How to create growth opportunities at work

An oldie-but-goodie for Throwback Thursday.

Photo credit: Mishchenko Mikhail, Shutterstock
Photo credit: Mishchenko Mikhail, Shutterstock

While some organizations might develop pipelines and formal programs to develop employees as leaders, others not only lack a formal development plan, but might also lack opportunities for growth entirely. Because of this, employees have to take their development into their own hands and get creative when it comes finding and taking advantage of opportunities to grow.

In an article on Harvard Business Review, professor and author Herminia Ibarra offers six strategies for growing your career at work when it seems that the opportunities to do so are slim. Here is a tip that stood out to us.

Sign up for a project outside your main area. All companies have projects that cut across lines of business, hierarchical levels and functional specialties. Find out what they are, and maybe more importantly, who’s involved. Getting experience across business lines is a better choice than further deepening your skill base within a functional silo. The new skills, big-picture perspective, extra-group connections and ideas about future moves that projects can bring are well worth the investment. One of my students signed up for a project to re-think best leadership practices at his company. For him, the project was a shift from executing a pre-defined series of tasks to influencing an organization and helping them to overcome barriers. It helped him both discover an interest in consulting and move into an advisory position two years later.

Read the rest of her advice on Harvard Business Review.

Have you had to create your own plan for professional development? Share what you did in the comments.

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Former Editor and Creator of Idealist Careers, a publication of Idealist.org. Follow me on Twitter @ajlovesya.
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