Get Out of Your Comfort Zone to Get Ahead

Are You Ready for Tomorrow’s Challenges?

succession plan - career strategySmart companies have a well-thought-out succession plan that ensures the right talent is there for promotions and that when key players move on they can fill the gap. Does your career strategy align well with the long-term plans of your current employer? Have you positioned your skills and career trajectory to make yourself indispensable? If you are in job search mode, do you know enough about the challenges and opportunities of your target companies?

Having a plan for the next level of your career strategy is one of the best ways to recession-proof your career and make sure your skills are in demand for the long term. Unemployment is low today and companies are competing for candidates, but market cycles change rapidly. Where can you stretch your skills today to ensure success tomorrow?

The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity;
moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears.
~ Dan Stevens, Actor

Begin by thinking about where you would like to be in one year and beyond. Does your vision of the “future you” intersect with the projected demand for skills in your industry or job function? How can you push beyond your current comfort level in technical skills and leadership development to be ready for tomorrow’s challenges?

For example, if you are a Marketing Manager now, but your long-term goal is to become a Chief Marketing Officer, start today to identify the skills and experience gaps you will need to fill.

In order to make the move from Marketing Manager to Marketing Director, and eventually to Chief Marketing Officer, you will need to demonstrate the following:

Business Acumen: Knowledge of your company’s products and services, competitive market insights, and a grasp of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are all required.

Beyond that, you must also understand the challenges faced by your company’s leadership team, including the CEO, CFO, and the Directors of Operations, Sales, HR, and so on. You will need to work alongside this team to solve everyday business problems.

Presentation Skills: Your ability to present ideas–formally and informally–and influence other C-Suite executives is critical. Have you polished your communication and presentation skills?

Executive Presence: Do you present yourself as a knowledgeable, credible, authentic, and insightful leader?

Knowledge of Data Analytics: Marketing has become more and more data driven. Your skills must take this key component of marketing strategy into account.

ROI-Driven Focus: What is the return on investment of your marketing strategies and specific marketing campaigns? Marketing strategies and tactics are more readily measured today, thanks in part to the data analytics available to us.

IT-Friendly Outlook: Marketing has become more technology-driven because social media, mobile apps, and mobile-friendly websites are integral parts of marketing, and are technology-dependent. Have you mastered the art of collaborating with your peers in IT?

Take inventory by answering the following questions. What are your gaps in experience, and how can you take steps to remedy those gaps? Where can you step up your role on key projects and initiatives? Where can you take the courses required to build your business acumen, strategic thinking skills, knowledge of data analytics, and other key areas?

Expand your comfort zone today to become a key component in your company’s plans for success tomorrow.