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How do you know you're ready for your next level? When you know you're not where you thought you would be at this stage in your career, and you're ready to break through.
However, feeling confused about what to do next and avoiding it can be very disempowering. If you're ready to gain the clarity and strategies to advance--the ones I teach members of my programs, you're in the right company, and I invite you to keep reading.
Today, I want to continue expanding on the concept of how to get to your next level.
In a recent article, I shared, "What is the #1 step to get to your next level?" Depending on how many years you've been in your current role, you may feel ready to contribute at a higher capacity. However, the challenge can be in identifying to what degree? What role is that? If you missed the previous article, please go back and look.
You'll experience adverse side effects to avoiding advocating for yourself, going after what you truly want, reaching your full earning potential, and staying confused. You may be feeling: dissatisfaction, discouragement, low energy, hopelessness, anger, and blame, to name a few.
You are not alone.
Many of our clients and program members engage with us because they're at a crossroads.
They're looking for answers--trying to figure out what they need to do to get promoted. In many cases, it can be a pretty straightforward path if you have the right ingredients and the roadmap to get there.
Use a SWOT analysis to gain more clarity
To identify how to get to your next level, I strongly recommend using a SWOT analysis. Some of you may have used a SWOT when engaging in strategic planning around an idea or solution in a business context.
Have you considered using a SWOT analysis to identify the gaps and opportunities in reaching your next level?
What's a SWOT? This assessment focuses on understanding your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats in the context of your goal.
To support you in identifying HOW to reach your next level or get promoted, let's use that as your goal in this assessment.
Ready? Your reward will be gaining valuable, personalized insights to help you identify the ingredients and unique roadmap to reach your goal confidently.
Conducting a SWOT Analysis
Before you start, please set aside some quiet time to devote to yourself, and please answer these questions as honestly as you can.
You'll be answering four key questions--I'll guide you through each one.
Q1: What strengths can I leverage to get promoted?
Whatever those strengths may be, or superpowers, as I like to call them, identify what they are in relationship to your goal.
It could be that you are a subject matter expert (SME) in your field and have practical and valuable experience from working for the past 5, 10, 15, 20 years.
Maybe you have in-depth institutional knowledge that has prepared you to contribute, and you're able to connect the dots across the organization.
You have likely built solid relationships with stakeholders and heads of departments across the board and developed trust, which will help you collaborate powerfully.
It could be you nurtured engaging relationships with clients and customers, and in this new role or capacity, you will add even more value.
When identifying your strengths, consider your skills, character, personal brand--what people say about you when you leave the room, and Why--what gives your work and life meaning.
Q2: What are my weaknesses or areas to improve to get promoted?
Visualize yourself at the next level? When you envision yourself there, what are your shortcomings?
Now is the perfect time to be brutally honest and raw with yourself--with compassion, of course.
In other words, don't sugarcoat it. Have a real heart-to-heart with yourself and identify the areas where you don't feel prepared or knowledgeable yet.
You can even ask for feedback from leaders who may be at that level, from your mentor, or from someone you trust and believe has your best interest at heart. Ask them, "To operate at the Director level, what skills do you think I need to work on?"
Hopefully, the people you trust will also be honest with their feedback. I would ask several people instead of relying on a single source. Based on what you hear, find common themes and decide which aspect of the feedback would be most beneficial pursuing.
Another technique to identify your areas of improvement is noticing what you fear about that next level.
Instinctively, you may know that you hesitate about the next level's financial planning or forecasting, the people management component, navigating the system, or the customer or technology aspect of the next level.
What do you feel hesitant about when you think about that next level? That will also help you identify the weaknesses or areas to improve.
Q3: What are my opportunities in getting promoted?
The next question to answer in the SWOT analysis is, "what are your opportunities?"
The opportunities I saw in becoming the CEO of my business were improving the workplace and having a significant impact on the lives of the audience members and leaders who attend and participate in my keynotes, coaching, and leadership training programs.
I also saw the opportunity to grow personally and professionally and be more creative while exploring what brought me joy and satisfaction in using different skillsets, coaching, speaking, writing, facilitating, collaborating with Fortune 500 partners and professionals.
What will happen when you start to contribute at this higher level after your promotion? Those are your opportunities. Write those down.
Q4: What are my threats to getting promoted?
The last part of the SWOT is what are your threats?
What can get in the way of you getting to that next level?
Once again, now is where being "real" with yourself matters most.
While your weaknesses or areas to improve can also be viewed as threats to reaching that next level, when answering this question, focus on external and personal factors that can make it challenging for you to get promoted.
For example, even when you are an excellent employee, if you haven't focused on building relationships with your centers of influence (peers, manager, sr. leaders, stakeholders), they may not know about your strengths and abilities. Others not knowing your unique value can be a barrier to them buying into you being the right candidate for a role.
Along the same lines, your personal brand may be that people don't see you as a "leader." How do you see yourself? Your mindset about your potential and what you can or cannot do could threaten your goal of getting to your next level.
All we want is for you to become self-aware of potential threats and develop a plan to mitigate those threats.
Bringing it all together
Undoubtedly, your level of clarity after performing the SWOT analysis will be significant.
Review your answers and identify the areas that would be most beneficial to focus on as you build your roadmap to achieve your goal.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time--not that we eat elephants! LOL.
Whatever you discover from this SWOT assessment, notice where you need additional support. Some areas to improve or threats may require you to dig deeper, gain new leadership skills, or retool somehow.
Begin to think about leveraging and taking advantage of your strengths and opportunities to position yourself for that promotion and tackle the challenges.
Over the last 30 years, I've learned that one of the most consistent and successful pathways to getting promoted is building solid relationships with your centers of influence. And if you know what I'm talking about, most likely, you currently have a robust network of supporters and allies in your corner. Leverage that as you create your roadmap.
However, if you're unfamiliar with who is or should be in your centers of influence diagram and how to build a robust network, including sponsors, let's talk.
The ingredients required for getting promoted are not a mystery.
With your experience, skillset, and SWOT analysis assessment, we can help you identify the best way forward to leverage your strengths and opportunities and mitigate your weaknesses and threats.
Easier said than done? If you need support, you can reach us at www.callwithginny.com to set up a complimentary strategy session. I only keep a few slots available a week. If you're ready for your next level, we're here to help.
Live with purpose, live with joy!
Coach Ginny 💕
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Dr. Ginny A. Baro is an award-winning transformational speaker & leadership coach, career strategist, and #1 best-selling author of Healing Leadership and Fearless Women at Work. Ginny specializes in partnering with organizations and ERGs to develop leadership dream teams. And she supports individuals navigating a corporate hierarchy or transitioning into an entirely new phase of their career. She has successfully facilitated live and virtual leadership training and coaching programs for individuals and Fortune 500 companies with over 140,000 employees, and delivered keynotes impacting global audiences larger than 7,000. To learn more, visit ExecutiveBound.
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