As leaders, we often focus all our energies on building up our teams, executing strategies and, quite frankly, managing demanding work schedules. What is often overlooked is a strategy to invest in our own success. I have found that an Investing in You approach allows us to routinely take a pulse-check to determine if we are thriving or simply surviving. Strategic, proactive and ambitious, Investing in You is a personal marketing plan that prepares us for that next opportunity.
Executing an Investing in You strategy does not need to be as daunting as it seems. In fact, in ten steps you can be in control. Creating a plan with weekly and monthly milestones, accountability and evaluation can be the key to long-term success. When people meet with me to help prepare for a specific role or interview, I recommend an Invest in You strategy that prompts them to think ahead of that next opportunity. Just as the Financial Planner provides a plan for financial health, and a Personal Trainer designs a work-out for physical health, having a coach, mentor, sponsor or trusted colleague who can hold you accountable to your commitments is a vital to the planning process.
Creating the Plan
Step #1 Deliver: The fastest way to get that next role you seek is to be the very best at your current role! In a sales orientated culture, driving results are table stakes. What is your plan to ensure the right people know about your success?
Step #2 Differentiate: How you set yourself apart from others in the same role is not just a matter of sales ranking but how you are creating impact. This may be leading in service, joining committees or work groups, visibility both at internal events and external networking; there may be opportunities to engage on media platforms and seek ways to add further value in your current role.
Step #3 Evaluate: What are the 3 to 5 areas you hope to learn or develop in your current role. How are you tracking to these benchmarks? What are key developmental goals you seek in your next role?
Step #4 Diversify: Leveraging your skillset to find a role you can exceed in plays it safe, however seeking a role that pushes you outside your comfort zone, allows for new learning and development. At the same time, hone your current skills to have impact on your next role.
Step #5 Plan: Now that you have identified specific business lines or roles of interest, formulating a strategy to prepare for the role is the next step. Documenting a development plan will hold you to your commitments. Document your action items from steps 1-4.
Step #6 Learning: Continuous learning will help you grow in your current role but also help you land your next one. Whether you commit to an MBA, CFP, CFA or even daily learning through industry related articles, it is essential to add learning to your plan.
Step #7 Networking: Like the previous steps, networking also calls for a specific plan. Create a network tree, setting weekly or monthly targets with specific goals for networking and interacting.
Step #8 Resume: Update your resume. Be sure to keep it to fewer than three pages and include achievement examples specific to each role.
Step #9 LinkedIn: Your online profile reflects your brand. It needs to be kept current and active.
Step #10 Leverage: Ask your coach or mentor to review your plan for feedback and accountability checkpoints.
Bonus Step #11: Repeat!
Alana Riley MBA(FS) 2017, Senior Vice President, Financial Services at Investors Group, is committed to employee engagement and client centric outcomes. As a success-driven professional with a consistent track record of generating exceptional results while motivating top performing teams, Alana excels within an agile setting, where innovation and strategic thinking are highly valued assets. Passionate about leadership, she fosters a collaborative work environment that enhances individual and team-based participation. Alana has graciously agreed to be a repeat contributor on CFAME Connection.
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