Bull or Bear? | April 2018
BULL OR BEAR?
“A move should be a move up.”
A job change, whether internal or external, doesn’t necessarily mean a promotion, despite the perception that careers generally follow an upward trajectory. In reality, many changes are lateral moves, even among successful executives.
In my experience, while step-downs generally detract from a resume, a lateral move is by no means a career killer. It may in fact prove beneficial in the long run if done wisely.
For example. a current executive coaching client, I’ll call John, recently made a lateral move, from a managerial position at one wholesale distribution company to a similar role at another. This new position offers John the potential for entry into the executive ranks. His new boss is the head of corporate development and business strategy. He is now tied to the most critical opportunities and has become visible to top management. John is clearly in line for an executive post.
Lateral moves often enhance an employee’s visibility and reputation when the new company conveys brand value. John’s new company has networks in many fast-growing markets, providing John with a valuable set of new contacts and a bevy of learning opportunities.
Fast upward leaps may not secure long-term success. Given the rapid state of change and innovation throughout industries and functions, a more balanced ascent that includes a mixture of lateral and upward movement will pay off. A strong ‘generalist’ view of the business, including knowledge of finance, sales, operations, and marketing, and how to communicate with and manage people, is increasingly becoming the determining factor in making it to the top executive ranks.
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