We all know smart, hard-working people who have been individual contributors for years. And we also all know smart, hard-working people who have quickly jumped from entry-level to management, seemingly overnight. So, what is it that sets these fast-trackers apart? They have figured out one of the fundamentals of career momentum:
Your job is not about doing your tasks.
Your job, no matter what level you’re at, is about helping the organization achieve its goals, realize its vision and fulfill its mission. The tasks on your job description are only important to the extent to which they enhance organizational performance. Fast-trackers get this.
Now, one of my favorite Secrets of Adulthood is that the opposite of a great truth is also true. So, yes, your job is about doing your tasks. The foundation of any career is doing the work and doing it well. You have to start there.
Then it’s time to explore how your work fits into the bigger picture. Look for ways to streamline and optimize. Find synergies between your tasks and the tasks of other team members, work groups or departments. Share your ideas.
Look up from your task list, shift your thinking from how to why, and prove you have the big-picture vision of a leader.