As the Singtel Singapore Grand Prix 2011 roars into town, you too can take a leaf out of the Formula One book and drive your career with a winning strategy:

1. Be a self-starter

The best Formula One drivers look for opportunities, seize them and make the most of them on the track. You can learn to do the same in your career. Be prepared to work hard, exceed expectations and seize every opportunity. You will build a reputation for success and delivering results.

2. Learn from others

Be open-minded and receptive to ideas, constantly reassess your approach and look for better ways of working.

3. Communicate

Effective communication and presentation skills will help you build strong working relationships and ensure those in influential positions recognise your contribution. Success and visibility add to your credibility and nowhere is this more true than in the Grand Prix where the top names attract the best sponsorship deals.

4. Find a coach or mentor

Coaches and mentors play a major role in the Grand Prix. Likewise, in your career, having a personal contact with whom you can share ideas and seek advice can be invaluable.

Your mentor may be someone with experience in the industry or the type of career you wish to pursue. Not only will he be able to warn you of potential pitfalls, he also has the ability to see the bigger picture and offer impartial advice.

Regardless of how senior you are, someone else will have had similar experiences from which you can learn and a useful network of contacts to harness.

5. Networking

Having a strong network of people in relevant industries and in a diverse range of companies, roles and levels is crucial. Formula One drivers have a whole team behind them, consisting of professionals with different expertise, to ensure they perform at their best.

To stay in pole position, you need to be able to hear about opportunities and leverage contacts to seize them. The old cliché, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” still holds true today.

6. Benchmarking

Assessing yourself against your peer group is a good way to check if you are fast tracking. Look at those with whom you went to university or work with and also those more senior in your organisation.

Take a pitstop and evaluate yourself against your career development objectives. Speak to industry specialists such as head-hunters to gain industry comparisons and an impartial opinion on your personal development plans.

7. Make strategic decisions and find your own solutions

Information is everywhere and you must know how to leverage it when you need to. Be proactive with your critical career and life choices, ask the right questions at the right times or find answers and solutions on your own.

This may sound obvious, but many people get stuck in their careers because they don’t know what to do next or take the road of least resistance.

8. Safety nets and back-up plans

Just like the expert team of Formula One safety technicians at every race, a little pre-planning can make all the difference when the unexpected happens.

Having back-up plans for your work can be helpful and will give you the confidence to make bolder moves with bigger payoffs in future.