“To reach a target, you must never see it as unreachable!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan
The New Year has begun and the awful 2020 is behind us. At the beginning of every year people make new decisions; set new goals, start new careers, new weight-loss programs, new hobbies etc. Some stick to it and see it all the way through while others lose interest the second week in. Though, we’re not here to talk about the motivation itself to reach the goal, especially professional one. We will operate under the assumption that the willpower is there and we only need the tools and means which will help us achieve those goals. Tom works as a Risk Manager in a bank and his performance makes him one of the best employees in his department but his interests lie in a bit of a more IT environment role. BI and BA are his interests in question and while he doesn’t have any formal experience in that field nor does he have any IT background whatsoever, he’s not completely in the dark when it comes to knowledge and skill in those areas. Finding an opportunity outside of his organization with those stipulations would be near impossible but within the same company, vertical progress in a career might and should be possible under the right circumstances.
What can Tom do to achieve his goal? How should one start in the events of wanting to change a role within the company or any professional goal to begin with? It should be a series of steps and actions so let’s break it down.
Realization, acceptance and communication
The situation within the company starts with a discussion, a discussion with your line manager who should know how and what you’re thinking. It’s professional ethics at the lowest level so it should be done not only for yourself but the manager as well because they need to know how to plan in terms of business strategy. Assuming the company’s culture promotes employee progress and has a somewhat of a planned career path in the organizational structure, one shouldn’t have any problems conveying this message and getting an equally reciprocated response. More often than not, managers don’t have the basic professional courtesy of caring for their employees’ progress or professional wants but this article isn’t about critique, it’s about lining up the steps for that progress so we will assume the manager has in their best interest to accommodate our wishes. A positive response from the manager should include a clear plan on what we have to do to transition to that position and what to do to prove ourselves. To any ambitious employee that in itself is enough to reach the desired goal because it’s easy when you have clear stipulations on what to exactly do.
In the events that you don’t have a clear plan on what to do and the situation isn’t set within your current company, there’s a lot more you can do to upgrade your skills and elevate your labor market value. It isn’t as simple as it sounds but remember, we’re not here to make excuses. We want to win in the end.
Investing in yourself
Investment in yourself is never a bad investment – if you didn’t hear this already, engrave it into your heart, especially if you’re ambitious about your professional career. Knowledge really is power and before you can show your skills in practical use, there is almost a sure chance that your knowledge would be tested wherever you would compete for a role. Since Tom has some basic knowledge in the BI/BA field, he definitely should aim for a certificate from a professional authority which will guarantee his knowledge on the paper. This doesn’t mean that it’s absolutely necessary but it does help since people nowadays want a clear-cut proof on the spot. If you can finance a certificate or a document which represents an official gained knowledge, do so.
However, Google does wonders today. Another thing you can invest other than money in this particular scenario is time. Knowledge and information can be found all over the internet today and many skills can be obtained if you put enough time and effort into it. There are many people (developers for example) who learned code all on their own and are quite successful in renowned companies. It’s a simple switch in our minds which we have to tick to progress.
Building social networks and seeking feedback/advice
With a clear plan or tasks you have to achieve in order to meet your goal, building professional networks is a sure way to make you succeed. The more people you know, the more of a chance to come across a person or a chance to connect you to that goal. Tom joined a LinkedIN group of BI/BA enthusiasts from where he could seek more advice and feedback from experienced professionals in the field. He could get mentorship on certain projects or even a chance to get the role in a different company. People connect people to other people or organizations. A little bit of creativity and personal branding is something which can change the whole picture of your scenario.
What kind of behavior is needed in order to succeed? It’s a question I hear and see all the time across articles/videos/internet as well as various debates with multiple professionals. My answer to that is very simple – time and commitment. The only two stipulations put on you should be those. The rest of the actions mentioned above will come by themselves. Communicate (to yourself or the manager), invest in yourself and build professional relationships. With enough time and effort, the result will surely come. However, how much time and effort? That entirely depends on you.