A highly successful businessman, CEO, thought-leader and community leader, Keith remains someone whom I trust to give me business tips, advice and the truth. He is without a doubt a genuine leader and resource in Columbus and beyond.

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5 Steps to Advancing Your Career

5 Steps to Advancing Your CareerWhile talking to a friend who is currently selling his house, I was reminded of my own experience several years ago.

For 8 months, I toyed around with the idea of selling my house. I put in on the market, but for the first five months, I did little to attract buyers. Then spring came, and it seemed as though I had a prospective buyer looking every other day. During the “peak time,” I wasn’t looking too hard to find my next home. I told myself I would start looking when I had an offer. Five weeks ago, I accepted an offer on my home, and it was then that I realized unless I kicked it into high gear, I would be homeless.

Urgency creates action.

In the five weeks leading up to my closing, I looked at more than 30 homes trying to find the perfect next place. I created lists of non-negotiable characteristics my new home would have to possess. I mapped out locations in which I wanted to reside, and I drove around looking for the “For Sale” signs in front yards of those neighborhoods. I became dismayed by the prices people were asking, discouraged by the homes I would get for those prices, and had almost resigned myself to the thought of becoming a renter again. Then I found my house – a new build in the neighborhood I had picked with all the items on my non-negotiable list included.

Upon closing, I looked back on the process, I could see clearly that the work was worth it.  Sometimes in the midst of the process, I wondered. As a result, I lost focus. I contemplated negotiating my non-negotiables, thought about paying more for properties than they were probably worth, and considered other neighborhoods. None of those decisions would have yielded complete satisfaction with my new home, nor would they have accomplished my goal.

As you think about your plans for career advancement, there will be times when you get discouraged, doubt, contemplate changing your strategy because it is tough, and wonder if your original plan was even any good. Here are some career advancement lessons I learned as a result of my home buying experience.

  1. Define what you are trying to achieve – Without making a list of what I wanted my house to include, I would never have found it.It is hard to achieve your next step if you don’t know what specifically you are looking for. Your efforts will be more focused if you can describe what you are looking for in the next job or opportunity in great detail.
  1. Use good data to make decisions – I had to collect information such as tax payments, prices of other homes in the neighborhood, potential resale opportunities, and trends in property improvement values to inform my decisions throughout the process.You will need to collect data too. Talk to your supervisor or to a mentor to find out how other people have advanced in your company. Interview people who have the position you want. Ask them what they did to be ready and successful in it.  Collect salary schedules, job descriptions and other pertinent information to become more informed.
  1. No plan will have perfect implementation – There were factors I couldn’t predict.There will be twists and turns – things that make you adjust your plan. Understand that up front and don’t be discouraged by it when it happens. Be agile. Identify the barriers and develop solutions that will keep you on track for achieving your goal.
  1. Preparation always makes the process go smoother – If I had spent the first three to four months preparing for the time when my home sold, I would not have needed to rush around in the last five weeks.Ensuring you are ready when the opportunity presents itself before the opportunity presents itself will reduce your stress and increase your ability to communicate your fit within the position. Take a class to strengthen your skills in a specific area. Complete a certification program that is widely respected in your field. Read several books, articles or blogs that address core content for your desired position, so you know the language, are familiar with the trends and can participate in the conversations.
  2. It takes a village to sell a house – I could never have done all the pieces by myself. I had to engage a strong realtor and folks who knew what they were doing. I had people who were experts in mortgages, moving, negotiating, contract work, etc. helping me.To be successful, surround yourself with people who want to support your success. Learn to ask for assistance, feedback, direction. Work with individuals who know what they are doing, have been there before and have proven their ability to accomplish what you are setting out to achieve.

It’s going to be hard work, but take these five steps, and you’ll be on your way to securing the promotion you want. What strategies have you used to achieve the promotion you wanted? Let us in on your secrets by leaving a comment below.


PHOTO COURTESY OF: Flickr Creative Commons Jeff_Golden

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