Innovation or Promotion?


Last week one of my leadership-coaching clients said to me, “There is something wrong with me. Many of my peers are focused on how to get promoted but I am happy at my present level. Shouldn’t I be more motivated and want more?” I asked her, “Are you still challenged and learning?” She replied not only was she still challenged but she has the most energy she has had in years in her career and life.

Career development is not just about promotion; it’s about introducing new challenges, interests, or competencies into our lives and careers to keep ourselves recharged and resilient—what I call innovation. Innovation is one of the strategies of my Benatti Resiliency Model® that I discuss in my book, Career Recharge: Five Strategies to Boost Resilience and Beat Burnout, and I believe more important than just the next promotion.

One way to add innovation to your career is to get involved in professional organizations and some of the innovative programs they offer. I had an opportunity to interview two employees of Takeda Pharmaceuticals on their innovation and they shared with me that not only do they focus on innovation internally in their organization, but they’ve both had an opportunity to take on leadership roles in a professional organization called  Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA). Danielle Littee is the Director of Fit to Lead New England, and Kira Connaughton is the Corporate Liaison of Fit to Lead New England.

Fit to Lead is a six-month program in which members of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association learn about leadership skills and styles through completing a transformational fitness event. Individuals who participate in Fit to Lead set a goal of completing an event and then go through the training to achieve the goal. Kira and Danielle told me how the program has provided amazing experiences to all participants. During the 2017 Fit to Lead Boston program, the transformational events ranged from 5Ks to ½ Ironman Triathlons, from hiking all the 4,000+ foot peaks in New Hampshire to competing in a National Kettlebell Competition. In addition to training individually for their events, women came together monthly for group workouts such as spinning, yoga, and Zumba. This allows participants to network with others and hold themselves accountable for progress toward their event goal.

For the leadership skill development component, there are two monthly calls in which participants share information about breakdowns and breakthroughs in their training. Each month there is a theme related to fitness and leadership including setting goals, practicing resiliency, focusing on mindfulness, and how to come back after injury. Participants are also encouraged to create vision boards representing their goals for the Fit to Lead program and present them on the calls. Now that is what I call innovation!

What does the innovation journey look like for you? Is there something new or challenging you want to add to your career? It doesn’t have to be a promotion—it could be getting involved in a professional organization or taking a course related to your field. Take some time this month and ask yourself these three questions:

  1. From one to ten, how would you rank your present level innovation, with eight being a pretty good mix of challenges and developing new competencies?
  2. What is your professional innovation goal for the next six months? Keep it small and actionable.
  3. What is your personal innovation goal for the next six months? Yes, you have permission to pick something you would love to learn more about that has nothing to do with your job!

Keep innovating and please share with me your six-month personal or professional innovation goal at and thanks in advance for your interest and support.

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