There are two kinds of people in the world, the ones who wish they had a better job and the ones who do what to need to do to rise to the next level. The funny thing is that planning for the next level seems to be just as tough for executives in the corner office as it is for individuals just starting out. If you are thinking about your next reinvention, then consider these five tips to better position yourself to win the next career opportunity and capitalize on it for all its worth.
- Go on a TIME diet
Our lives are extremely full and at the senior levels of management you are likely investing fifty plus hours a week in your current role as well as you stand in a stage of life where may be overwhelmed with family commitments and experiencing a little bit of burn out. You want something new but you are finding it difficult to make the time. But what can you do to find seven hours a week – just one hour a day – to regroup, reenergize and make the leap forward?
So it’s back to basics for you.
As your first step, track where you are currently spending your time for one week and then place yourself on a time restriction diet. Yes, limit activities that are enjoyable but honestly can be addictive time wasters. No more rewarding yourself with guilty pleasures that consume your time. Put the cell phone down, turn the remote off, DVR all shows, learn to appreciate sports highlight reels and treat time once again like the valuable commodity it is.
Yes, still be engaged with family, friends and networking events but know how to optimize. When you are with family, be in the moment with the family but when you will step in the door for an event already know what time you will step back out the door. Refresh yourself on productivity tips and become an expert at containing commitments both at home and at the office to make time to prep for your next move. Learn how to schedule time with yourself for your own self-improvement and then be clear with those around you regarding your goals so they can offer you some understanding.
Don’t let ‘lack of time’ be what is keeping you from making that leap forward in business. Refocus yourself and measure where the time is going.
- REPOSITION your professional profile
Like buzz words change in business, so do the hot skills and talents needed by executives. For example, cyber security may not have been on the top five list of every executive a decade ago, but today knowledge around data security and data privacy is a must for every business leader.
Taking a step back and completing a self-assessment of where you have been is critical to successfully moving forward. It will reveal talents and experiences that you leverage as well as reveal under-skilled areas that you may need to acquire advice on or build competencies around in order to improve your value in the vetting process.
Once you have refreshed your view of yourself you need to display it through a solid resume and visible ‘social proof’. Challenge yourself not just to dust off an old CV or resume and add new lines as success requires constant reinvention and the resume that got you to your current job is not likely the right resume to get you into the next one. Even after years in business, this can really be hard stuff and you may find that you may need to seek professional help. Consider this, if you could invest $500 dollars to get a killer resume and LinkedIn profile that earns you $20,000+ more a year why wouldn’t you do it?
And does your history include a social presence or is it completely missing? Do you need to pay a source to for professional grade social media headers and advice on expanding your digital footprint? Is it advisable to develop a one page biography web page or demonstrate your authority through a Twitter account? Again, not easy stuff and it takes time to build so if you are thinking about changing jobs in six months you have got to start this process today.
Having a contemporary social presence and competent resume will make you feel great about yourself and it will give you the confidence boost that you need to position yourself for a job search or to seek out a promotion.
- Establish INTENTION for your next big move
Every leader knows that intention is the main ingredient in the recipe for success. But I caution that you don’t think of establishing intention by drafting a list of what you want, but rather define it as knowing what you need and will have.
Intention placed out into the universe is a funny thing. If you focus on it enough it will come to be – whether it is fears or aspirations. But properly connecting into the universe requires a one-two punch, set the intention and then generate actions around that intention – even if you don’t know how it will all work together or connect into the end goal.
If you study anything about quantum thinking, you may have heard it explained this way: imagine you are stretching a rubber band forward, the further forward you stretch the band the more pressure it will create forcing the back of the rubber band to pull forward. So stretch your thinking and place your intention forward, visual a giant rubber band around your waist and it is going to begin taking your forward because physics says it has to. But it won’t if you don’t establish the clear intention in the first place.
So what is your intention? To establishing your own company, taking a bigger seat in a corner office, move from where you are today to a place of increased income, or just simply being valued and respected as a vital part of the team?
As Daniel Burnham has said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistence.”
Document your intention and consider all the possible steps and paths you can take to make your way to your future.
- Check if your NETWORK has the right connections
I am about to state something you probably already know…but a reminder could be good…If you want to have a healthy career at any stage then it is imperative that you collect and cultivate your own community of supporters. Yes, it is almost impossible to get away from the office, or you can’t make networking events because of family commitments or frankly, you just aren’t comfortable. But constantly growing and evolving your network will keep you current and connected.
Think of it this way:
It’s not only who you know, it’s who will find you in their time of need.
Like sales leads, unattended professional networks go cold if not attended to. At an executive level you can’t ignore this. You must remain connected to other executives and recruiters so when opportunities arise people think of you first.
Reach out and rejuvenate your relationships and then think about how you can expand your network by at least ten people over the next month who have achieved levels of business success higher than you. If you are looking to move to a bigger company or a higher position, then you must begin to fill your network with the contacts that reflect your future.
So stop pouring over spreadsheets and staring at your computer screen and get out of the office and get your network active.
- Seek the KNOWLEGDE required to master the next level
Business models and the paths to profits continue to evolve and change as fast as new apps hit the marketplace. This means that while the essentials of business are as relevant as ever, we must continue to acquire new knowledge to remain competitive.
So where are you going to gain the edge that will help you appear fresh? How will you respond in interviews when asked about topics like generational buying habits or international commerce and banking issues? How will you convey that you hold a future mindset and can help an organization navigate the challenges of today while anticipating organizational needs of tomorrow?
You must plan to enter a renewed phase of consuming knowledge. Voraciously read trade publications, attend conferences, or seek university executive programs on topics that will complement your existing expertise. Ask people you respect about the podcasts they listen to, business books they value or who they follow on Twitter.
Commit yourself to sharpening your skills. Get excited about your personal reinvention and know this positive energy will remain with you when you make new professional connections, go on interviews or pitch business ideas. Simply stated, in business knowledge is sexy.
Ready for Success
For executives, lives are already overwhelmingly full. It is exhausting to even think about what it will take to step up, seek out and assume a new role. It would be nice to think the recruiters will find you, but even if they do, will you be ready and will you be best positioned to negotiate on the package you will be offered?
By thinking about the five tips presented here, you may be able to identify what elements you need to invest more time and focus on – and you may also identify that you need some professional help to guide and speed you forward. But with invested time, thoughtful repositioning, established intention, the right network and expert knowledge, an executive can make a smart transition and enjoy well deserved rewards.