With more than 30 years experience earning serious results for some of America’s best known corporations, including Ameritech, Convergys, AT&T, IBM, Pitney Bowes and SuperValu, Keith Wyche has risen to become a successful CEO and one of the highest-ranking African-American executives in the U.S. Keith understands the rules for success, rules he now shares as an author, speaker, and thought leader.
Long gone are the days of joining an organization at the beginning of your career and staying until retirement. In the new career marketplace it's not "if" you leave for current company or organization for a new opportunity, but "when"? However, there are several factors professionals should consider before determining it's time to leave:
1. Are Your Reasons for Leaving Valid?
Whenever you decide to leave your company or organization, it's essential that you give serious thought as to "why" you feel the need to leave? Is it for a role that allows you to enhance your skills? Does it afford you a higher salary or bigger title? Are you leaving for a more relevant industry or larger (or smaller) organization that better suits you career goals?
Or, are you frustrated by the lack support from your current boss? Could it be that you don't see opportunities for advancement? These can all be valid reasons, however, it's essential that you take time to examine your "real" reasons for wanting to leave and make certain that you are not making a decision without considering all the implications of your decision. You could be in a great company that may just be in a temporary slump? The frustration you feel working for your current boss might be better handled with better communication and feedback? Opportunities for advancement could be available in your current organization, but perhaps you haven't adequately pursued them?
Remember, starting over at a new organization means having to "prove" yourself all over again, developing a new network within the organization, learning a new organizational culture, and cultivating new mentors and sponsors.
2. Is the grass really "Greener" at the new organization?
I've found that when you are taking on a new role at a new organization, there are actually two roles: the role you "thought" you were hired for, and the one you actually get! Recruiters and hiring managers tend to focus on the positive aspects of the role during the interview process. They tell you about the new title, the bigger salary, the bright future. No doubt recruiters for Border's, Blockbuster Video and WorldCom painted rosy pictures until the bitter end.
The reality is, EVERY organization has it's business challenges, cultural idiosyncrasies, and frustration points. Large organizations can be extremely bureaucratic, start-up companies can lack the resources you are accustomed to, and older organizations can have "cult-like" cultures that discourage individual creativity. So, before you leave to join that new company, do your homework to learn as much as you can about them. You don't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire! There's nothing worse than having the "right" role in the wrong organization or industry.
3. Does this new role "fit" within your Career Roadmap?
Most professionals spend more time planning their vacations than their careers. As such, they can build a resume of disjointed, unrelated roles that confuses others as to your value and dilutes or minimizes your brand. Make sure to take time to plan what you want your career to ultimately look like. I suggest identifying what role or job you want to be in when you retire, then work backwards. What skills will I need to have developed over my career to end up in such a role? P&L experience? International experience? Will I need to have worked in various functional capacities (Marketing, Finance, Operations, etc.)
By asking these and other questions, you'll be able to make a well thought out, logical (not emotional), and strategic career move!
Out of 11 million meetings occurring in the U.S. each day, a third are unproductive...
There is nothing more trying than a futile meeting. Not only is it time-consuming and costly, but a fruitless meeting says a lot about your leadership. Your ability to run a meeting well is a direct reflection of your executive talents. Leaders have it tough already, battling the stigma placed on the dreaded office meeting, so it is important that you maintain meaningful and productive meetings at your company. As lackluster as most tend to be, they are still an integral part of the organization. However, for a meeting to be effective, the preparation must take place way in advance. Improve productivity in your next meeting with these simple tips:
1. Define the Purpose
You should always have a purpose, or a reason for which the meeting is called. Determining the purpose allows you to set the tone and direction for which way the meeting will go. Furthermore, it provides a guideline for the agenda, as well as who should attend and the specific methods to take when making decisions.
2. Pre-meeting Communication
Delegate an ample amount of time beforehand going over the issues up for discussion. Then, decided whether or not these concerns can be easily addressed through a less demanding platform, such as Email. Far too often valuable time is lost on meetings that could have been successfully handled through simpler forms of communication.
3. Stick to an Agenda
Without an agenda, the purpose of the meeting becomes askew. People begin to fill in space with inane chatter about issues, many times having absolutely nothing to do with the meeting itself. Help prepare your staff by circulating the agenda in advance. Also, be mindful of other people’s schedules by beginning and ending the meeting on time.
Meetings are not for everyone. There are always those exceptions, however in most cases, inviting too many people brings on a surge of chaos which leads to an unproductive meeting. It is important to figure out who needs to be there and for what reasons. With this knowledge, you can then design the agenda the way you see fit.
Limit the usage of mobile phones, computers, PDAs and alike. Stress the importance of focus and demand full attention from your attendees.
6. Encourage Participation
Ask each attendee to prepare a solution to any one issue on the agenda. Begin the meeting by reading each contribution aloud. Not only will this assure you that the agenda has been reviewed and read, but it creates a great deal of innovation and discussion as well.
I’ve said this many times before, successful organizations are successful because they have strong leadership. A true leader understands that in order for a business to sustain prosperity, one must take the time to cultivate its next set of leaders. However, most fail in doing so simply because they are more concerned with the training process that they overlook the importance of developing the individual as a whole. While training is still very much an important aspect to the best practices of an organization, development is what will enrich the culture. So to help develop your future leaders of tomorrow, you should:
According to Merriam-Webster, purpose is defined as the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists. Steve Jobs once said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.” You see, like Jobs and other great executives who lead with a purpose tend to be less stressed, happier, more involved and much more innovative. The moment you understand the impact of your actions is when your purpose is revealed. Are you leading to make a positive mark on the world or is it solely for wealth and authority?
Purpose is the one factor that makes all the difference when it comes down to leading an organization successfully. It is what separates transformational leaders from transactional leaders. Leadership that lacks purpose can cause more harm to a business than one with no leadership at all. Here are a few additional reasons why purpose is core to leadership:
To know your purpose is to know your meaning and what you stand for.The leaders you remember most are usually the ones who have empowered you in some way. The reason these leaders are memorable is because they all had a great understanding of their purpose. “It’s not enough to be busy,” said poet Henry David Thoreau. “…the question is: ‘What are we busy about?”
Earning your MBA is a great accomplishment, indeed an achievement worth celebrating, but often times the question running through the minds of most new graduates is…now what?
Of course you want to land the perfect job, but how do you do it? While being an educable and ambitious alumnus helps, it’s only one part of the equation. Here are some tips on how you can go from an unemployed graduate to the job you so desire.
* Social Media—Face it, we live in a technologically-driven society heavily influenced by social media, and when used correctly, can serve as an assisting platform for jobseekers. You’ll be surprised at the number of companies using sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to scout potential employees. So, be cautious in how you use social media. Your conversations should be relevant to the industry. Demonstrate that you’re someone who brings value to the company. Be a thought leader.
* Be visible—No one climbs the corporate ladder by themselves. Someone has to see you and pull you up, but in order to do so; you need to make your presence known. You want to make sure that people know who you are and that they recognize your value and what you can bring to the company. You should also network. Get out, attend events and participate in as many workshops and panels as you can.
* Always be prepared—You may be thinking to yourself, well this is common knowledge, but the truth of the matter is, most people are not. When you stay prepared, you set yourself apartfrom the rest. A certain level of confidence also ascends when you’re self-assured in the work you have accomplished.
* Interview planning—Be sure to research the company thoroughly beforehand and know who you are talking to. Visit websites, read articles; and if given the opportunity, get your hands on a copy of the Hand Report and read the Chairman’s comments. This will shed light on issues that are most important to the organization. Moreover, preparing questions demonstrates your willingness to learn and your interest in the company.
* Stay Current—Things are constantly changing and evolving all the time, so if your aim is to remain relevant, which it should be, then you must stay on top of all that is going on within your industry. Learning doesn’t stop once you’re hired. It’s important that you continuously educate yourself and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.
For more tips read my latest book, Corner Office Rules: The 10 Realities of Executive Life
Becoming an executive is by no means an easy walk in the park. Leading a company takes a great deal of effort and responsibility. The best leaders are those who have an innate ability to apprehend and relate to people on every level. However, as an executive you may not always have the time to connect with what is often a large staff. So, a good executive will understand that in order to lead an organization and its members efficiently, there must be an amalgamation of upward management skills as well as empathy to recognize the needs of those below. By doing so, you’re not only setting your team up for success, but it also gives you the opportunity to focus your time and efforts on more demanding issues. Here are five helpful suggestions to consider when managing a large company:
Remember, your team is there for a reason. After you hire your team, set the strategy, define the goal, and get out of the way!
Keith Wyche’s first book, Good Is Not Enough, helps aspiring executives achieve C-Suite status. His follow-up, Corner Office Rules, provides them with the ten key guiding principles necessary to sustain that level. This book reveals many of the critical unspoken truths of corporate life. Its contents are the closest that I’ve seen to a corporate GPS.
Curtiss Jacobs, global strategy and operations executive, American International Group, Inc.
“Keith was dynamic, compelling, and on point with his presentation, causing several moments where the audiences clapping required him to pause, before jumping back into the message. At the end he brought the audience to its’ feet. Keith was clearly the right choice to close out our conference, and to re-energize the leaders.”