Lessons in Career Management from the C-Suite

Posted December 12, 2011 in Career Management, Latest News & Insights

On December 6, we held our final PowerRoundtable session of 2011 and were fortunate to have Harlequin CEO Donna Hayes, Berkley Payment Solutions CEO Dave Eason and Luvali Convertibles CEO Jacqueline Dinsmore join our members for an interactive and, often, entertaining discussion on how to manage careers, do what you love and build your personal brand.  Here are just some of the highlights…

At PowerRoundtable sessions we always strive to invite diverse leaders with diverse perspectives.  With Donna Hayes, we had the publishing veteran; with Jackie Dinsmore we had the corporate lawyer turned handbag diva; and with Dave Eason, we had the self-proclaimed corporate “golden boy” turned start-up entrepreneur.  What’s always interesting to me when you get leaders from such different backgrounds together is how certain themes will continue to bubble up to the top.  Here are the ones that stood out:

Risk isn’t a four letter work… to find your career passion, to grow as an individual, to love what you do… you need to take risks.  Not necessarily outrageous, potentially life shattering risks, but rather risks where the “worst thing that can happen” is something that you can live with.  A danger for mid-career leaders is that they stop taking risks because they start getting too comfortable.  In a strange way, that’s a bigger career risk that pushing the career envelope at work.

Don’t focus on the short-term… some career choices (parallel moves, taking on a tough assignment) may not seem like the right career next step, but think about how these experiences will help you over the long-term.  Some positions may simply serve as transitions to get you to the next stage of your career.

There’s only one real way to build you brand… do good work.  Your brand and your reputation are closely inter-twined.  Before you start over-investing in social media platforms, start looking at the work you’re doing and the reputation you’re building.

To be successful, always stay curious… keep learning to keep your career growing.  Educational credentials will only take you so far.  And, on that note, so will IQ.  Softskills will be your ultimate differentiator, so get curious about where your personal gaps are and get working on them.

To get leverage with your employer… know your value to the organization.  And, know your “best alternative to a negotiated agreement” (BATNA) when you’re trying to negotiate a new career move or position opportunity.

Values, values, values… it all starts here. The happiest people are those who are living their lives with their values aligned to their work.  And this isn’t “fluffy” or “airy fairy” psycho-babble.  It’s the truth.  Every successful leader who has ever sat on our panels has said the same thing.

Finally, the quote of the day came from Donna Hayes who said, “don’t be an idiot on Facebook”.  Enough said!

In listening to the panelists share their experiences, I was left with the thought that, unless you’re one of the few lucky people who knew exactly what you want to do when you grow up, it takes most of us years of hard work to figure out what we should be doing.  Finding your dream career doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes time and a relentless focus on paying attention to what your values are and what you love to do.  Remember, no pain, no gain.

So, if you’re struggling with your current profession, start by getting clear on your values.  There are lots of free online tools to help you do that, or give us a call to get started.  After all, your career is a terrible thing to waste.

Happy leading!

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