5 Career Tips (Not Related to Business Savvy)

career advancement Feb 21, 2024
Susan Colantuono's 5 pieces of career guidance to position women to capitalize on career opportunities.

TL:DR 5 Pieces of Career Advice:

  1. Develop all 3 elements of leadership
  2. You must earn sponsorship
  3. Develop your successor
  4. Understand what a promotion is
  5. Don't let the turkeys get you down

Recently on Linkedin María Marta Tálice asked if I could share 5 tips about women's professional development that aren't covered in my TED Talk.

Because my sole purpose in life at the moment is to help women get the business, financial and strategic acumen (business savvy) that they need to succeed, I took on the challenge to prove to myself that I'm not a one trick pony!

Here's what I wrote with some added context

1️⃣ Develop all 3 components required by my leadership framework (covered in my TED Talk where I define leadership) because proven and perceived leadership skills are the door openers to advancement. This means working on your: self-knowledge & personal skills, skills for engaging others (and of course your business, financial and strategic acumen). Furthermore you want to be known for all 3 - not simply have the reputation, "She's so good with her team."

BEWARE: DO NOT over-develop areas you're already good at.

2️⃣ You can't be handed sponsorship. You must earn sponsorship by being seen as a "partner in the business." Be cautious of "sponsorship" programs that assign you a sponsor.  As I wrote in an earlier blog, sponsorship and mentorship are complementary, and while an assigned sponsor might be willing to help you in ways that a mentor would, no executive will spend social capital on you unless you are seen as a solid businesswoman.

3️⃣ Develop your successor. At least once in every workshop when discussing career advancement, I've been known to say, "If you're the only one who can do the job you have, you'll always have the job you do." You never want to be held in place because management "can't get along without you." Spend time cultivating your successor.

4️⃣ Understand what a promotion is. A promotion isn't recognition of past performance, it's a demand for future performance at a different level because leadership differs by levels. Too many of us want promotions because we want daddy's approval - yup I said it. A promotion isn't a sign of approval, it's an acknowledgement that you have what it takes to perform at that next higher level. And you better understand how the expectations at that level differ from where you are.

5️⃣ Don't let the turkeys get you down. Many of the speed bumps and road blocks that you encounter are the results of the mindsets that managers hold about women, men, careers and leadership. They won't be about you. I know it's hard to create a protective bubble around you so that their bad behavior doesn't turn into your self-doubt. I also know it's essential. 

Catch you next time.


PS Did this help you? Please forward to a colleague or friend so she will benefit as well.


Stay connected with news and updates!

Get powerful and actionable career success tips delivered right to your inbox.
Don't worry, we guard your info with our lives.

We hate SPAM, too and will never sell your information, for any reason.