The corporate ladder is a bit of a fabled entity. While not everyone knows where they may be heading in terms of a career or in terms of professional progress, many have that thirst, and that hunger, to get to the top. It’s a common misconception that to become a leader, a vice president or any kind of overseer, you need to be ‘born into money’ or likewise. In fact, many people got to where they are at the top through sheer hard work. The dream is real!
You only have to glance at some of the most successful people in the US to see what we mean. Susan Kennedy is a very inspiring example. Having worked hard to grow into federal government leadership, Kennedy has diversified her resumé to work for the Public Utilities Commission in CA, and currently sits as Communications Vice President at Lyft. These are not roles that you just walk into. Moreover, they are certainly not roles that you can be sure of landing through privilege.
Of course, there are never going to be exact ways for you to scale the corporate ladder into every single leadership role. That said, there are a few interesting strategies you can employ to make sure that you are harnessing your talent and passion to scale those heights. Here are just a few you may wish to consider.
Be clear on where you’re heading
One of the absolute biggest mistakes people can make when it comes to career progression is simply losing sight. Where do you actually want to be in the next five to ten years? Do you have a plan of action in place?
It’s a great idea to envisage where you see yourself in the years to come. What sort of role or position would satisfy your financial and career progression needs?
This dream goal doesn’t ever have to be 100% realistic. However, it does help to dream big. That way, you can start making steps to reaching points along the way, if not achieving your ultimate goal in the long run.
Throw yourself into your career
It is safe to say that the most successful businesspeople are those who live and breathe their own careers. That means spending much of your time training, developing, and expanding your knowledge. It means extending your network, too, and being willing to take steps out of your comfort zone.
The biggest thing to remember when scaling the corporate ladder is that it is never going to happen by luck, or by chance. It’s also important to remember that you’re going to come across challenges, and there are going to be things you don’t succeed in. You are, ultimately, still human.
However, you only get one clean shot at the biggest prizes and the biggest roles – so be sure to put your time and energy into really pursuing the right opportunities. If anything, it’s all an enriching experience – don’t rest on your laurels!
You’re always learning
This ties in with our above point. It’s a given fact that we, as a species, learn something new each and every day. However, what about progressing your training or learning in line with your career? It’s true that the most successful leaders and CEOs put time in to learn their craft. It is blind skepticism to suggest that all corporate leaders have got there through riding on the coattails of others.
Knowledge is power, as the old cliché says, and that holds a lot of weight. The more knowledge you consume and the more talent you build, the more appealing you will be to people in your industry. You will not only become an appealing hire, but also an authority in your field.
Learning takes time and effort. Many people are too willing to skip this step in favor of the fast track. However, true success doesn’t come through laziness or corner-cutting! It comes through applying yourself to your craft and to understanding more about the industry or world in which you intend to work.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
It’s so vital to know your personal limits as well as your potential. There are going to be moments where you will wonder if you are doing the right thing, taking the right action, or even if you are good enough. This is natural – but you must make sure you balance it all with self-love and compassion.
The final key aspect to ascending that career ladder is to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. Humility and self-awareness go a long way. Arrogance, and on the opposite end of the scale, self-wallowing, are incredibly destructive.
Try and see the bigger picture and apply yourself to all that you do with passion and self-awareness. You never know how far you’ll get!