What Critical Experiences Would Help Me Progress My Career?

The economic and business environment is changing rapidly. This has a big impact on jobs and careers. In such a dynamic environment jobs are changing too. Some jobs won’t exist in the future. Other jobs will have requirements that look quite different from the requirements of today. How can you prepare yourself for the future?

  • By experiencing a variety of different environments and organizational challenges. Being flexible and open to different opportunities and situations is the best way to develop career-building experiences. When you work in different areas you learn how to manage change and adjust effectively to new situations and the challenges they bring. You learn to look at the world from different perspectives.
  • By assessing your skills, capabilities, experience, strengths and weaknesses at different points in your career. And then figure out which types of new experiences are needed for further career development. These experiences are often full-time jobs. In addition, task forces, special projects, short-term assignments and other opportunities can all contribute to your depth and breadth of experience and build your capabilities. The sequence of experiences is often not critical.
  • By having a technical capability as a foundation on which to build. This could be an expertise in sales, marketing, operations, IT, finance, change management, people development, human resources, strategic planning, the law.
  • By building relationships with people throughout the organization (for example, within your function, across-functions, and across business lines). This will provide you with new insights and exposure to other talented people. Learning first-hand about the challenges they have faced increases your in-depth knowledge of the organization.

Critical Experiences include:

  • Operational leadership
  • Turning around a business
  • Work in a staff role in headquarters or a regional office
  • Work in a line role, in a business unit which reports a profit or loss
  • Work in a start-up business
  • Work in a mature business
  • Work in an emerging market
  • Work in a developed market
  • Work in a joint venture
  • Have P&L (profit and loss) responsibility
  • Work through an organizational change, such as implementation of Six Sigma, a new organization operating system or a re-organization
  • Work through a merger or acquisition process
    • Functional mobility. For example, move from one department or function to another department or function
    • Organizational mobility. For example, move from one product group to another product group
    • Geographical mobility: for example, move from one location to another location
  • Sell a vision
  • Take part in a leadership development experience, internal or external
  • Work in a rotational assignment
  • Coach others in your area of strength
  • Be mentored by a senior leader
  • Mentor a junior member of the organization
  • Shadow someone whose role you might want in the future
  • Head a project which involves either challenging content or different management skills

What Critical Experiences so far have helped you to develop your skills and capabilities? What Critical Experiences might you want to experience in the future?

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