Are you the “go-to girl”?

Are you the “go-to girl”?

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I’ve had a number of conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who have fallen into the trap of being the “go-to girl.” 

Perhaps you too are the go-to girl.  Or you might be known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman or have earned the label of “reliable”.  Eek!

I get it.  I was this woman for a long time.  And I wore the label like a badge of honor! 

I liked the fact that people would seek me out, knowing that I was the only one in the team to really take the time to help them. It fueled my ego to be needed! 

But I had no clue how much it was holding me back.  On reflection now, I realise that I was seen as a doer not as the leader I wanted to be seen as.  

A comment from the HR director about “over mothering” the team now makes sense.  At the time, it was nothing but insulting and hurtful.  Now I realise he was providing guidance on how I could step up to lead more effectively. 

So what’s the problem with being the go-to girl?

1. Your plate becomes over full.  

I don’t need to tell you this.  You know it already.  You are super busy.  You’re working long hours without making any real progress.  You’re exhausted.  And at times it’s overwhelming.  You have no bandwidth for creativity or strategic thinking. 

2. You are so busy doing – there is no time to truly lead

You may have the title of leader, but who has the time or headspace to really lead? Finding the time to sit quietly to think, plan and strategise is for many go-to girls … well … pie in the sky.  And building and nurturing a high-performing team takes your consistent time, energy and focus, which you have so little of. 

3. It’s killing your career progression 

You don’t get seen, heard, valued or promoted for doing the busy work. It’s as simple as that! 

When was the last time you did something that truly moved the dial on a personal career goal or a business goal?  

Being the go-to girl will inevitably keep you stuck in the weeds – doing what I call busy work.  And you don’t get promoted for doing the busy work! Someone has to do it, but it’s time to pass it onto someone else. 

So what now…

If you are the go-to girl, stuck in the weeds of doing rather than leading, then it’s time for change.  Your career goals will not be met while you stay stuck in this place.   

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Breakthrough Your Career Plateau

Breakthrough-your-career-plateau

Breakthrough Your Career Plateau

A career plateau, if left to fester too long can damage your reputation, minimize your career opportunities and leaving you feeling miserable about your work.  

Although it doesn’t happen overnight, it can sneak up on us and take us unawares.  For a time we can hum along – having and impact, making a difference and feeling fulfilled.  Then one day we can look around and ask – is this all there is? 

Have you reached a career plateau?

Here are 10 keys to breaking through your career plateau.

1. Expand your comfort zone. 

Your career plateau is representative of your comfort zone.  Ouch … I know!  Your comfort zone is exactly that… comfortable.  It can keep us trapped in a false sense of security.

If you want to move past your current plateau you will have to step outside your current comfort zone.  There is no other way past it!  This might involve taking on a new project, tackling a difficult conversation, raising your profile or stepping into a completely new role.

2. Up your game. 

What got you to this point in your career is not what it will take to get to the next level.  As they say… if you keep doing the same things you will keep getting the same results.  So a little up leveling will be required… to your thinking, actions, attitude and behaviours.

3. Change your internal dialogue. 

What are you telling yourself about your career?  What are your underlying beliefs around what you are capable of?  When our internal dialogue is out of alignment with or even in conflict with what we “say” we want, progress is near to impossible.

For example if you’re thinking you’d like to lead a bigger team and manage a bigger budget but your ongoing self talk is “who am I to think I could do that” or “I’m not worthy” – then you’re absolutely going to hit up against recurring resistance to growth.   

4. Challenge your fears. 

Could it be possible you’ve hit a career plateau because you fear failure (or even success?)  Moving past this plateau will absolutely require you to accept a little risk and to face your fears.  And consider for a moment the risks to you, your health, your sanity and your professional reputation if you were to stay exactly where you are for another 12 months?

And let’s face it … our fears are almost always unfounded!  

5. Know yourself. 

Know your strengths.  Know what inspires you to take action.  Know what you love to do and where you add the most value.  Know what gives you energy and what drains your energy away.  Know what drives commitment, passion and fulfilment.

Then ask yourself – “Am I tapping in the best of me in my current work?”  When we are not… it’s way to easy to settle for what is.  And really – are you someone who is prepared to settle

6. Get Clarity. 

The fastest pathway to growth beyond your current plateau is to get clarity on what you truly want.  You can and will not move forward without clarity.  Confusion and uncertainty will keep you firmly rooted to exactly where you are today.

7. Set a new goal.

Once you have clarity of who you are, what’s most important to you and what you truly want next … it’s the time to set a new goal that will both inspire action and guide decision making.  Get as specific as you can and answer the question: “What would I really like to be doing?”  It can be scary to claim what you want. It’s time to get into the driver’s seat and creating your career by design rather than leaving it up to chance.

8. Focus your time and energy. 

Many women I work with reach a career plateau because they fear that taking the next step will require more of them and they can not see how they could work any harder.  Can you relate?  The truth is … at a certain point in your career it’s not about working harder.  It requires you to work smarter.  And being conscious about where you focus time and energy.

9. Take time out & inject more white space into your day.

The more senior roles you take on, the more thinking time you need to schedule into your day.  At this level you are employed for your knowledge, experience and wisdom, not your technical expertise or your capacity to do the doing.  That is what your team are for!

10. Give yourself permission. 

And finally … give yourself permission to step into your fullest potential.  You are worthy.  You have more to contribute. It’s time to do what it takes to make it happen.

And … stop waiting for someone (your boss, your mentor, your Dad, your partner) to give you permission to take this next step.  The only person who can make that decision is YOU! 

If you’ve hit a career plateau – it’s time to take some action.  The longer you leave it the harder it is to did you way out towards your next ideal role.  Start by focusing on any one of these keys and watch the ripple effect of change.

If you need a little more help to get into action – then I invite you to join us at the next Career by Design workshop

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The number 1 mistake mid career professionals make when job searching

The number 1 mistake mid career professionals make when job searching.

Job searching. I don’t think it’s anyone’s favourite thing to do. It
takes effort. It takes time. And it takes mental and emotional energy.

It requires soul searching and at times it can be soul destroying.

We’ve all experienced the excitement of finding a role that we believe would be ideal for us. We imagine ourselves in the role; what we could achieve, the impact we could have and how we would feel resigning from our current role.

Gosh you may have even allocated the potential payrise to pay for school fees or that overdue house renovation.

And then the unthinkable happens…. they offer the role to someone else!

Ah the roller coaster – the highs and lows of job searching.

There is no exact formula to make the process pain free but there are some things we can do to improve our chances to landing our ideal role – more quickly and with less stress.

It all starts with avoiding the number 1 trap I see many mid career professionals fall into.

And that is….

Going out to the market to “see what’s out there” without real clarity about what it is that you are looking for.

This approach can work, but is likely to be hit and miss. It can be disempowering and it’s an incredibly frustrating waiting game. It leaves the process up to chance and what we end up doing is trying to fit ourselves into whatever comes up rather than going after what we REALLY want.

Even worse – if you think a recruiter will be able to figure out what types of role you would be good for based on your past experience, then you are gravely mistaken.

There are some hugely talented recruitment specialist out there who are dedicated to the bringing together the right candidate with the right role but on the whole most are super busy, looking for the safe, quick solution to a job vacancy.

It’s time to flip your thinking and your approach to job searching.

No more aimlessly looking to see what’s out there. No more hoping something interesting will pop up. No more leaving the process up to chance.

It’s your career. It’s up to you to figure out what you want and to go after it. It’s time to drive the process.

A new approach to job searching.

1. Know who you are. The job search process doesn’t start out there. It starts within. Yes this is the soul searching part of the process.

Before you speak to your network, before you update your LinkedIn profile, before you speak to a recruiter – spend the time to get really clear on;

Be honest with yourself… what do you love to do. What parts of your past roles have filled you with the most joy.

And equally important, what tasks or responsibilities do you never want to do again! And don’t be fooled. It could be something you are seen to be very good at – but let’s be honest – you hate doing it.

2. Set your direction. You may not know at this stage the job title of your next ideal role. But don’t let that hold you back. The world of work is changing so rapidly right now it’s impossible to know what type of opportunities may become available.

Your best option will be to align your job search with the types of tasks and responsibilities you would like to be included in your next ideal role. From all the work you have done looking within, you now know what the non negotiable elements of your new role are.

3. Go to market. Finally … you are now ready to go out proactively to the job market with certainty and clarity. It’s about going out to your network or to recruiters and saying – this is who I am and this is the value I have to offer and this is the type of work I would ideally like to move to next.

By succinctly and confidently articulating what you are looking for next, you are much more likely to illicit support and interest from recruiters and your network.

And if by chance your ideal role does pop up on Seek – you are more likely to be able to articulate to your potential employer exactly why you are the person they have been looking for.

So my question to you today is – “have you fallen into the trap of going out to the market before you truly know what it is that you are looking for?”

If you have it’s time to switch things up.

Yes it will take a little more work up front but the proof is in the pudding as they say.

By following this approach I’ve seen many mid career professional women quickly turn their job search luck around and land the very next role they applied for. Not just any old role – but their ideal role.

Why do I think it works so well?

Because the hidden secrete is that through the soul searching work at the beginning of the process you’ll get super clear and confident on the value you have to offer and why you would be the best candidate for any role which is perfect for you.

And clarity and confidence is an incredibly attractive attribute to demonstrate to your ideal new employer!

If you’re ready to make a change but need a little more clarity about what’s next for you then I invite you to come along to Career by Design – a one day workshop for smart, dynamic, mid career professional women ready for something more.

Click here for more information about this transformation 1 day workshop.

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How to own your value and leverage your talent

How to own your value and leverage
your talent

Almost every week women tell me that they are capable of more but are struggling to make their mark within their organisation or industry. These women are brilliant and their unique talents are much needed in the modern workplace.

Their CV’s document their extensive experience and the results they have achieved throughout their career but still they find themselves languishing in roles that no longer excite them.

They know they have more to offer … and they are right!

So what’s the missing link?

To put it simply … they are not owning their value or leveraging their talent.

They have not positioned themselves as a woman of preeminence with valuable expertise to share.

Humbleness is a virtue – but not when it holds you back from getting you seen, heard and recognised for your expertise.

Many are waiting in hope and expectation that they will be noticed for their good work.  And most struggle to speak about who they are, what they want and what value they offer an organisation.

But once they get clear on their value and are able to articulate it in a succinct, congruent way, magic happens.

Katherine is a great example; super talented, exceptional leader and all round great woman. When we first meet she was what I’d describe as beige. She had been flying under the radar, busy doing the do but not owning or leveraging her talents. She was frustrated by the lack of career progression but didn’t know how to change it.

After attending Career by Design (a one day workshop for mid career professional women) she realized she had been asleep at the wheel.   Simply by getting super clear on her value she was able to position herself for the perfect next opportunity.

With renewed self worth and certainty about her career, she is now up beat and confident about her future. And it doesn’t stop there.  Her friends, family and colleagues have noticed a significant shift in how she is showing up both at work and at home.

Here’s how to own your value and leverage your talents.

1. Know your value. It all starts here. You have to know your value.  And to be seen as valuable, you must step up and own it.  Simple really.

Over and over again I’ve seen women struggle to articulate the value they bring to a team or an organization. It’s not enough to know what you do well. This is a good start but it’s important to be able to speak about how this contributes to the organisations bigger picture.

2. Do the inner work. Believability is key. You need to do the inner work to ensure you show up with presence, poise and grace. If you are fidgeting, shrinking or letting your nerves run riot, no one will buy into your opinion, your leadership or your direction.

Breaking down the limiting beliefs and mental barriers that get in your way is key to owning your value and leveraging your talents. It takes courage to do this inner work and to put yourself our there … but it’s worth it.

It’s about doing the work so that you go into the most critical situations with a mindset of “I am here to contribute and add value” knowing that you have what it takes.

3. Demonstrate your expertise. Ladies it’s time to step out from the shadows and shine. No more being the best keep secrete. Create a strategy to demonstrate your expertise on a regular basis.

This might mean sharing your expertise more freely in meetings, taking on high profile projects or being intentional about the opportunities you say YES to and those you say NO to.

Without an intentional strategy – it will not happen.

4. Show up and share. There is no other way for this strategy to work well. Be intentional about showing up each and every day in a way that will get you recognised for the skills and abilities you want to be known for.

Share your opinion and allow your expertise to be seen. And most importantly speak often about what you are working on, the impact you’re having and the results you and your team are achieving.

Yes, I’m suggesting you toot your own horn in your best humble, genuine way. It’s not enough to rely on others to notice – you need to tell them.

This work takes courage and is the fast track to exponential growth.

 It will position you well within your organisation for the most exciting opportunities. And it will raise your profile within your industry so when an ideal position becomes available your name will be automatically thrown into the mix.

You next role is more likely to come from within your network than it will from a recruiter so make sure your network knows your value!

Knowing your value and leveraging your talents is one of the most important strategies a woman can have in her tool kit to help her reach her ultimate potential.

It will take you from best kept secret to preeminence … without working harder or selling your soul.

Put this strategy into practice and see your personal power soar and your professional reputation take off with a quantum leap.

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Are you ruling yourself out without even realising it?

Are you ruling yourself out without even realising it?

Is it possible that you are ruling yourself out or holding yourself back from getting that next big break, exciting opportunity or promotion?

I’m not saying you’re doing it consciously. Most often it’s totally unconscious.

We don’t mean to hold ourselves back. We don’t set out to undermine our own success. We don’t deliberately undersell our brilliance or let the best opportunities pass us bye… but I’ve seen it happen. And I’ve experienced it myself more than once.

So how does it happen? Some call it self-sabotage. 

It’s when we unconsciously hold beliefs about ourselves or about the environment that we operate in that are at odds with our goals and ambitions. We make automatic assumptions that prevent us from following the path we really want to take.

I see many smart, super talented, ultra experienced professional women get stuck languishing in middle management roles, unable to unlock the code to taking the next step in their career. Some of the work we do is to introduce tactics and strategies to overcome the very real challenges that stand in their way.

But the thing that makes the biggest difference is working on the inner game; the limitations and obstacles we place in our own way.

Here are some of the assumptions and beliefs that limit success and make the work of following your career aspirations that much harder.

Are you ruling yourself out with one of these 5 beliefs?

1. I’m not ready yet. This one has been a personal favourite. For many years I told myself (and others) that I wasn’t ready. I held myself back from potential opportunities and promotions – even when I was being encouraged to apply by senior leaders. I believed I needed to know more and to have more experience which in hindsight was based purely in fear not in reality.

In reality, very often we are ready. Research shows that women tend to grossly underestimate their abilities and rule themselves out of more senior roles even when they are more qualified or experienced than the eventual winning candidate.

And speaking from experience… there is nothing more frustrating when this happens.

2. There are limited opportunities. When we tell ourselves this … we make it true. It’s like a dead end. A full stop. You’re telling yourself you may as well not even look because there isn’t anything for me.

When we make this assumption our energy is one of lack. Now this may be getting a little “Woo Woo” for some, but I believe we either attract or repel opportunities and people to us based on our energy.

So let’s maximise our opportunities by upping our energy and open up to the unexpected opportunities that will only come to you when you are open and surrounding yourself with an energy and attitude of possibility.

3. I’m too busy. The epidemic of busy continues to zap our time and our energy but to what end? If you were to do a quick 60 second audit of what has kept you busy today – has your busyness contributed to your health, happiness, fulfilment or personal or professional growth?

Are you busy doing what is most important to you?

Are you busy doing what will bring you joy, fulfillment and meaning?

Are you busy doing work that will contribute to your career progression?

Or have you become stuck in the busyness of life and checking off your to do list?

The assumption of “I’m too busy” is an easy one to come to because we all live it every day. Being consciously aware of what keeps us busy is an important first step.

And if you know that the difference between a good career and an exceptional career is where you focus your time, energy and resources… how would you allocate your time, energy and resources differently?

4. I might fail. Yes you might! There is a risk of this anytime we step outside our comfort zone and do something we haven’t done before. But you might also excel! Imagine that!

And even if you do stumble, you are way more resilient than you might at first think.

We have a choice of settling for where we are or to take a chance on ourselves. I have done both and I can say the pain and discomfort of playing small is way more unpleasant than the pain and discomfort of stepping out, taking a chance and being seen.

If the fear of failure comes up for you – ask yourself “If I did, could I handle it?”   Undoubtedly the answer is almost always YES.

5. I can’t afford it. This one is big. I can’t afford to attend the conference I really want to go to. I can’t afford to take that holiday that would really help me to pause, reflect and decompress. I can’t afford to invest in a development program or mentoring that would really help me to up level.

When we say we cant – we make it true and we immediately shut off the opportunity.

Imagine instead asking the question; “How might I?” This one simple shift opens up possibility, creative solution finding and choice. In my experience, when we want something badly enough, there is always a way…. (maybe sell off some of the items cluttering up the shed or spare room to get you started!)

Which of these beliefs ring true for you?  Could they be slowing your progress or standing in your way of what you really want?

Ladies, creating a career we love and leading our way is tough enough in the current day corporate environment… let’s not make it any harder on ourselves. These simple beliefs and assumptions too often stand in our way and rule us out of the game, even before the game gets started.

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3 Mistakes that can see you being passed over for promotion

3 Mistakes That Can See You Being Passed Over For Promotion

Have you been passed over for promotion and you just can’t work out why?

You’re working hard and you’ve got the team working well so why is it that you have been overlooked for roles you know would have been ideal for you?

It’s not because you don’t have the skills or experience. That’s the frustrating thing. You know you are more than capable. Way more capable than your current role might suggest.

So what are you doing wrong? Why are you being overlooked?

This is a question many of the women who come to me are asking.

I regularly receive emails from women like this one from Belinda, an experienced mid career professional.

“I recently was passed over for promotion, so need to ensure that doesn’t happen again. Leadership roles have not come my way, and this needs to change."

3 Mistakes that can see you being passed over for promotion.

1. Putting action before clarity.

Getting the best opportunities coming your way does not start with getting into action. Action is important … but it’s not the starting point. Clarity is.

Putting action before clarity is a bit like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something will stick.   At best you will end up stuck in your current role. At worse you’ll end up in a role you hate and you’ll wonder how you got there.

Getting that ideal next role starts with getting super clear on what you want. Not just what you think you can get… but what you want.

And ladies … you really are capable and worthy of what you want.

So what do you want?

It’s surprising how few women I work with can actually answer this question.

This isn’t about knowing what the title of your next job will be. With the world of work changing ever so rapidly it’s possible that the role that you will move into in 6 months time doesn’t even exist today.

But you must have clarity about where you add the most value, the type of work you want to be involved in and how you would like to spend your time at work.

It’s only once you have clarity that you can position for that type of role, articulate to others about what you want and share your career vision in your CV and LinkedIn profile.


2. Focusing your time and energy on the wrong things.
This one is big. I see amazingly talented women fall into this trap on a weekly basis.

Working hard isn’t enough.

Putting your head down and churning out perfect reports, keeping on top of all the requests than come your way and being the most prepared for every meeting you go to will not get you the recognition you’re looking for.

Purely working hard will not position you for promotion or for your next ideal role.

“The difference between an exceptional career and a good career is where you intentionally invest your time, energy and resources.” ~ Val Wright.

I acknowledge and applaud Belinda for reaching out for some help.

The mistake I see over and over again is professional woman leaving their career up to chance. They wait until an opportunity comes their way.

Ladies this is an active process. We need to be strategic. We need to intentional. And if what we are doing isn’t working … we need to be doing some things differently.

We will not get the roles we want if we keep doing what’s not working.

3. Being a well kept secret.
The best opportunities come to those who get themselves known. It’s that simple. It might not be fair or seem right but it happens.

I know you’re great at what you do… but who else knows?

Thinking that your work should speak for itself is a mistake. Everyone is way too busy getting through their own “to do list” to notice what you’re up to.

So let’s agree that just a little self promotion might be needed.

Let people know what you’re working on and share your wins; in your best authentic way.

Focus on building genuine relationships with people who can support your growth and your ambitions. The quickest way to a promotion is to have advocates speak for you. Make sure they know what you want, the value you can add and the unique skills you can bring to a role.

And ladies… please spend some time updating your LinkedIn profile. Don’t underestimate the power of a well crafted LinkedIn summary that positions not only your skills but also the type of person you are.

So… what’s holding you back from promotion?

Spend some time today reflecting on what it could be that’s getting in your way and make the commitment to do some things differently.

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What to do to be considered for the best roles

What to do to be considered for the best roles

Picture this. There is a group of senior leaders sitting around a table discussing some new exciting projects. They are throwing around the names of people who they think might be suitable for the role.

The role will be the perfect opportunity for someone to prove their skills and truly contribute in a big way. It will be challenging. It will be high profile. And the successful candidate will be remunerated accordingly.

And … it would be perfect for you!

But your name isn’t mentioned.

Why?

Because you’ve been flying under the radar, working hard and focusing on getting the job done.

But… No one really knows you.

They know you are reliable. They know you will get the job done. They know you’ll produce good work. But that’s about it.

They don’t really know what type of leader you are.

They don’t know that you have been an instrumental contributor in the development of the strategic direction in your department. They don’t know that the low staff turn over in your team is due to the work you’ve done to build team engagement.

And most critically… they don’t even know that you would be interested in this type of opportunity.

Unfortunately you have kept yourself a well kept secret. You’ve relied on the quality of your work to do the talking for you. And at this level and stage in your career – it’s not enough.

Leadership requires more of you than being technically proficient.

The best roles and opportunities will only come your way when you’re known for your leadership and your ability to get results that matter to the organisation.

And this takes getting yourself known!

The women in my inner circle programs who are getting the best opportunities coming their way are those who are bold enough to stake a claim for the types of roles they would love to be doing… and then strategically position themselves for the right doors to open.

It’s time to get strategic, unleash your powers of influence and build a network of key supporters who will open the doors of opportunity for you.

Want to be considered for the best roles? Here’s how.

1. Take control. 

Ok ladies it’s time to get in the drivers seat and take control of your career. This is not the time shrink. This is not the time to pull back and hope that someone will see your good work and talent.

No more leaving your career up to chance.

I wonder, is your career more by default than design?

If you don’t know where you are heading it’s likely you wont end up anywhere special.

Or even worse … end up fulfilling someone else’s agenda in a role that you can do but doesn’t light your fire.

So the most important step is – clarity!

Start by getting clear about what type of work you want to be doing. Don’t get too bogged down in defining the job title – it’s more about identifying how you would like to be spending each day and what you would like to be responsible for.

2.  Get focused

It’s time to get strategic.

The difference between a good career and an outstanding career is where you focus your time, energy and resources. Focus your time and energy on projects and activities that will get you recognised and considered for the types of opportunities that would interest you.

3.  Build your profile. 

It’s time to get known. Get out from behind your desk and speak to people in person rather than shooting off a quick email. Prioritise strategic catch ups for coffee or after work drink to deepen relationships and share your ideas and aspirations.

Speak up in meetings and let your views and opinions be known. Share your knowledge generously and make time to manage up, sideways and down.

Be on the look out for high profile projects that will not only give you key experience but also see these as the ideal opportunity to show case your skills and the value you bring.

4.  Say NO. 

You need to say no to the “busy work” so you can focus on the tasks that we get you noticed for the work that will position you well for the types of roles you want.

5.  Speak up.   

Let it be known what your aspirations and interests are. I know it can be terrifying to take a stand for what you want but you can’t expect those around us to be mind readers.

It takes courage but surely we should fear missing out on opportunities even more.

NEXT STEPS?

Follow these tips with an open mind and an attitude of curiosity and before long …. you will have the ideal projects and the best roles come knocking on your door.

Don’t stay stuck where you are…. being overlooked for the best roles.

Join me at the next Career by Design Workshop – a 1 day small group intensive to breakthrough the hidden barriers and map out the next stage of you career

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Why being busy is killing your career progress

Why being busy is killing your career progress

With the rate of change, the volume of work and our always on and available work culture, being busy has reached epidemic proportions. But the question that must be asked is “Are you being effective and is being busy impacting your career progress?”

You race from one meeting to the next, sneak away from the family on a Sunday afternoon to “get on top of emails” and work your way through an ever growing to do list.

But are you making any progress? Are you doing work that really matters to your organisation? Are you positioning yourself for your next career opportunity?

It’s way to easy to get lulled into a false sense of security thinking that we are achieving purely because we are doing.

But being busy is not the same as doing work that is effective, of importance and moving the needle forward.

When Julie first came to me she was exhausted. She was working long hours, meeting the monthly deadlines for the core requirements of her role but she knew that it wasn’t enough.

Her career had plateaued, she had been overlooked for a promotion and she had lost the sense of achievement that comes with making a significant contribution.

Julie had fallen into the trap of churning through her to do list rather than planning and prioritising work that mattered. Key projects that would significantly impact the business growth remained unfinished and her commitment to perfection was leading her fast towards burnout.

Doing good work is not enough to get promoted.

Career progression and success requires more than purely doing what we did last year. As Marshall Goldsmith pointed out in in his classic leadership book, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

We need to be constantly learning, growing and contributing in new ways each year.

But more than anything we need to be seen to be doing work that has a significant impact on the key goals and objectives of the business. And in the fast paced, ever changing working environment, we need to be working on projects that support continuous improvements, innovation and business growth.

So…. It’s time to stop being busy and start prioitising for progress.

This is all about prioritising your time, energy and resources to create progress towards achievement of key organisational goals and targets that will move you forward towards your personal career aspirations.

Here’s how to stop being busy and prioritise for career progress.

1. Clarify your career goals. Career progress will only happen when you know what you want. I know many smart, ambitious women whose career has been more by default than by design.

Working hard and doing great work probably worked well for you in your early career but it’s not enough to get more senior roles. Getting clear on what you want for the next phase of your career is a critical first step.

2. Claim you personal priorities.   The next step is knowing what’s important to you on a personal level. Is your career growth a priority right now or is it something else?

 Do you want to spend more time with your family, get a side project off the ground, focus on home renovations, manage your personal finances better or take an extended holiday?

What are your personal priorities and how will you make these happen in conjunction with your career aspirations?

3. Align with the business goals. The opportunities that will come your way are closely aligned with the degree of impact you have on the business goals and strategic objectives. Get clear on what these are and ensure you are prioritising activities that will get you seen, heard and recognised for your contribution to these goals.

4. Pause and plan. This step is critical… especially when we are busy. Put aside an hour or two to map out what you want, what’s important to you and your organisation and identify the big ticket projects that will get you the recognition that you deserve.

This is not about creating a long exhaustive list.

Pick 3 to 5 projects that align to the business goals and allow you to play to your strengths while also leading you towards your personal and career goals.

Next, break this down into a 90 day plan. Be realistic about what you can get done in this timeframe while also setting yourself a bit of a stretch. After all, we are on a mission to raise your profile, set a new benchmark and get you on the radar of the people who can support you to achieve your career goals.

Ladies it’s time to get super strategic about where you dedicate your time, energy and resources. To help you with your planning I’ve put together a simple planning tool. Click HERE to download it now.

5. Prioritise to make it happen. The busy work will ALWAYS take priority if you let it. As the saying goes, nothing will get done if it’s not scheduled. So lets schedule the work that really matters. Block out time in your diary a couple of times a week to get the big ticket work done.

6. Work smarter not harder. So I hear you saying … this is great Jane, but I’m already busy. I don’t have the time for this. I get it. And that’s why we must look at ways to get more done while working less. Let’s start by letting go of the need to get everything perfect. Imperfect implementation is better than the project languishing on your to do list incomplete.

7. Elevate your success. Don’t keep yourself or the great work you are doing a secret. Being humble is a beautiful attribute but not when it keeps your skills and talents hidden. It is possible to actively self promote while remaining authentic, in integrity and without being icky. It’s time to get out there and get known.

Now it’s over to you.  Download the worksheet now and put aside some time to put you and your career first.  Remember, progress will only happen by moving away from the busy work and prioritising the work that will really matters. Good luck.

 

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Future proof your career. How to stay relevant in the changing world of work.

Future proof your career. How to stay relevant in the changing world of work.

 

With the world of work changing at an ever-increasing rate, learning how to future proof your career has never been more important. Many roles are becoming extinct, being replaced by technology while brand new roles are popping up every day.

Economists have predicted that over the next two decades, the jobs least likely to be taken over by technology are those that involve creativity, highly developed social skills and problem solving.

And the types of skills and capabilities being highly sort after in the workplace are also changing.

Where in the past soft skills where consider somewhat 2nd rate today they are being applauded as the skills critical for the 21st Century high performer.

This is particularly good news for women.

Many of the commonly considered feminine leadership traits including; communication, creativity, project management, enthusiasm for learning, critical thinking, team work, empathy and global citizenship are just some of the key skills and attribute required to future proof your career.

This is not just a theory. I’ve seen it play out with the professional women I work with.

Susan recently secured a role on the Senior Leadership Team of a large global business following a corporate restructure. It was her ability to focus on delivering the strategic goals and work collaboratively to solve complex problems while also demonstrating her skills to build a highly effective and engaged team that helped her step confidently into this promotion.

Unfortunately her promotion was at the expense of a guy who had not moved with the times. He remained committed to an older style of leadership and relying on his past results to keep him in the role.

His past results were not enough and his leadership style had become outdated leaving his skill set somewhat irrelevant in the future of this service centric business.

So ladies… it looks like our time is now!

The world of work is changing and it’s time for us to step up confidently and accept the challenge of 21st Century leadership.

But let’s make sure you are focusing your time, energy and resources in the right areas to future proof your career.

Here’s how to future proof is your career?

1. Embrace change. Change is the only constant we can rely on! There is no point fighting it or trying to stand in its way. It is here to stay and will only get faster and more significant.

Start by looking at how you can position yourself to take full advantage of changes occurring in your organisation or industry. Look upon change as an opportunity for growth rather than fearing the shift in status quo.

Your ability to be flexible and take full advantage of change will be the difference between being left behind and using it as an opportunity to accelerate your career progression.

2. Become a life long learner. Marshall Goldsmiths iconic leadership bookWhat got you here won’t get your there” has never been more relevant. You can not rely on your past results to take you to the next phase of your career.

Continued education is all about ensuring you remain relevant.

Given that the prized skills of the 21st Century are those we once labeled soft skills – I’m a massive advocate for programs that support self awareness and personal development as a foundation for professional growth.

3. Prioritise relationships. I know you are busy – but making time to build your professional network is important!

I’m currently working with a senior leader who was recently made redundant. She is a talented, highly skilled professional but it’s unlikely that her skills will to be her greatest asset in her quest to secure her next ideal role. It’s the breadth and depth of her professional network that will get her exposure to the most interesting roles.

Within 24 hours of receiving the news about her redundancy, she had received countless phone calls and messages of support and offers of introductions.

Her career opportunities are looking bright with this army of supporters and long term professional connections on the lookout for her.

4. Articulate your value. You are a smart, capable professional and your career matters to you… but who other than you really knows the value of your contribution?

I asked a room of professional women last week to share with the group what their greatest skills and talents were. Almost all began to squirm and expressed how uncomfortable they were to talk about themselves.

Ladies, it’s time we got past this. Being humble is a virtue …but it’s also holding us back.

To future proof your career you must learn to confidently articulate your value and how you have contributed to the strategy, results, bringing together a high performing team, negotiating outcomes, sales and everything else you do.

You can no longer hope that your good work will speak for it’s self. You must be speaking for it.

Which of these tips will you be focusing on to future proof your career? 

The world of work is changing rapidly and opportunities abound for those who are ready.  But if you are not… you could very easily find yourself irrelevant and without a clear career pathway forward.

Want some help to future proof your career?

The Leadership Connection is an exclusive 6 month transformational group program designed to support professional women to take the next step in their career.

No more going it alone. No more working in isolation. No more leaving your professional development up to chance.

Click here for more information and to apply for your invitation to join the group.

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How to position yourself to protect against corporate change

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.

Click here for more information and to apply for your invitation to join the group.

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