3 Super Keys To Success + 6 Action Ideas to make it happen!
In a research paper titled 'Female Executives in Hospitality; Reflections on Career Journeys and Reaching the Top' by Kate Walsh, Susan S. Fleming, and Cathy A. Enz, the following came up as 3 keys to success:
(1) the importance of taking thoughtful risks, including non-linear assignments;
(2) the criticality of networking; and
(3) the significance of finding a sponsor. Although the study was for female executives, I personally think the Keys are critical for anyone.
So, here are my 2 action ideas for each key
(1) The importance of taking thoughtful risks, including non-linear assignments
Make a list of your talents, skills and more importantly your passion. These together make you unique. Add to this mix your experience and you have a plethora of options. What are those options? make a list and see if you can try and do something else.
Ask for something out of your comfort zone. Go to your boss, HR head etc, and ask for a project, additional work anything that challenge you and make you do something you normally don't do or are not already good at. Work in departments your department works with on a regular basis. Work on a project that affects your part of the business. Help another project team. Too many ideas?
(2) The criticality of networking
My boss told me something that a respondent's boss in the study told her too, 'meet and network with people at your level. As you grow in life, so will they'. I totally agree. Doesn't matter where you are in the corporate ladder, start networking now.
Get on linkedin.com and contribute. Don't just set up a profile and forget about it. Join groups, follow companies, comment, add connections, respond to posts asking for help, seek advice etc.
Join an association. A real world / offline networking and knowledge sharing group. Most professionals now have a like minded group that regularly accords you the opportunities you need.
What do you think?
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(3) The significance of finding a sponsor
This one is true across all industries, levels, geographies and cultures. It just makes sense, period. Think of your sponsor as a mentor.
Find someone you respect, someone who's career or actions inspire you and ask them if they would agree to mentor / sponsor you. It is important to find someone who values your work and would like to see you succeed, share information and knowledge with.
Find a project you know is being led by someone you think could be your mentor. Add value to that project, show your skill, value proposition and be a part of that project's success.
Your boss. If you think your boss, is someone you can learn from, be inspired from, then that works well. The important thing to keep in mind is, do not hitch your career to your sponsor. Be open to learn, but do not get a reputation as someone who is a puppet. Keep your identity separate.
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