"How to grow my career fast?" I hear you searching on Google... if only it was that simple!
Now, tell me honestly, when you think of career development, what do you think?
While managing people and also working with my students, I have seen a systemic pattern- most of us, when we think about career growth, development and change, instinctively think about career progression. And that's great. Except, career progression and career development are completely different things. Both could meet at some point, but actually, when you are looking at career progression, you are saying, “Today, I'm the sales manager of my company, and tomorrow I want to be the senior sales manager and day after I want to be the head of sales.”
Whereas when you think about career development, you think about the end first. You think about the life of no regrets. You think about “Where do I want to see myself when I am 70, or 80? And how do I want to be retiring?”
If your answer is anything different to the head of sales for North America, when you are already a sales manager, then you need to approach this slightly differently.
So for example, if your ambition is to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or the CEO of a startup, or the CEO of your own venture, or an event, person running multiple events across the world, your career path needs to look very different to just career progression.
Want to listen to the blog instead?
And most people haven't even thought about this.
Most people think, “I just need to progress, progress, progress.”
But then suddenly there comes a point, you cannot progress beyond that level. So for example, for me right now, I have a data science team. But I have also picked up the strategy role. There's only so much I can grow in data science, I have to think of where is it that I want to be taking my career in the next 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and at retirement?
And that is how I want you to approach your career as well.
What is the goal that you are looking to achieve? Where is it that you want to take your career? Where is it that you are headed? Do you want to go into banking? Or do you want to go into food? Or do you want to go into cosmetics or fashion or electronics or tech?
Do you want to be an operations person? Or do you want to be a marketing person? Or do you want to be the tech person?
Do you see yourself more as a leader of people? Or do you see yourself as more of a specialist?
All of these questions are super important to answer. And then you also need to be thinking about your career development plan. And reflecting on your financial plan, and your impact and vision.
You have a plan for your vision, achieving your vision, achieving your legacy. Is your career plan supporting that? Is your career development going to support your plan for getting you to your vision and your legacy? Or is it just progression that you are thinking about?
And actually, you had no idea that you could be something else other than a financial analyst? There are things out there that you can do without just being a financial analyst. You could say that I want to become the CFO, but is it that, or did you want to be the Chief Marketing Officer or do you want to be the CEO?
Because a CFO and a CEO have very similar yet very different strengths and you have to be cognizant of what are the strengths that you are bringing to the table.
Go back to your strengths and your skills. So you see why developing all of this in a very mindful approach is so critical, it is absolutely critical that you take out time to think through these things. So think again, are you thinking about career development or career progression, if you are thinking of career development, you will sometimes find that even if you took a sideways step, a lateral move into another role, which is paying you probably the same or maybe even lesser than your current role, actually, in two years time, you will skyrocket that salary that you could have achieved in your current role.
So for example, a classic example is, if you are a financial analyst, your compensation generally is dictated by what accounting professionals earn. If you took a sidestep into being the strategic person, strategic finance, commercial finance, suddenly you are bringing in a whole lot of insight and strategic thinking into that role. And that can skyrocket your career in the next couple of years.
So think about it from a very holistic perspective. Where is it that you want to be? Why do you want to be there? How does it impact your finances? How does it impact your vision and legacy?