The New Year, and in this case, the new decade is the perfect time to assess where you are in your career and this applies to those with a career plan as well as those without. For those with good salaries and benefits and who enjoy their role, it is easy to remain in a comfort zone. And why not? You’ve probably enjoyed several career highs and successes over the past year and, undoubtedly, it’s rewarding to be able to reflect on these. You’ve probably also acquired a great deal of experience and capabilities in this period.
But there is the narrowest of margins between being comfortable in your role and reaching a plateau, which can have serious consequences for a long-term career. For some, the next 12 months may continue with more career highs but for others a role may run out of challenge and no longer stimulate you, leading to dissatisfaction.
The longer the time spent in a position that has ceased to challenge, the more difficult it will be to make your next career move, especially in today’s accelerated business world. Skillsets are unlikely to be aligned with market demands and you risk being left behind by peers who have been far more proactive about progressing their careers over the past few years.
For individuals wishing to break out of their plateau and test the waters as far as their next career move is concerned, begin by carrying out a benchmarking exercise to assemble a clear picture of how your skills, knowledge and experience rate in the market. How relevant are they to both the present and future challenges faced by organisations? Benchmarking yourself against colleagues in similar positions is one of the most effective ways of doing this but can prove time-consuming.
Tools such as Linkedin and the Rialto Accelerated Leadership Index (RALI), which uses real-time data to profile and assess the alignment of a leader’s current capability and experience to future market needs and against those of their competitors, will make this part of the exercise more accessible.
Carrying out a 360-degree assessment of yourself and how you are perceived by others can also add significant value and is an important part of assessing your personal brand. Apply the same strategic thinking to yourself as you would a business. What are your unique selling points? How are you regarded in the market? Who are your chief competitors and what do they offer that you don’t? The increased focus on understanding your personal brand can help to identify where you figure in the market and ensure you stand out from those in similar roles as well as appear on the radar of target organisations.
Investing time into building your networks is another valuable exercise. At Christmas, we devote time to sending well-wishes and thank-you notes so use the same principle to determine who you want to reach out to in the New Year from a career perspective. Are there people with whom you would like to collaborate? Are there projects you would like to work on? Identify who they are and how you can action any project plans. And remember, you can also build valuable contacts and experience outside of the workplace. Maybe there is a project that will benefit members at your local cricket club that you could spearhead?
For anyone taking a more proactive approach to career management in the New Year, it is essential to factor in time for learning and acquiring new skills. Indeed, a lifelong or continuous learning mindset will be increasingly important across the next decade for those who want to remain relevant to the workforce no matter where you are in your career. Consider what learning opportunities might be appropriate. It doesn’t have to be formal career development but could involve something like reverse mentoring where new skills are acquired in areas such as social media or data analytics from more junior colleagues. Explore all learning options open to you.
Whether you are ending the year on a career high or are stagnating and frustrated but still feel there is one or more good career moves left in you, make a resolution to take a proactive approach to career management in 2020.
Leaving the comfort zone behind to do something different can have an energising effect on your career. And don’t forget that Rialto is on hand to act as a sounding board as well as provide executive coaching to help develop and polish your personal brand.
This white paper looks at how relevant and desirable your skills are perceived in the new world order, both in your current organisation and to those in the external market.