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:
- Get closer to my research by joining Seven Wise Heads. This is a place where you can contribute and benefit directly from the research I am doing, stimulate your thinking and refine your action (get involved at SevenWiseHeads.com).
- 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 becoming the most sought-after expert in power and influence by ambitious and talented professionals who are serious about accelerating their careers and their results. But, Colin is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
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Other articles by Colin:
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