Charting your course towards a CEO position or leadership role has taken quite a different trajectory compared to what it once was. In today’s business world, growth-minded executives no longer wait to be recognized for their contributions and standby in anticipation of that well-deserved promotion. To get ahead, you need to be your own advocate.
In a recent study published by Harvard Business Review, C-level executives referred to as ‘CEO Sprinters’, were analyzed over a 10 year period. The findings of this CEO Genome Project showed that Sprinters achieved fast-track success by making bold initiatives that catapulted them ahead of their peers who followed more traditional career paths. This accelerated path often requires taking on risk, forcing yourself out of your professional comfort zone, and adopting the mindset of “making your own luck”. If success is what you seek, dare to take chances and expand into new territories.
Manage up/Communicate your accomplishments
In addition to making strategic strides to expedite your career growth, learning to hone your communications skills is vital. You are your foremost champion when it comes to educating your company about your value and accomplishments. Many highly productive executives don’t pay attention to managing up or recognize the importance of selling their achievements. If this sounds like you, schedule time into your calendar for making a conscious effort to communicate the impact you have on your organization.
Become a thought leader
Taking on the role of being a leading voice within your field is enormously valuable. Executives who make a conscious effort to study new trends, explore future possibilities and communicate their ideas, have the potential to serve as thought leaders.
Time for learning is time for growth
How can you be ahead of a moving curve and guarantee that you are a “disruption-ready leader”? Make time for strategic thinking and learning beyond your role.
Be proactive about building relationships
If you’ve got your sights set on executive growth, you must dedicate time to building key relationships. Carve out time to network and proactively cultivate relationships outside your current role within your organization. Reach out to key executives you may not frequently interact with and ask for advice from opinion makers in your industry.
Get support from a mentor or coach
Every step higher you take in your career requires a different set of skills. Don’t feel like you need to go it alone. Leverage different resources to prepare for growth. If your company has a formal mentor program, take advantage of it. If not, reach out to an executive coach or partner outside your organization who can help you expand your thinking and develop your next layer of performance.
Now more than ever, there’s no shortage of ways for you to propel your career forward. And while effort, talent and ambition are still the keystones of what it takes to make a great leader, keeping your toolkit updated will get you there faster. If there were road signs for today’s up-and-comers, they might read: Be Bold. Be Savvy. Be Noticed. Be Heard. Be Proactive. Follow these signposts towards your career growth, and the sky’s the limit.
Leticia Hartmann is a Certified Executive Coach who specializes in leadership development and career growth. She is the founder of Exploritat.