Ever feel like you are stuck in your current position? Want others to see you as a prime candidate for advancement? To demonstrate that you’re ready for the next level in your career, you need to shift from “tactical” to “strategic.” Make the move from doer to driver!

Know someone who might benefit from this career tip or find it interesting? Go ahead…pass it along. Better yet, leave me your thoughts or questions about moving from a Doer to a Driver.


How can I stand out in a meeting?

How do I accelerate my career?

How do I speak up at work?


We see it all the time in Hollywood. Actors play certain roles so well that they become type-cast. Think Samuel L. Jackson. Jennifer Aniston. Will Ferrell. Directors get nervous about hiring them for a very different role because the audience might not find them believable.

The same thing happens in business. People sometimes get pigeonholed. They get stuck doing something so well that they inadvertently sabotage their own careers.

Many times, I see this with bright, hard-working people I refer to as Perpetual Doers. They are the go-to individuals who can always be counted on to get the job done, but somehow they get overlooked when it is time for promotions or opportunities to work at a higher level.

Just like in Hollywood, they end up being typecast. To move up, they need to be seen as Drivers: the professionals who are quick on their feet, strategic, influential and impactful.

So if you want to move from a Doer to a Driver, here are five things you can start doing today to help you make that shift.

1.    Speak up. Break the pattern of being the status reporter and action-item gatherer. Expand your meeting contributions with what you see as the implications of certain actions or decisions. Share the latest trends related to the discussion at hand, and add your “two cents” based on your experience. Let others see you as a thought leader.
2.    Show you can be strategic, not just tactical. Wrap up your projects and initiatives with reminders of how the new processes, directions or decisions connect with overall company strategies.
3.    Shift your focus. Pay attention to how much time you spend on daily activities versus considering innovative ideas or coming up with solutions to long-term problems.
4.    Start delegating. As you move ahead in your career, your value won’t be measured purely by your production. Earn more respect by displaying your ability to think, lead, and inspire.
5.    Redefine your value. Get crystal clear about the impact you make, the problems you solve, and the relationships you help foster. And then communicate that to others so that they can no longer define your value as a wicked spreadsheet producer, database genius, or project manager extraordinaire.

With a little effort, you can move from Doer to Driver and, more importantly, accelerate your career.

Until next time, I’m Sara Canaday.