Earlier this year I caught up with a handful of senior executives I had “placed” during my career with Spencer Stuart. My question to each was simple – “What are the most important lessons that you’ve learned during your career that you would pass on to aspiring executives?”
The answers that these successful executives gave provided some great insights themed along four key thoughts:
- Spend the formative part of your career, the initial 6 to 10 years, learning business
fundamentals and building a foundation of key skill sets—both technical and importantly, interpersonal.
- Believe in yourself, and let others know how you want to advance your career.
- Wholeheartedly pursue continuous learning.
- Be willing to take calculated risks. Understand that failure is part of growth.
Now, think about your own career to date and the degree to which you have put each of these four key thoughts into action. In my experience and observation, many executives become so busy simply “doing their jobs” that they leave opportunities on the table for further developing themselves by – enhancing interpersonal skills, letting others know how they want to advance their careers, thinking about future skills and learning that will be needed, or taking enough calculated risks. It’s difficult to distinguish
yourself if you remain part of the pack. Learn, as these executives have done, to be responsible for shaping your own experience and success.