Ever heard the saying that “what got you here, won’t get you there”? There’s nowhere this is more true than your journey to senior management.

Often what lands us in our first manager position is not enough to continue along the promotion path to senior leadership: working hard, hitting the goals that were set for you and executing the plan that’s been laid out.

This can be incredibly frustrating for ambitious people who are executing the same playbook that got them promoted in the first place and suddenly feeling as though their career has stalled.

I’ve seen this scenario many times in my career and with my coaching clients, who aren’t sure what they’re doing wrong. Often feedback from their manager is simply, to “keep doing what you’re doing.”

As someone who went through the ups and downs of an 18 year corporate career, I’ve been there. I felt ‘stuck’ as a director for five years before finally landing my first VP role. I’ve also managed and coached many others who felt stuck at either the manager or director level.

Here are three tips that can help you get unstuck and onto the next opportunity. Note: I've shared some of these tips in the past, but this is a great reminder for you.

1. Start Carving Out Time For Deep Work

One of the most common mistakes I see in new leaders is running meeting to meeting all day without stopping to think. The problem with this, is you never slow down long enough to have a strategic insight. You’re unlikely to come up with the solution to a big problem or a novel new strategy during the five minute break between Zoom calls.

If you don’t already spend time in deep work and strategic thinking each week, it’s time to start. Create a single two-hour block in your calendar and use it to prepare for important meetings, think about the trends and issues you are seeing in your team or department, and brainstorm ways to make things better.

I found this practice to have a dramatic effect on my ability to be an impactful and strategic leader, and countless clients have told me the same. You may feel too busy to carve out this time, however once you start you won’t want to give it up!

2. Create A Regular Reflection Practice

Reflecting on what went well and what didn’t when you presented the results of a big project to the leadership team or had your last 1:1 with your manager, can help you level up quickly. The key is to do this regularly, be discerning and implement any lessons learned.

You can add a reminder to your calendar to do this at the end of each week, or simply spend a few minutes after a key meeting or interaction to do some reflection.

As the late philosopher John Dewey said: “We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.”

3. Build And Leverage Your Network

Most of us have heard countless messages and stories about the value of networking. Still, many of my clients don’t prioritize maintaining and growing their network, even as they are working to climb the corporate ladder and create successful careers. This is a shame.

Nurturing relationships with past colleagues and mentors, and continuing to meet new people can open doors, and provide an opportunity to help others. Remember that relationships go both ways.

If you haven’t been focusing here and aren’t sure where to start, consider your past colleagues, managers and mentors who have left an impression on you and reach back out to them to reconnect. To add new people to your network, attend local networking events or connect virtually on platforms like LinkedIn. Try to create a habit of reaching out to one person a week – that adds up to 50 connections each year!

The transition from middle management to senior leadership is a challenge for many. With the right habits and some intentional action, you put yourself in the position to successfully make this jump. These three simple tips can help you get there.

Until next time friends… ✌️💜