Advice for Career Progression

Casie Grammer
Casie Grammer Member Posts: 1
Hey GGR community,

I'll try to keep this as concise as possible. :) I was brought on to be the Dir. of CS at my current company but still have not made the full transition. They had me in a CSM role for the first bit of time since I had no one to manage. As of Thursday, they have hired someone in their network to come on as a Dir. of CS but said they had no negative feedback for me. The person they want to bring on has scaled a marketing department from 4 to 22 which was appealing to them. 

As you can see, I don't have anything tangible to work on based on their feedback. I wanted to see if any of you would share with me how you made the transition to a Director level role? What advice would you have for someone like me who would like to move in that direction?



  • Dave Howard
    Dave Howard Member Posts: 3
    edited October 2020

    Caise that is certainly a challenging situation with no tangible suggestions for what they are looking for. My general advice would be to build you ability to see the goals of your CS role in alignment with the factors that senior managers typically care most about. I like an analogy that Mark Bissell used in a webinar he did for ClientSuccess: 

    Mark noted that there are two ways we often use to track progress - "points on the scoreboard" or "yards advanced on the field". A lot of folks who do what we do tend to talk about "yards" while senior managers tend to think in terms of "points". There can be great value is learning how to talk about what you do in the language of your senior mgt. I would recommend Mark's webinar to you as he has lots of great points about building that communication. 

    All the best with your proactive plans for career growth. Happy to chat further if I can be of service to you. Cheers! 

  • James Conant
    James Conant Member Posts: 37
    Second Anniversary
    edited October 2020
    Hi Casie, 

    I can imagine how you felt when you heard that. Your positive attitude and ability to seek advice will take you far. 

    Step 1 - Make sure you know what skills and experience are needed to perform as a CS Director. Job postings will get you far since they list the skills required for the role. They will list the "experience" needed as well. 

    Step 2  Make yourself a "career development plan"  and set your goals on developing every skill listed. Some of the skills, and of course the "experience requirement" are a function of time and opportunity (i.e., its hard to develop mgmt skills if you don't manage people). Set yourself goals for the next 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months and map out your pathway towards these. 

    Step 3 Meet with your Manager and communicate your goals. You need that person's buy-in and commitment to help. If they seem hesitant ASK WHY. You could learn something insightful. Be open. If it was me I'd be absolutely thrilled to talk to you, and impressed with your drive, ambition, organization, openness, and boldness. Even more so If you hit them. Remember this always - YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF YOUR CAREER. Map it out.
    Step 4 Find a MENTOR. Having one is critical to success.

    I hope this helps.

    Good luck. Keep swinging.

  • Anna Alley
    Anna Alley Member Posts: 72
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments Photogenic Name Dropper
    edited October 2020
    I agree with everything James listed. It's important to take control of your own career path, but there are expectations that you should also have of your leader. For short term, if you don't have access to the job description of the level above you, ask for it, identify where you feel you are already meeting those expectations and where you feel you have gaps. Talk to your leader about those items and develop a clear path with goals for the quarter/year to achieve them.

    Then, as James mentioned, start to do the same thing for the subsequent levels/long term aspirations. Your leader should absolutely be able to give you feedback and constructive input into how to best achieve those items, just as you should be able to come in with your own point of view as well.
  • Russell Bourne
    Russell Bourne Member Posts: 61
    Second Anniversary GGR Blogger 2023 GGR Blogger 2021
    edited October 2020
    There's going to be a lot of great advice in this thread.

    @Casie Grammer, what was it about you that made them hire you on the Director path in the first place?  Can you identify that those things are still things they need?  Companies need different talents at different stages of their growth, particularly in the leadership team.  The other person might have excellent talents at team growth that you don't have.  Once the team is built up, is it possible you're excellent at motivating people to perform well, more so than the other person?  None of this reflects badly on you or them, it's just a question of what the company needs and when.