Building A Path to New Experiences
An Executive Strategy for Any Career
Are you looking to break through the next barrier for taking your career or your organization to another level of value? You will learn a simple strategy that has a higher probability of success with a lower perceived risk that will build the confidence you need for the first (and toughest) step in the process.
The thought of pursuing a new, uncharted path leads many of us with self-defeating rationalizations. We defeat ourselves before we even attempt to pursue the new experience. Learning to “overcome yourself” and build the “first step” is a critical skill for advancing any career.
When we think about the task of tackling a new assignment or experience, there are 2 dimensions that are important to recognize:
Content – this refers to the set of skills & knowledge required to pursue the new experience. Examples include product knowledge, sales skills/relationships, subject matter expertise, operational knowledge, project management, and other functional experience.
Form – this refers to the environment that you plan to leverage the Content. The environment can refer to an industry, company, market, audience or job type.
Here’s the strategy that will get you started on the path to your new experience:
EITHER CHANGE THE CONTENT OR THE FORM - NOT BOTH AT THE SAME TIME
Here are 3 examples of how to apply this simple strategy:
Career Change - if you are looking to make a career change to a completely new industry, then the strategy would be to look for a similar role that leverages your knowledge and skill set of your current job function (Existing Content + New Form). If the career change involves a new job type/function, then you can pursue a new role or experience within your existing organization that will help position you for the new role (New Content, Existing Form).
Developing a New Skill #1 – if you are looking to acquire a new skill such as management experience, then the strategy would be to initiate & manage a cross-functional project within your existing organization where you already have a solid understanding of how things work (New Content, Existing Form). In the process, you will learn key skills required to be a manager such as leading others, project management, gaining buy-in, negotiation, and a deeper level of understanding of your organization.
Developing a New Skill #2 – if you are looking to acquire a new skill such as presentation skills, then the strategy would be to pick a subject you have expertise and present it to a new audience (existing content, new form). This allows you to confidently talk about your subject while learning how to present to different audiences.
This strategy can be applied at the executive level as well who often need to go into uncharted waters such as making acquisitions, launching new products/markets or transitioning your career to the next challenge.
If the difference between the pursuit of goals and the status quo rests in our first step, then this strategy will help you build the confidence required to take you the rest of the way. It also carries a higher probability of success to building a path to new experiences.
This article was inspired by my business mentor Paul Tichauer of CEO Global Network.