How learning new behaviors can get you to the next level of your career

Written on Jul 01, 2020

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

While it’s easy to focus on setting goals for your career, changing your behavior is just as essential to help you achieve professional growth.

“We all have these behaviors that aren't necessarily helping us move forward,” said Lori Kaiser, CPA, CEO and founder of Kaiser Consulting.

Kaiser will present “Taking Your Career to the Next Level – Learning New Behaviors,” on July 23 at OSCPA’s Women, Wealth and Wellness Conference. She said you become skilled when you repeat certain tasks, but when striving for new roles or responsibilities, you need new behaviors.

“You have to let go of the behaviors that helped you in your last job and start reaching for the ones that are going to help you in your next job,” Kaiser said.

But letting go of old habits is easier said than done, especially for multitaskers, Kaiser said. They sometimes end up continuing many of their prior responsibilities as they work toward their new ones, splitting their time and energy. This is why it’s critical to be intentional about behaviors during periods of growth. She said to think about what behaviors will help you advance, and the tasks and responsibilities that fit into those behaviors.

Kaiser is familiar with this process; when she brought new management into her company, she had to turn over the day-to-day team leadership to the new staff. Initially, she said it was difficult because this was something she had done for years. But she knew to elevate herself to the next level of her career she had to take on other roles and leave the previous responsibilities to others.

“Map out the steps that are going to take you to get from where you are to where you're going,” Kaiser said. “And you need to create that intentionally in your career. Think ‘Here's where I am. Here are the skills I need to gain to get to where I want to be.’”

Kaiser will also be joined by peers from Abercrombie & Fitch, Nationwide, KPMG and fellow colleagues from Kaiser Consulting during her presentation at the con.

“Each of these women is going to talk about a behavior she had that was holding her back from reaching her full potential,” she said.

Kaiser said there needs to be more acceptance of women’s ambition and learning these new behaviors can help women achieve the goals they’ve set for their careers. She compared a career to climbing a mountain range, knowing there will be periods of ups and downs. That’s why it’s valuable to recognize when you must devote time to changing behaviors during an “uphill climb.”

“And only you know when the right time for that is because every person's life and career is different,” she said. “You'll know when you need to have behavior changes when you're feeling stuck and the things you're doing aren't enough to get you where you want to be. And so, you need new behaviors and new changes to scale that mountain.”

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