The Finance Leader Podcast

Bonus Episode 35: Own Your Career So You Accomplish Your Long-Term Goal

March 22, 2022 Stephen McLain
The Finance Leader Podcast
Bonus Episode 35: Own Your Career So You Accomplish Your Long-Term Goal
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Show Notes Transcript

Please enjoy this encore episode  from Season 7 - Episode 57 - Own Your Career.

 What happens during your career journey mostly rests upon decisions you make along with your risk comfort level. Are you planning out your career moves or are you waiting on someone else to give you an opportunity? No one is going to seek you out to hand you what you need to achieve your goals and advance your career.

Episode outline:

  1. You are the only person who will care about your career,
  2. Seek out opportunities to stand out,
  3. Embrace taking risk,
  4. Adopt a growth mindset, and
  5. Have a written plan.

Please connect with me on:

1. Instagram: stephen.mclain
2. Twitter: smclainiii
3. Facebook: stephenmclainconsultant
4. LinkedIn: stephenjmclainiii

Consider joining The Finance Leader Podcast Community Facebook Group, where we can talk leadership and the other topics I present here on the podcast.  This is a good time to jump in and start sharing ideas and thoughts about leadership so we can help each other.

For more resources, please visit On the website, you can download the Leadership Growth Blueprint for Finance and Accounting Managers. You can use this guide to develop your leadership by focusing on communication, and growing and empowering your team.

You can now purchase a course to help you advance your career from It's called Advance Your Finance and Accounting Career: Developing a Promotion Strategy that Sets You Apart.

Stephen McLain:

Hi, this is Steven McLain of the finance leader podcast. This is bonus episode number 35. We continue to be in a season break, but I wanted to share an encore episode from season seven, which is episode 57. Own your career. This episode continues to resonate with what I have been sharing with you and encouraging you to do, you must own your career. You must take action if you're going to accomplish your long term goals. You have to embrace taking risk and getting uncomfortable. You must own every aspect of your career. And you if you have had a bad day or even a bad week, you must overcome it to move forward. Your mindset must be focused on those goals. And nothing will derail you from that including adversity. Stay focused on your career. If this podcast has helped you please leave a review so we can spread the word and also please share the podcast with any co workers and friends who may also benefit. Thank you. Season 10 will debut on April 12. Please enjoy this encore Episode Episode 57. Own your career Thank you. This week I am talking about taking charge of and owning your career. What happens during your career journey mostly rests upon decisions you make along with your risk comfort level. Are you planning out your career moves? Are you waiting on someone else to give you an opportunity? Please enjoy the episode. Welcome to the finance leader podcast where leadership is bigger than the numbers. I am your host Stephen McLean. This is the podcast for developing leaders in finance and accounting. This is episode number 57. And we'll be talking about how you need to own your career by seizing opportunities and having a written down a long term plan. And I'll highlight the following topics. Number one, you're the only person who will care about your career. Number two, seek out opportunities to stand out. Number three, embrace taking risk. Number four, adopt a growth mindset. And five have a written plan. US Olympic hockey coach her Brooks, who led the 1980 Lake Placid Miracle on Ice when said and I quote, risks something or forever sit with your dreams and quote, this is the debut of season seven. And throughout this season we're going to talk about your career and how you should be working to stand out from the crowd. Which means embracing risk. Getting comfortable will only ensure your career will stall. Generally no one is going to seek you out and hand you an opportunity. You need to seek out opportunities to set yourself apart and build a career that serves to achieve your goals from last season. Did you listen to the two interviews I conducted? If not, go back and listen to episodes 54 and 55, which covers the two part interview I did with talent management executive Kevin Richie. And in Episode 56. I talked with the US Army retired Colonel David five coat. We talked about leadership, overcoming adversity and leading change. These are very insightful interviews. So if you miss them, I recommend you go back to listen to them now. You won't be disappointed. Owning your career means you must have a written plan and have your goals written out. What is your long term goal. Depending upon what you want to achieve your goal will help you determine where you need to focus, what skills you need to develop and what roles you need to take on. I'm going to assume that most of you listening want to rise to CFO and even CEO one day, what does it take to get there, you definitely need to take more control of where your career goes. And not stay in one role too long, or get too comfortable in your daily task load. You need to grow your skills, your credentials and your experience. And by experience I mean a broad experience from a variety of roles and industries. Companies looking to hire a qualified CFO will usually take a long time. And we'll examine not only your skills, especially strategic skills, and experience but also your mindset, your leadership ability, your confidence, your willingness to partner well with other executives, and your ability to convince others to follow your vision. And the vision of the organization is something a little bit different from the top companies out there in the Fortune and Forbes 500 list that most of these companies will grow their CFOs from inside the company over many years. If they don't groom one from the inside and they only hire someone who has been a CFO previously. So this is something to keep in mind. You don't have to be a Fortune or Forbes 500 CFO to have been considered successful. All sorts of companies have highly qualified CFOs. And the duties are relatively the same, except for scale and scope. Every challenging role, every challenging project you take on is a potential resume comment. Everything you do that has a positive impact can help build your career history, and show off your potential for greater responsibility. And that is why I'm adamant for you take on tough projects, and to not be complacent about your development. If you're complacent about growing, then you stay where you're at and you will not accomplish your goals, you must be willing to take on some risk, to grow your skills and experience and to also grow your network. The people you are impressed with your results may very well being a physician to help you later in your career. That is why it's so important to get away from your routine duties, to expand your abilities, skills, and professional connections. Also, I have a growth opportunity for you. I have a Facebook group, so we can grow our leadership together. This is a relatively new group. So there are not many members right now. But we can get this group started with leadership and career development questions. You can ask about the online course I offer, and any other questions about your career path that I can help you with, and we can help each other grow and be prepared for the next step in our careers as finance and accounting professionals. So look for the link in the show notes. Now let's talk about a few key points about owning your career. Number one, you are the only person who will care about your career. No one is going to seek you out to hand you what you need to achieve your goals and advance your career. I do believe that if you share your goals with your supervisor, and the senior leaders you work with, that you may be pleasantly surprised that they may help you as opportunities open up. However, you must do the planning and ensuring you're getting on projects and applying for opportunities that move your career along. You'll also need to be building the skills and experience that will be required for the job that you want. If you desire to be CFO or CEO, you need to be working towards what a CFO does, which includes having a broad set of role experiences, a deep understanding of corporate finance and accounting concepts, and how to use emerging technology to improve finance and accounting processes. Every high visibility project, every new challenging role, every new skill, or resume bullets that show a career ready for more challenging roles and responsibilities ahead. You have to own your career. No one else will. You have to ask and get on projects and assignments that matter and are visible to those who can make decisions about your career. Own it today. If you keep doing the same thing you are doing every day. And thinking that doing that same report every Monday is going to get you highlighted is going to get you the attention that you need. You're not doing that same report over and over and over again, is not going to get you an opportunities to show off something bigger. You have to go get it you have to go find a project an opportunity, another role in the company, another role in another company that show off that you're advancing that you're growing, not just doing that spreadsheet that you do every Monday morning. Number two, seek out opportunities and connect with people who can help you. Do you think that performing the same tasks and same routine every day will prepare you for advanced roles? No. Will they prepare you for CFO or CEO? No, you need to get uncomfortable. You need to seek out challenging opportunities, where you help to solve organizational problems where you showed you can overcome adversity. When you can grow the business where you can show you can lead in a crisis and lead change. It must increase your value and grow your skills and abilities. You must grow your leadership. He must plan and control as much as you can control. So don't let others decide for you. Don't be afraid to ask for opportunities that will help you a key to growth is to expand and then nurture your network. I am continually advising finance and accounting professionals to partner with senior leaders to deliver the strategy. This creates an opportunity to show off your abilities and develop a long lasting connection in your network. If you deliver results, you will have someone who can help you progress your career. Number three, embrace taking risk. You must take risk to move your career along. There are some people who believe that only doing your daily task load very well will get you promoted or not really You will be seen as someone who is reliable in that role only, and your value will be limited. If you don't want to advance your career, just keep doing the same everyday tasks that you are assigned. If you do want to advance, pay attention to projects that can develop your skills that can open other doors for you. I can help you make a connection with someone who could help you then go get it and show your supervisor knows you want more important projects, get in front of everyone else and get on the projects that matter to the C suite. Get in front of them to develop and build your career history. Number four, adopt a growth mindset. Along with taking risk, you must focus on long term growth that includes the skills and experience required of a senior leader, and C suite executive, you must believe in yourself and your goals. You must believe that you can grow and improve and that you are not stuck where you are at today. You must own your mindset. So you can achieve the long term goal you have set for yourself. Always remember, if you change your mindset, you change your outcome. Number five, have a written plan. Those over written plan have a better chance of achieving what they want to own your career is to write out your goals, write out what skills you need to develop and have a plan to grow and to achieve the experience you need. Take control of your career, by writing out what you need to do, he must have an effective individual development plan. I am not talking about the generic IDPs and an organization will create for you. Because those are very specific to that company, you need one that includes opportunities beyond where you are currently working at and share your updating your plan at least quarterly. And keep on top of it. Your plan is a working document. So it's never complete. So let's talk about another topic that's very important. And that's remote work versus in the office. And when it comes to promotions and other opportunities to showcase your skills and abilities, I get asked this, this comes up in discussions. And we already know the answer. Now when I was in the army, we had a phrase that highlighted who usually gets opportunities to shine and show off what they got. Now it's called being close to the flagpole. And that means being close to where the senior commander is the boss who can influence who gets the most important assignments, which means the ones most important to the boss, which then translates into more opportunities later, if he did a great job. remote work is still very important to people right now. Especially as a lot of companies are headed back to the office. If you're remote, does this mean you're going to lose out on an opportunity? I don't know for sure. But I have experienced with human nature. And I know that the people that the boss can see everyday in the office will have an advantage over those not in the office. Now that's life and it's unfair. You have to make the decision for yourself about remote work versus going into the office based on your goals, your personal needs, and the needs of your family, do the analysis and make the best decision for you and the people who depend on you. You will not be faulted for that. Now for an easy one today. What are you doing right now to fulfill your long term goal. I would suggest you take a moment to assess if you're moving forward or has your career stalled. I completely understand that we are emerging from a pandemic at this time of this episode. So if you pause for a while, not a problem, but it's time to reengage where you are going. So number one assess your career pathway. Are you where you want to be? And number two, no matter your answer, let's update our goals in our timeline. Number three, do we need to find a new role or something new to build towards the next step number four, start to find challenging opportunities to build your career experience. Number five, embrace risk. And do not be afraid to ask for something to help your career. Number six, and the meaning of this episode is to own your career. It's up to you the decisions you make the risk that you take. The decisions you make about your career will have results about where your career goes. So you need to own it. You need to take charge of where you want to go and don't be afraid to ask and go get something that you need. Now this episode is sponsored by my website finance leader And my career development course called advance your career developing a promotion strategy that will set you apart. To achieve your career goals. You must be willing to take risk to set yourself apart from your peers, finance and accounting professionals are already expected to be technically competent. This course helps you establish your professional Foundation, and how you can set yourself apart from your peers. By growing your leadership skills and developing your executive presence, you can go to Finance leader Academy COMM For more details on this career advancement course. The link is also in the show notes with this episode. Thank you. Today I talked about owning your career and highlighted the following points. Number one, you're the only person who will care about your career. Number two, seek out opportunities to stand out. Number three, embrace taking risk. Number four, adopt a growth mindset. And number five have a written plan. No one is going to care about your career more than you will. You must seek out opportunities yourself if you don't care. And don't fight for the ways to stand out and ways to grow yourself. No one else will care either. You must continually connect with others and give value back to people in your network. grasp onto the idea that you will do your best to control the outcomes of your career that you plan and put in place the steps to achieve your long term goals. Next week, I will be talking about your professional foundation that can help you achieve your goals. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader podcast. I am dedicated to helping you grow your leadership, because it is leadership that will set you apart from your peers. You can get this episode wherever you find podcasts. Until next time, you can check out more resources at finance leader and sign up for my updates so you don't miss an episode of the show. And now go lead your team and I'll see you next time. Thank you