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The High-Potential Leader by Geri Willigan, Ram Charan

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7How, When, and Why to Make a Leap

You may or may not aspire to become an entrepreneur, but thinking like one as you plan your career will give you a huge advantage in today’s environment. It’s been common for hipos to move upward by assuming greater responsibility within their vertical silos. But your brain can deal with a bigger, broader picture, so you should seek experiences that will build on that innate talent.

You can expand your range of capabilities and deepen your knowledge and judgment faster by putting yourself in new and increasingly complex and ambiguous situations. It’s wise to seek support from other managers and your company’s HR department, but decide for yourself what your next challenge ought to be. The trend toward open labor markets, where employees can easily apply for any opportunity at the company, puts opportunities for leaps that are exponential well within your reach. You’ll benefit more from each move if you know what you need to develop next, how to maximize the learning in each new situation, and how to build the support you need.

Remember the flip side of increasing workplace transparency: your reputation will follow you. You can’t swoop through a series of jobs that look good on a résumé with no concern for what you’ve left behind. Pay attention to what you are learning and how you are taking charge of each new situation and accomplishing your goals. Let your drive and ambition—even your impatience—propel you, but focus on the substance of your ...

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