Q Super: Taking your career to the next level - Michelle Gibbings

Michelle recently featured in Q Super talking about how to take your career to the next level.

Ideally, we all want to grow our career and that usually means a more exciting job and a larger wage, or salary. But while you may be ambitious to achieve a senior role, how do you get there?

Michelle Gibbings, founder of Change Meridian, which works with organisations and leaders to facilitate leadership, offers the following tips on making the most of challenges and opportunities.

Never be complacent

Career success is never guaranteed, and past career success is never a guarantee of future career success, says Gibbings.

“It’s essential to periodically assess your career, so you can discover whether you are in a rut or holding on to an unrealistic, outdated view of your career,” she says.

“The best way to do this is to apply the standard strategic planning approach, and ask yourself: ‘Where am I now?’, ‘Where do I want to be?’ And ‘What do I need to do to get there?”

This helps highlight any gaps in your skills, or changes in your industry, for example, and decide what steps to take next.

Get a mentor

Once you’ve identified the job or the role you want, identify who can help you get there. You’d be surprised how many leaders will be willing give you a chance to ask questions about what they do, or seek advice.

In the long-term, there may be someone at your company, or in your industry, who will assist your development. Don’t assume people will just help you get to the next level; you must ask for support.

Know your value

Get clear on the value you offer and keep that value offering current.

“Everyone brings certain skills and ways of operating to the work they do,” says Gibbings. “It’s essential to be able to articulate that value and how it helps the organisation achieve its strategic objectives.”

Try writing down what you believe you offer and forming it into a statement that could form the summary statement at the top of your CV.

Consider your star power

Honestly consider if you have management potential and if you have a manner as well as a vision that engages and motivates people. It’s obvious in the global business world that some people, such as Richard Branson, Ariana Huffington, Carla Zampatti and Mark Bouris, inspire others. While you don’t have to be them, you do have to have what it takes to get staff to follow your leadership unless, of course, you’re a solo enterprise.

Practise being someone else

Before you reach your goal of managing a team, do what you aspire to do while in your current role. If not at your place of work, then volunteer.

Says Gibbings: “To effectively lead in complex changing environments, employees need to firstly understand themselves and then be open to shifting their mindset, operating style and behaviour to suit the context of the new environment.”

Find your learning edge

Continued success requires a constant desire to learn.

“Often when a person has been in the workforce for a number of years it can be easy to let learning fall aside – thinking: ‘I know all I need to know.”

“The quest for knowledge and understanding never ends, particularly in a world of increasing connectedness and complexity.”

“It’s not enough to hone and refine your capability in your technical and professional areas of expertise,” says Gibbings. “Instead, you need to go both broad and deep.”

She suggests:

  •  Staying abreast of the latest thinking and ideas from complementary professions, including project management, process improvement, strategy and design thinking
  • Buying books on topics that are different to your day job, and challenging your thinking about how you view the world
  • Subscribing to online news from a wide variety of news outlets so you receive up to date information and knowledge from around the world and from different ideological perspectives.