Michelle Gadsden-Williams
Inclusion and Diversity Lead for North America
May 01, 2018

Building a Professional Playbook—One Step at a Time

Michelle Williams

Climbing to the top of the proverbial career ladder takes courage, conviction and calculated risk to achieve a thriving career and a successful life.

There is no straight line to success. And the road is not always easy. Each person’s journey is unique, but there are strategies you can apply no matter the job title or the role. First and foremost, not only should you strive to be successful in your career, but you should also think of ways where you can add value to your organization. And importantly, you must work hard at building your professional brand.

My experience working for several Fortune 500 companies, traveling around the world and sitting on non-profit boards have provided a wealth of knowledge about tackling the most pressing issues and barriers facing professionals, specifically women, in today’s workplace.

And sometimes starting is the hardest part.

Here is advice on how to take those first, important steps:

  1. Identify your career goals and interests—what do you envision yourself doing for the duration of your career? Why?

  2. Conduct an honest self-assessment of your strengths, weaknesses and areas of development. Take advantage of training or leadership-development programs.

  3. Create a vision board that details your career goals and aspirations. Be strategic about how you plan to achieve both professional and personal-life aspirations.

  4. Create a personalized “elevator pitch” (no more than one minute in length) describing your aspirations. Recite it out loud and often.

  5. Share your career goals and interests with your manager and HR business partner.

  6. Allocate specific timelines to accomplish each goal. Have periodic check-ins with yourself (and your mentors/sponsors) to keep track of your progress.

  7. Reinvent yourself if need be, or recalibrate after a loss (i.e., when you were unsuccessful in getting a raise or promotion; when a project or an assignment didn’t go as planned).

  8. “Lean in” to whatever role you are playing in an organization. Don’t hold your head down. Be visible. Make sure you aren’t being overlooked.

  9. Build informal and formal networks inside and outside of your organization and within your industry.

  10. Design the strategy that’s going to work best for your situation to get the win. Think intrapreneurially, and create a job for yourself if you need to do so.

The title of my book, CLIMB, speaks volumes about my career trajectory and professional journey. It provides a roadmap of personal stories, insights and pragmatic solutions that have taken me on my journey. Importantly, it provides the tools necessary to build a professional playbook—one step at a time.

Climb book cover

Stay true to yourself as you take every step. And do work that makes a difference, every day. Find an opportunity with our team.

CLIMB is now available everywhere, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Copyright © 2018 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture, its logo, and High performance. Delivered. are trademarks of Accenture.

This document makes descriptive reference to trademarks that may be owned by others. The use of such trademarks herein is not an assertion of ownership of such trademarks by Accenture and is not intended to represent or imply the existence of an association between Accenture and the lawful owners of such trademarks.





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