Chances are your boss doesn't take the time to think through how best to deploy your talents properly. Therefore, you have to take control of your career planning to ensure you're putting yourself in a position for long-term growth.
Here are four ways to become more strategic about the process:
1) Force yourself to set aside time to plan and think of new ideas and possibilities. When things get busy, time for strategic thinking is almost always the first to go.
2) Get clear on your next steps. Getting clarity around your professional goals such as being promoted, starting your own business, or running some region, is only the first step. You also need to identify the pathway to get from here to there.
3) Invest in deep work. Don't invest your time the same way everyone else does, e.g., putting in face time at the office, or racing to respond to emails the fastest. Instead, develop in-depth, valuable projects.
4) Build your external reputation. Blogging and speaking at conferences are all great ways to stay visible.
Taking time to think about your career development is essential, but it's seldom urgent, so many fail to take action, year after year.