Career Management , a multi million dollar investment Jan 07

phil crenigan  
How an executive coach can make an enormous difference to trapped Executives.   

Recent engagment survey's indicate that over 50% of executives, yes 1 in 2 ,  will return to work in January in Australia with both a high level of frustration and a high propensity to leave their firm if an opportunity arises.Given the relative stability of the Australian economy to other international markets,this is both a remarkable and disturbing statistic.The reason for the sudden resolve to leave the work environment is a result of the inevitable reflection that takes place when we step off the treadmill. For the first time in the year we ponder what we are doing,does it make sense, am I making a difference, am I valued, does it have meaning, what is the point and more importantly, is it sustainable ? The summer break is a rare  opportunity to communicate with partners and friends without the burden of back to back meetings and a 24 / 7 blackberry filling in every waking hour. However, like many resolutions without a plan,nothing will happen for many and the steady corrosion of confidence and ability will continue putting the senior executive at risk at some point in the career life cycle.


I recently convened a confidential discussion group with the clients who are working with me specifically in the area of career transition to gather some key themes and insights. 


We do not plan or invest in our careers. 


Many executives do not invest in their careers in the way they do with most aspects of their lives. When the career  is going well and the stars are aligned , it is taken for granted. When things go wrong  particularly at a senior level , the impact if profound and touches every aspect of one's life. 


We do not know how to go about resolving  the inner feeling of continual dissatisfaction, so we put up with it.  


The natural human reaction in this state of frustration  is to default and do nothing but that is the easy option. In reality,clarity of what we are, what our point of difference is, what we do well and in what environments we thrive in, is buried in various chapters of our life and involves real work in discovering this clarity.One client described his mental state as operating in a continual haze of fog. Another described it as constantly trying to score runs on the back foot. All described the state as generally an unhappy one.As a leader it is difficult to create meaning for others, if you cannot create meaning for yourself.  


We know it really important, but we are so busy continuing to be uninspired, we have no time ! 


All of the group commented on the many challenges an executive faces in trying to resolve this major dilemma on their own where seniority in the organisation , external public profile,fear of confidentiality leaks , internal politics requiring them to play the game and huge time pressures, leave little time for reflection. Before you know it, you have turned into something you do not know and somebody you do not want to be .


We begin to doubt and question the point of it all 


 All of the focus group described in detail how difficult it is to be the best you can be, when you are in the wrong firm, including a gradual seeping of self confidence and doubt in their abilities and ultimately fear of becoming a victim.


We become completely disengaged and our career is suddenly at risk.


Reasons for frustration ranged from a disagreement of where the firm is heading,unreasonable and non listening leaders, inconsistent values and behaviours,intense political games that are all about looking good not doing good,short term tactical responses in the people strategy,a lack of recognition for personal contribution and no long term career planning from the firm.


The professional support of an Executive Coach is the confidential catalyst for the trapped senior executive. 


There is an art to managing ones career and it is not about  waiting for a magical call from a headhunter, and I know  because I used to be one. The the good news in regard to all of the clients who participated in the discussion is that they are all now  in a great place mentally and all  in different  organisations.They all believe that they could not have done it without the unconditional support of an executive coach who can guide them through an intense process of self discovery. Each of these clients has made a conscious decision to challenge the inherent contradictions they were living out in the course of every week of their lives. Their reward has been a renewed sense of purpose and a return to their authentic selves. For many of them, they face an earning potential of millions of dollars in the next decade. Most importantly,all described the feeling of being in control and engaged in what they do as priceless.


If any of the above has resonated with a reader or HR Directors who are challenged by low levels of engagment in their senior executive community, do call me for a free and confidential discussion. What is the risk to making the first step....there is no risk.   


Happy New Year 


Phil Crenigan










Comments: 1

I agree with this post, as I have used the same lessons in my life and career. While it did not hurt by entering the workforce in the mid-90's and progressing quickly up the ladder, the fruit of those efforts paid off some 10-15 years later. By coupling that with a high savings rate, this allows for an early retirement or at least a significant buffer or cushion in case of any unplanned financial issues.
ThomasRolston  |  February 16, 2012
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