Working in many Fortune 500 companies…and helping them create successful corporate DNA… I’m often referred to as the “career acceleration” coach. That’s because I spend a great deal of time coaching senior-level management or high potentials preparing to move to the next level and into the C-suite. The great thing is that since I am coaching highly-placed executives, I am always in the trenches…getting a uniquely-informed insider’s perspective. I’m not just an outside consultant, but I see my role as a success partner focused on improving the organizational DNA of my clients. My experience has taught me that you need to avoid three major leadership pitfalls. In this blog I explore each of those – and offer you real-world workarounds and solutions I call “Success Keys.” They will help ensure that you unlock powerful leadership success DNA….and proactively spread strands of that valuable DNA across your team, division, and entire organization.
#1 Pitfall: Letting ego obstruct personal growth
Attaining a high, prestigious level within your organization or industry can feel fantastic…and it can also inflate your ego like a helium party balloon. The problem, of course, is that eventually the helium dissipates and then the party’s over and the balloon shrivels and crashes. Executives who fall prey to this trap have what I call the “I already know that” syndrome. I always ask, “If you already knew that then why aren’t you doing it?” Maybe you heard it somewhere along the way…but until you implement and practice it, you aren’t benefiting from that potential growth and development.
#1 Success Key: As you rise in power, listen harder…and never stop learning.
A wise leader knows that you never fully “arrive” – because leadership is a process and a lifelong journey. That’s what makes it so exciting and rewarding. The more Einstein learned, the more he said he realized just how little he actually knew. Apply that mindset to yourself, and be invigorated not by ego and being a know-it-all but by constantly stoking your own curiosity and exploring fresh ideas that can help you lead. But once you gain new knowledge or discover a fresh strand of corporate DNA, you must own and strengthen it. The only way to do that is to put it to work for you…by practicing it and applying it in your daily life.
#2 Pitfall: Not clearly identifying and focusing upon your next specific target.
When I ask high level executives what their next move is, many can’t clearly articulate exactly where they want to go. They lack clarity, focus, and specificity. You can hear the lack of confidence and their self-limiting mindset…“I don’t think I’m qualified for the next level, but maybe I could do such-and-such instead”…which does nothing but undermine opportunity and forward-moving action. That attitude and lack of clarity also leaks out in their leadership communications as a sign of weakened corporate DNA.
#2 Remedy: Crystal-clear clarity and broad, panoramic vision.
Everything you want to achieve starts with your thoughts and dreams. You must think bigger and gain clarity on exactly what’s next for you. If you expand your perspective, you can spot more opportunities and see all the angles…and accomplish bigger things. For example, I had a Regional VP client in Atlanta who wanted to move into a SVP role, But he kept telling me that he didn’t have the background or experience wouldn’t be prepared for 2-3 years. So I had him change his mindset and focus on it daily, as if it were within his capability and reach. Just four months later he was offered that SVP position at their corporate headquarters, with leadership over a large global team. Change your thinking and outlook and you will change your life.
#3 Pitfall: Crippling yourself with procrastination and inaction.
It’s one thing to have lots of ambition. But to bring your ultimate goals and dreams to fruition demands hard work and perseverance. Everyone wants to accelerate their career. What will distinguish you from that herd is your commitment to real action and developmental change. If you want to transform the corporate DNA of your organization, you need to begin by evolving your own…and that takes determination and a willingness to be challenged. Ask the team that just won the Super Bowl and they will tell you that their MVP got there not by dreaming, but by studying the game harder, being the first one on the practice field, and following through on all of the coach’s recommendations.
#3 Remedy: Make a commitment to positive, productive action and get going.
Stopping a behavior or pattern that doesn’t serve you well without replacing it with something superior never works very well. First identify a new approach that serves you better. Then take practical, positive, consistent action every day to adopt it. Most behavioral modification experts say that if you practice something new with total focus and intention every day, it can become engrained as a permanent habit within about 21 days. Then you take the next step, and adopt another habit to add to your leadership toolkit. But the key is ongoing, steady, uncompromising practice…and sometimes having a coach support you while also holding you accountable can be extremely helpful. Otherwise professional athletes and top CEOs would not use coaches. As one of my SVP clients told me last week, “Wow, you really challenge me…but I’ve learned more working with you in the last few months than I’ve learned in a long time.”
By following these success remedies you’ll start to step up to realize your ultimate potential and transform not just your career but your entire leadership self-identity. You can literally change your leadership DNA and grow in multidimensional ways that permeate your professional and personal life experience. Then, through the charisma and authentic executive presence you radiate, you’ll also strengthen your company’s own priceless corporate DNA…which makes you an invaluable leader.
What is the one big thing holding you back right now from achieving greater success? Can you identify one specific action you can take to remove that obstacle? What will you then do to capitalize on your breakthrough and momentum, to quickly move in a positive and intentional direction?
Did you know that I provide executive coaching services to top talent and senior management to help leaders accelerate their careers in record time? Contact me at 800-267-3245 to discuss how I may be of help…and get you from here to there along the fast path of least resistance and greatest gain!