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Working hard isn’t the answer but this is.

Have you ever thought … if I work hard, I will get noticed and soon I will be promoted and get the pay rise I deserve?

Unfortunately career and leadership success and getting the recognition you deserve doesn’t only come through hard work. Yes it is part of the equation but there is more to it than that.

Sometimes it seems a mystery and definitely a source of frustration and resentment when others are promoted ahead of you.

Securing the position you want and getting paid what you are worth, is a worthy goal common to most. It is healthy to want to expand, develop, and advance both personally and professionally but what is the secrete formula for getting ahead?

There sometimes appears to be an unspoken set of rules that only a privileged few in the game are privy to. When you don’t know the secrete formula, you may even be sabotaging your career advancement without even realising it!

So you are smart and ambitious and you’re ready for the next challenge.

Here are some simple strategies to follow to get your career on the move.

1. Create a plan. Finding your way to the top starts with creating a successful plan. Start with the end in mind. Where do you want to be 3 – 5 years from now? It is only once you are clear on this that you can start mapping out the steps to get there. And without it … you will end up meandering along, allowing others to drive your next move. Now is the time to plant yourself firmly in the drivers seat.

Ensure your plan includes ongoing learning. Leaders who have fast tracked their career progression, take responsibility for their development of technical skills, leadership capabilities and personal growth.

2. Get to know your company and your boss. Understand your company’s vision, values and your boss’s priorities and focus your efforts with their goals and objectives. Focus on helping your team and your boss to achieve the business targets and in doing so you will demonstrate your value.

Align yourself with the people and projects receiving the highest levels of attention. This gives you visibility and the chance to shine more quickly.

3. Networking is Key.Build your network both within your organisation and externally. The more people who know you, like you and understand the value you bring, the better.

4. Focus on impact not just output. Be strategic about the projects you say “yes” to. Focus on delivering quality work that makes an impact on the business bottom line, customer service, efficiency, delivery standards etc.

Acknowledge that you will do you best work when you are working on projects that allow you to utilize your natural talents. Focusing your energy on activities that are a great fit for you will lead to greater happiness and productivity and producing your best work.

Become known for your innovation not just your ability to get a job done. It has been said that 90% of employees are executors, but it is the other 10% who initiate and do things that they are not asked to do, who move up the ladder the quickest.

5. Have the right conversations. Ask your boss and key people within your organisation “What does success in this role look like?” “ What can I be doing to operate at the next level? Be clear with them about your career aspirations and be open to advice on areas of personal and professional development.

6. Stand out! There is no place for being beige or blending into the background if you want to be taken seriously as someone who is ready for greater responsibility. Recognise that you may have been conditioned throughout your life to fly under the radar and take the safest path. It may have worked for you up until now but it is not going to be a winning strategy as your climb the corporate ladder.

Now is the time to stand out. Find your voice, speak up and have an opinion. Be brave and have courage to step up to take on projects and responsibilities that may be slightly outside your comfort zone.

7. Attitude.  Your attitude can make or break your advancement and the opportunities that come your way! It is the single most important element to a sustainable successful career.  It is more than just being positive. It is having an attitude that is respectful and inclusive of others. It is believing that everyone can add value if given direction, encouragement and trust. It is creating an environment were excellence is expected and the team thrive in working together to achieve extraordinary results.

Your engaging attitude will be the thing that stands you apart from the pack. It will have you noticed by senior leaders and your team wanting to follow you wherever you go!

Now is the time to get your career and your leadership development off autopilot.  Create a plan, take action and you might be surprised at how quickly you climb the career ladder!

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