Recycle Your Career Strategy

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Gaining momentum to climb any corporate ladder today requires a significant amount of work. College degrees, skill, talent, and great performances still aren’t enough.

The old way of climbing the ladder needs a few new tricks.

Today’s young professionals will face some difficult hurdles as they compete for the few brass rings that exist at the top of most organizational ladders. Most of them will buy the ticket to the race; that is, they’ll get a college education. Then, they’ll enter into a company at an entry level and begin showing everyone what they are made of. Some will even go back to college to get an advanced degree. After a few years of dedicated service to the company, they will still be in the same position as when they started.

In previous decades, employees could expect to work for the same company for many years, acquiring new skills through company training, gaining raises, lifelong employment and a ride on a steady escalator of advancement. Today, very few of these exist. Companies spend much of their time planning the next downsizing, restructuring or merging. The constant borage of reshaping by companies has forced employees to reevaluate the psychological contract, resulting in multiple company contained careers. Also, little time is spent developing and training employees. Many companies don’t even rate annual employee performance; for those that do, it can hardly be deemed a career plan.

The 90’s welcomed in a technique for organizations to maintain profitability, downsizing. Executives began cutting the middle out of their companies, giving themselves more control of the day-to-day operations. Naturally, one can’t expect them to be able to focus on succession planning and building up a strong managerial staff, especially since their workload just increased; not to mention, they’ll need to develop some new skills to handle the new responsibilities. Management, today, isn’t focused on building careers. As many have learned already, the landscape for employment has changed.

Working more hours, getting training on your own time (such as an advanced degree) and achieving great things are now the new standard for continued employment. Doing these things won’t gain you any favor with management. It’s expected. So how does one move up in the company? The first step, develop a good strategy.

The things that are holding employees back today are not related to their skills, talents, expertise or performance; it’s related to their strategy. The old way was through what could be called “performance and promotion.” By doing our best at what we are asked to do, we are recognized and rewarded for such behavior and so goes our climb up the organizational chart. With so many highly educated professionals entering the workforce today, individual performance has improved and has almost disappeared as a metric for differentiating oneself from other employees.

The new approach stems from the diffusion of office politics to the lower levels of the organization. Finding characteristics that make you stand out from others will become your new objective. However, this shouldn’t be accomplished as an individual. By developing an active marketing team within your company, you can quickly and easily stand out from the rest. This marketing team will help you overcome numerous obstacles, develop new skills, and paint the portrait of yourself you want management to see.

This technique is centered upon modifying management perception. If you want them to see you as a high performer and someone who is ready and capable for the next level, then that’s what you market. It’s not that you aren’t capable; it’s just that they don’t know about you. Each team member will promote each other to management and other key figures in the company’s social networks. As the marketing takes hold, one of the team members will be given an opportunity. Then, the other members help them succeed.

The goal is to get one of the team into a position of authority. This is where the momentum really kicks in. Once management listens and witnesses your abilities, you’ll gain the momentum you need to move up. Your success is almost guaranteed since you’ll have the support of a great team. This approach is called “blitzing the ladder.” As you gain success with, you’ll wonder why you ever tried anything else.


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Todd Rhoad is a Senior Program Manager at Symtx Inc. He has served numerous management roles in profit, non-profit, private and public organizations over the past 20 years. Todd holds a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering and Business Administration.

Recycle Your Career Strategy
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About Todd Rhoad
Todd Rhoad is a Senior Program Manager at Symtx Inc. He has served numerous management roles in profit, non-profit, private and public organizations over the past 20 years. Todd holds a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering and Business Administration. WebProNews Writer
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