You need goals to move ahead in your career, but there’s another factor that will help you achieve your career objectives: Champions.
What’s a champion?
There is an abundance of power at your disposal when you create a network of champions to support your career success. “Creating a fabric of personal contacts who will provide support, feedback, insight, resources, and information—is simultaneously one of the most self-evident and one of the most dreaded developmental challenges that aspiring leaders must address.” (Source: Harvard Business Review – https://hbr.org/2007/01/how-leaders-create-and-use-networks)
Championing your progress
Develop a storehouse of champions who can help pave the way for your career success. Champions open doors by mentioning your successes and being your advocate. For example, if your company is engaged in succession planning, your champions may endorse you. When they see new opportunities come up, they refer you.
Interested in developing a champion network?
- Define your needs. Instead of haphazardly creating a support system, strategically identify the kinds of champions you need. Harvard Business Review identifies six kinds of champions that are critical to success. For example, an expert can help you navigate new learning situations. A leader at the helm of an organization or team can assist you with identifying your vision and then clearly conveying those convictions to your organization. A champion with good role-playing skills can guide you to success in scenarios where communicating and framing messages might be challenging.
- Choose your team. A robust network of champions is a smart strategy. Your objective is to have several people on the senior leadership team, particularly the Executive team, who know you and can speak to your skills and key accomplishments.
- Engage in networking opportunities to seek out champions. Look for influencers or leaders in your field or organization. A leader in your industry will know the ins and outs of your field. If you don’t know the person, ask a colleague or friend for an introduction. Or be bold and invite them out for lunch to start the relationship.
- Share your own successes and failures, and learn from your champions’ experiences, too. Your champion will be able to help you navigate a challenging situation and offer advice for overcoming challenges. Who knows, he or she may even have been through the same workplace politics, or uphill battle to get recognition.
Whether new in your role, or a seasoned professional, a team of champions can not only help you navigate through your organization, but also can help propel your career to new heights.
Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional. She specializes in working with professional and executive clients to provide job search strategies and tools to help them advance their careers. Copyright JL Careers Inc. All rights reserved.
Wishing you much career success!
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional