A conversation with a teammate last week made me think about things that I’ve seen drive career growth. While this is not an exhaustive list, here are 11 attributes and behaviors that I’ve seen drive career growth consistently over the course of my ~20-year professional career:
1. Business Knowledge: Understands the business and levers that are available to drive revenue, share, customer satisfaction, and other important business goals.
2. Initiative/Ownership: Identifies and pursues opportunities relentlessly until we realize business impact. Does not give up in the face of adversity. Follows through every single time.
3. Positivity/Energy: Has a ‘can-do’ spirit that helps with #2 above. This spirit also rubs off on the team in getting buy-off and getting things done.
4. Structured/Detailed: Is structured in thinking, how she manages her own time, and addresses opportunities. Has the ability to deal with ambiguity and addresses it through structure. Follows the 80–20 Pareto principle in structuring work.
5. Scientific/Analytical: Follows the scientific method of conjecture -> criticism -> testing to structure and address opportunities. Uses data to make decisions. Follows the model of mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustible (MECE) in forming conjectures.
6. Subject-matter Expertise: Has a good understanding of the product, prospects, customers, and industry dynamics.
7. Relationships: Can build and manage relationships with key stakeholders in Marketing, Sales, Customer Success, Product, and the Engineering teams.
8. Communication Skills: Has excellent written and verbal communication skills. Contributes thoughtful opinions to drive the conversation forward in meetings.
9. Change Agent: Understands that progress requires change, and that the velocity of change matters, especially in a startup. Helps the organization embrace change.
10. Bandwidth/Synthesis: Can track an ever increasing amount of tasks and details across functions. A learning machine that processes this information using mental models and strives to wake up smarter every day.
11. Owns Career and Learning Agenda: Devotes and time to energy to maintaining a career and learning agenda. Works with her manager to ensure that these agendas are reflected in her role and responsibilities.
This is my list. What would you add to it?
Hat tip to Scott Swanson for helping edit this post!