Recent research suggests people who succeed and move up the corporate ladder are actually excellent leaders already.

In a June 21, 2016 piece for Forbes entitled, “5 Habits of People Who Get Promoted to Leadership,” contributor Rebecca Newton puts forward the idea that, “People are often told that in order to move to their next level they need to “work on their leadership.”

Except that, confusingly, the feedback they get on how they lead people and teams is already positive. There doesn’t seem to be any question of their leadership skills at all. The issue may not be how they lead others (influencing and facilitating) but rather how they lead the firm (driving the business forward).”

Promote Company Goals

So what can a talented, leader-oriented person who wants to make their mark within their enterprise do to make that happen? In our current data-driven economy, the answer is to promote data monetization strategies that promote company goals, rather than focusing only on your own advancement.

Today’s business innovations, particularly in the Data Monetization domain, offer creative self-starters a tremendous array of opportunities to develop profitable, sustainable products out of their own data assets that can actually increase their market value. That is a win-win scenario for sure.

Explore Beyond What is Immediately Observable

In the above referenced article, Newton writes, “Personality research by Joanna Moutafi and colleagues suggests intuitive people – those interested in new possibilities and new things, exploring beyond what is immediately observable – are more likely to reach higher managerial levels.”

In our work with customers over the last several years, we have found that the individuals who volunteer to spearhead these data monetization programs at their organizations are doing better – both financially and in management responsibility – than other team members who are more tentative about taking their companies in new directions, especially when it comes to using data assets as the primary product.

It’s always a good bet that career advancement generally takes care of itself for those who demonstrate they can:

1) think strategically and propose long-term goals on behalf of their employer and

2) be willing to go into uncharted waters by leading the data monetization effort itself Create a New Product

It’s been said more than once that frustration and dissatisfaction are great incubators for innovation. With this in mind, it’s quite possible that the original concept of data monetization may have begun as a way to solve a unique business problem for a customer and grew from there.

Regardless of how it started, the leaders of tomorrow are the ones providing this kind of thinking today. People who can envision data monetization as recycling or re-purposing or triangulating an existing data product with other types of public, geographic, or locational data, for example, to create a new product or mobile app for profit are certainly the best-positioned for future success.

Set Yourself Apart

“Make More Money with Data and be Recognized as a Rainmaker!” is a seemingly plausible idea for a how-to book in the 21st century. However, bringing up the idea of building a data monetization program to senior executives requires a certain level of moral fiber. After all, you’re convincing your bosses to embrace a big strategic shift in business, asking them to create new streams of revenue from either existing or new markets.

For those people who use their fortitude for good, not evil, they will set themselves apart from other executives and advance their standing both within and outside of their organization.

Get Promoted Faster, Build a Stronger Resume, and Gain More Respect

Some final thoughts on getting ahead in today’s fast-paced world. Most people have heard of the 1952 satirical novel, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, by Sheldon Mead. It offers a pitch-perfect take on using a self-help book as a guide to climbing the ladder of success. The story resonated so well with the public that it evolved into a Broadway musical in 1961, and was finally adapted for the big screen in 1967.

Comic relief notwithstanding, manipulating people or engaging in self-promotion—especially within a team setting—to gain advantage in the workplace has always been a really bad idea. In our current digital economy, a much better self-help treatise on how to get promoted faster, build a stronger resume, and gain more respect at the executive ranks would involve coming up with real ideas and collaborating with colleagues on fresh new approaches that transform data assets into profitable revenue streams.

The leadership and creativity required to see these efforts through, as well as the recognition and deserved promotion for a job well done would be free.

(About the author: Todd Nash is president and principal at CBIG Consulting)