Women Who Created Our Future

By Dr. Mary Lippitt, Author of Situational Mindsets

The movie Hidden Figures introduced us to Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who were ‘human computers’ at NASA. The film captures Katherine Johnson’s dedication and creativity as she enhanced trajectory analysis for Alan Shepard’s flight. John Glenn insisted that she verify the newly installed computer projections before his flight. She lifted her career as well as the rockets.

Dorothy Vaughan was the first female supervisor at NASA. She earned her position by developing her teamto code the newly installed IBM computer to keep them ahead of the technology curve. Seeing the writing on the wall, she conducted computer program classes and saved their jobs.

We must learn from these women, especially since the pace of change has grown exponentially since the 1960s. Women must continually update their skills and demonstrate their value. Career development alternatives you could consider include

  • Staying alert to external trends and internal realities. What if you were a professional driver? How would drones, driverless cars, cashier-less stores, and automation mean for your job?
  • Leveraging trends in your organization. Is greater specialization or general managerial skills increasingly important? What accomplishments have recently earned promotions? How can you contribute to critical goals?
  • Developing mentors outside your chain of command offers you a sounding board and career insights. They can guide your next steps.
  • Displaying initiative and creativity increases visibility while also expanding your skillset. Many women become executive after introducing a new line of business.
  • Building a professional network. Join your professional association to stay up to date. In addition, professional associations gain early identification of job openings.
  • Crafting a developmental plan. Record your goals and specific milestones to increase the rate of follow-through. Share your interests and plans with your manager.
  • Collecting honest feedback and suggestions. Every one of us can improve when we learn about our potential blind spots. It demonstrates that you are interested in advancing your career.
  • Attending conferences, seminars, and workshops. Valuable technical nuggets can be gained, and, at the same time, you can expand your network.
  • Learning from your mistakes. The only failure in life is to make the same mistake twice. Take time to reflect on professional and personal setbacks to discover new strategies for handling the issue in the future.
  • Allocating time for strategic thinking. While turmoil frequently consumes our time and energy, we must devote time to finding the right career direction.

What are you doing to develop your career opportunities? Our careers are not set in stone. We need to continually build it.Opportunities abound, enabling us to create our desired career path.

#successful women, #career planning

Dr. Mary Lippitt,  an award-winning author, consultant, and speaker, founded Enterprise Management Ltd. to help leaders with critical analysis.  Her new book, Situational Mindsets:  Targeting What Matters When It Matters was published last year with a Foreword from Daivd Covey. She can be reached at mlippitt@enterprisemgt.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/marylippitt/

 

 

Your Best Career Path: Tiger Woods or Thomas Edison

I am not a golfer, but I know that Tiger Woods started playing the game as a toddler with his father as his coach.  Malcolm Gladwell capturedhis career in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, to support the premise thattrue mastery requires 10,000 hoursof practice. The importance of extended dedication to specializationwas bolstered by references to Bill Gates, the Beatles, and Robert Oppenheimer.  The take-away was that excellence sprang from a prolonged and specialized dedication.

David Epstein’s book Range:  Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized Worldcounters that premise.  He proposes diverse experience and a broad knowledgebase produce excellence.  He supports this with the careers of Thomas Edison, Charles Darwin, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Winston Churchill, all of whom leverage multiple knowledge and interests into stellar careers. Current examples include new medical devices that sprang from merging engineering and medicine just as fusing mathematics and the stock market generated new trading algorithms.

These books raise serious questions for coaches:

  • Is specialization essential to excellence or does it lead tonarrow thinking?
  • Does a generalist background yield a jack of all trades and a master of none?
  • Does the path to success depend on the environment, industry or organization?

Over my 30 years of experience, I have found that no one can offer a guaranteedcareer path.A one size fits all formula does not exist.  Career success for specialization appears in law enforcement, research, sports, medicine, engineering,technical vocations, and relatively stable industries.And at the same time, generalistsexcel in small businesses; strategy focused roles;dynamic industries;and creative endeavors.

Career planning requiresa broad lens.  It may be that lateral career moves are wiser than waiting for the next step up the linear career ladder, that following in the footsteps of former success stories may not be safe, that both specialization and generalist backgrounds offer rewards, and that switching career trajectories may not be terminal.

I think the message from both books is not to limit your options or ambitions.  The “right career” is one where you can take pride in your impact and continue to learn.

About Author:

Dr. Mary Lippitt,  an award-winning author, consultant, and speaker, founded Enterprise Management Ltd. to help leaders with critical analysis.  Her new book, Situational Mindsets:  Targeting What Matters When It Matters was published last year with a Foreword from Daivd Covey. She can be reached at mlippitt@enterprisemgt.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/marylippitt/

 

“Reading this brilliant book was both a pleasure and a gift. Situational Mindsets has not only helped me to analyze my own leadership tendencies and skills, but it caused me to take notice of the changes I need to make within my own organization to gain a competitive advantage in today’s world.”

David M.R. Covey, CEO of SMCOV, Coauthor of Trap Tales