In last few years, I have had the opportunity to work as a coach with many women leaders and women coaches. Many of them are ambitious and want to grow in their careers, but feel that they don’t have role models to look at. This point has also been raised quite a few times during the gender diversity discussions.
I agree, and I think the whole world would acknowledge the lack of enough woman leaders. There is a lot of diversity buzz going on with a target to solve this problem, it will happen one day, but you do not have the luxury to wait. Come on. Don’t wait to look for the role model. Be the role model instead, fill in this vacuum and resolve the problem for others like you!
Don’t know where to begin? Let me outline a few quick steps that can help you climb up the Career Ladder:
1. Take charge - Tell yourself you are going to be the role model.
2. Decide on your career goals – Ask yourself –
a. What do you want to achieve in next 3 years?
b. What do you achieve in next 1 year?
c. What are the 3 things you need to this this quarter?
d. What are the 3 things you need to do this month and next month?
3. Decide on your other priorities (non-career) for short term specially – 6 months to 1 year.
a. What are the other priorities/goals (from other spheres of life)?
b. Prioritizing these goal/priorities, pick top 3.
c. Make an action plan of what needs to be done for these.
d. What can come in the way? Is there a conflict with your career goals? Just look at 1-year career goals.
e. If yes, how well prepared you are to handle conflict of goals?
f. List down if you need any external support?
g. Enlist people who help you on your challenges! Remember, you have a support system that you can lean on!
4. Create a list career enablers
a. Get a Mentor at work (if possible multiple Mentors!)
i. Seek people who can support you to achieve your goals.
b. Create a Learning path
i. Look for enabling assignments.
c. Invest in yourself
i. Take a training program.
ii. Sign up a coach.
iii. Hire a house help if that helps.
Note down everything else that may help you to achieve your goals (Career and Non-Career) and then invest in every support system that will help you.
5. Create list of the relationships you need to create
What relationships you would need to create to reach your goals? It may include creating a business connect with other head of departments, Industry body etc. You may need to create a stronger relationship with another friend/relative who can help you for a few hours on those child-sick days. You are the one who knows what goes here.
6. Create your elevator pitch!
Always have a 60 second elevator pitch of what you do and what difference are you making in your current role.
7. Go and Act: Make an action plan for sure but don’t just plan and re-plan, Act! Else all will fail! Do some actionable every single day, even small progress is good progress.
8. Acknowledge yourself
a. Reward yourself for every small win.
b. Be ready with a list of rewards for yourself if you completed what you need to do!
c. You are your own motivation!
You bet it is not easy, but know that every journey begins with the first step. Go ahead, take that first step and be the change you want to see.