Many of the headlines of professional articles from the “Harvard Business Review” or the “Forbes Magazine” read something like this, which are then shared on career platforms like LinkedIn.

Variety of experience required

A great deal of research has been done to answer this question. The result is usually the same: a combination of hard work, intelligence, leadership, and luck leads to success. Especially the latter should not be underestimated – being in the right place at the right time helps with your career.

In recent research, however, three further criteria have emerged as promising: a wealth of experience, leaving the comfort zone, and networks. These three criteria were also the basis for TÜV Rheinland to redesign the internal Management Development Program (MDP) for talents in top management.

Not only intelligence or hard work promise success in business. It is also important to acquire as many different skills as possible. Experience in different areas is therefore more effective than being an expert in just one field. This is also shown by the increasing demand for candidates for so-called “hybrid jobs”, which require expertise in several subject areas.

Exploring paths outside the comfort zone

The prerequisite for new experiences is to leave your own comfort zone. In this context, the ability to learn new things is also required. Being interested in other areas and recognizing connections to one’s own area of responsibility helps to make decisions and adopt different perspectives.

Learning from others

Not new, but important: networks. Contacts inside and outside the organisation can act as “boosters” for your own career. Here, too, the aim is to learn from others. It is not about acquiring all skills down to the smallest detail yourself. Rather, the goal is to be able to recognize connections and not just stay in a silo.

Our concept for management development

We consider these three criteria to be a prerequisite for the development towards top management. In our MDP series we will tell you how we have implemented these requirements in the MDP Leadership Development Program. Every month you can expect a new blog post from our participants from a wide range of business areas and countries.


Tanja Gerum

Tanja Gerum

HR development

Tanja Gerum is active in international HR development at TÜV Rheinland AG. Her focus is on the areas of talent management and leadership development. Her professional and private base is the city of Cologne. However, her job regularly takes her to other international locations of TÜV Rheinland. This is very much in line with her private passion – travelling.

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