When it comes to corporate America, getting to the top within any sector will involve its fair share of setbacks and challenges.
In our podcast, C-CRETS, we’ve consistently pulled back the curtains for our listeners. We’ve shared real-life examples from our own experiences and that of our guests, provided receipts that highlight key issues, and shared C-CRETS that can help further your career.
No one can haphazardly climb the corporate ladder, and sorry to say, it does not boil down to having luck. Instead, the ability to successfully move forward in your career involves talent, work, and people.
One of our most downloaded episodes was on creating an executive roadmap.
Your executive roadmap should act as a guide, allowing you to look beyond your current job, to a wider lens that involves an assessment of what kind of career you want.
Your roadmap may include your vision, strategies on what you plan to do to get there, and timelines for achieving certain career milestones.
An executive roadmap requires career planning, including determining your goals, the kinds of colleagues you’ll like to connect with for possible mentorship or sponsorship, and what industry and location might be the best fit for your endgame.
- Here, we’ll expand on the three C-CRETS we shared to help you get in route on the executive career path.
1.Find the Right Roles
You must understand the roles and experiences that you’ll need in order to go where you want to go. Reaching the top of any career ladder requires that you have a variety of experiences. For example, nearly half of Fortune 100 CEOs served as a divisional Chief Financial Officer during their career.
You don’t want to waste time by remaining in a stagnant role, when the possibility to move up the career ladder can increase via a job change.
In the USA Today article ‘Why are there still so few Black executives in America?’, of the 279 top executives at the 50 largest companies in America, only 5 are black (less than 2%). And while these companies now have 11% black representation on their boards, most of these companies have only one black member on their board.
In choosing a job, consider not only the employer and salary, but what opportunities may or may not be available for you at the company. And if the chances of getting a promotion at your current job is slim to none, its time for you look for the exit. It’s best that you find a role better suited to your skillset and professional growth, which will also enable you to be more satisfied with your career in the long-term.
2. Build Your Brand
Gone are the days when brand development was only a consideration for the Nikes, Toyotas, and McDonalds in the world. Nor is it just for easily recognizable celebrity names.
Personal branding and brand management has become a critical asset on an individual level.
This means taking a look at what avenues there are to better build your own brand. It may look like stepping forward and raising your hand to accept new assignments at work. It may mean accepting challenging tasks and taking on smart risks. And it may mean leading the charge to build a great product, service, or team.
As the world becomes more virtual, the need for individuals to demonstrate social proof remains important for helping both colleagues and companies to understand your brand. The good news is that you, to a large extent, have total control of your brand positioning.
3. Form Your ‘Board of Directors’
In the podcast, we also shared the importance of surrounding yourself with people who can provide you with honest and sound advice.
No one makes it to the top alone. It’s vital that you develop relationships with
people who are willing to advocate for you and form your own board of directors. This board should be comprised of people who have your back, and can provide you with support during both good and trying times.
Relationship-building is going to be a key component of your career success, and a personal board of directors can provide the expertise and guidance that you’ll need throughout your career, whether it’s for help transitioning to a new job, navigating office politics, or widening your network.
In the Fast Company article ‘Why every professional should recruit a personal board of advisers,’ it indicates studies show mentoring has many benefits, from greater career success to increased opportunities. In addition, mentorship provides an avenue to ask the hard questions.
This circles back to first asking yourself what type of roadmap you’d like to create. An executive roadmap will entail some personal reflection, but the end result should lead to greater self-awareness, better decision-making, and more beneficial career opportunities along the way.