Work hard and your career will progress, right? Wrong – this is FALSE and this myth holds many women back in their career progression. The truth is hard work is only one factor to career success, and this is especially true in today’s quickly evolving global economy where the only certainty is in fact change. Women Leaders are well versed on the subject of what it really takes to move their career forward and how to lead transformation in their organizations in this ‘new normal’ business environment.
What does this ‘new normal’ look like? Technology has accelerated the pace of change and the globalization of business. (It took the telephone 75 years to reach 100million customers, while it took Candy Crush only 1 year to reach 100m customers!) While technology has enabled flexible working and led to the viability of virtual teams, it’s also made business more complex & competitive. Restructurings are no longer one-offs or extraordinary times, but rather common place across all industries & sectors. It’s now a given that you won’t have a job for life and thus the responsibility for progressing your career falls firmly on your shoulders . While your company, your manager, or the HR department may support your goals, YOU must be in the driving seat.
In the midst of this economic transformation , how do I avoid getting stuck in the old and take advantage of the new? Here are my top three tips (S-I-S) for a successful career navigation plan:
S – Stretch yourself – Achieving work-life balance remains a dream if we’re not also investing in the work piece. Be proactive in pushing forward the strategic direction of your career and take risks (albeit well thought out) in order to experience personal growth. Think about what you need to develop further in order to move in the direction you want to move – especially when it comes to building the right relationships and letting others know what you have to offer and how you can ‘solve the problem’.
I – Invest in relationships – When women talk about ‘success’ it’s intertwined with success in our personal lives, so investing in relationships means investing both personally and professionally. It’s also the personal relationships that give us the support and grounding we need to sustain our professional lives. Looking back on my own 30+years in business, it’s the relationships with colleagues, managers and clients that I remember most, rather than meeting deadlines or delivering projects. The irony of course is that profits & people are intricately linked.
S – Speak up – As a career consultant I have met so many incredibly talented and competent women over the years and I often hear frustration that career progression has been stymied. Visibility is so often the Achilles heel. If others don’t know you, how can they know the great work you do? In a world of constant restructurings and revised business strategies, it’s nearly impossible for others just to see the work you do – they’re simply too busy! They themselves are trying to cope. At the end of the day, we all want meaning in our work, and this is why it’s critical to let others know what you’re achieving and suggesting how you might assist them . This approach not only benefits you, but it also benefits your colleagues, your bosses, your company and your industry as it puts you in a position to reach your full potential and have maximum impact on the business.
While change can be a scary thing, it can also create tremendous opportunities for career growth. Embrace the change and figure out how to position yourself so that you can play at your best in a way that supports and achieves the business goals. Like any smart business person, align your offering (your talents, skills, relationships, etc) to the needs of the client or business. That’s the key to navigating your career through change!
Following nearly 30+ years in business, Christine Brown-Quinn, embarked on a new career in 2010 as The Female Capitalist® to share with professional women globally, practical, hands-on business strategies for career progression. Through her webinars and in-person workshops, Christine unveils what really matters in getting ahead in the corporate world. As a former Managing Director in International Finance, Christine is well versed in what it takes to forge a thriving career in highly pressurized, alpha environments.
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Georgetown University, College ‘82