Why is it that so many people get stuck?  One piece of the puzzle, I think, is that people don’t think enough about a kind of network that they really need to be concerned about, and that is their developmental network - the people you need in your life to help you to continue to develop. 

What you need to do is think about building your own personal board of directors that can help you get done what you need to get done.  Because the fact of the matter is, and I hate to say this, because I’m a professor, no one learns to do their jobs in school.  You learn your job through experience and through your relationships at work.  What we try to do is give you some tools to help you be better at learning from your experience.

So what you need to think about is, "what do I need to know?"  What expertise am I going to need to know to make a contribution to my organization, to have the kind of impact I need to have?  Once you know what that expertise is, you need to back up and say, “Well, what kind of assignments?  What kind of work do I need to get to do so that I can develop that expertise?” 

Because what you know is based on what you get to do.  And you’re always looking for those challenging stretch assignments that will give you a chance to learn what’s really critical knowledge or expertise for the organization or to build those relationships with those parties that are really critical.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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