Doors - some you have to push, some you have to pull. It's exactly the same with your career and you need to be managing both. In order for you to create upward mobility in your career, the move up is going to require a keen sense of when to push or when to pull.
The push in your career comes from talent, ambition and initiative. Common sense says if you do a great job in your role and work hard that you will have an opportunity to move up or gain more responsibility right? The answer is maybe.
One of the keys to the 'push' beyond exceptional job performance is that you are going to need help from your manager or others responsible for overseeing your wok in that current role. Your manager is going to need to push you to the next position upmarket or a role of greater responsibility.
How can you manage the 'push' other than exceptional performance on the job? You need to understand, and manage, the impact of that push to your manager and the organization you leave behind. Why would the manager what you to leave if it makes their role much harder? Everyone has had that selfish manager that will resist change and hamper your advancement. It's critical to think about how you help position your career move for your current leadership.
How could they benefit? Maybe you help grow their sphere of influence more broadly across the organization. It's also possible that you help source your replacement who might even be a better fit or have a more diverse base of skills than you do. There might be an opportunity to consolidate roles and they could capture some significant cost savings. In the end, both you and your management will need to be unselfish and think broader to make the 'push' work for all. If you run into obstacles that can't be overcome then it becomes time to increase your focus and energy around the 'pull'.
So what is the 'pull'? The 'pull' occurs when those in equal or higher positions of responsibility in reach back for you and pull you up or over into a new role, new market, or new organization. The 'pull', if managed correctly, can completely overpower the resistance of a manager who will not 'push' talent in their organization. The 'managed correctly' part is on your shoulders. You need to reach out to those of greater responsibility or influence and get yourself on their radar. You need to do this in a very similar way as to the push strategy. You need to understand what's in it for them and the organization if you move up. The value of you moving upward has got to be stronger than the pull to keep you down.
Sometimes it's neither the 'push' or 'pull' that advance people's careers. It might be something as simple as supply and demand. The market can be rapidly growing and there is a limited supply of talent. Talent will ultimately always follow the number of eyeballs or ears and the dollars associated with revenue. You need to understand that if the organization is not growing or worse, shrinking, the focus on the 'pull' strategy should be even greater.
The management of your personal push and pull strategy is paramount to your upward mobility in a career. Creating a strategy and outlining the tactics should be one of the first things you are focused on when onboarding in a new role. Yes, you heard that right. You only get one first impression and if you aren't thinking about the push or pull when you make those first impressions, you could be jeopardizing or delaying your ability to advance.
You can find this article and much more from The MBAR Group and TalentBlvd founder at: Mike McNamara or TalentBlvd
About Mike McNamara:
Mike has held C-Suite, Executive and Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and General Management roles with Equifax, Cox Enterprises, WW Grainger, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Mike has led sales, service and operations organizations of over 1,500 associates and accountable for P&L responsibility in excess of $250M.
Dedicated to giving back, Mike formed The MBAR Group in 2009 with the sole intent of providing pro bono career and business consulting services to the underprivileged and underserved. Today as founder and CEO of TalentBlvd, he coaches a number of high profile business and media personalities as well as holding advisory board positions guiding a number of multimedia and small business startups.
Mike earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He is a past chapter President of the American Marketing Association. Mike and family split time between their adopted state of Missouri and family home in NW Michigan where their philanthropic causes include The Kingdom House – St Louis, BACN in Benzonia, MI., and Samaritan’s Purse, Boone NC.