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BlueSteps.com, the executive career management service by the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) announces MyGoals. The new feature available to the more than 100,000 BlueSteps members worldwide allows executives to set career goals and track their progress toward achieving those goals. A series of new career management steps are displayed to BlueSteps members each time they log into their BlueSteps account.

Perfect timing! Here I was thinking about the topic of ageism, when my wife suggested that we watch “The Intern.” I was not familiar with the story, but I quickly noted the relevance. The movie is about a 70-year-old (Robert De Niro) intern working at a start-up clothing retailer in Brooklyn. Assigned to a role under the friendly, but overly-busy CEO (Anne Hathaway), De Niro played a highly professional intern with 40-years of executive experience. Due to his noticeably calm and thoughtful demeanor compared to many others in the business, Anne Hathaway’s character eventually decides to reassign her intern because he is too “observant.”

As an executive, retained recruiter, I commonly get calls and LinkedIn messages from people on the job market asking if I have a job for which they could be considered. For the few I’m able to give time to speak with, I ask “What do you want to do next?” and “What industry sector and function is the best fit for you?” The responses are often purposefully vague in an effort to keep options open. Since candidates don’t know what I am working on, they understandably do not want to be eliminated unknowingly. Without a clear target neither of us will hit the bullseye. Keeping your options open can mean no options at all.

I hear it all the time. “Nobody is calling me for interviews because of my age”.

Ageism is alive and kicking at all hiring levels, even at the senior-executive level. Many senior executives go from feeling that they’ve finally reached the pinnacle of achievement and experience in their career to seemingly overnight being concerned about being “too old”.  In fact, senior executives are often caught in the worst Catch-22 of all: their calm maturity, experience, and 360-degree view of operations gained through decades of overcoming business challenges are precisely where their unique value resides.

When a White House policy is broad enough to affect both computer programmers and NBA players, it’s a remarkable decision. Yet that’s the impact of the executive order (EO), nicknamed the "Muslim Ban," that bars citizens from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States. The order’s Constitutional legality will be decided by the courts, but what won’t be decided, in the short term at least, is the impact that the EO has on how and whom American businesses hire.

During the executive job search process, the executive interview is often the final step between you and your new role. But before you can move forward, you must master your interview and convince all parties, search firm and hiring organization, that you are the perfect fit.

But how is this done successfully at executive level? 

 

A middle-aged friend of mine had an interesting query when we caught up over beer & chips recently. The youngsters in my firm think they know it all, he said. My older colleagues also think they need no advice, he added. “Who is right?” was his exasperated question! Come to think of it, no wonder my office chef says that he can double up as a juggler, especially when he does the balancing act every day cooking lunch for 3 different generations! Curiosity aroused, I set off on a week-long expedition of research, thinking, conversations & observations! Below is the summary of my findings captured in the form of the top 7 tips for leading multi-generational teams:

As an executive recruiter in Silicon Valley, I keep an eye on technology trends and the implications for executive talent. Read about the latest technology trends:

 

  • Connected economy
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data science, data analytics and machine learning
  • Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
  • Customer Success
  • Healthcare IT
  • Diversity

 

When it comes to executive leadership opportunities, associations and nonprofits clearly are where the action is.

Don’t just take my word for it.  Look at the data. 

2013 Labor Department statistics showed more than 66,000 trade and professional associations in the United States – and well over 1.2 million, if you count charities, foundations or religious organizations. Meanwhile, new applications for association status with the Internal Revenue Service number in the thousands each year.

For ambitious executives, the world has never offered more or better opportunities to build exceptional careers. But those opportunities won’t just fall from the sky. The best careers are built by finding not just a good opportunity, but by seeking out the ideal position - and taking the right steps to capture it. The best careers result from the best career planning. 

There is no one magic formula for career planning. But all effective plans are rooted in a few critical component elements. Call it my personal Six-Step Solution.

Step One:  Know what you want.

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