Top Tips: Fast-Track Your Executive Career

  1. Get a Career Coach or Business Mentor, every successful C-Level executive that I know has access to them and often they are privately funding them. A good Career Coach or Mentor will help provide you with career direction, external perspective and insight into your strengths & weaknesses. I recommend using different coaches and mentors at different times, to deal with specific challenges.
  2. Invest 10% of Your Income in your own Personal & Professional Development. Build new ‘hot skills’ every year, you don’t need to complete an MBA, instead look for smaller training courses and experiences that address current workplace requirements and don’t be afraid to develop skills outside of your current area of expertise.
  3. Develop a Love of Learning – attend seminars, read books, watch TedTalks, develop an inquisitive mind that will help make you a “quick study” when the opportunity arises to take on more responsibility and when you need to hit the ground running.
  4. Build a Career Plan – without a plan you cannot spot good career opportunities, develop a Training Plan, take new opportunities on and maneuver into position to be offered better roles and experiences. Develop the leadership attributes that will make you a more desirable employee.
  5. Network, Network, Network – your pants off within the business and externally across multiple industries. Well networked executives are never out of work. Leverage modern networking tools such as LinkedIn, but don’t under-estimate the importance of building good relationships by meeting new contacts in-person.
  6. If you are not a natural networker your will need to work on yourCommunication Skills and work on becoming an interesting person. Get a networking buddy and learn the art of building rapport with your colleagues, peers and managers. Learn to crack the ‘communication code’ especially with your direct reports and managers as it will put you in good stead.
  7. Remember that you Never Win a Fight with your Boss, you must build a strong relationship with your manager to be presented with career opportunities. People leave jobs for 3 main reasons, the main one being that the person is not getting on with their boss or colleagues. You cannot change jobs each time your run into difficulty, you can’t label someone a bully every time there is a robust discussion in the work-place. Have your managers’ back and he or she will more often than not have yours.
  8. Develop a Passion for Business and People. Many people will tell you to find your passion and everything will magically fall into place. I say, develop an ‘interest’ in business and people and you can have a satisfying career in a range of industries and roles.
  9. Work Smart, Not Hard – top level executives are super organised and efficient. Learn how to organise your email for optimum efficiency, manage your diary carefully for optimum output, allocate time to do the work and be careful about not attending the continual round-robin of meetings without agenda’s and sitting there for 45 mins when you are only required to contribute for 5 mins. Develop a good work ethic and Outsource Everything that is not critical in other parts of your life. I personally outsource everything except the most critical components of my life that require my personal input and presence. Time is my most valuable commodity.
  10. Start to Build the Foundations to Your Board Career Early – men and women have a fantastic opportunity to enter the boardroom for the first time, and you need to start early by building skills such as strategy, risk, governance and strong communication skills. Look for opportunities to join Steering Committees and in your personal life don’t underestimate unpaid board work such as Arts, Sports, Community or School Boards and Body Corporates to give you a flavour of what it is like to work in a Board-like environment. If you have the support of your manager, consider joining a NFP, Arts, Sports or Community based board where you can hone your skills and also make a valuable contribution.

Combine these practical steps and you are on your way to having a successful corporate career and a mechanism to fast-track and get ahead. For more information check out my website

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