How to position yourself to protect against corporate change
Change in the corporate world is the one constant we can rely on. No job is 100% secure. No role will remain exactly the same one year to the next. Cultures change. Corporate structures and strategies change. Boards Change. Executive leadership teams change. And all of this change will directly or indirectly impact you and your role at some stage.
The question is … are you ready and prepared to weather the storm?
I was speaking with a senior leader recently who had just been made redundant for the 2nd time in less than 4 years. (A not so uncommon story.)
The first time around was tough. She struggled to come to terms with the loss of income, feeling out of control and suddenly loosing the certainty that comes with a being employed in meaningful work. And then with financial pressures looming, she took the first acceptable (if not totally ideal) role that came her way.
This time round it has been different.
In the last 3½ years she has strategically positioned herself so if she were to be hit by redundancy again she would be ready. She has worked to build up her professional profile, broaden her network and strengthen her skill base.
She has also set herself up financially; funnelling funds from her annual bonus into prepaying school fees and mortgage repayments.
Although she is just at the beginning of her job search, she is filled with confidence that she has the resources, networks and importantly the headspace to secure the perfect next role.
How would you fare if you were made redundant tomorrow or found yourself in a role that no longer suited you as a result of a restructure, take over or change of leadership?
And of course, lets remember that not all change is bad.
I know most of us instinctively are cautious of change and may even try to resist or be resentful of it. But change can also bring with it incredible opportunities.
Susan recently secured a seat at the executive leadership table for the first time, taking advantage of an opportunity that presented as a result of a corporate take over.
You could say that she was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
The truth is… she has been working hard over the last 18 months positioning for this type of role.
She has focused on getting known around the organisation as someone who not only has the ability to unify and engage a team to perform above expectations but also has a reputation of bringing new ideas and effective strategies to the table.
Are you ready to take best advantage of the opportunities that inevitably come through change?
And being ready is all about positioning.
Focusing on positioning is a bit like having an insurance policy for your career success and fulfilment.
Suddenly working on building your visibility and profile when it’s time to move roles isn’t the best strategy. And ignoring your network only to call on them when you become redundant feels a little desperate and inauthentic.
Learning to position like a pro is key to the health of your career.
3 top tips to position like a pro to insure against change.
1. Build Strategic Relationships
In times of change and uncertainty the value of your network is priceless. It will be these people who will reach out to support you, offer assistance and make introductions that could possibly lead to job opportunities.
But given that building strong relationships takes time, make sure that you are ALWAYS prioritising (in good times and bad) building and strengthening your networks.
2. Raise Your Profile
You will never get considered for the best opportunities if people don’t know who you are, what you can do and what your career aspirations are.
One of the best ways to raise your profile is to be strategic about the projects you devote your time, energy and resources to. Leading high profile projects will give you a great opportunity to demonstrate your value, your strengths and your leadership skills.
3. Attitude Matters
Through my work with high achieving professional women I am convinced that attitude plays a significant role in determining the outcome of change. Time and time again I see the women who remain upbeat, optimistic and open achieve a more positive outcome than those who are negative, resistant and fearful.
I know that remaining upbeat through the turmoil and uncertainty of change can be difficult. So choose your support network wisely. Reach out to people who you know will lift you higher, keep you motivated and support you to consistently bring the best version of you to the office.
So… how prepared are you to cope with a corporate takeover, round of redundancies or change in leadership?
If you answered… not at all prepared, you are not alone.
And that’s why I have made positioning and preparing for change, a major component of The Leadership Connection, an exclusive 6-month program designed for smart professional women.