Many professionals set their sights on guiding an institution as a college president. Whether you are just starting out in your career or already ascending in higher education, there are practices you can implement today to guide your growth tomorrow.

1. Invest in your values. You cannot assist an organization with their mission if you don’t know what yours is. Successful professionals have a clear understanding of what drives them. Spend time reflecting on your passion, your skills and the best way they can serve your current institution.

2. Do your current duties with excellence. Before you can move into the future, you have to focus on the present. If you view your current job as a stepping-stone, it will show. Be present in your current position and elevate it through your attention and diligence.

3. Understand how you can grow. Being fully engaged in your current position doesn’t mean stagnant thinking. An awareness of the future can and should inform your present. That doesn’t mean only your own professional trajectory, but the long-term good of your department and institution.

4. Foster your connections. Develop a robust network of trusted colleagues within your industry and beyond. Always seek to add value to your relationships, not only to cash in favors. A thriving network is an essential cornerstone to a healthy professional life.

5. Value the input of others. A great leader knows they always have more to learn. While you should be appropriately confident in your abilities, you must be humble enough to respect the perspectives of others. They can see blindspots that could trip you up. Heeding the counsel of others will make you a stronger leader for the long-term.