Business executives essentially assist with the operation and growth of organisations, however roles can vary dramatically depending on the company and sector. They can range from CEO-level executives and department managers to project managers and even small business operators. A few of the most common business executive roles include:
People in these roles typically perform key HR functions including recruitment, performance and compensation management, and training and career development. This is often in the context of evolving workforce expectations, dynamic work places and shifting government priorities. They also understand the strategic contributions staff can make with effective management, and provide recommendations for implementing organisational change.
Project Management Executive
This role typically involves managing the output of a new system, object, structure or process, and the development of the Project Brief and Business Case in terms of industry “best practice”. PM executives may also authorise expenditure levels, manage cost or timing changes, ensure risk is tracked and mitigated or resolved, oversee a project’s quality and outcome, and deal with communications and stakeholder engagement.
Management and Leadership Executive
The duties of employees in these roles often depend on the number of staff in the organisation. In smaller companies they may oversee managers in multiple areas, and in larger organisations may direct one specific area such as finance, procurement or marketing. They are often involved in some way in administration, coaching and mentoring and change management. Many also develop business networks with people outside the organisation including clients, suppliers and/or customers.
Small businesses employ over 44 per cent of Australia’s workforce in sectors ranging from the hospitality and marketing industries to the fitness, manufacturing, retail and design sectors (and everything in between)! They typically handle a range of responsibilities from creating business plans, arranging financing and reviewing sales to developing marketing strategies, employing staff and identifying future business opportunities.
How Professional Development Benefits Employees
Professional development in your career — including business executive development — isn’t something that’s achieved overnight. It is a work in progress and should be something you prioritise throughout your working life. Your career development is also unique to you and there is no singular or “ideal” path. However, there are a number of traditional markers of success, including excelling in a performance review, getting a promotion and/or securing a pay rise.
Professional development requires planning and the execution of tangible strategies that will not only increase your success rate, but also help you manage the more challenging moments in your career. You should always be guided by a plan that incorporate the three A’s – goals should be adaptable, ambitious and achievable. Your development should also include strategies that detail what you want to achieve and the experience, skills and people required to get you there. The success of your plan and your ability to progress will hinge on being able to seize opportunities as they arise, even if they come as a surprise! Ways you can enhance your career include:
Consistently Being an Asset
Being an asset in every job role you have over your career will enable you to maximise job satisfaction and ensure you learn as much as possible. It also keeps you open to any opportunities that might arise, both financially and from a business executive development perspective. Some strategies to consider include:
- Regularly fulfilling and exceeding your role expectations
- Actively collaborating and assisting your colleagues with their job roles
- Looking for opportunities to further your skills and learning new processes
- Embracing change and seeking opportunities that add value to your team and the organisation
- Participating in company-wide working groups and initiatives
- Always acting as an advocate for your organisation
- Sharing knowledge externally and internally
- Consistently promoting positivity
- Being adaptable, approachable and enthusiastic
- Following directions and taking constructive criticism on board
- Exhibiting loyalty to team members and the organisation
- Being consistently reliable and responsible
Exploring External Opportunities
Professional development and career progression doesn’t necessarily have to be provided by your employer or during work hours. Looking outside your organisation for ways to drive your career forward is part of proactively seizing opportunities. It can also diversify the knowledge and experiences you are exposed to which will help expand your capabilities. Positive external influences that will enhance your career include:
- Joining business networks to expand your contacts
- Finding a mentor who works/has worked in a similar role or industry
- Being aware of market trends and how they impact your role and industry
- Undertaking external business and management courses
Learning From Your Mistakes
Making mistakes is a critical part of the professional development process. And while it sometimes feels like they are slowing down your career advancement, they can optimise your professional career life. If you manage them professionally and diplomatically, it will show your managers, colleagues and your organisation’s stakeholders that you are flexible, resilient and focused on the best possible outcomes. Ways you can effectively learn and move forward from mistakes include:
- Reflecting on your mistakes and identifying where you went wrong and why
- Examining how you felt — for example, frustrated, angry or embarrassed. This will help you manage your responses and emotions in the future. It will also help you be supportive and empathetic when your colleagues experience the same thing.
- Remembering how you resolved it — for example, with the help of a manager or a solution-based strategy.
- Detailing the resolution clearly so you can avoid making the same mistake again.
- Realising that what was a negative can be turned into something long-term and positive!
Reaping the Rewards
When you commit to business executive development and progressing your career, your efforts won’t go unnoticed! You will be seen as a committed, proactive achiever and someone with direction and ambition. It could also result in positive feedback, great references, a fabulous reputation, a promotion and/or pay rise and even industry recognition. Working consistently on your career progression will also provide you with flexibility and options if you decide to apply your skills in a different role or company.
How Professional Development Benefits Organisations
Professional development doesn’t just benefit employees. It can deliver a great return for businesses as a whole as well. Savvy organisations invest in staff development and ensure that programs are aligned to their company’s goals so that employees gain the required skills and expertise necessary to deliver on the needs of the business. Business executive development can help:
- Develop key performers — Investing resources and time in training builds employee confidence, increases staff morale and enhance your employees’ job satisfaction. It can also help the business develop and retain its key performers.
- Deliver financial gains — If the outcomes of professional development are linked to your organisation’s objectives, then overspending it less likely. This is because your employees will have an increased understanding of the goals, budget and projects that are necessary for the business to succeed.
- Improve productivity — Training can provide employees with a work focus and make them feel as though they are a valuable part of the team. This will increase productivity and positively impact your organisation’s bottom line.
- Raise business competence — Professional development plans enable employees to better understand a company’s processes and how to deliver them effectively and efficiently with the right mix of knowledge and skills.
- Open communication — Business executive development helps promote employee transparency and gives staff clear boundaries in terms of company needs and goals.