Embrace These Concepts for Strategic Career Growth

April 15, 2014

Building a name for yourself, improving your relationships with potential employers, and setting yourself up for long term growth.  All of these are important to candidates in any field.  But how do you accomplish these goals?

How do you set yourself up for strategic career moves? What must you realize before you can get the most out of your career?


With special thanks to CareerRealism and Inc. Magazine, we would like to share with you the goals, strategies, and keys to success held dear by successful professionals.

1. Career Equity

Ninety percent of the super-successful say that an equity position is necessary for business success, versus fewer than half of the average person. More importantly, 80 percent of “business brilliant” people say they already have an equity stake in their work. Just 10 percent of the middle-class have an equity position of any kind, and the vast majority (70 percent) say they’re not even trying to get one.

Related: 2014 Compensation Trends

Your career has equity. Recognize it and start to determine how to use it to your advantage. Inventory your assets as a professional and determine who is willing to pay top-dollar for them. If you don’t have valuable skills sets that are in-demand, start acquiring some.

2. Always Look to Take Control of a Business Situation

About 90 percent of “business brilliant” individuals say they are always trying to grab an edge, compared with just about 40 percent of the middle-class. Gaining even small advantages in a series of deals can have a cumulative effect on your wealth, but since most people aren’t even looking for one, they’re that much more likely to end up on the disadvantaged side of every deal.

You must negotiate with employers. Don’t take what is given to you without a discussion. An employer is a business who is always looking for the best deal. You need to do the same. Learn to effectively negotiate pay, perks, and other benefits so you feel good about the partnership. You don’t work “for” an employer – you work “with” an employer.

3. Being Brilliant in One Field is Better than Average in Many

Getting wealthy usually means you’ve taken an ordinary idea and executed it exceptionally well. That’s what 9 in 10 “business brilliant” people believe. Most other people, though, think that wealth requires a big, new idea. Unfortunately for them, big ideas are rare and risky. Too many people are waiting on the sidelines for the perfect big idea to come along, while the most successful people have jumped in the game, and busily honed their skills at execution.

Related: Reasons Your Resume Should Never Be Outdated

Remember that doing things well is more important than doing new things. Get focused on building your expertise and understanding how you are the aspirin to an employer’s pain. You must be great at a few things, rather than okay at a bunch of things.

4. Work with People Who Are Smarter Than You

David Ogilvy said “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”  What does this mean to your career growth? With whom you work?

Exceptional execution requires those who are business brilliant to focus on the two or three things they do very well. So they get their work done by building teams with complementary capabilities. Surveys show that most people, though, would rather learn to do tasks they’re bad at than get others to do them.

5. Everyone Has a Backstory, Try to Learn Your Associates

If you’re dependent on other talented employees, you’d best know what makes those talented people tick. That’s the belief of about seven in 10 people in my “business brilliant” cohort, compared with fewer than 20 percent of the middle-class. My survey suggests that your willingness and desire to really get to know and understand your business associates is a sure marker of success–and one that most people don’t have.

Related: 7 Tips for Developing Strategic Leaders

Want to do better in your career? Try not to being so self-centered. It’s not about your needs and wants. Instead, focus on the needs, wants, and business objectives of the people you are partnering with. You’ll be able to offer more value and get more in return if you do. They are your customer. Exceed their expectations and you’ll have them eating out of your hand.

6. Know When to Walk Away

The “business brilliant” know that bad deals, like bad marriages, can be painful–and costly. So if the deal on the table isn’t right, 71 percent say they have no problem cutting bait and moving on. Only about 22 percent of the middle-class say the same. Most people are willing to take their chances on deals that don’t seem right from the start, even though it’s less risky to walk away.

Get yourself in a financial position that enables you to quit a job and survive without income for one year. Having the security of savings will give you the power to make the best decisions for your business-of-one.

7. Everything is a Learning Experience

Those who are “business brilliant” have, on average, more failures than members of the middle-class. But they use those failures to help them succeed on the next attempt. Just 17 percent of the middle-class say they learn from their failures in this way, which is really a shame. Everything worth trying contains an element of risk, after all. If you fall on your face, you might as well learn from the experience to help you succeed on your next try.

Related: 5 Tips for Bridging the Skills Gap

There is no real failure. We experience, learn, and grow. Stop playing it safe and start embracing your fear. As the old saying goes, “Life begins where your comfort zone ends.” You will not survive and thrive in your career if you don’t constantly learn new things. Making mistakes teaches us what not to do. That’s a good thing! Stop worrying about what others think and start worrying about what will happen if you don’t take control.

The Overture Group supports your growth. As a leading executive search firm specializing in finding the right person at the right time, we draw on a long history of success through our four key principles: Experience, Knowledge, Leadership, and Partnership.  Read through our presentation and learn what benefits an Overture Search has for you.  We invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter (@Overture_Group)

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