Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Career Progression Factors, part 3 (Self Knowledge)

Having covered the considerations of (1) Environment and Organisation Objectives, and (2) your Purpose and Ambition, in this concluding part of the series on Career Progression Factors I invite you to consider the role that self knowledge plays in any campaign for advancement to senior leadership levels.

Self-knowledge is characterised by the beliefs that we never stop learning more about ourselves, and that we continue to change.  The person I was at 20 was merely an outline of the person I had become by 30, and at 40 I understood more clearly my own shortcomings, and was significantly leveraging my true talents. And as I approach 50, I feel myself letting go of the vain pursuit of things I will never be while also having a renewed strength to pursue those ambitions that I can achieve, based on my understanding of self.  My reflective clients in their 60s share with me the joy they derive from working in a capacity that is true to them, and also that the "static interference" of aspects of their work that no longer appeal to them are also no longer such a grind.  Self knowledge facilitates this near nirvana considerably.

As we all embark on our own self-knowledge journeys, 3 factors can make all the difference:

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Career Progression Factors, part 2 (Your Purpose and Ambition)

In part 1 of this series on Career Progression Factors,  I outlined that there are three factors to master in order to prepare and increase the chances of advancing to a senior leadership role.  They are:
  1. Understanding Your Environment and Organisation Objectives
  2. Your Purpose and Ambition
  3. Self Knowledge:  Values, Strengths, and Drivers
Part 1 outlined the considerations in Understanding Your Environment and Organisation Objectives.  Part 2 focuses on Your Purpose and Ambition.

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my various postings on Purpose, or as I like to call it, Purposeful Selfishness.  This blog focuses on four areas to think about in making your purpose and ambition known.

1.  How well do you convey your personal purpose and ambition?

It is more likely that senior leaders in your organisation will think of you for new opportunities if they know what you are looking for and can see specifically how you fit into that role.  It is therefore important to be clear on the kinds of work you are most energised by, and how you would like to contribute further.  Often people want a promotion because it is a way of being recognised and it comes with a bit more money. But being broadly ambitious of advancement is often a turn-off to more senior leaders because it indicates a lack of reflection about what and how you would contribute at a more senior level.   Unless you also think about what would be required of you in a senior leadership role, and how you would manage the heightened responsibilities, it is unlikely that you will be convincingly prepared to take that next step.  Therefore...

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Career Progression Factors, part 1

How do you advance in your career?  I've met a lot of clients who, upon reaching the last platform before a truly senior leadership role, feel stuck.  In the past it has always been enough to excel at their work, apply for new jobs, and take the next step.  But this formula only works to a certain level in any organisation. To have a truly executive career, you need to think about your personal and professional development.

When I encounter a client who is stuck on their career path, or losing motivation, I find that it generally comes down to one or more of the three factors of development:  Environment and Organisation Objectives, Your Purpose and Ambition, and Self Knowledge.  This series on Career Progression Factors will cover each of the factors in turn, along with some thoughts on finding your own career "sweet spot."

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Napoleon Spoke the Truth on Developing Talent (Four Limitations as a Leader)

The other day I came across this quote* from Napoleon:
"The art of appointing men is not nearly so difficult as the art of allowing those appointed to attain their full worth." 
I've never associated Napoleon with being a leader concerned about talent development  so much as he was concerned about being the top dog.  Indeed, he achieved the rank of General by age 24 so perhaps this quote belies Napoleon as the impatient talent himself, rather than the developmentally-insightful leader.  He was incredibly well-read, and had the unusual combination of being both a strategist and operationally gifted.  

From either the perspective of the developmentally-focused leader or the impatient youth, this quote holds truth.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

How do you prepare for psychometrics?

Recently a former client posed this question, "I'm through to the last 5 for a role and part of the process involves completing psychometrics.  Can you point me in the direction of some good practice samples please?" 


Psychometrics measure personality preferences.  Additionally, some organisations may administer questionnaires that seek to determine what your energising strengths or your motivators are.  In some instances, an organisation may also administer cognitive ability tests.  

There is no way to "prepare" for psychometrics or other questionnaires, other than to

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

OMG! What did she just ask for? On women and negotiations...

Recently a client asked me to put together two seminars on negotiation for women.  I've always enjoyed teaching negotiation, based on my studies at Columbia University's Center for International Conflict Resolution.  Not having taught negotiation exclusively to a group of women before, but only to mixed gender groups, and drawing from my continuing interest in working with women through the forums that I started in 2012,  I was interested to refresh the topic for myself with this new angle. Accordingly, I read up on the latest studies about women and negotiation.

Often I have met women in the managerial levels of organisations who struggle with assertiveness, only to be surprised by exactly how assertive they can be in the right circumstances.  With their friends or informally, when the barriers are down, they can be quite forthcoming and articulate about their opinions and aims, but at work there seem to be self-imposed limits.  If you've read much of this blog previously, you'll know that determining your purpose in work and life, and allowing yourself to be purposefully selfish in pursuing it, is critical to success and leadership.  

What is it about negotiation and asking for what you want, that makes having a sense of purpose so elusive for some? 


The research is quite startling.  It proves what we have intuitively known for some time.