With corporate career paths structured less like a ladder and more like a pyramid, and it can seem like opportunities for promotion and advancement grow thinner the higher you climb.
While traditional career advancement is focused on moving up, I have seen too many high caliber women remain in their current role, hoping for a promotion, while making only incremental improvements in their leadership skill set. They risk getting bored and finding themselves in a career rut.
Instead of waiting for a promotion, a strategically chosen lateral move can be a good way to escape the rut, get re-invigorated, develop new expertise and leadership skills, and make a greater impact -- without having to throw away years of valuable relationship capital and business intelligence that you have built in your current organization.
When is a lateral move a good move? When it fulfills some or all of the following 10 elements.
You know you have made a good lateral move when:
1. You are in a division of the business that is growing, not shrinking or stagnating.
2. You are in a division of the business that is a revenue center, not a cost center.
3. You can demonstrate a link between your work effort, and business results, and make that link visible to senior leaders.
4. You report to a manager who mentors you, opens doors for you, and sends opportunities your way. Even better, work for a manager who has a manager that is doing the same for them.
5. You report to a manager whose values you respect, whose goals you can authentically align with.
6. You have opportunities to take on special projects that challenge you in new ways.
7. You gain a broader regional or global perspective of the business.
8. You can build your personal brand, or as one leader I interviewed recently described it, "establish your claim to fame".
9. You have opportunities to work with a high- performing team, who attract high-profile projects, and create an intellectually stimulating work environment.
10. You have closer proximity to mentors, sponsors and role models.