Many employees want to get to the top, but few know the secret to a successful career. What is your framework for developing a portfolio of skills that will take you to the top of your career in record time?
To gain a good chance of rising fast and high, you need to develop an appropriate package of skills, competences and experience. A good framework for ensuring that you have a formidable set of skills, competences and experience is what is often referred to as the Big ‘T’ Framework. In the ‘T’, the vertical bar represents depth and the horizontal bar represents breadth of your skills, competences and experience.
Get deep in one area and be known to be an expert in that speciality. At the same time, broaden your awareness into other fields that are generic expansions of your area of expertise. Such a combination will make you a solid professional, the preferred candidate for many considerations and of course in turn this will breed success and achievement.
But how do you deepen and broaden your small ‘t’ into a BIG ‘T’?
Deepening your skills—building the vertical bar in the ‘T’
The best approach at deepening your skills in a particular area is to combine deep training and extensive hands-on experience in the relevant field. The training gives you the theoretical understanding of the concepts relevant to your field while the hands-on activities give you practical and experiential exposure to your field.
If you subject these two aspects to a sustained period of time, you will truly deepen your skill to depths that are unprecedented. To accelerate this development, you need a deliberate and proactive plan rather than leaving everything to chance. For the training part, you need to invest some resources. Do not always expect others to pay for your training. When you spend your personal money and time on training, you are making a very good investment.
Broadening your skills-building the horizontal bar in the ‘T’
The secret to broadening one’s skills is simple. Regularly get out of your comfort zone and always try new things and unpleasant work. This way, you will gradually expand your knowledge base as you broaden your portfolio of skills. In actual fact, the beauty about this approach is that it is self-reinforcing because the more you try new things, the better you become at learning new skills. Before you notice it, you will soon start liking trying new projects, new challenges and taking on new responsibilities.
A good start is through volunteering. Many times in forums or meetings the leader will ask for a volunteer to do something or take up a task on behalf of the team. At work, the manager will ask for a hand or someone to do something on behalf of the team, section, division or department. That is the chance to seize the moment to begin to learn new skills and broaden your competences.
You can also be a bit more organised and proactive. Develop a plan of where you want to be and by when, with your career. Identify the gaps and then chart your way of filling the gaps. In that process include actions you need to take in order to broaden your skills to a level that will make you competitive for the next job you will want to bid for.
Many employees want to get to the top fast but few have the know-how for that long and difficult journey. The secret is to develop skills that are deep enough and diverse enough that the recruiting panel will not miss your dossier as you bid for the opportunities. Be proactive and vigilant with your skills development. Deepen and broaden your skills. This way, you will truly rise and shine. Good luck!