Finding New Eyes…

On March 23, 2011, in Blog, Strategic Leadership, by Christine Glasco

I listened to a National Public Radio (NPR) radio broadcast late last year. The radio host was interviewing 85-year old Theodore Cross, who published Waterbirds, a book of photographs and commentary on birds thriving in water habitats.  Mr. Cross, who was born during the Calvin Coolidge Administration, discovered a passion for photographing birds later in life.  The show host paraphrased the French novelist and critic Marcel Proust to describe Mr. Cross’ awakening to his ‘second-half’ career: “the challenge is not how to find new birds – the challenge is how to find new eyes.”

This radio broadcast reminded me of one of my favorite past coaching engagements.  An HR Director with a large utility asked me to meet with one of the company executives.  Tom  (an alias) was one of their most successful leaders and he was considering several career options over the coming 18 months – retirement, staying in his current role, moving to a bigger role, taking on special projects, getting involved in a ‘cause’ outside of the company, etc.

On the day of our first meeting, I went to greet Tom in the lobby and walked with him to the conference room.  We talked of inconsequential matters, small talk.  He was eloquent, courtly and genial in demeanor; he wore power lightly – but firmly.  We spent another few minutes getting acquainted and I could tell as he looked into my eyes that he was thinking – well this is nice but how can she help me?

I asked him to tell me why he thought the HR Director arranged for him to meet with me?  Tom described his current thinking, his work situation and he related a couple of personal and family concerns.

I asked him to tell me about any past company executive who had left the company in a way that his/her organization was well-prepared for the exit, there was a talented successor in place and the person exited with his/her reputation intact.

Tom grew quiet and was deep in thought for several very long minutes.  This was not an uncomfortable silence; I believe that silence is an opportunity for new information to emerge.

He finally responded: “Christine that’s an excellent question.  The person who left the company with his organization intact and thriving was Ed (an alias); he left about 10 years ago. Ed prepared his organization, promoted and groomed his successor; announced his exit and communicated the strategy for organization sustainability and future growth.” Tom also told me that when leaders leave the company, there is turmoil, dysfunctional behavior and a period of time when the remaining team is ‘rudderless’.  The departing executive’s peers often engage in negative discussions that erode his/her contributions.

I said: “So, when and if you decide to leave, it sounds like you want to have an exit strategy in place that supports the organization and allows you to leave in an elegant manner.”

He told me that he hadn’t really identified what bothered him about coming to this stage in his career, but this meeting was helping him think about where he should begin to make preparations – whether or not he decided to leave in the next 18 months.

Questions for you to consider:

  • What have you been thinking about your career over the last few months?
  • Have you considered identifying and trying different paths or options and designing a strategy to help you attain your current and future career-related goals?
  • When was the last time you looked at your career landscape with new eyes?

If you would like to have a discussion about your career, please contact me.

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Christine M. Glasco consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on career management/career transformation strategies and strategic leadership development solutions.  To provide you with clarity on how to achieve the next steps in your career, go to www.christineglasco.com and request a complimentary copy of Is Your Career on Track? Assessment and e-Workbook

Email: info@christineglasco.com

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5 Responses to Finding New Eyes…

  1. Jay Roy says:

    Christine,

    I think those are great questions.

    I would suspect most people/professionals don’t spend enough time on those questions due to a lack of time, don’t know how, feel stuck and in a funk leading to paralysis of thinking and acting, etc.

    Since the rate of change has been so fast over the last couple of years, the traditional things don’t seem to work but they feel challenged in finding valuable resources of where/how to turn to and how to identify the things on their resume that are valuable and modify those valuable assets and gear them to the 21st Century.

    For instance those professionals that are not young and not quite old (40’s to 50’s) are struggling with what the 21st Century resume is supposed to be. What skills, experiences, new attributes/qualities are important and necessary to function to land better or even comparable jobs in this “new normal”.

    So new eyes are really necessary which requires us to do a lot more searching and introspection and discussions with people like you that may be able to give additional thoughts, insights and “help” to put us on at least on a good pathway.

    Please help us understand what a 21st resume should look like so we can begin to answer those great questions fully.

    Thanks Jay

  2. Christine Glasco says:

    Jay, thank you for your comments. I think you are on target when you identify the concerns of 40 – 50 year olds as what’s next, how to market your competencies, etc. However, I think this is a problem that everyone experiences.

    For example, how do you craft a Remarkable Resume today?

    Should you include an objective or not? Do you include a bullet list of responsibilities or accomplishments? Should you list the physical address or the web address of your employers? What is the best way to display degrees or certifications? If you are just graduating from college and you have not had an internship or relevant work experience, what do you put on the resume? If you are 55+ and you have a number of short-term jobs, should you disguise the number of moves? How do I add the key words that ensure that my resume stands out from the crowd?

    These and other issues job seekers at any age must face every day. I could write volumes on the items to consider when writing a resume. Equally, I have written articles on best practices for managing your career. What is most important is to identify what goals you would like to achieve, where you want to be in your career in five years, educate yourself and find experts to help you.

    Regards,

    Christine Glasco

  3. […] company in such a fashion that his/her reputation was enhanced because of the way in which their Career Exit Strategy was planned and […]

  4. […] company in such a fashion that his/her reputation was enhanced because of the way in which their Career Exit Strategy was planned and […]

  5. […] company in such a fashion that his/her reputation was enhanced because of the way in which their Career Exit Strategy was planned and […]

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