Is it a Risk Worth Taking?

Employee Advice | PreviewMe | 27 June 2018

Are you looking to take the next step in your career and climb to the next rung up the leadership ladder? Do you know where you want to go but don’t know how to get there? If you are serious about taking that next step, it may be time to take a few calculated risks.

If you are thinking this and looking around for what’s next, you’re not alone. Ask anyone that is in a leadership position, chances are they gambled on themselves. It is never a bad thing to bet on yourself and take a risk if the result will move you one step closer to where you want to be.

The first place to start, however, is to create a career development plan. Where do you see yourself in the next few years? What is your desired position? Once you have answered these questions and have a clear picture of what you want, you can start making calculated moves that will help you to get there.


Look to the side  

The goal is to move up, isn’t it? So, this may seem like a weird option, but the best move in the long run, might be to move sideways.

You may not see immediate results, such as a pay rise or an increased leadership role but moving sideways will give you more experience and broaden your knowledge base; which will help you in the long term.

A sideways jump could be taking a similar role in another department or company, moving from the private to the public sector or moving from a large corporate to a growing startup.


Step out of your comfort zone

Depending on how long you’ve been with your current employer, it may be time to leave your comfort zone. Unfortunately, comfort breeds complacency, and if you are serious about progressing your career you can’t be complacent.

Moving to a new employer, whether it’s in a sideways move or an upwards one, has the potential to do wonders for your career. For example, leaving a secure corporate job to work for a startup, is one-way to potentially fast track your progression through to leadership.


How can you help?

As you are looking for what’s next and potential new employers, take an organisational wide approach. Don’t just focus on your department or specialties. Look at it holistically, and see what other areas of the business you may be able to help with.

Once you have analysed potential weaknesses or additional areas you can help within, don’t be afraid to champion yourself.


Toot your own horn

Step up to the plate and take on more responsibilities, whether it’s with your current employer or a new one.

Look for pain points, develop solutions and then voice them to upper management. By doing this, you are not only making yourself known but you are also demonstrating a desire to step up and move into a more senior role than your current one.

This should help with putting your name at the top of the list for when a promotion or leadership role arises. 


Enter the classroom

Do you need an additional qualification, degree or postgraduate degree to further your career progression? Reducing the responsibilities in your current role or even completely leaving it to go back to school will help in the long run and shouldn’t be overlooked. Adding to your toolbox is always considered a positive thing.

This is especially relevant for industries that are prone to regular changes in best practices or industry qualifications. To take it one step further, ask your current employer if they would fund or support you while you go back to school. This will make them aware you are committed to learning and developing, which should only increase your standing within the organisation.


Take some time

Does the answer lie outside of work? Would taking some time to step away from the business world, speed up your progression?

Volunteering is an excellent way to gain relevant and real-world experience in an area you see yourself in. For example, if you see yourself in management roles, consider seeking charity events or volunteer organisations that could use your help managing an event or other aspects of their operations.


Career progression is often a windy and unclear journey. Although taking risks may be scary and the result may be unclear, moving out of your comfort zone is never a bad thing. The worst thing that could happen is you’ll gain excellent experience and you may just need to wait a bit longer. But, best case scenario, is you’ll get to your ultimate goal a lot faster.

If you are looking to progress your career, a great place to start looking is