I’ve heard this from new grads all the way to C-Suite executives. We all think we don’t have what it takes to make it to the next level but I’m here to show you that you do and here’s how.
Let go of title intimidation
Titles are like opinions, everyone has one but most of them are meaningless. Think of those large organizations you’ve worked with where it felt like everyone was a VP of something. Did they have people reporting to them? Not always. And maybe you’ve also seen organizations where a senior analyst had 10 direct reports. See what I mean? The title doesn’t really tell you much so don’t be intimidated by it.
Understand what you affect
The word strategy gets thrown around way too much in the business world. The most basic meaning of “being strategic” is that you understand a task and its effect on the business, that's right, cause and effect. Even as a single contributor you should know how your tasks affect the business. When you think about it, we are all cogs in a wheel and I mean this in the nicest way possible because without all the cogs the wheel (department) doesn’t turn and if the wheel doesn’t turn the machine (business) doesn’t run.
So, ask yourself, how do you affect the people above and below you?
You have the power to affect 1 or all of these in some way.
Don’t forget your ability to generate ideas
Have you ever had an idea and brought it to a meeting and people love it? Then you were told to “ run with that.” So you fleshed out a plan and created the idea that ended up saving time, money, or generating revenue. Boom! That’s next level right there!
Every organization in the world wants you on their team because they are constantly looking for new ideas to streamline processes or grow their business.
Realize you’ve led people
Have you ever led coworkers in a project or spearheaded one piece of the final solution? Have you gotten a past colleague or friend hired at your company? Well, then, you have leadership skills because you were able to articulate an idea (or job offering) and create buy-in from others to follow you! You convinced someone of your idea and created change in the organization even if it was just you and one other person. So what, you didn’t formally manage a department, but you led a team into cost savings that significantly changed the business’s success that year. Look at you leading!
Put it all together and grow it
Remember, no matter where you are in a company currently you are doing all of these things! The difference is the magnitude with which you do it. The higher you move the larger the scale. That’s the secret no one shares. It’s all the same, it just gets bigger and each stop on the career ladder is an opportunity to impact more people, save more money and increase revenue.