently, a successful mid-level manager told me he thought his
career has stalled. He was still delivering the goods for his
organization, building strong leaders from within his team, and
providing thought leadership for his company. However, he felt he was
being passed over for key positions. Even worse, he thought he might
not be on ‘the list’ for consideration for the next generation of key
divisional leadership within his company. He asked for advice on what
to do! This is certainly not an situation which can be fully addressed
in a short blog; however, here are 3 quick questions to consider:

  1. What are your strengths? Think about where you shine at
    work. Where do others believe you have made your greatest contribution?
    These may not be self-evident. Often, we don’t realize where we are
    adding the most value until someone else tells us! So ask. Make it a
    point to keep track of your successes. You may collect these from
    clients, peers, superiors, and task forces. The list is endless. Keep a
    record. This is your track record – on paper – which can be
    super useful when meeting with your boss at review time. It is very
    difficult to recapture all this at one time during the year; so, keep a
    running tab throughout the year. This will be helpful in capturing what
    you have done to move the ball forward. You are always selling
    yourself. Your track record is the data backing up your sales pitch.
  2. Who is on your team? Everyone needs a support team. This is
    your personal ‘board of directors.’ These folks may be peers, an
    executive coach, your boss, your boss’s peers, or even individuals not
    in your current company. The common denominator: they have a personal
    and professional interest in you and your career. If you don’t have a
    strong group of advocates, build one. It is never too late. These
    individuals will help you achieve your goals, keep you honest and on
    track, and will have your personal and professional interests top of
  3. What is the future of your industry? Think ahead. “Go to
    where the puck is going” to quote Wayne Gretsky. Align your strengths
    and talents to that direction. Build your skills around those new
    areas. This will position you for the ‘next big thing.’ It will be the
    manifestation of opportunity meeting preparation. And most importantly, listen to your gut relative to your future. Your intuition (your gut) will never lie to you. Heed it.