One very important part of improving your positioning in your industry is to become an expert in your field. Ofcourse you might say that is pretty sophomoric, Janice. But I say maybe not.
Early on in my professional life I was in the Information Technology industry and worked primarily in the Insurance sector. I crossed the spectrum of Property and Casualty, Health Care and Life Insurances. I progressed as an IT professional doing what I did technically. My last full time IT work experience was with a leader in the Health Care industry. I had the privilege of working with some great professionals. During that time, the director of my department deposited something into me professionally that I will never forget.
She was touted as an awesome leader and a great business partner to financial segment of the company which consisted of every department that reported to the CFO. She had the ear of everyone, not just because she had the position but because they trusted her as a leader of the company. In John Maxwell’s Five Levels of Leadership, I would rank her at atleast a four. She was a person who didn’t mind sharing her knowledge, because someone did it for her. She was bright, energetic and a people developer. She was awesome in my perspective and I respected her as did everyone who knew her.
One day she and I had a ‘sit down’ to discuss my career path at the company and she told me how to become invaluable to our internal customer, the Finance Department. We both understood that at that time most people considered IT as an ‘expense’ center and terribly difficult to understand. We were known for talking ‘computerese’. Everyone dreaded status meetings because there was such a barrier. Real or perceived. It existed. As we talked, this maverick of a leader told me that in order to become invaluable, I must become the customer. Then she explained.
I must get into the customers’ heads and know what they know and even more about their world. She explained to me that she, at that time, belonged to several Insurance associations and that she received their magazines. She also attended meetings and had even taken a few courses to help her understand some of the intricacies of finance. She sought to be ahead of the curve regarding what the Insurance Commission was doing regarding Health Care and a lot more. All of this so that she would be equipped to provide support to her business partners. She was an IT professional inside a health care company supporting financial professionals. She tiered her career. And it worked for her. And it will for you too!
You know what I’m going to ask… How can you tier your career to be strategically ready to see into the future for those that you support at your company? What challenges do they have? What trends affect their productivity? How can you move a hurdle or two in the course of your support of them? The BEST do this all of the time. Get ready to move your career forward by focusing on a tiered career strategy© and watch things begin to make more sense for you and those that you support.
Be multifaceted and a specialist. In this very competitive marketplace you must be able to pull a rabbit out of your hat every once in awhile. It’s not always the other’s guy’s job… You should be indispensable. It’s a higher way of thinking.
You will expand your capacity by encouraging your teams to be comprehensive in their understanding of several ‘sides’ of the business. This presupposes that you, the leader, have to be ‘all in’ for the members of your team and that you are selfless. This methodology can’t work any other way. You will have attained Level Four Leadership as spoken of by John Maxwell. It’s a higher way of thinking.
Until next time, live out loud, play full out and be INVINCIBLE in your space!