You successfully navigated yourself through school. You mastered the art of getting by the recruiter-gatekeeper to tell your story and convince someone that you were worthy of employment; that you could add value to their organization over the long run.
You landed the job you were after. Congratulations. You’re in.
But recognize that you are entering a new era of your life and career; a period where success and fulfillment depend not on what got you to this point, but on acquiring new skills and competencies necessary to get you where you want to go.
Your past achievements are irrelevant to your future success; they may have influenced you getting through the door, but they guarantee nothing in terms of what happens from here on in.
Your past including your education is merely table stakes to play the career game; you need good credentials to play the game, but you won’t win unless you build on them and become a different person.
I took these actions to move from a systems analyst entry position to the president.
1. Be an Expert on What Strategy the Organization Has; What Challenges It Faces over the Next Five Years or So.
Your opinion on any matter is a function of whether or not people believe you and trust your judgment.
This takes time but be diligent and patient and watch your internal currency grow.
2. Establish an Internal Network of Individuals
There are those viewed as movers and shakers in your organization, and with their help, you can be recognized as a member of the “young and restless”.
3. Look for Opportunities to Go Beyond Your Current Job Responsibilities
Nail your current job and be seen as someone who is looking for more and who wants to make a difference in moving the organization to the next level.
And don’t ask permission; empower yourself and just do it to reach that president’s status.
4. Look at Everything You Do from a “Be Different” Lens
I speak of this constantly because it is so critical in terms of how one is perceived. You must stand-out from others not fit into the herd. “How can I do this differently?” should be the question that drives your action.
Be contrarian. Do the opposite of what others are doing. Find a new box to play in.
5. Accept Any Personal Recognition You Get with Grace and Humility
Pass it on to your colleagues who were with you in whatever journey is attracting the attention.
Give them the plaudits as team heroes.
6. Read. Read. Read
You need to be a voracious consumer of what thought leaders are saying and learn from them to reach the president position.
My most impressive mentors were authors who guided me and who enabled me to apply new thinking to business problems we were encountering.
7. Hone Your Communications Skills and Make It an Integral Part of Who You Are
It’s one thing to think differently, but if you can’t effectively communicate your thoughts to others and hook them with your passion, nothing happens and your brave idea dies.
8. Declare Your Loyalty to the Organization Through Both Word and Deed
This is a challenge for many of you who will view your first job as one of many and who don’t plan on working for anyone organization forever. My advice to you is this: be loyal to the organization while you are with them; do everything to get “loyal” integral to your young brand.
Get recognized as someone who doesn’t have their eyes constantly on the next personal career horizon.
Be comfortable with the notion that IF better opportunities present themselves, fine, but don’t spend every day looking for the greener pasture. Others will see you for what you are and you will not move ahead.
These 8 actions are basic stuff to be a president, but then success is all about “pounding on the basics”.