My sense is that the following actions drive career progress:
1. Strive for doing outstanding work
2. Look for opportunities to take on more responsibilities
3. Network internally to your company and Department, so you'll know what's going on.
4. Network with customers, suppliers and competitors, so that you'll become an expert in your industry.
5. Be friendly, helpful, even if you are competitive.
American business has made a lot of progress. Look at Ms. Fiorina who became the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She earned that position NOT because she's a woman, but because of her accomplishments elsewhere and the respect that she earned from her peers, her competitors and from other professionals in industry, regardless of whether they were men or women. Another role model might be the Chairman of the Board of Marimba. She's the founder, and moved the company to the point where they became a publicly held company, traded on the NASDAQ.
This was first published in April 2001