How to be more strategic about your career path


Julia May

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics before strategy is the noise before defeat,” - Sun Tzu - Chinese general and author of The Art of War.

Most people will spend more than 90,000 hours, or one-third of their life, at work, so it makes sense to be intentional about where you put your precious time and energy. How do you do that? By being strategic about your career path.

Fewer than 0.5% of the more than 5,000 leaders we’ve worked with say they’ve got a clear strategy for their career, visibility or leadership. This is a worry, given the urgent need for purposeful, capable people in positions of influence.

So if you are:

  • frustrated at not achieving your potential or know there’s more you’re capable of
  • working in an organisation or team that doesn’t align with your values
  • don’t have the influence, profile or relationships you need to have the impact you want
  • struggling to find flow in your current work
  • are at risk of burnout or struggling with work-life balance… might be time to take a more strategic approach.

This requires being well. It requires big-picture thinking, a vision, clearly articulated values, leadership and communication skills and intentional choices about building influence and relationships. It’s also aided by fresh thinking - perspective or support from others who might bring different ideas.

As multidisciplinary experts in leadership, strategy, social impact and visibility, we've have developed an approach to supporting people into their greatest impact across nine priority areas:

  1. Self-knowledge
  2. Wellbeing
  3. Your ‘why’
  4. Vision
  5. Visibility strategy
  6. Communication skills
  7. Value proposition
  8. 100-day plan
  9. Network

If you are curious about being more strategic about your career path and leadership, the best first step is to evaluate where you are now, using our DIY exercise below. If you’d like a deeper understanding, try our free Career Audit (more on that below).

Exercise: Evaluate your career pathway

Reflect on each priority for your own leadership impact or career and give each a ranking out of 100 for you, where 100 = very satisfied. Then take some time to journal on the following questions:

1. Wellbeing

How well do you feel? Is burnout or below-par health enabling or hindering your effectiveness as a leader? How close are you to  your own ideal balance across work and life?

2. Self-knowledge

How clear are you on your values? How much work have you done recently on your leadership style, your triggers, behaviours under pressure and mindset?

3. Your ‘why’

Can you articulate in one sentence or less what drives you as a leader? If not, why not?

4. Vision

Do you have a clear vision for the next 1-3 years? What feels most clear to you? What feels least clear?

5. Visibility strategy

How clear are you on who you need to be visible to, collaborate with and influence, and why? Are you clear on what they need from you? How intentional are you about cultivating your reputation? How well-regarded/sought out are you by more senior leaders?

6. Communication skills

Are you clear on your communication strengths and growth areas? When was the last time you asked for feedback from others?

7. Value proposition

How able are you to articulate your unique strengths? Can you easily describe your experience and results, and link them to potential roles or opportunities?

8. Network

Do you have like-minded champions who will support you to achieve your goals, bring opportunities to you and support you in hard times?

How did you go?

If you rank 3 or more priorities 50% or less and want to start addressing those gaps, get in touch with us and request for a free Career Audit, which in just 10 minutes can help you to 1) understand where the gaps are in your own leadership, visibility or career trajectory and 2) get you started on addressing them. You’ll discover where you need to refocus, uncover capabilities you may have not previously considered, your areas of greatest personal need or challenge, as well as the areas you’re nailing.

Simply email us at, consent to joining our database and we’ll email you the audit for free.

Alternatively, you could sign up for one of our programs, speak to us about working in-house in your organisation, or explore 1:1 mentoring. Imagine being able to answer 90% or more for each of those nine priorities of your leadership and career: it really is possible.

About Visibility Co.

Working at the intersection of leadership, strategy and visibility, we seek to be strategic provocateurs and catalysts of systemic change, supporting you to unleash the potential within so you can create a better world from wherever you are.

While we’re not big on labels, we’re often referred to as social impact and communications strategists, or strategic leadership advisors, or visibility experts.

Fancy words for a business, led by Julia May and Sarah Anderson, that brings together purposeful leadership, strategy and communications in truly integrative and innovative ways.

Find out more
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Thank you! You are signed up to our mailing list and will receive your Vision Mapping for Purposeful Leaders e-book in your inbox shortly. So do add us to your SAFE list to ensure it doesn't go to spam. We'd love to hear how you go with your vision setting!
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