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Senior Executive Career Management

Perfect timing! Here I was thinking about the topic of ageism in the workplace, 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.”

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.

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.

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.

Top achievers in all fields rely on coaches to help them achieve maximum levels of performance. As an executive, you can benefit from working with a coach during several critical phases of your career:

The level of responsibility that goes hand in hand with an executive role can leave little time to think about personal career management. And when your greatest career advances have been thanks to your ability to improve performance, drive change, and develop your organization, it may feel like focusing on business results is managing your career. Besides, your current role may be such a great opportunity and challenge that the thought of “what’s next” may not even come to mind yet.

Have you considered that one of the major success factors for organizations are the people who work there? It is crucial to have the right people in the right place at the right time. But how do companies identify and develop these skilled people and leaders? Leading organizations recruit superior people, develop their knowledge, skills and abilities, and prepare them for advancement or promotion.

During my everyday conversations with clients and candidates, one topic often tops the discussion agenda: The progression of a career and how it can evolve. At times, when you critically analyze your career, you find that your career just happened. My experience as a search consultant has shown me that many people don’t plan their career progression because they believe there are too many factors that will make it too hard to plan their career paths.

But, this is not actually the case for successful people. Many successful people identify their core goals and plan the actionable steps to help them achieve those goals.

BlueSteps recently hosted an #ExecCareer Chat on the topic of executive career coaching, featuring Adriana Prates, Dasein Executive Search, Lucie Shaw, Amrop UK, and Lisa Thompson, Pearson Partners International.

Some of the questions asked included:

Have you mastered the art of telling concise, meaningful, high-impact stories in all of your career marketing communications?
 
Just as it can be a challenge to be objective about yourself and your career, it is equally difficult to “self-edit” the information you share with others during critical career transitions. It can all seem important because you’re so close to it. And you don’t want to omit something that might possibly be relevant, so the tendency is to share everything and trust your readers/listeners to sort out the gold.