I am often asked to share my plan for climbing up the corporate ladder. I suppose you could say I’ve done that, but in reality my climb has been sideways as much as it has been up. Throughout my career, I’ve taken more lateral moves than promotions, and I’m a better and more well-rounded leader as a result. By making these moves, I’ve supported many different parts of companies, including Engineering, Finance, Quality and Business Development. Each move provided me with new skill sets, a fresh perspective, and a larger network. They’ve given me the breadth of experience to be able to run a large enterprise with confidence.
I don’t know if there is a secret to success. But I do know that it isn’t all about having a plan for your career. It’s about having a plan for your life-one that can be applied to anyone, anywhere. My life plan is what directs my actions, both personally and professionally:
Know what’s important—to you. In other words, know your priorities and live by them every day.
Have a clear line of sight. Be clear on how you are making a difference to those around you. You don’t have to share it, but it should be clear in your mind.
Have fun more days than not. It’s important to remember to stop and ask yourself if you’re having fun. Not every day will be a good one, but on the whole the fun ones should be in the lead.
Be a leader, not a boss. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad bosses out there. leaders help develop and grow their employees. Be one of the good ones. I like to remind people who I mentor that not every path is a straight line. Stay focused on your destination, but remember, it’s the experiences you have during the journey that make you who you are. Be true to your life plan, and the rest will take care of itself.