Opportunities seem to present themselves when you least expect it. Not when you are trying to seek out an opportunity.
That is why it is important to keep as many doors open. It increases the possibility of an opportunity.
Network with people in new areas. This can open the door for a career opportunity. Or the opportunity for you or your team to do work in a new area, highlighting the capabilities your and your team bring to the organization.
The best way to know if you have an interest in something is to try it. Taking job assignments in new areas on a trial basis or working on a project in a new area can lead to finding new passions and interests.
None of this is possible with an opportunity from a relationship or doorway you have kept open.
How many doorways do you have open?
As I look for ways to improve, I am inspired by other lean thinkers and bloggers. I see what they are trying and look to how that might work for me. I try and experiment with things in order to make my job easier and to feel more in control and organized.
I decided to start a series that will be based on what I have tried in order to make my work better. It may be small or large things and most likely it was an inspiration I got from someone else. I hope that by passing along what I have learned that it may inspire others the way others have inspired me.
Awhile back I wrote about the career map I had developed to help me understand my career opportunities with my current company. That has been a great exercise and it has gone through a few revisions since then. Here is a link to my latest revision of my career map. Career Map – Revision 3
Over the last several months I have been meeting with some leaders at my company to show them my career map. This is has not been easy for me. I am not a person who seeks others to talk about myself. In fact, I hate it. But if I am going to have a successful career I have to build good relationships with leaders.
This may be a big uncomfortable zone for me but I have found it to be very beneficial. Every leader I have met with respects me for reaching out and talking with them. They like that I am trying to manage my career and not let my career manage me. Because of this positive feedback, I keep on setting meetings and get to know more about our leaders.
I have learned some things to help me with these meetings. One of the biggest is a bio sheet. This was recommended by a Vice President who is also introverted and it helped him break the ice with people he met for career discussions or when a new boss came in. The bio sheet tells a little bit about your family, interests outside of work, interests at work, and a short description of something you are currently working on. Send the sheet ahead of time to the person you are meeting with. This helps break the ice and start a conversation much more casually.
Also, when you meet make it about the business. This is my career and my interests and this is how I see it intersecting with the business and the direction it is going. It shows you are thinking about the company and not just career climbing. I always explain that while job titles are listed on the career map, it isn’t about the title. The titles are ones that seem to line up with my interests and skills as a reference point.
While this is way outside my comfort zone, I have found it to be very beneficial to have these discussions. I have learned a lot about myself and have grown as a leader because of it.
What has worked for you in managing your career?