When you can do 80% of your job, it’s time to move on. This was just one of the many key takeaways from the latest Be Inspired workshop, which centred on how best to further your career.

Speaking at The Co-op offices in Manchester this week, Jo Mackie, customer and people director at Superdrug; Anna Barsby, chief technology director at Morrisons; and Martin Palethorpe, founder and executive coach at Pragma Group, discussed how to make the best career plans to an audience of almost 100.

The speakers outlined four key steps:

1. Continue learning

Barsby, who has had a varied career including roles at Halfords, TUI Travel and Whitbread, said it is important to always push yourself.

“I wanted to keep learning, I wanted to keep being challenged and so I’ve taken advantage of opportunities. When you know you can do your job 80%, that’s when you need to start looking for your next job.”

“When you are the best you can be, other people notice and other doors open”

 Jo Mackie, Superdrug

Mackie concurred: “My whole career has been about wanting to do a bloody good job, trying really hard and wanting to learn new stuff. It’s funny that when you are the best you can be, other people notice and other doors open.”

2. Build relationships

When it comes to getting a promotion, it is about being proactive, the panel explained.

“A lot of people sit there waiting for the obvious step up. But it doesn’t often happen like that,” said Barsby. “You have to keep your eyes open. Networking is good and social media is too. Find out what people are doing. There are so many different jobs, you have to research it and keep an open mind.”

Palethorpe said it is important to build relationships outside of the area that you might normally in order to further your development.

This will also make you more prominent across the business and more likely to be noticed for your good work.

“People get promoted for two reasons,” he said. “One is they are good at what they do, and the second is they are perceived to be good at what they do. You need a bit of both, really.”

3. Choose the right mentor

When it comes to mentors, Barsby said that it is integral you know what you want and how your mentor can help you.

“When I’ve had the most successful mentors it has been with people I have respected and I have done prep beforehand. As long as you’ve done the prep and you know where that person has been and the path they have trodden then you have a more successful relationship.”

She added: “I think it’s very important you have a mentor you really respect and admire. It is important that it’s the right person for you.”

4. Set the right goals

Palethorpe said there is a real value in setting goals to help you advance your career – if they are good ones, that is.

“It is a really deep-rooted human need, to make progress, to move forward, to learn, to grow, to change and evolve,” he said.

“When you are motivated, you put more effort in, and you’re more likely to achieve [your goals] as a result, and are more naturally satisfied on the journey to achieve the goal.”

However, he added that goals aren’t very useful if they are not clear and if the individual is not deeply motivated to achieve them.

Barsby added that she never had a goal and it never occurred to her to become a chief technology director.

“I just wanted to keep learning, be challenged, to do something exciting and different,” she said.

Come along to our next Be Inspired workshop

A Wednesday of Wellness

Listen to expert speakers delve into how we can find calm in a world that moves at 100 miles a minute and try your hand at some group meditation, aimed at leaving you ready to take on the day.

Date: Wednesday, September 19

Time: 8:30am-10:30am

Venue: The Shard, 32 London Bridge, London SE1 9SG

Places are limited, so if you wish to attend please email tiffany.gumbrell@retail-week.com