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Princesses, Executives & 15 Tips on How to Succeed

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When I was little, I dreamed about growing up to be a princess. Not the kind that lives in an ivory tower and spends the royal treasury at the beach. The kind that actually helps her country. Now that I’m a little older, I have realized that we can’t all be Kate Middleton and have set my eyes on another job: Executive.

How did I get there? Well, it’s not really a stretch. Let’s look at the top 3 jobs of a princess: Helping her people, knowing herself and her values and building relationships.

During the final online training during GovLoop’s State and Local Summit on Wednesday, the speakers each gave their top 5 tips on how to make your way to the C-suite. Whether you want to be a princess or an executive, these tips will help you along the way.

First up, we heard from one of GovLoop’s featured bloggers, Ashley Hand. Ashley is the Chief Innovation Officer, City of Kansas City, MO. Here are her tips:

  1. Just try it. The path is not linear: Opportunities don’t always come from a linear direction. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a plan, but be open and know your values. It will lead you to where you’re supposed to be.
  2. Build skills beyond your job description: Broaden your portfolio so that when those unexpected opportunities do come around, you will be prepared.
  3. Know your organization. Network: Weather you work for a Fortune 500 or local government, take a step back from your day-to-day tasks. Know the core values of your organization. Become a resource within your company, not only will people come to you for help, you will be able to do your own work better.
  4. Seek out mentorship opportunities. Find a mentor. Be a mentor: Don’t limit yourself to staying within your field. It’s okay to have more than 1 (even at a time). Different people can help you with different aspects of your life and work.
  5. Know yourself. Define a path and know your strengths (and weaknesses): Take a personality profile test and decipher your leadership style. Self-awareness is very important for moving your career forward.

Next we heard from Barry Condrey, Chief Information Officer, Chesterfield County, VA and also a GovLoop featured blogger. Barry shared:

  1. Don’t stagnate: “If you’re doing exactly what you did last year, something is wrong.”
  2. Always seek self-improvement opportunities: Everyone has room for improvement. He gave a shout out to GovLoop and Toastmasters as great resources for keeping your skills fresh.
  3. Be willing to change jobs: Where is there room to grow in your organization? You don’t see any? Maybe it’s time to find a new job.
  4. Be realistic about your skills: Ask for constructive feedback and grow a thick skin. Find people who will give you true and helpful feedback and weed out what is unhelpful. Self-awareness is key.
  5. Leadership: There are lots of opportunities to practice leadership. Sit on non-profit boards, volunteer for speaking engagements (and hone your skills). Know your values and be able to relay it to others. If you can’t relay your beliefs, no one will follow you.

Last up, we heard from Jim Honchar, Deputy Secretary, Human Resources at Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

  1. Attitude and work ethic are everything: A B- student with an excellent attitude is preferable to a genius with a bad one. Also, a strong work ethic is a must. That means working remotely and actually working.
  2. Relationships are everything: Especially in the public sector, there is a lot of recycling in the executive positions. Don’t burn bridges, build them… Even with those who you don’t particularly care for.
  3. Seek out those you admire the most and find what it is that makes them successful: When you move into a position of leadership, learn from others’ mistakes. Figure out how you can improve your organization by learning from others.
  4. Before moving up, make sure you have moved out: Learn about other areas of your organization. Volunteer for unique assignments and take away valuable experiences.
  5. Service, Service, Service: In the public sector, you have to be passionate about service. That’s what you do! If you don’t like to serve, it may be time to rethink your current position.

So there you have it: 15 tips from the top on how to move your career towards the C-suite, or the throne. Whichever your goal, these tips will serve you well.

You can watch the full archive of the presentation here.

GovLoop recently hosted its State and Local Innovators Virtual Summit, an all-day, virtual event with six different online trainings, networking opportunities and resources to help you do your job better. Be sure to read the other recaps here.

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