In my research into what it will take to become exceptional in the large organisations of tomorrow (now hosted at SevenWiseHeads.com) I talk to a lot of people.
I’d like to highlight two recent calls that illustrate some vitally important differences between those who are on the move, and those who are stuck.
David (#243) is 25, good degree and well positioned in a senior team at one of the big banks. We didn’t get a chance to talk about how he got there, but fair play to the guy. Now he’s there, he wanted to share some challenges with me:
- What does he need to do to build credibility/respect with the more senior (older) people he is working with?
- How can he overcome the problem of stakeholders having more important things to do than listen to him?
- And, what does he need to do to get noticed by the right people, and build strong relationships with them?
My guess is that this bright young man will go far.
John (#896) is in his mid 50s. Formidable track-record of achievement. Not quite C-Suite, but that suits him fine (he says). He likes to be able to switch off and he has seen too many people burn-out. As he sees it, the most significant challenges that stand in the way of success today are:
- Excessive demands to do more with less. He recognises the competitive pressures but the leadership pay no regard to feasibility (or risk).
- Relentless pace of poorly managed change. People fail to take account of the emotional disruption caused by digital transformation (etc.).
- The way people play the politics, and seek to feather their own nests, often with significant disregard to their fellow humans.
My guess is that this high achiever could go far, if he chose to. But he will probably choose to retire as soon as the opportunity arises.
It is fascinating to note the differences in their attitudes, beliefs and perspective.
These factors are all a choice, pure and simple. Both David and John are well within their rights to adopt the attitudes and beliefs they wish to – I am in no position to criticise their choices.
The trouble is, most attitudes and beliefs are formed with unconscious decisions and rarely get called out and evaluated objectively.
Talking to David I noticed that he is taking responsibility for the change that needs to happen. John is looking out at a world going wrong. David is optimistic that he can find a way, learn how to do it. John doesn’t need to do anything different, it is others who need to change. David believes that he will be successful, John believes that he can’t win through. To be honest, I don’t think John realises this belief has taken root.
My coaching practice continues to demonstrate that change is far easier than many people realise, and the results are stunning when different choices are bedded in.
The call to action?
Get those attitudes and beliefs of yours out on the table and take a good long look at them:
- What are the most important beliefs that shape your approach to work?
- Are you sure about that?
- How do they help you?
- How do they hinder you?
- What attitudes/beliefs would it be more helpful for you to adopt?
- What can you do to shift towards them?
If you’ve been affected by the contents of this email, and want to do something about it, here are a few things to consider:
- Become crystal clear on what you contribute, and what reputation you wish to create. For this, consider Making an Impact and Building a Powerful Reputation.
- Start to take more control of what is happening, and the direction events are taking. You can do this, within an hour, with Your Stakeholder Strategy.
Colin Gautrey is an author, coach, and trainer who specialises in the practical use of power and influence in large organisations. He has 25 years’ experience helping middle/senior professionals to survive, thrive and enjoy their work.
If you are ready to develop your influencing capability, become a member of Breakthrough Influence. If you are serious about becoming highly influential, fast, engage with Colin and he will help you get there in the most effective way possible.
Other articles by Colin:
Your Corporate Manifesto
Metaphors in business life are a great way of developing new ideas about what you can do to become more successful. If you are ambitious and working in a large organisation, consider for a moment the metaphor that gaining promotion to a senior post is akin to running for election.
This would mean that you need to stand for something that the electorate identify with and believe it is an important issue affecting them. They would also need to feel confident that they can trust you and that you are the right person to get the job done. You would need to understand them well, have critical…
How Credible Is Your Expertise?
I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has told me that they are an expert. Expertise is an extremely potent source of power and influence, especially when it is in high demand and comes from a credible source. Little wonder that everyone wants to be an expert.
Credibility is an internal system of judgement we apply to a source of information which helps us to assess its quality and reliability. We will take more notice of a source which appears credible. The criteria for credibility will vary from person to person based on their experience of the subject matter and of life in general. So you need to think carefully about how you…
Time to Take More Control?
Most people in leadership roles are so busy surviving that they miss opportunities to become more powerful and influential. Rather than being a shaper, they remain stuck in reaction mode. Although understandable, it is not excusable if you want to be highly successful.
The pressures exerted on people to achieve miracles with limited resources can be extreme. Hitting deadlines and year-end targets becomes an all-consuming pursuit. If you are feeling like this and struggling to survive, it is likely that you are not in control and are simply reacting to those around you.
Happy with that?
More importantly, do…