Leverage key stakeholders
Jack’s manager is one of the key stakeholders who will impact his ability to
progress within the organization. His
manager has already told him he needs
to network — improve his visibility in the
organization — to continue to advance.
He needs to let his manager know that he
is interested in the role and discuss ways
he can prepare for it. He should also ask
his manager who are other key stakeholders that he should get to know.
Partner with HR
Being a unit head involves managing a
team of associates. In addition to talking to his manager, Jack can talk to his
HR business partner about the skills
and core competencies needed to be a
manager, and what training opportunities are available to learn those skills.
Use social media: LinkedIn
As the advisor to a senior leader, Jack
needs to demonstrate that he keeps
abreast of key legal and business issues
affecting similar companies. Jack can
use his LinkedIn page to showcase this
acumen. He will need to extend invitations to key people in his company. He
should make sure he: ( 1) has a current
professional picture; ( 2) has current
information in his profile; and ( 3) joins
groups related to his practice area to
learn key legal and business issues.
Case study three: Advancing
from a VP to an SVP
Regina, 45, began her career as an
associate in a mid-sized law firm. She
left the firm after five years when she
knew that she would not make partner.
Regina learned about an opening for
associate general counsel at XXX Retail
Corporation from a law school classmate. Regina interviewed for the role
and received an offer for the in-house
position of associate general counsel.
Regina accepted the offer and quickly
acclimated to the culture and the role
seamlessly. Over the next 12 years, her
legal career excelled with promotions
to director, associate vice president, and
currently vice president of litigation.
Although Regina has excellent performance reviews and is well known to her
legal colleagues, she has not been promoted to senior vice president (SVP).
Leverage key stakeholders
Regina should identify the role and department where she would like to work,
research the department, determine
the “common denominator” for the
key stakeholders, and schedule short
introductory one-on-one meetings
with them. Regina should discuss her
career aspirations with key stakeholders and ask them for their advice and
feedback. If Regina successfully seeks
key stakeholders’ permission to meet
regularly, she will soon be on her way
to creating champions and mentors
with key influencers in the company.
Although Regina knows that she is
qualified for the SVP, business and
legal affairs’ opening, she recognizes
that some of the business leaders are
not familiar with her performance
and business acumen. Regina would
benefit from volunteering and collaborating with business leads on new
product rollouts and launches. These
projects support the development of
new work relationships, permanent
assignments, and the sharing of business information.
Being a good corporate citizen
Internal affinity groups can showcase
leadership, creativity, and forward
thinking that can improve a company’s performance and result in awards
and recognition. Regina should
consider what groups she would like
to join and take on a leadership role.
Most companies support affinity
groups and recognize the value of
their ideas and work experience in
the business. The incorporation of
ideas from affinity groups’ into marketing plans is often useful.
Seek speaking engagements
Speaking engagements are excellent opportunities for Regina to showcase her
talents both internally and externally.
Regina may want to consider speaking at a law school, bar association, or
community organization. It is important
that Regina is strategic in the selection of
opportunities to ensure that her business
acumen and leadership is showcased.
This path could lead to other speaking engagements, resulting in Regina
becoming a subject-matter expert and
thereby increasing her visibility.
Using social media: LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the most well known
professional networking sites. It not
only encourages you to create your
professional profile, but it is also used
by recruiters to globally locate talent, reconnect with colleagues, create
groups, and post jobs. Many companies
encourage employees to create an account. Regina should ensure her profile
is current and linked to key associates in
Participate in legal associations
At this point in her career, Regina is
likely a member of multiple bar associations but may not chair a committee or
hold a leadership position. She should
select a committee that enhances her
skillset, challenges her, and promotes
collaboration. Many companies encourage employees to join, speak, and take
on leadership roles in bar associations,
and community organizations as part of
their “investment into the community.”
Companies often publicize this activity
in programs, newsletters, websites, etc.
They also sponsor conferences, pay employee fees, travel costs, and association
dues. As a vice president, Regina should
volunteer to speak at a conference even
if she has to call the organizer and
request to participate on a panel. This is
an excellent opportunity for Regina to
get outside of her lane. This highlights
her growth, confidence, depth, and
capacity to learn something new.
48 ASSOCIATION OF CORPORATE COUNSEL
NE TWORKING – THE POWER IN MAKING LASTING CONNECTIONS