Pursuing the next step
From big picture to unexpected minutiae, your next step forward is rarely self-evident
In the world of business, we tend to see the current state of a leader’s career as being wedged between their achievements (looking back) and their ambitions (looking forward). In the present moment, their knowledge, skillset, personality, network, and other factors determine how the former is connected to the latter. However, while someone’s achievements are easily catalogued and summarized, their ambitions can be much more fluid, ambiguous, and surprising.
In the reflections regarding the next step, it is crucial to create these insights in combination with the envisioned impact.
Successfully defining your path forward involves many intricacies that are easily overlooked and that never magically fall into place.
It’s also a very healthy practice to reevaluate your career, path, and ambition every 4-5 years, even – and perhaps even especially – when there is no particular reason to do so. It’s an opportunity to reflect on what you have built so far, and why. Followed by a positive, abstemious approach to evaluating the success factors in relation with your purpose in life.
You need to step up to find your next step forward.
“I learned so much: The way I approach an interview; not as an applicant but as a discussion partner, equality. With more confidence and awareness of my purpose and my impact.
Networking more consciously and opening up to others. Creating more ‘space’.
I have a totally different self-image: positive in terms of my skills, knowledge and experience, and what I have to offer. All are taken to a more conscious level. Improved listening. Learned to say no.
Let’s talk about discovering “What’s next?”
Taking the time to regularly evaluate your ambitions provides the foundation and the contours of your future path: what’s next? You may end up realizing that you still need to pursue your current challenges, or you will decide that you need to push yourself further to the next challenge that fits your expertise, purpose, potential, and leadership style.
Once you’ve brought the overall picture into focus, it comes down to defining your path on a tactical level. How do you approach the market, the possibilities, and decision-makers? How do you make sure that they understand who you are at this stage of your life and career? How do you safeguard your authenticity as you venture into uncharted territory?
“Once you reach the C-suite, your expertise matters less than the way you present your leadership, your grasp of business fundamentals, and the dynamics within which the business operates.”
Shaping the way forward
In our experience as leadership experts at NGL, many new possibilities soon emerge from such reflections. And when the stakes are high—in this case, your future literally depends on it—you need a good, trusted advisor to take you through the process. In addition to defining the broad brushstrokes, you need to keep the all-important details in mind; listen to and appreciate the subtlest nuances; prioritize the right elements of the journey at the right time; make sure you don’t forget the crucial minutiae; and understand the importance of first impressions and timely results, however small—and these are intricacies that are easily overlooked and never magically “fall into place.”
That is why it is crucially important to thoroughly evaluate your options and insights with the benefit of the fresh perspective of “other eyes” – while at the same time carrying your big picture with you in your evaluations. This requires patience, brutal honesty, and due diligence, which needs to be thorough and inspiring at the same time. In this way, your final decision on your next step will be the natural outcome of a well-designed and well-executed process. And you can be confident that the way forward will reflect your achievements, your ambitions, and everything in between.