You’re talented, successful, and secure in your current executive role. You’ve been at your company for a while and things are progressing smoothly. Thus far, there has been no compelling reason to give serious consideration to what you’ll do next.
Even if you have no plans to leave your current role, you should always be thinking ahead to your next executive career move. Proactive career management is critical to your executive career success. Here are 3 reasons to think ahead.
1. Job security is a thing of the past.
As you’ve likely experienced at some point in your career, regardless of your value, longevity, or internal relationships, there is no such thing as job security. Companies make decisions based on what’s right for the bottom line, not on what’s right for you. Your loyalties must lie with yourself. Treat your career like a corporation and serve as its CEO. What are the right short and long-term decisions for your business? Evaluate this regularly.
Also, keep in mind that factors outside of economic conditions influence retention as well. Changes in executive leadership often lead to changes in personnel. If your company brings in outside leadership, you can expect a shake-up in your organization. Be sure to stay on your toes.
And finally, if you stay in your position for too long, your company may decide it’s time for new blood. Don’t get too comfortable. If you’re showing no signs of movement and a rising star comes along, you could be pushed out of your role for a high potential, less expensive superstar.
2. Your next challenge could be right in front of you.
Unless you plan to retire in your current role, you’ll be looking for an advancement opportunity in the not too distant future. What will that opportunity look like? Would you recognize it if you saw it?
If you want to advance your executive career in the future, you need to plan for it today. What skills do you need to develop so that you’re prepared to step into your next role? Are you grooming a successor so that you’re ready to leave when the right opportunity comes along? Are you cultivating your executive network now while you don’t need help?
Your next executive career step could come from an executive recruiter, a networking connection, or an internal promotion. Take time to think about what you want from your next career move now so that you recognize and are prepared for that next challenge when it presents itself.
3. You’ll keep your current employer on its toes.
When you’ve been doing the same role for a while, it’s easy to become complacent. Even if you’re generally satisfied, you lose the excitement and motivation that you had when you first started your job. If you’re not looking ahead to something new, you’ve likely let yourself go a bit. And your employer has likely begun to take you for granted as well.
When you begin to think about your next executive career step, you get excited again. You re-invest in your professional development, your motivation level changes, and your performance improves. You inject some much-needed energy into your career. And the people around you can sense that. Your manager may start to wonder what’s changed. He/she may worry that you’re thinking about leaving. And if they truly value your efforts, they may try to make sure that you stay.
We all know that times have changed. Gone are the days of starting your career in one company and retiring years later with a pension. Regardless of your current situation, no executive job is secure. Don’t wait until you are in crisis or severe discomfort to plan for your next executive career step.
How are you planning today for your next executive career move? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below and I’ll respond.