Seven Ways to Move Up by Moving Over

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Whether your lateral move comes about by design or decree, there are ways you can maximize time spent horizontally. One advantage of latticed moves is that they allow you to experience different viewpoints and perspectives.

“Instead of looking down my own ladder, I’m going to look across the lattice of the organization,” said Halley Bock, CEO and president of Fierce, Inc. “Rather than asking for input from people who share my perspective and experience, the question becomes how to embrace and leverage the different vantage points, including those of different generations.” 

Offering lateral moves as an alternative to straight-upward movement can be particularly important for the younger workforce, according to Bock. “The opportunity to work among different teams can give variety and depth to employees’ work experience,” said Bock. She added that Millennials bring a strong desire to share their experience and make a difference — so offering multiple avenues to learn and grow can be essential for retaining top young talent.

Are you looking for that next career challenge but unsure how to get there? Climbing the corporate ladder might not be the only way. According to Robin Mandel, writing for TheLadders, today more than ever, a career detour just might lead to your career destiny. At every level — including the top — professionals, managers, and executives-in-waiting commonly zigzag through several lateral lurches before stepping up to their destination position.

Why has lateral become the new way to the top? The recession is partly to blame — the hierarchy in many companies flattened and compressed during the recession, effectively eliminating rungs that were previously part of the expected climb.

Because of this reality, it has become more important to “think sideways.” If you don’t plan ahead by considering lateral rotations as part of your career development plan, you may end up stuck on your current ladder rung indefinitely, unless you find a way to take a larger-than-usual step up. Yet paradoxically, exceptional advancement is less likely if you haven’t taken the time to boost your experience and confidence with lateral moves.

Cheryl Palmer, career coach and founder of Call to Career, suggested a helpful analogy: “If you’re stuck in a traffic jam and it may be hours before you’re able to move forward, it makes sense to change lanes and exit on a side road where you can more quickly navigate around it. Sitting in the traffic jam and fuming doesn’t get you anywhere.”

For advice on how to effectively turn a side step into a step up, TheLadders asked several career-development experts to weigh in.


Related Topics : A Big Market for Big Data Jobs, Midmarket CIO, IT Management Automation, SharePoint, Technology Markets

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