Latest "career" Posts
At a conference last month, I sat next to a professionally dressed and extremely articulate young man who’d recently been hired as COO of a medical services company.
“What are your biggest challenges?” I asked him.
He went on to explain that his board of directors was unhappy because profits had plateaued. His R&D staff was not very innovative. The HR systems were not efficient. The IT department was slow to fix issues. And the sales staff was barely meeting quotas. By the time he finished talking, there were few departments in his organization left that hadn’t been targeted for blame.
“So, where does the responsibility for all of these problems lay?” I asked, genuinely curious to hear how he’d answer.
The man silently stared at me for about a minute.
A colleague’s daughter contacted me recently after being passed over twice for a choice promotion. She told me she really wanted to advance in the company, but didn’t seem to have what they were looking for.
“I’m responsible, easy to work with, and really good at my job,” she said to me.
“So what do you think is missing?” I asked … already knowing what she’d say.
She confirmed my suspicions: “I’m just not being perceived as a leader or someone who can effectively manage projects and teams.”
I believe that leadership presence is a combination of character traits and skills that can be learned. People must first identify — and embrace — their areas of strengths and opportunities for growth before embarking on a quest for leadership recognition.
On-the-job mistakes and bad workplace behaviors can be costly. They could even cost you your job.
Often, it’s the new hires who need the most help navigating corporate politics and office dynamics – but not always. Even seasoned employees can have career-hurting missteps. Here’s a story of the former…
A colleague’s college-senior son – let’s call him James – had a prestigious summer internship at a fairly new marketing agency with an excellent reputation.
Since the company represented the exact type of place and job that he hoped to acquire after graduation, he was pretty excited. It had been implied that if things went well, James would be on a short list for employment the following spring when he graduated.
Unfortunately, things did not go well.
One of my past coaching clients recently reached out to me to reconnect. He was proud of his latest accomplishment — moving from a sales role to a marketing position within the same organization.
Greg felt he would have a better opportunity for advancement and less travel in the new marketing position, and he was indeed thriving.
He shared how he accomplished this move successfully with the use of internal advocates. Greg first identified the type of advocates he needed; people in the marketing department.
Greg then narrowed his focus on two people that could influence the hiring decision. He LinkedIn with them, and let them know when he would be at headquarters, and asked for informational interviews.
At these meetings, Greg gave them insights from the field that could help with their next marketing campaign.
At a recent networking event, a young man named Tony told me he edged out the competition to land a plum job at a Fortune 100 firm.
He’d interviewed first with an executive recruiter, who told Tony he only had one other candidate in mind to recommend for the position. Tony knew the other candidate and thought for sure he was outmatched. The other guy had the impressive resume, the connections, the experience, and some important technical skills that Tony did not have. And yet, Tony won the position.
“How did you beat out the other candidate?” I asked.
“Table manners,” he answered.
It turns out that the recruiter always takes serious candidates out for a meal at an upscale restaurant nearby. Tony’s competition might have had the technical skills and the experience, but he made a series of etiquette gaffes that told the recruiter he was not ready for such a high-profile job.