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Executive Career Growth: Big Fish in Small Pond

Big Fish in a Small Pond

As an executive in a leadership position within an organization, your time more than likely is not your own. You are saddled with meetings, issues needing to be resolved, the pressure to achieve revenue objectives, and in some instances external scrutiny from the media. – And that’s just at work. There are also demands from family, like watching your child’s soccer game at 6pm and spending quality time with your spouse. High pressure doesn’t even describe your daily life.

And you thrive in the moment and it gives you a charge. But most importantly, you are helping people. As an executive, your goal is to help people. Help them by providing employment, by delivering an important service, by making a product available to consumers, or by generating value to company investors. Each day you find a way to help some person. With all of that focus on others, you don’t really have the ability to direct any attention to the sustainability of your career, especially your executive career growth.

You are the big fish in a small pond and just as it is important for you to help people, it is important for you to help your executive career growth opportunities. Moreover, your work in your current pond is done and you need to move up to a larger pond to help even more people. How do you do it? How do you swim upstream from the small pond to the big pond for executive career growth?

There are four things you can do to create sustainable executive career growth:

  1. Know Your Style – What type of leader are you? I am referring to your dominate leadership style. As individuals we are able to change our dominant behaviors but it requires a lot of work. It is far easier to be our natural selves and react according to our natural tendencies. The first step in creating sustainable executive career growth is to be able to identify which corporate cultures are a better fit for your leadership style.
  2. Repeatable Process – Like the companies you lead, you too need to have a repeatable process and methodology, some people call it a model, for performing your role as an executive. If you are a football fan, think about the Head Coaches for the teams around the league and how they go from team to team, implementing their processes. Not that you will complete the exact steps in your process for each company, but you should have a methodology for how you are successful in your role. Having a repeatable process will aid you during interviews because you will be able to effectively speak your case, explaining how your experience from the small pond will bolster your ability to deliver on your new role in the larger pond.
  3. Model Your Team – No leader is an island by them-self and is a part of a greater team. What are the roles that you need on your team to aid in your success? Don’t limit yourself by thinking that your team needs to have specific individuals, but mimic Bill Belichick, Head Coach for the New England Patriots. Create generically specific roles which you need to implement your process. Mentor individuals that you meet along your career journey which you feel are able to fit into those different roles. That way you have options for filling open roster slots and you are also experienced with drafting someone new to contribute. This model has helped the New England Patriots win repeatedly over the past 13 years.
  4. Scale – Your process, methodology, and team model must be able to scale. Smaller organizations will not need as many resources as larger ones. Additionally, the degree of skill specialization required in the different sized ponds will also matter. As the fish swimming upstream to the larger pond for executive career growth opportunities, you must know and be able to implement your process regardless of the size of the organization or the constraint on available resources.

Create your success your way – Contact Coach Clinton to help you chart your course upstream to achieve your executive career growth goals.