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Whether you are a long-tenured leader, a new manager, or an individual contributor with rising responsibilities, it’s always valuable to take stock of your career path and make investments for the future. These five strategies, sourced from research articles published by MIT Sloan Management Review, offer practical steps for motivated employees looking to stay ahead of the pack.
Assemble Your Support Team
In today’s complex business environment, managers and leaders need an array of advisers, mentors, and role models to provide critical information and support at defining moments in their careers. Just as an organization could not exist with a single-member board, the notion that one mentor could fit all of your developmental needs is similarly flawed. In “Assembling Your Personal Board of Advisers,” the authors identify six types of personal advisers who together provide a broad combination of experience and career support.
Invest Your Time Wisely
Making the right decision about which projects and partnerships to enter into seems like it should be easy. But it often isn’t. Being smart about where you devote your resources — your personal time, energy, and finances, as well as those of your organization — means being smart about not just time management but about choice management. That means being proactive and disciplined about asking why you think a project is a good fit. It also means paying attention to your inner skeptic.
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Determine Volatility Ahead
The dreaded “d-word” — disruption — can often feel buzzy, but industry volatility is a real threat for many workers. To stay ahead of developments that may disrupt your professional life, you must make two evidence-based diagnoses: How volatile is your industry? And what explains the volatility? The answers will equip you to preemptively disrupt your own career.
As the authors of the article “What to Do When Industry Disruption Threatens Your Career” write:
“Whether you decide to make a modest shift within your own company or within your industry — or to switch industries altogether — will depend on what your diagnosis uncovers, your own career goals, and what options are realistic for you. The only naive approach is to assume that industry volatility is just something for the company to worry about and not a concern for you as a sole actor.”