As I See It: Seizing career openings

What one piece of advice would you give to 25-year-old wanting to accelerate their career?
Say yes to every opportunity, both small and large, and especially those that are outside your area of expertise or comfort zone. You will learn lot and you never know where they might lead. I was sent on small, unappealing consulting assignment that turned into project management role. It lasted year and accelerated my career significantly. Learn everything you can from those you are working with who have different – and usually much more – experience and skills than you. Take the time to observe, talk with, and genuinely value everyone’s knowledge and experience.

How could senior business leaders more effectively help the next generation of managers?

Opportunities to be involved, either as an observer or participant, in activities that will develop skills are important. Access to the business leader in terms of time, to challenge, encourage and be sounding board is also key to fast-tracking development. Business leaders also have to take risks with young people by setting challenging goals and giving them make or break responsibility so they have chance to step up and prove themselves. To make it worthwhile for the business leaders to invest in them, the young person needs to prove they are high performer, quick learner and are trustworthy.

If you could turn back the clock what’s the one career decision that you would undo?

Due to two-week project delay, I narrowly missed out on an opportunity to do six-month project management role in Canada. If I had my time again I would negotiate much harder to find way to meet both commitments. It was once in lifetime opportunity both personally and professionally. If I had negotiated resolution we wouldn’t now be wondering what might have been if we had lived and worked in Canada. M

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