Quick Strategies for Executives to Strengthen Career Focus
Successful executives are normally very focused individuals who have a track record of high achievement, assured self-belief and often a bit of luck thrown into the mix. Meanwhile, some executives may get consumed by day-to-day business and therefore lose focus towards achieving ultimate career aspirations. To be successful, executives need to think about where they are heading (clear vision) and prioritise key actions to achieve intended goals. Sometimes, it can be difficult to kick-start this process and start thinking about themselves rather than what is happening at work. As a result, we have identified some key actions to get started and increase career focus.
Strategies for increasing career focus
- Take time out to plan and focus: Dedicate 3-4 hours one morning at a weekend and away from everyone to critically evaluate career, aspirations and overall direction. Write down some initial ideas to develop and form the basis of a plan.
- Evaluate career aspirations: Knowing ultimate goals, ambitions and what executives want to achieve helps to create a long-term vision to work towards.
- Define SMART Objectives: Reinforce aspirations by researching ideas, evaluating options and narrowing down alternatives: Specific; Measureable; Achievable; Relevant; Time-Focused.
- Know own limitations: Focus on key strengths to develop unique selling points (USPs) that employers find useful. Use skills evaluation tools, conduct a SWOT analysis and create a personal improvement plan to work on key weaknesses.
- Create an effective marketing document: The resume is arguably the single most important aspect when selecting candidates for interview. The CV must impress otherwise there is no interview. Spend time and focus on getting this right.
- Create an online presence: LinkedIn has transformed the way people network with each other and there is an expectation that executives will have an online presence. Again, spend time on building networks and focus on developing a clear message to impress visitors to your profile.
- Relationships with executive headhunters: Headhunting firms play an important role in securing positions for executives and interim appointments. Benefit from extended networks of headhunters and listen to important advice that could make a difference.
- Work on personal branding: Executives are normally highly accomplished in everything they do, so focus on areas to refine personal branding, behaviours and mannerisms to create an aura of professionalism when interacting with others. Work on personal effectiveness, impeccable presentation, communication skills and emotional intelligence.
- Consider mentoring as a solution: Mentors play a pivotal role in guiding executives to reach the next level by motivating individuals, giving clear direction and better focus towards achieving goals.
- Stay committed: Plans will only be achieved long-term if individuals remain committed to the process. Equally, review plans periodically so they can be adjusted if required. See external article on tips for developing a career action plan as it can help give an all important structure, motivation and focus.
Increasing Career Focus: Conclusion
This is just a quick guide to increasing career focus. There are some ‘quick-wins’ to get started and build momentum into the process and help executives improve their focus. Once focus and motivation is there then executives are normally very good at prioritising actions and achieving goals. Often, it is just about finding the time to put an initial plan together and then everything else will follow in good time.