Archive for May, 2019

11 Ways to Start Making a Horizontal Career Move

May 9th, 2019

We often think of growth as linear and vertical, but that isn’t always the case. While many employees work upward toward a leadership role, climbing the ladder isn’t the only way to progress in your career. For instance, a professional might develop a passion for a role in an entirely different department and make a lateral move to a job at the same level.

Just because a new position isn’t necessarily at a “higher” level than a current one doesn’t mean someone’s not advancing their professional skills. Here’s how 11 members of Forbes Coaches Council recommend beginning your path to horizontal career growth.

  1. Ask For Professional Recommendations

Know the perceived skill gaps in your experience that are needed for the new role. Fill the gaps through great recommendations. For example, if you want to manage people but haven’t formally done it, have someone give you a reference (preferably on LinkedIn) highlighting your leadership skills and how much they enjoyed working on a project that you led. – Jennifer Thompson, Deviant Thinking

  1. Seek Experiences That Will Prepare You For The C-Suite

We have advised clients to take a horizontal move in the spirit of gaining international experience and/or experience in another division in preparation for a C-level role in the future. The more cross-pollinated one’s background is in terms of geographic, economic, profession and business function exposure, the more likely a candidate is to be included in succession planning. – Lisa Rangel, Chameleon Resumes LLC

  1. Know Your Personal and Professional Motivations

Lateral moves can provide new opportunities for development and future vertical movement by exposing you to new skills and interests, as well as allowing you to show your strengths in a different arena. Take time to make sure your new lateral role aligns to your personal motivations and professional goals and provides you the challenge to keep you energized for the learning curve. – Tonya Echols, Vigere

  1. Understand And Identify Your Transferable Skills

First, identify your top strengths. We’ve used Clifton Strengths often to help clients identify where they shine and what gives them energy. Then, map your strengths and experience to the horizontal role you are seeking. You may be surprised to see how your strengths and current role can support your success in many other roles. Share this mapping with the hiring manager. – Sandy Schwan, Evolving Strategies LLC

  1. Seek a Job-Shadowing Opportunity

Climbing the career ladder sometimes means taking a sidestep. Start having conversations with someone who is doing the job for which you aspire. Ask if they would be willing to have you “shadow” them, either on a formal or an informal basis. This type of cross-training presents opportunities to acquire new skills. If they agree, be prepared to reciprocate, because giving is a two-way street. – Daisy Wright, The Wright Career Solution

  1. Volunteer for a Newly Launched Project

One of the best ways to make a horizontal move is to zigzag into a newly formed group responsible for launching something new or innovative. Not only will life become very exciting, but you’ll also develop a broader range of knowledge and skills. This kind of offshoot team usually has high visibility, so it will keep you in a strong position for a vertical move in the future if you wish. – Gabriella Goddard, Brainsparker Leadership Academy

  1. Network with Other Departmental Leaders

Network with leaders in different functional areas. Ask what a move like this could mean to your career. How could they utilize you? How do you start the process? What other skills or experiences must you have to be considered? Go prepared with the strengths and skills you bring to the table. Have examples to show your initiative, ability to learn and create success, and positive teamwork. – Bobbie Goheen, Synthesis Management Group

  1. Design Your Growth with Self-Awareness

Horizontal moves are great when upward mobility in a company is limited. Start with self-awareness: who you are (passions, talents, values) and who you want to be (vision). Seek trusted advisors to uncover your options. Be bold in building relationships and learning from others. Know that most paths to “success” are self-defined, and growth requires both intention and commitment. – Erin Rocchio, Erin Rocchio Consulting, Inc.

  1. Seek Out Learning Opportunities

Be open about your desire to change. Be curious. Be ready to learn. Smart companies would much rather see you in the right position than at a competitor. Let your managers know you’re looking for a change and why. Then, be curious. Look for responsibilities outside your day-to-day role. This will give you exposure to the new skills, knowledge and processes that a horizontal move may require. – Mark Savinson, Strategy to Revenue

  1. Engage In Projects You’re Passionate About

The practical reality is that the fastest way to success is doing something you are passionate about. If you engage in projects and organizations you are interested in, you will naturally be curious and work on developing your knowledge and skills. This, in turn, will increase your reputation and credibility. As a result, you will become someone in high demand and will be offered opportunities. – Jean Ali Muhlbauer, People at Work

  1. Create Your Own Career Lattice

Lateral career moves make you more versatile, broaden your exposure to stakeholders and increase your strategic flexibility. The first step is to create a future roadmap. Figure out the role you’ll want to hold in two to five years and what skills and experience will help get you there. Then, ask your manager, mentors and peers what lateral roles will give you the experience you need. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council.


Nine Out-Of-The-Box Project Management Tips for Tech Teams

May 2nd, 2019

Project management is an essential part of getting things done and achieving business goals. Through careful planning and executing, team members can collaborate to complete specific tasks or projects. However, with tech development, there are many unique challenges that “standard” task management strategies may not be able to help with.

If you want to find solutions better-suited for your tech staff, you might have to dig a little deeper. The experts of Forbes Technology Council share their go-to project management tips for tech teams.

  1. Align Expectations Early

Active dialogue inside the team—with developer teams as well as with business stakeholders—helps to establish a common vocabulary as well as shared expectations for the resulting collaboration. For example, a client thinks a task is simple to implement when in reality it is far more involved. Aligning those expectations early sets your project up for maximum client satisfaction. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

  1. Measure All Tasks against the Big Picture

Too often, tech teams are only knowledgeable about their specific tasks instead of the bigger picture. Knowing the business drivers, timelines, other deliverables, dependencies and the like contributes not only to a better understanding of the project holistically, but can also adjust and improve how individuals work towards the ultimate goal. – Brian Contos, Verodin Inc.

  1. Keep an Eye on Scope Creep

Scope creep is without question the most common reason tech development projects fail. Interestingly, even if a change in scope is properly documented, vetted, approved and even announced, the stakeholders will often only remember that the project was not delivered on time and/or on budget. Deviations from scope must be resisted at all costs and saved for later iterations of the product(s). – Todd Rebner, Cyleron

  1. Keep Your Teams Working Closely Together

Almost everyone’s begun the transition to agile or scrum approaches for project management. But if you are incorporating machine learning or data-driven analytics into your product, project management is very different. Some organizations have data-science teams that are completely walled off from software development, but things are much more effective if the teams work closely together. – Alex Bates, The Sandbox San Diego

  1. Align Tasks with A Specific Business Objective

Rather than just “completing” the task, the team should also check if that task fulfills the business objective. Usually, teams focus only on completing the task but never analyze if the task achieves the desired business requirement for which it has been defined. Strict time management is another crucial aspect that each team member needs to adhere to, as that sets the discipline of the project. – Sachin Deshpande, Qualitas IT Private Limited

  1. Consider the Complete Product Experience

Tech teams should take a holistic view of the value they are creating for customers. It is not just about completing the work right in front of you, which a project-oriented mindset typically demands. After all, your product or service is not just a collection of to-dos and bits of technology. It is the complete experience (marketing, sales, support) and relationship that you and customers share. – Brian de Haaff, Aha!

  1. Run Project Postmortem Sessions

Run project post-mortem sessions, as this helps you close the feedback loop and improve. If it’s possible, run such sessions after each major stage of a project. It will help you change the focus or tweak the acceptance criteria if it is needed. Requirements of big projects can change fast, and tech people don’t like it when at the end of a project the thing they’re working on is already outdated. – Ivailo Nikolov, SiteGround

  1. Kill Distractions

It’s becoming increasingly clear that our modern workflows are constantly interrupted by email, Slack, texts and other messaging systems that kill productivity. Often, what author Cal Newport would call “deep work”—long, undistracted stretches where one’s expertise and mental capacity are stretched to their limits—is necessary to break through on a highly complex and difficult task. – Timothy Chaves, ZipBooks Accounting Software

  1. Be Flexible, But Keep The End Goal In Mind

Responding to changing conditions and necessities is as important as adhering to a project roadmap. Being flexible while keeping your eye on the prize is key in order to succeed where standard guidelines break apart. Being empirical as opposed to theoretical in challenging moments takes one far and unleashes creativity, which is key for creative problem-solving during complex projects. – Gabriel Fairman, Bureau Works

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Forbes Technology Council