7 Steps to Transform your career and realize
your leadership potential

7 Steps to Transform your career and realize your leadership potential

Chapter 5. Seven Steps to Unlock!

Chapter 5. Seven Steps to Unlock!

Abhijeet Khadilkar
Author & Leadership Coach @ CareerTiger

5 minute read


Today is your day.

You're off to Great Places!

You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

any direction you choose.”

-Oh, the Places You'll Go!

by Dr. Seuss

Think of Unlock! as a toolbox that you can always carry around with you. In a toolbox, there are different places to put your tools: flathead screwdrivers in one compartment, Phillips screwdrivers in another. In Unlock! there are also compartments that we call steps to contain your tools. In addition, a toolbox may have different drawers. The first drawer may contain all your screwdrivers, the second all your hammers, etc. Unlock! also has drawers that we call phases of our process. There are four phases: Strategy, Brand, Execution, and Reinvent.

The Seven Steps to Unlock!

Let me introduce you to the 7 Step Process:

  1. 1
    North Star: develop a career strategy and planning
  2. 2
    Discovery: identify your skills and discover new career opportunities
  3. 3
    Horizon: ride on market trends
  4. 4
    Resolve: make bold career decisions and commit to them
  5. 5
    Moniker: develop your personal brand
  6. 6
    Elevate Leadership Flywheel: demonstrate leadership
  7. 7
    Renew: reinvent yourself

Let’s learn a bit more about the features of each step.

1. North Star
The first part of the 7 Step Process is the North Star Step. Just like navigating using the real North Star, you can constantly check your current position against the North Star's location to make sure you are maintaining your set course. This step helps you to create a strategy and a plan to set your course for your personal North Star. The step helps you to build on your strength.

2. Discovery
The Discovery Step provides the opportunity to uncover potential new roles and identify your skills to open doors to new opportunities. At the end of the Discovery Step, you will be able to package your skills and experience in new, interesting ways as preparation for exploring new roles and career opportunities based on your current career path, skills, and interests. This step is also useful for professionals looking to reinvent and reboot their careers.

3. Horizon
Career opportunities are determined by the market. Supply and demand trends determine which skills become more valuable or less valuable over time. The Horizon Step helps you analyze market trends to figure out how to plan your career moves. This step helps you take advantage of market trends rather than being impacted by them.

4. Resolve
Sometimes, it is easy to get stuck in the thinking process which could result in analysis-paralysis: lots of thoughts, ideas, and plans, but no action. This inaction becomes a roadblock that prevents the translation of a great plan into reality. The Resolve Step helps you make clear, well-informed decisions, remove roadblocks, and commit yourself to execute the plan. It jumpstarts you from just having a plan to making real progress.

5. Moniker
The ability to tell your story effectively, engage others, and demonstrate a great personal brand is critical to leadership success. The Moniker Step helps you develop your personal brand. This step shows you how to demonstrate executive presence using social media tools as well as in person.

6. Elevate
The Elevate Step puts the Leadership Flywheel in motion. The Leadership Flywheel is a set of activities designed to create massive results over a period of time due to a "compounding" effect. You become a BETTER leader and take your career to the next level. Each activity on the flywheel automatically leads to the next, and that is how you build momentum, continuously building your leadership skills and accelerating your career growth.

Here is a quick snapshot of the Elevate Leadership Flywheel:

Elevate Leadership Flywheel

Build competencies: While on the job, you have many opportunities to build new skills, gain new experiences, and upgrade your competency to adapt to the emerging changes in the market.

Exceed expectations: From the time you start your job, you begin an ongoing journey of doing great work by building strong relationships with your peers and superiors, creating value for others, exceeding expectations consistently, and demonstrating leadership skills in the process.

Transmit leadership behavior: In order to be seen as a leader, you need to understand key leadership traits and demonstrate leadership performance at your current level or the next level.

Tell your story: The great work that you do must be shared. Learn to tell your story effectively to connect and engage with your network.

Expand your network: Expand your network to include more contacts, domains, and diversity. Connect, engage, and activate your network.

Run (don’t walk) to growth opportunities: Expanding your network leads you toward growth opportunities. Understand how to capitalize on these opportunities.

7. Reinvent
At the very end of the 7 Steps Process is the Reinvent Step. This includes time to check in with yourself to see where you are in your career, review what you would like to do next, and reinvent yourself in preparation for that next step. The Reinvent Step helps you to make career moves in tune with the market and stay relevant.

How Do the 7 Steps Work Together?

We are going to be following four phases that lead us to the goal of career transformation and leadership success.

  • Strategy: Create a career strategy using the North Star, Discovery, Horizon, and Resolve Steps. Learn how to create a strategy that leverages your skill set, help you to take advantage of market trends, and allows you to make critical career decisions.
  • Brand: Leverage your career strategy to develop a great personal brand using the Moniker Step. Learn how to build your brand using online social media tools as well as offline experiences, i.e. in person.
  • Execution: A great strategy with no execution is hallucination. The Execution Step with its Elevate Leadership Flywheel puts your strategy and brand in motion. It is only through execution that you will demonstrate leadership and get compounding success.
  • Reinvent: Our world is changing rapidly around us and the Reinvent Step gives you the opportunity to reflect on your work and life thus far and determine how to reinvent yourself for the future.

How to Use the Unlock! 7 Step Process

As you can see, there are four phases to the 7 Step Process. The steps are contained within those phases. Within each step, there are tools, templates, and activities. In order to get the best benefit from the book, we have made some of these tools and templates available to you. To get these, you can:

  • Use the templates in the book.
  • Use the QR code on the back cover of the book to download templates. Then do one of the following:
  • For those of you who absolutely insist on using your computer, use these downloaded files.
  • Print these templates out and use them with pen and paper. I know, old school. There’s something magical about putting pen to paper; it helps you think more deeply and puts more focus on the work that you are doing. Print multiple pages as you might have to rework some of these.

Pro tip: Discuss the results of your exercises and the advice of this book in sessions with your friends, colleagues, mentors, and family. This is a great way to make sure you’re getting feedback and support throughout this journey as you transform your career.

As you know, a great journey requires preparation.

Before we get into each of the steps and their associated tools and exercises, make sure that you have oriented yourself in the right way.

In the next section, you'll familiarize yourself with the terminology, building blocks, and mindset required for this journey.

Section B: Preparation

“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.”

Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf

To best prepare for career transformation, take a step back, and invest some time to prepare yourself for these changes. Preparation is an important prelude to the process and empowers you with clarity, focus, and information for the task ahead.

In this preparation section, we will discuss the following topics to get your ready for the Unlock! 7 Step Process:

  • Ikigai: defining the purpose-driven leader
  • Why leadership is not a title
  • How to get the necessary mindset
  • How to develop self-awareness to analyze your positives and negatives
  • How to double down on your strengths and get better at what you do
  • What T-shaped skills are and how to get them
  • How to analyze the market and find the most suitable roles in the most suitable verticals

Once you finish the preparation section, you will be well-equipped to delve into the strategy section and start your journey of career transformation.

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