This week I interviewed the CEO of an energy company in the Northeastern US. He had invested most of his career in the electricity industry at a senior level. We discussed his career and what his observations were on how companies support and promote their high potential managers.
As a long-time successful occupant of the C-suite, here are a few of his observations:
- There is a clear lack of career management planning at the senior levels.
- Being tapped on the shoulder to take on a project or fight a corporate fire is the most common strategy for career “pathing” for aspiring executives.
- Even those managers who are very capable high potentials were not always tapped for projects—but not because they lacked the skills and competencies, but because they lacked the confidence, social graces or political savviness to win the confidence of decision-makers.
Here are real-time suggestions from this senior corporate leader from 21st century Corporate America:
- Ensure that you know your metrics. Performance trumps enthusiasm every time.
- Ensure the decision-makers know your metrics. Even if you are a humble executive who keeps your head down and your team busy, it is critical that your higher-ups are aware of your performance and your potential.
- Ensure decision-makers are aware of your interests and intentions. Mind reading is still an elusive skill—your decision-makers won’t know you’re ready for your next move or that you are interested unless you tell them.
Don’t let the status quo or a random “corporate fire” determine your future. Take your career management planning into your own hands today by (1) knowing your performance metrics (2) communicating your results to decision-makers and (3) letting decision-makers know of your intentions.
Your future, your family and your livelihood will depend on it.
“The more aware of your intentions and your experiences you become, the more you will be able to connect the two, and the more you will be able to create the experiences of your life consciously. This is the development of mastery. It is the creation of authentic power.” Gary Zukav
If you have been passed over for senior-level projects, consider investing in career strategy coaching. The return on investment can be exponential.