Upskilling: 3 Key Tips for Serious Executives

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article | Upskilling: 3 Key Tips for Serious Executives

Yes, even executives could use some upskilling, and for good reason. See, when you’re an executive, staying on the cutting edge isn’t just a luxury; it’s a strategic necessity so much so that upskilling – actively honing specific, relevant skills to stay ahead – is very wise. 

Here are 3 tips for you.

Strategic Skill Acquisition

You want to keep up and keeping up these days means getting smart about skill-building. Pinpointing the exact skills you want in your toolkit – from knowledge in Management of Change to advanced AI prompt engineering technique – is the key to not just surviving but thriving in really any industry.

So, you want to start with a solid evaluation of what’s hot in your industry skill-wise as it’s how you’ll know which courses, workshops, etc. to sign up for and hit the mark on those in-demand skills.

Then, it’s a good idea to regularly get some feedback from the pros, mentors, or performance reviews so that you can keep refining your skill set. 

Say you’re in marketing and notice the buzz around data-driven decisions. Diving into courses on data analytics and digital marketing strategies will be the right call here. The end game? Using data insights to better direct campaigns and showing a real impact on that return on investment (ROI).

Project-Based Learning

In the real world, theory only gets you so far. Getting hands-on with projects is really the secret to turning textbook smarts into street smarts so that your learning experience is dynamic and effective.

You want to look out for projects that sync with your skill-building goals and what your organization needs, then actively roll up your sleeves for project planning, execution, and analysis. In fact, after wrapping up a project, take a second to reflect, learn, and tweak your game plan for continuous improvement.

Say you’re a product manager really hoping to level up your UX design skills. Leading a team to revamp a key product feature lets you apply your knowledge in the real world, understand user needs, and witness the real tangible impact of a killer UX on user satisfaction.

Cross-Functional Collaboration

Being an exec isn’t just about knowing your own turf; it’s about having the bigger picture. Teaming up with different departments makes you a lot more likely to be able to do this so that you’re the strategic decision-maker your organization really needs.

Get friendly with as many staff and colleagues as possible and offer your skills to projects that need a mix of talents from different teams. In fact, go to meetings outside your usual circle to stay in the loop about what’s happening across the board.

Say you’re in finance and working with other departments has you smack in the middle of marketing challenges after an R&D course. You’ll certainly pick up things that change your perspective enough that you’re making financially savvy decisions that align with the big goals of the whole organization.

While being an executive is certainly commendable, it’s hardly the end of the career ladder and so you want to try out these upskilling tips.

Getting closer to the customer is the key issue for Marketing Execs

What are the most important topics for marketers?

Last month, in an online vote with Incite Marketing and Communications, 579 marketers ranked the following as their top five topics:

1. Data-driven creativity: An oxymoron? Use what you learn to drive better marketing campaigns
2. Think Fast, Act Faster: Real-time insight for quick decision-making and responsive marketing
3. Hit them when they’re listening: Choose the right channels, and use them at the right time for better engagement
4. Keeping it super-relevant – Personalized Marketing: Granular customer understanding to ensure every message is relevant
5. Define your impact on the bottom line: How new data sources give you more detail on your marketing’s effectiveness

So, what does the above tell us about the state of mind of executive marketers in June 2013?

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About the Author

Nick Johnson is the founder of Useful Social Media and Incite Marketing and Communications. Johnson runs a business devoted to facilitating conversation between, and asking challenging questions of, the marketing and communications community. Moving beyond standard business intelligence models, he leads a team devoted to building a customer-centric business delivering real value through the creation of an exclusive, dynamic community of senior strategists.