No matter what your career goals are, it is important to envision your path to success. Knowing when to make a move or a change in your career path is an art that begins with self-awareness. First and foremost, you have to be happy with your job. If you are not happy, or at least content, you cannot possibly be doing your best work. Once you have addressed this most basic point, you will need to make an honest assessment of personal strengths and weaknesses.

Too many people focus on getting the raise or the promotion, instead of maximizing the growth of their personal capabilities. Each role that you fill in your career should be viewed in terms of the skills you need to be an asset to your company, coworkers, and clients. You should not look to make a move to the next level until you have mastered all aspects of your current role. Then you can look to growing to the next level.

Knowing when to make the leap or change in your career path becomes a function of assessing your relevance. I believe in assessing and upgrading my capabilities on a regular basis in order to leverage my relevance in the work place. The capabilities I consider most important can be categorized as subject matter knowledge, networking, leadership skills, and selling or delivering my work product.

Now for the tricky part—knowing how to make the move. I would say there is no short answer to this question. What works in one situation and organization may not work in the same situation in another organization. But do not despair! There is a one-word answer to the question of how you should navigate the how-to portion of managing your career path. That word is “mentor.” No matter what role you’re currently in, there is someone within your network who can help.

On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
To be successful, and remain competitive, requires four capabilities: being able to evolve, being relevant to clients, being willing to network, and understanding your client’s cultural sensitivities.

The utility industry is ever evolving, but not necessarily at the same speed as other technology-focused industries. It is critical to bring ideas and knowledge that assist clients with accelerating their evolution. Often, newer technology provides benefits, including improved operations and increased reliability, which are paramount for my clients.

As clients evolve, the ability to share examples and vendor insights provides a basis for establishing credibility. Bringing them relevant and well-thought-out ideas that integrate business needs and challenges is also important. This requires an understanding of industry peers, as well as technology vendors, market environment, and customer expectations.

I highly value the importance of networking for developing long-term relationships. I enjoy meeting new people and building trusting relationships. Through these relationships, I have been able to connect with clients, find suppliers, and develop innovative ideas and approaches.

Finally, it is important to remain sensitive to cultural changes, in order to help guide clients with planning and implementing long-term strategies.