Career progression requires a shift of mindset. Having the wrong mindset, at the wrong time, isn’t necessarily bad, it just means that traditional career progression may not apply. Adopting the mindset of the next rung of an organizations ladder will expedite your progress.
There is no ideal mindset. Each individual has different goals. If you would like to move up, then adopting that next mindset is important. If you are passionate about building widgets, and have no appetite for moving up, then you don’t necessarily need to adopt a different mindset.
As a hiring manager, you may want to hire specific mindsets for various levels of your organizations. It doesn’t always make sense to desire individual contributors to have a strong alignment to the vision and mission of the organization.
There are times when it suffices to have someone who is skilled or passionate in their profession and is happy to just get the job done.
This also explains why people take roles as they move around the corporate structure and sometimes, move back into old roles, taking a figurative demotion. They’ve realized that they can’t adapt their mindset to fit their new role.
If the individual does not realize that they have not shifted their mindset, we get what is called the Peter Principle. This principle states that individuals are promoted to their point of incompetency. This holds true many times as top performers get promoted with the assumption that they will also be top performers in the role they are promoted into.
Having a mindset too far in advance may lead to a few things.
It may lead to frustration and burnout. This is because the individual contributor does not have all of the context for decisions being made a different levels of the business. They aren’t empowered to fulfill what drives them, whether it’s the mission of the business, or driving the mission of the specific business unit.
There are several ways to alleviate that frustration if you find yourself in that position. Move your way up the corporate ladder, search for a new role that fits your mindset, or become a founder.
Be wary though, becoming a founder may seem like a fast track. However, if the same amount of work was put into a career as it is to start a business, you will surely be successful in your career.
One major caveat, the upside of becoming a founder is far higher than the upside of a traditional career.
If you’re a business owner or manager, you should be recognizing which mindset pertains to which employee and make sure that their desires are being fulfilled. That might mean communicating how their work impacts the mission of the organization, or it might mean making sure they aren’t side tracked with anything but the work they want to do.