Achieving Significant Career Growth Through Personal Responsibility

I spend considerable time thinking about why certain people are successful. After all, companies hire me to help them deliver better solutions by improving the quality of their teams, which requires cultivating relationships with high-performing individuals–and identifying those who aren’t. It’s my job to discern, as best I can, the successful from the unsuccessful.

Recruiting offers a unique perch; a vantage point for watching the comings and goings of prosperous people and identifying the reasons for their triumphs. Over the years, I have witnessed at least one critical component for personal success. We recruiters would be arrogant to think we are the ultimate dispensaries of opportunity.

You are the heir or victim of the “career growth” you create.

What is the secret to achieving explosive ‘career growth’?

Significant “career growth,” the kind which earns you a significant salary, that fulfilling project, or a partner position, lies in your ability to prove yourself faithful in the little things and scale your duty with your highest possible degree of competence.

This competence should be continually increasing through your own daily thoughtfulness, mentorship, and reading. It’s a mindset. It’s a discipline. It’s your responsibility. Not the responsibility of your employer.

This seems to be a regular misunderstanding with younger candidates. The well-meaning but misguided employee believes career growth is wholly defined by promotion; the entitled employee believes career growth is their right even while they fail to impeccably perform their current responsibilities. Both types of employees are operating on the same mistaken assumption: that career growth can come only from their employer. The first employee may stay stuck, pleasantly enough, in their current position. The second will drift out the door into the next log-jam of a job where, mysteriously, the disappointing process repeats.

The Growers

In contrast, the most successful (and happy) people have determined to be successful regardless of who helps them or stands in their way. They are go-getters. They are easy to teach. They are too busy managing their problems for whining or shirking. They are systematic high performers who find a way to remove obstacles in a manner that suits those around them. They are faithful.

They do not rely on formal company leadership training or explicit “growth” opportunities in order to achieve the next level. They prove themselves worthy of more. They find the path to success by astutely sailing the complex winds of differing interests. They are tactical negotiators and patient strategic thinkers. Organizations who employ these types of workers benefit from their production, cohesion, clarity, and personal responsibility. These people make up great companies.

Companies who underappreciate these rare people will quickly find their key players recruited to companies with a higher financial priority on performance.

These are the kind of people who start as a janitor and end up running the company. You can feed them to the wolves and they will return leading the pack, larger than before, and not through viciousness either. Those they lead are grateful for their care, competence, and character.

As John C. Maxwell once said, “When I see someone separating themselves from the pack, it is almost always because of personal growth.”


Ask yourself two questions. One, am I executing all my responsibilities impeccably? Two, can I demonstrate my competence in other areas which makes team members accomplish their own goals better? Do this, each day, all the way to the top.

About the author

TJ Kastning is the principal of Ambassador Search Group, a boutique recruiting agency passionate about finding excellent professionals for amazing construction companies.

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Author: TJ Kastning

TJ Kastning is the proud owner of Ambassador Search Group, a special high-touch, trust-based, old-fashioned headhunting firm serving only the best west coast companies.

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