Moving Up in Three Steps_Career Rx _SC45
Are you interested in moving up into a physician leadership career within your organization?

Is it time for you to transition out of clinical medicine into a nonclinical leadership role?

If you’re looking for a guide to help you move up (or out) at work, this episode is for you.

In this episode of The Career Rx we’ll discuss:

  • Research to help you land the right physician leadership career move
  • How you can look openly for your next opportunity, despite your current boss
  • No prior experience? No problem – with these other approaches

Today, we’re going to talk about the three steps that you need to take in order to really position yourself for an upward move into a physician leadership role within your organization, or a lateral move into something completely different – perhaps a nonclinical leadership role.

In this episode, I give you a three step framework that you will be able to put into practice (today) to start moving yourself closer to your next physician leadership career jump. I answer where to start researching physician career change options, how you can get the word out there without causing workplace drama, and what avenues you can take to advance your knowledge and understanding of a new future role.

“You want to be prepared for opportunities when those opportunities arise. ” – Marjorie Stiegler

In this Episode:

[1:20] Make note of your transferable skills
[2:00] Which nonclinical leadership role are you looking for exactly?
[3:40] What to say to someone who already has the job you want
[5:15] Why and how to get the word out there
[6:30] Working it into your 5 year plan (even if you intent to move sooner)
[7:45] How your LinkedIn profile can help you attract nonclinical leadership roles
[8:20] Difficult conversations with upper management
[10:35] Honing your skills on a budget (not another degree)
[12:15] Filling skill gaps for nonclinical physician leadership careers

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TRANSCRIPT: Episode 58 – Three Steps To Moving Up at Work

Hey there, I’m Marjorie Stiegler and you’re listening to The Career Rx Podcast, where we tackle the important things they don’t teach you in medical school. Like how to treat your career, like the business, it really is, with strategies to accelerate the kind of success that you want, because you deserve a career you love, and a career that loves you back. Are you ready?
Let’s get into it.

Welcome back. Today, we’re going to be talking about how to move up or to move on in three steps. Now, obviously, these steps each take some time, they take some effort, but I’m going to give you a three step framework that you will be able to put into practice today, to start to move yourself closer to your ambition for whatever is next to make a physician leadership career jump. And this job could of course be moving on up the academic chain, it could be moving up within your own organization, or it could be moving on to something different like a nonclinical leadership role. And so many of my listeners are interested in transitioning out of whatever is primarily clinical or academic and into something else nonclinical. But it doesn’t always look that way. Sometimes people are very interested in moving up to high levels of leadership within their organization. So a vice chair or chair, or Dean or Provost, or whatever that looks like. And that might require a considerable amount of different skill sets. And by the way, I believe many people do have those skill sets, because I think physicians have so many really, really valuable transferable skills that are critical to know. But we can talk about that, that’s outside the scope. Today, we’re going to talk about the three steps that you need to take in order to really position yourself for this kind of physician leadership career jump, again, whether it’s sort of just a jump up or could be a lateral move into something completely different.

So the first step is to do research. And this may sound sort of obvious at face value. But it’s very, very important. A lot of times people neglect this, and they just have this burning desire to do something different, but they don’t really know what they want to do. Or they don’t know that much about what they want to do. So they have a vague idea of different types of options of nonclinical leadership roles, but they don’t really know what it would be like to work in that kind of role or in that kind of nonclinical physician function, or even in that kind of nonclincial industry. And I cannot overemphasize how important this is. Because if you are, you know, unhappy or unsatisfied unfulfilled in your current work that makes you want to seek something else, it’s incredibly important to know whether what you end up choosing next is going to be all satisfying to you. Or if some of the same things that were not satisfying, are going to reveal themselves in that new role, and maybe just a different way. So very, very important to do the research to really understand what it’s like to work in a physician nonclinical leadership role.

And now how do you do that? I think to some degree, it can be very hard to fully understand what a certain physician leadership career is, like until you’re doing it. I mean, medicine was even that way, right? There was a whole lot of training a whole lot of schooling. And then when you start to actually do the job, there are some things that weren’t really there before, rather that weren’t emphasized before, things that you expected that you didn’t get, and things that you did not expect that you ended up having to do. I think that’s true in all physician leadership roles. So you’ve got to do a mix of what I would say is factual research. So this might be simply, you know, reading articles, it could be listening to podcasts, and it could be potentially even taking courses. But this is understanding sort of what people write down as the day to day the nuts and bolts of the work. That’s important.

I think what’s even more important is to do a very deliberate network expansion. So to find people who have nonclinical physician leadership roles – who actually do this as a day job again, even if you don’t know any right now, find the people who do the the kind of thing you’re thinking about doing for their day job and get to know them, and have opportunities to discuss with them what they like about what they do, and what they don’t like about what they do, what they feel like are their skills that make them especially suited to do it. And, you know, sort of what are the pros and cons, everybody has some things about their job, or their career that they don’t love. And hopefully, they have many, many more things that they do love. But those might not be the same things that you love. So it’s really important to do that kind of work.

And of course, once you’ve developed that network of people that’s helping you to really understand if that’s the right direction for you anyway, knowing those people is going to be very much important in the next phase as you are trying to actually secure those roles. So that’s step one, research and it’s sort of step one, Part A and B factual research and network research.

Okay, step two, is tell everybody that you can everybody that you possibly can tell them about your physician leadership career goals. Now this one I know a lot of my audience struggles with and in fact they just straight up object to it. Because they feel like in academic medicine or in clinical medicine this just isn’t done very often, it’s not done because people worry that it will sort of have them fall out of favor in their current work situation and that if people think that they’re moving on or know that they’re moving on know that they’re seeking a different opportunity that somehow there’s going to be sort of a social or professional price to pay in their current role and I have to say I don’t think this is unfounded I hear from listeners all the time they’re worried about this many of my students are anonymous in my courses for this very reason because they don’t want for people to know that they are looking to transition and I think that’s fine I totally respect that.

However other people are the number one most likely sort of you know way for you to successfully transition quickly and easily so it is important for people to know what you want to achieve because other people in your network are going to become aware of nonclinical leadership opportunities and some of them may be in a position to recommend you or to even just sort of funnel things your way and to say you know I saw this opportunity I thought of you but some people might, might actually be pretty close to the decision process you never know so it’s very important that everybody that can possibly help you is aware of what you’re hoping to accomplish and if you don’t feel like you can have that conversation with your boss or your colleagues I do think you know that’s limiting it might be possible to find a way to tell people and when way that that does still feel safe an example of that is when you’re having an annual review and you’re talking about a three or five or 10 year plan it would be it’s one thing to say to your boss you know hey like i’m looking right now for another job because I hate it here – I know that’s not, not what I would recommend – but it is another to say you know my hope is that within three years or five years or whatever it is that I might be you know a competitive candidate for a role such as x y or z and for them to be aware of that then that that can help to sort of fit into your, your annual review process in your career development discussions.

And my sincere hope is that you have a supportive chair or supportive boss who would be able to, you know, help you get towards that end or at least understand that that’s something that’s an eventual goal so I would recommend framing it that way.

You can also do that for yourself on LinkediIn. So obviously, LinkedIn is you know one of the most important professional platforms particularly when it comes to networking and physician leadership career moves career progression and you may not put right up at the top that you’re you know hoping to transition hoping to switch careers into a nonclinical leadership role. But there may be a place within your summary section that you could paint the picture of the kind of skills that you have today and the work that you hope to do in the future. And again if you frame this as an eventual then I think you’re in less jeopardy with your current employer your current colleagues your current boss if indeed they’re the kind of folks who you don’t expect would be supportive if they are folks that would be supportive that’s obviously wonderful some people are indeed lucky enough to have that and I think actually when you get outside of academic medicine it’s the norm.

So i’ll just take a quick moment to let you know that you know in my current work environment it’s absolutely expected and we have very frank conversations I have them with my boss and people who report to me have them with me about what they hope to do next in their career and then we make specific plans to try to help them get the skills that they need to be competitive for that role. That’s part of my job as a manager to help them get that so that they’ll be successful when the time is right and it’s part of my manager’s job to help me to develop so that I am competitive basically for his job right. That’s sort of how that works. So if you don’t have that, I encourage you to try to have some of those conversations around succession planning for lack of a better term because you’re the person who’s sitting in the leadership roles as you look around your environment they aren’t going to be there forever – and nor should they be.

You want to be prepared for nonclinical leadership role opportunities when those opportunities arise and you also want people to think of you so that’s why this is so important tell everybody that you can by the way it does not need to be limited to everybody at work you could tell your neighbors you could tell your extended family members you can tell basically anybody that you think might happen to you know if they were in the right place at the right time be able to put your name forward or again bring an opportunity back to you for consideration.

All right, so the third step then is to fill those nonclinical career skill gaps I just talked about how I view it as my my responsibility for the people on my team who report to me and also how I view it as my boss’s responsibility to help me to identify the kinds of additional skill or experience I might have need in order to be competitive to move on to the next, a sort of rung on the ladder, whichever ladder that is. And you know, of course, it’s not just one ladder, right, you can go sideways and up down. It’s almost, it’s like a little, like a children’s game where there’s many paths. But that’s a very, very important thing.

So once you’ve identified those, and you’ve told everybody that you can, and you’ve done your research, so you know what those things are, you have to go about filling those skill gaps. And you may not be able to get experience in that direct role, because you don’t have the role yet. And again, that’s totally understandable. It’s normal. But what you might want to do is say, Okay, is there something didactic, that you might be able to do to advance your knowledge and your understanding, and I don’t mean going out to get an MBA or you know, an MPH, although you could do that. But I think for many, many jobs, that’s really not necessary, that might be something you do on the job after you’ve secured a nonclinical leadership role.

But in the meantime, it might be perfectly acceptable, instead, just to take a Certificate course, or even to do some of the very inexpensive or free learning that there is online, with things like Coursera, or LinkedIn Learning, very, very modestly priced. And there are plenty of learning opportunities, as an example, and the FDA actually puts on a variety of completely free webinars and even more extensive courses, you can just go over to the FDA website and find some of these things. And that is, I think, a subject matter that people who are in clinical medicine or an academic medicine might know very, very little about. But if you’re interested in pivoting to pharma, biotech, medical device, it would be really important to learn. And so you still aren’t going to show up having submitted an application suddenly having experience in working in those kinds of roles. And that’s normal, but you can show sort of your proactive interest. And in your ability to operationalize, you know, lifelong learner type of mindset, by seeking out those kinds of things to develop your at least didactic acumen around that area, and then you can learn the rest on the job.

So filling those skill gaps or looking for opportunities where you can volunteer, or do a special project or doing something outside of your normal day to day, this, all of these things kind of ladder up together. Because if you have skill gaps to fill, then it’s important, if you are seeking those opportunities to get actual experience filling them that you’ve told everybody that you can so that they can help you. And in order to know what those skill gaps are, it’s really important that you’ve done your factual research and your network development research so that you know, the kinds of things that would benefit you. And so that you don’t have to figure out from scratch, what kinds of learning opportunities there are out there. If you just connect with someone who’s already doing that kind of work, they very likely can point you in the right direction with relative ease.

So to recap, before we open up for questions, the three steps to a physician leadership career jump, whether it is jumping up the ladder in your own organization, or whether it’s pivoting and going to do something externally for a totally new type of physician leadership career, or to do research around what that really means both factually And in talking to people who do that job, who have that nonclinical leadership role. And number two, telling as many people as you possibly can, framing it as an eventual goal if that is what is better for you. And then number three, identifying and filling those skill gaps. I hope this framework has been helpful for you. That’s it for today. Bye for now.

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