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03/07/2017

Executives: is your job at risk?

We live in a world where company performance is now measured continually and decisions are often driven by short term objectives. Future job security for senior executives is no longer guaranteed in the face of potential short-term underperformance, strategy changes, mergers and acquisitions and the impact of digital disruption. Did you know that your average job duration as a senior executive is only 4 to 5 years?

Heidrick & Struggles emphasized this issue in the 2014 study on the CEO. A management concept called “VUCA” (for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambivalence) has even been developed in the last few years to show the increasingly unclear situations in which CEOs and senior executives must take important decisions.

This implies that in the face of this environment, continuing learning is a must for all senior executives to develop new skills such as:

  • Knowing how to deal with the ever-increasing number of stakeholders both inside and outside of the company.
  • Knowing how to anticipate problematic market trends by learning from past events.
  • Knowing how to transform doubts into a positive state of mind from an emotional and rational perspective.

Let’s explore some steps that will help you thrive in this uncomfortable situation.

Stay calm

For a business leader, change is an opportunity to be seized. This can be achieved by staying calm, open to the future and optimistic.

This positive attitude will reassure your teams who in turn will likely remain calm in the face of their difficult situations.

Manage your stress

The uncertainty of this situation will create considerable stress and it is critical to manage it and avoid a burn out. Senior executives are even more exposed because they are often alone.

One of the first strategies is to better manage your time. Structure your agenda in recognizing the key events in the business rhythm of your company and build a delegation process along the following principles:

  • Integrate your strategic objectives in your agenda and leave some time slots free for strategic reflection.
  • Set your priorities on both the professional and personal levels and focus your attention on these priorities.
  • Put in place key performance indicators that will allow you to follow the delegated responsibilities, understand their performance and act when necessary.

Know yourself better

Experience tells us that senior executives spend very little time with continuous learning. Understanding your multiple forms of intelligence is a necessary part of the job requirements. VISCONTI has tools to help you better understand the fundamental drivers of your personality and your leadership style.

Once you know your personality and what motivates you, you will see the most pertinent direction for your career more clearly.

Network

Start to network not only for your current company but also for yourself. This means communicating your professional achievements and highlighting your high added value contributions with relevant KPIs. You will begin to gain visibility in the market by participating in conferences and writing articles.

Participating in both professional and non-professional events such as cocktails, lunches, lectures or even sports will increase your chances of meeting new people from other sectors.

Don’t forget the importance of digital networking where Linkedin is a critical communication channel. This professional network permits you to discover new horizons in exchanging with other professionals who may have the same preoccupations as yours. Linkedin may not be the determining factor in finding a new job but it is an aspect of networking that cannot be neglected.

Prepare yourself by updating your CV, maintaining contact with executive search firms and staying up to date with the job market through the press and the internet.

Being a leader carries a number of risks that you should anticipate from the beginning so as not to be negatively impacted by them. To help you, VISCONTI has developed a sparring partner methodology which drives caring exchanges on all of your preoccupying issues. It is because we are convinced that the leader is at the heart of his company’s performance that we help him realize his full potential.  It does not come down to fate but rather opportunities to be seized.

Charles UPCHURCH & Michel LANFRANCA, VISCONTI executive coaches

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