Did you know research reveals the training and development occurring in many companies around the country isn’t terribly useful for taking you to the next rung on your career ladder? Don’t get me wrong, much of the knowledge you acquire today is relevant for your day-to-day growth; it’s just not necessarily applicable to the challenges facing you tomorrow!
Organizational development initiatives are more often lateral in nature. Experts pass along historical knowledge, information, and processes. Attention is on preparing skills, abilities, and behaviors to meet your company’s “right now” demands. Specifically, the organization centers on you being successful at your current position.
Lateral driven learning pays more attention to expanding knowledge rather than focusing on cultivating advancement skills necessary to impact your future positively.
There’s no question the rules change as you take on additional levels of responsibility and your skills need to meet these challenges because companies aren’t allotting much time to find your legs once you’ve received the promotion.
Step-Up learning is very different. It’s proactive, consistent, assertive development to meet the challenges of the next level. In all probability, the lack of such a commitment accounts for your company hiring external executives to fill the higher echelon positions rather than promoting an internal candidate. Under current learning guidelines, 30 percent of employees fail within two years after receiving an internal transfer, so the track record for the lateral approach isn’t stellar.
If you aren’t proactively building career skills to secure your future—before you’re expected to deliver the goods—unintentionally, your corporate status is locked into “doing” roles not the “high-influence” employee visibility you intend to generate.
A Step-Up mindset is you holding the developmental reins as you proactively R.E.A.C.H. to broaden your professional competencies:
- Request assignments that move you out of your comfort zone. Look for cross-training opportunities throughout the organization that may take you outside of your current expertise. This tactic allows you to Step-Up to a whole new stage in your evolution.
- Extend your network to include those who are part of diverse generations, demographics, genders, educational backgrounds, etc. Whether you’re working in a global organization, or not, your company is competing on the worldwide stage. And in today’s marketplace, diversity is the name of the game.
- Achieve confidence and ease with self-promotion—not of everything you do!—only those activities which separate you from the pack.
- Connect with and seek out sponsors across divisional and international boundaries as an essential element of your progression plan. Strategically partner with human resources, your boss, and other C-suite, senior executives you’ve brought into your network. By becoming known to a wider span of the organization, you create multiple promotion opportunities instead of one single track.
- Heighten your job description consciously to include assignments that will be relevant to the next job you’re interested in achieving. There is more flexibility in your position than you credit, so take advantage of this fact by adding assignments that hone you for where you’re going not merely doing more of what you’ve always been doing.
There is no question that today’s employee’s are perpetually experiencing white water challenges. Yes, there is comfort in growing skills for today; however, if you don’t proactively build a Step-Up mindset, your career will be limited in scope, and your march up the corporate ladder may end up being an unfulfilled dream.