Last week, we focused on long-term career progression strategy. In part two of The Great Career Selfie – How to Progress Your Career we delve into the detail. To do this, focus on your short-term goals and develop an ‘intrapreneur mindset.’
An intrapreneur mindset
The self-employed entrepreneur who owns and leads a business to success is a concept we are all familiar with. But we are a lot less familiar with the ‘intrapreneurs’ who are swiftly moving up the career ladder in the 21st-century workplace. Intrapreneurs don’t own their own business, yet they have an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit, effect change and grow their career. An ambitious employee in possession of essential entrepreneurship skills, intrapreneurs think and behave like owners but progress their career from within a company, organisation or industry. For inspiration think Fionnuala Meehan Site lead Google Ireland, Anna Scally KPMG Partner & Head of Technology & Media, Cathriona Hallahan MD Microsoft Ireland.
Set goals you WANT to achieve
Last week you completed your Personal Research & Development. Now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty and walking the walk. To do this, set goals you actually want to achieve. This is one of the simplest ways to progress your career, yet it is all too often overlooked, and we are all guilty of it! You know what I mean, setting lofty goals you have no intention of committing to, let alone doing. These goals are doomed to failure and frequently start with the phrase ‘I really should’. Instead, set short-term goals you intend to achieve, commit them to paper and begin your sentences with active phrases like ‘Within six weeks I want to complete ‘X-task’ and learn ‘Y-information’.
Think Big – Do Small
Commit to manageable tasks that are possible to complete within that 6-weeks and that feed into your overall career strategy. List each task in order of importance from 1 – 10. Beside each area identify the specific six-week timeline you are working to e.g. ‘Between November 27th, 2016 – January 1st, 2017 I am going…’.
Dedicate your time during those weeks to upskilling or reskilling, attending events or engaging in further learning related to that small specific goal. Set aside a manageable amount of time, weekly, to meaningful engage with your identified priority. Once completed record the achievement as one of your momentous moments.
Actively seek opportunities
As you implement short-term goals that form part of your overall strategic career plan, your professional confidence begins to grow steadily. As you do this, you become more sensitive to opportunities as they arise. Volunteer or request to be part of a team working on challenging projects or, interesting assignments. Alternatively, if your company offers ‘10% opportunities’ choose one strategically. Commit to the role, take associated opportunities and actively connect with others outside your department.
Identify Problems, Present Solutions
One of the best ways to advance your career is to define an organisational problem while simultaneously proposing a solution. Leaders and managers have plenty of problems but what they REALLY LOVE is a problem presented alongside implementable solutions. This not only increases your visibility as a problem-solver but expands your skill set and identifies you as a potential leader.
Make Career Connections
The power of 15 minutes connecting with someone who can give you advice, open a door or challenge your thoughts cannot be underestimated. Typically in exchange for lunch or a cup of coffee, career connectors can help you to both build and progress your career. From your list of companies to watch and influential people (see The Great Career Selfie – How to Progress Your Career) you admire identify these people and begin to reach out to them. Not everyone will agree to meet, but those who do will prove hugely helpful and influential to you. Ask for their advice and always follow-up with a ‘Thank You’ note.
Look Beyond Your Window
Change is the new permanent, and to progress, you need to change. If you feel that you have progressed as far as possible in your current role, that further growth within your company is unlikely or that you need to get industry experience elsewhere do so. Do not be afraid to leave your current role to bolster your skills, even if you love your job. Done the right way, bridges are not burned and the door to return is always open.
In the 21st Century, a successful career requires that you pursue career management strategies and take responsibility for your destiny. Having a job is fine, but if career progression is important to you and you don’t want to be self-employed, you must take charge. Hoping for the best, or waiting for your boss to notice your work is a waste of your time. Instead, take responsibility for designing your version of career success by taking the above steps.
By Sinead Brady