March 18, 2022


Success leaves patterns, it leaves clues… and it is no different for careers of individuals who perform at the highest level.

Individuals who make it to the top understand that they have to produce value, or create value at every stage of their career….

The problem is that professionals often fall into the the traps associated with each stage. And make no mistake, these stages are deeply linked. While the initial stages seem more forgiving, they aren’t – mistakes made early on will creep up on you and present themselves as a tsunami at a later point in your career. Here are the stages, the traps associated with them, solutions for the traps and accelerators:

The 1st career stage is the ASPIRATION stage. This starts as you begin considering what it is that you want to do, professionally speaking. You are starting out and may yet be in college. Trap: Not experimenting enough to discover what you truly enjoy. Solution: Identify your strengths and choose careers that allow you to do what you do best everyday. Accelerator: Take on multiple internships that are diverse to help you understand the ground reality of what the work will be like.

The 2nd stage is the PROMISE stage. In this stage you your bag of potential is full but your bag of experience is empty, it is the promise of your potential that propels you. Your resume in this early stage should showcase your promise. Trap: Trying to do too much too soon to prove yourself, getting carried away by the promise of your potential. Solution: Create a focused plan for learning the systems, the strategy and culture of the organization. Accelerator: Build relationships above, below and sideways.

The 3rd stage is the MOMENTUM stage. You are now in early middle management and have established a reputation as a good egg. The right projects and opportunities should come your way in this stage. Trap: Not saying humble enough and building your leadership quotient. Solution: Creating the leadership habits that will become your hallmark. Humility, grace, putting the team first and achieving results. Accelerator: Hire a career coach – work on your personal development.

The 4th stage is the HARVEST stage. If you have played the game correctly, it is in this stage that you can reap the benefits by getting the best opportunities as an established performer. Opportunities where you can really make a mark. Trap: Improper evaluation of options and trying to take on everything. Solution: Identify the path that produces the strongest gains and then go after it with an intense will. Accelerator: Use the employed entrepreneur framework to determine the best way forward.

The 5th stage is the ENCORE stage. In this stage you will paint your professional masterpiece. You now have the professional experience and the interpersonal savvy to go after the accomplishments that will be synonymous with you. Trap: Not building the right team around you to realize your masterpiece. Solution: Start with why, and then answer what – when building the team. Hire slow but fire fast. And get out of their way once on board. Accelerator: Focus on developing people, and the business will take care of itself.

The 6th and last stage, is the LEGACY stage. This is what you will be remembered for… powerful professional legacies are a mix of creating profit and of providing service. You must actively shape this stage and shine as a powerful example. Trap: Failing to come from a place of service and damaging your reputation. Solution: Give, give, give and then give some more. Accelerator: Showcase your thought leadership.

It is important to intentionally make an effort and learn how to fix the problems you may be facing in the stage where you are, or want to accelerate your climb and progress through these stages, to get your career on track.

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