How Business People Can Get Promoted with Business Acumen
There’s no shortage of advice for leaders that cover an array of things to do to move into the C-suite. The truth is that everyone doesn’t have to have the same aspiration. Yet, some characteristics successful executives demonstrate might inspire us as we progress in our business careers.
From another standpoint, people in business tend to manage their careers within the context of their discipline (engineering, marketing, etc.). Faced with decision points, they choose the priorities that seem urgent to themselves or their management without regard to the impact on their own careers. My experience mirrors some of this.
Someone once said you’d probably end up elsewhere if you didn’t know where you’re going. I’ve had several jobs in my career. With each promotion, I felt like I “fell forward” to my next role and accidentally got ahead. I didn’t have a career coach, and sometimes I felt like I didn’t know my future. Yet, considering my early tastes in business leadership, it was obvious that, while the school of hard knocks hadn’t necessarily been kind to me, at least it had been talkative, and I had somehow managed to take a pretty good set of notes.
This is what I wanted to share with you: some of the notes that I took along the way. These may help you along your business career journey.
- Be a Learner. As I often say, you can’t make an appointment with experience, so you need to savor every moment for what it offers and add it to your knowledge portfolio. Stay current, talk to others who know things you don’t, and establish knowledge networks and go-to resources. By association, you’re developing solid relationships.
- Think Strategically. The world is awash in data, business, financial, and market signals. All these need to be processed, sometimes in a nano-second. On top of that, many people will offer you advice on what to do. Like a football coach, you’ve got to anticipate and plan your next steps. Football coaches are extraordinary strategic thinkers, and so are some of the most influential leaders.
- Be Yourself. Authenticity is crucial for any businessperson who aspires to higher organizational levels. It’s a way to establish trust with your teammates and inspires others to work toward a shared vision. Being transparent is one way to be yourself. I’ve learned that giving direction (e.g., delegated orders) doesn’t work well unless you’re in the military. Transparency puts a situation on the table so that others on your team see what you see. It also means you must explain a situation in a way that brings out some emotion. For example, suppose you’re frustrated because you can’t figure out a problem when you share that. In that case, others may step forward as they see your vulnerability, act empathically, and devise creative ways to solve a problem.
While there are many more ways to earn your way forward in your career, I thought I’d share just a few that I have found valuable. Moreover, with my particular focus on business acumen, these traits contribute to this vital body of knowledge. I hope you’ll share some of your experience and ideas if you find this article helpful.