1. Tell Your Story - Know the experiences that have led you to where you are today, and focus on the key elements that will take you to where you want to be tomorrow.
2. Pursue Opportunities - If you are looking to grow, always be willing to take on new projects or do what nobody else wants to do. CEOs often get to the top by changing positions every few years or taking on additional responsibilities to challenge themselves. If you are comfortable where you are, then you may need to decide whether you are limiting your potential or just happy with the status quo.
4. Be Effective, Not Just Efficient - Being efficient is about getting results. Being effective is knowing HOW you get to those results and working with people the right way so that the next time you can get even better results, faster and with all the support that you need.
5. Recommend Solutions Before Asking Questions - By doing the research yourself and coming to conclusions, you can save your boss time. Instead of asking what the answer is, find out for yourself and recommend it to your manager or team.
6. Ask For What You Want - Whether you want more responsibilities, a quiet place to think, a few more days working remotely, or the opportunity to learn from the head of another department, the chances are slim that you will get it if you don't ask for it. And once you get to a certain level, you can demand what you want rather than ask for it. Learn to increase your negotiating power to reach that level.
7. Delegate, Give Credit and Take Responsibility - You will save yourself time by giving projects and responsibilities to others on your time. Hand in hand with delegation is the ability to give credit where credit is due, and also to take responsibility for what your team members do rather than pointing fingers when something goes wrong or taking all the credit when things go right.
8. Prioritize and Focus - Often when you are in a growing position or company, you will find that there are endless opportunities that you can pursue. Determine what will make the most short-term and long-term impact, order them, and tackle one at a time. Having too many tasks to do at one time will limit how many tasks you will be able to get done and could distract you from what is most important.
9. Do What Is Best For Your Company - This means considering all the stakeholders of your company, including clients, investors, and employees. Depending on your role at the company, you may be focused more on one particular constituency. When making decisions regarding what activities to pursue, consider the impact on different constituents and make the best decision for the company holistically, without compromising your morals and integrity.
10. Brand Yourself - Just as your company has a culture and recognized brand, create your own brand that will tell people who you are. Think of a memorable way to describe yourself, without losing your authentic voice.
When I presented these lessons to MBA students, they agreed that these takeaways reflected what they had learned during their career progression. Other advice shared included being confident, working harder than anyone else, and networking with people who can help you.
What other lessons have you learned as a manager or individual contributor that have helped you grow?