So, Do You Really Have a Strategy for Your Career? Part Two!

December 01, 2015

“Keep in mind that ‘up’ is not the only direction to go with your career.” -Andy Dulka, SVP/CIO at Regis Corporation

Fear has often been labeled as a motivator in one’s own personal pursuit for success; but the fear of failure may also be a detractor.  When the question is posed, “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?” do you have a realistic response, or an idealistic notion of where you envision yourself? There are various avenues that can align your personal and professional pursuits, and strategizing which of these avenues to pursue to support your career goals is just the start. In this post, six CIOs share their career journey through a series of questions posed during a panel discussion at a Think IT meeting. Read along and see how well you can relate, and what tips to take away for your personal and professional goals.

Originally posted on Think IT

At last week’s Opportunity Management Group meeting, we hosted a panel of six well-respected CIOs within our IT community; John Bandy, DRC; Andy Dulka, Regis; Rahoul Ghose, Lifetouch; Marc Kermisch, Red Wing Shoe Company; Mary Lynne Perushek, Donaldson; and Tina Thousand, Caribou Coffee. The panel addressed questions regarding the topic of, So, Do You Really Have a Strategy for Your Career?

Below is a summary of thoughtful advice the panelists gave to the following questions:

How did you determine your short-term and long-term career goals? What was your career strategy? What steps did you take to achieve these goals?

John: Don’t be afraid to do something brand new and put yourself outside your comfort zone.

Mary Lynne: Saw jobs she liked and took them to learn new skills broaden knowledge. Also, she suggested finding coach(es) and mentor(s) to bounce ideas off of. She still keeps in contact with some of her mentors that she originally connected with at the beginning of her career.

Rahoul: Find the one thing you like, are passionate about, and find how to pursue that passion.

Andy: Keep in mind that “up” is not the only direction to go with your career. Having a plan is great, but you should be willing to be flexible. Sometimes you may need to move laterally, or even down, to learn new skills, experience a variety of companies/industries, and become well-rounded.

Tina: Don’t get too narrow minded with specific technologies.

How did/do you align your personal and professional goals?

Marc: It’s just life! Work-life balance is a blend. You have to figure out what works best for you. For example, when Marc is on vacation, he takes an hour each morning before his family wakes up to go through his work email. It gives him peace of mind that the work is being taken care of, but in a way that doesn’t interfere with his family time. Another suggestion he made is to KEEP YOUR PHONE AWAY from the dinner table!

How did/do you determine true, professional potential for yourself or those on your team?

John: Ask your managers questions. Can you reach where you want to be? What skills do you have? What skills do you need? Find someone who can be honest, but helpful.

Andy: Build relationships and actually spend time with people, not just over email. When you can build and keep strong relationships, your leadership qualities will come out and you will naturally advance to where you want to be.

Tina: Determine what your strengths/interests are. Are you an individual contributor? A team player? A leader?

How have you handled road blocks in your career? (E.g. company culture, lack of advancement, not satisfied/challenged, etc.)

Rahoul: Take initiative; prove you are willing to put yourself out there.

Andy: Be vulnerable and accept that you may fail.

Marc: The difference between lucky and unlucky people (when it pertains to advancement in your career), is the lucky people always say yes to opportunities!

How has your personal brand played a role in your career strategy?

Marc: ALWAYS be genuine, pay it forward, and think about both your online and offline presence. Build relationships because you never know who you’ll be talking to, what they’ll talk about, or who will hear it.

Tina: Stay consistent in who you are and how you interact with others. A very important piece in the IT industry is your vendor relationships as they may be the first to know things, which means you’ll be the second if you’ve established the right relationships with them.

Rahoul: Everyone makes judgments and people think they know you; but, to show people who you really are, get involved outside your organization. People will pay attention to the things you support.

How do you take calculated risks?

Mary Lynne: Ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that can happen? And can you or the others it will affect live with it? More than likely, the worst that can happen is something that everyone can live with.

John: Have conversations with the people the risk may affect. For example, you should sit down with your family if you’ve been offered a job that will require relocation. Also, share the situation with others. They may have insight and advice about how to handle it.

Hopefully you are able to take some tips from these esteemed CIOs and apply it to your career strategy. Also, be sure to check out the blog post from Part 1 of this meeting for more insights!

To learn more about Think IT, a service of York Solutions, visit the website here!

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Posted By: Alyssa Hewes

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