I’m currently en route to a little holiday, something which is a rare occurrence these days, and I thought I’d use my time on the plane without any internet to cover a couple of recent thoughts.
We have adopted a mentoring scheme at Langley Foxall to help develop everyone throughout the company, with the intentions of seeing them achieve their personal career goals within the business.
As part of this, it’s quite often that I get questions relating to when to look to take on extra responsibility, how to progress either technically or professionally etc.
Luckily, we’re in the privileged position where new roles and needs are developing fairly regularly, and that means that new opportunities also show themselves.
What I continually try to convey is that you want to try and be in the position to fulfill that role (whatever it may be) before the needs for the role rears its head. This means that should the role appear, you’ll be at the top of the pile of “ideal candidates”.
There’re a few ways you can prepare to progress;
Finding something that you’re good at, and specialising in it.
You might already be a project manager, and might already be good at it. Looking where you can improve your processes or simply stepping up a gear and working harder might result in you overseeing the project managers as that department grows.
Finding something that the company needs (or will need), but no one is that good at.
If for example your software team hasn’t got a complete process for QA, or the current processes aren’t up to scratch simply because no one has the experience - doing some background research might quite quickly make you the go-to person for that work. If a QA department happens to open up 6 months down the line - you can guess who might head that up, if you’ve put the work in.
Picking up work that isn’t required for your current role, but paves an easier path into your target role.
I use this example with apprentice/junior developers a lot. Part of the motivation to write this post was a statement that I got from a team member recently - which read;
“I just want to get to the place where I have to start wearing shirts and dressing more formally”
As a company we like to be able to allow developers to dress in clothes that they’re comfortable in, which means there are usually LF hoodies or t-shirts knocking around.
Our front of house/management team dress more formally due to the high amount of client interaction. In this case, the only advice I could apply was that it’s completely down to the individual when they want to step it up a gear and take that leap. Metaphorically - start wearing shirts and bridge the gap to the next step/role. If they can develop the mindset and present themselves as a perfect candidate for the role then they will be one step closer to achieving their goal.
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always have what you’ve always had.”
In other LF news – We’re also looking to step it up a gear on our bikes and take on Cancer Research’s Cycle 300 in September.
We’ve got more experienced riders and people who’ve bought their first road bike this week, which means we will have a challenge on our hands covering 300 miles over a total of 3 days.
Luckily for us, we are relishing in the challenge and pushing ourselves with the training in order to make sure every team member is up to scratch.
The current plan is to head out to a location such as Land's end (luckily, we won’t be cycling that bit!) and "Cycle home" from there over the course of a couple of days.
Unfortunately, cancer is something that has affected everybody at some point whether it’s a family member, a friend or themselves so raising money for Cancer Research UK is something that is close to the hearts of everyone at Langley Foxall.
With that in mind, we would really appreciate motivation in the form of donations to the team - you can pick a team member from our page here and donate:
The support so far has been amazing (Thank you!) but as we rope more participants in - the target is ever growing!
Now I really should switch off work mode and get a beer.