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  • 1. Have you requested a promotion in the last year?
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  • 3. Have you ever been offered a promotion?
  • 4. Has a co-worker at the same level ever been promoted instead of you?
  • 5. Has there ever been a position you applied for and didn’t get?
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  • 7. Have you ever left an organization because you were passed up for promotion there?
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  • 9. Do you think that you deserve a promotion?
  • 10. Do you promote your work and yourself at work?
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What does organizational potential mean to you?

A few years back, I was called into an organization to try to settle a conflict among the executive leadership. From what I understood, certain leaders were accusing others of the fact that the organization wasn’t fulfilling its potential.

 

As I prepared for my meeting, the word “potential” was really gnawing at me. Of course, I had my own understanding of the word, and used it widely in my practice. However, to help narrow the rift among the leaders, I needed to understand what they meant by potential.

 

I made a series of appointments with some of the leaders involved with one question in mind: 

 

What is organizational potential?

 

My first stop was the CEO. When I asked him the question, I received the results of the latest marketing research: market share, competition analysis, etc. This all led to the increased market share the organization should aim for. For the CEO, the organization’s potential was the market share left for the taking.

 

I then moved on to the VP business development. I was met with a similar answer, as she explained new markets, innovative products, and some possible M&As down the road. So from her perspective, organizational potential seemed to be business growth as well.

 

After a quick coffee break, I headed to the office of the VP product. I received an answer similar to the VP business development, but with details about new product lines, new products for existing lines, and increased market share. There was also mention of the need to improve logistics. With regard to organizational potential, I was definitely seeing a pattern.

 

As I crossed the campus to the VP of HR, I wondered if I would get a different response. And of course, I did. Her answer was that for her, organizational potential is the organization’s people. Of course, I wasn’t at all surprised. 

 

After a long day, I returned to my office to think about what I’d learned. It was clear that the fact that the VP HR’s office was on the other side of the campus wasn’t accidental. I decided that I’d make another appointments with the CEO to ask him this simple question: 

 

Do the organization’s people represent any kind of organizational potential?

 

The next day, when I posed the question to the CEO, he looked a little surprised. “Of course, our people are the most important part of our organization.”

 

So when I asked him why he hadn’t mentioned people at our previous meeting, he responded “because it’s so obvious - so clear that it doesn’t even need to be mentioned.”

 

In my mind, his answer was telling me something else: that this organization’s people weren’t seen as the key to its potential. Worse, they were being taken for granted. 

 

I had my work cut out for me and continued working with this organization for quite a while.

 

Unfortunately, as I look around, this is a common story. Most organizations do not see the obvious connection between their people and the organizational untapped potential. 

 

How do you help organizations reach their potential through their people? I’d love to hear from you.

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“Think big but start small: the #1 key to success”

Leaders is the time when your career can either soar north or plummet south. Unfortunately, for most Leaders, plummeting is the default. It’s not because they’re not talented or lack the ability to soar, an example of how to measure success at work. It’s actually because the flight path was never planned very well.

 

Up until this point in your career, you might’ve taken careful baby steps - from entry level to team leader and finally to middle manager, honing in on whatever background you’d come to your company with. Of course, this path has served you well so far as a respected middle manager. This is a reasonable indicator of how to measure success at work.

 

But what’s the next step? At this stage in your career, planning this next step requires a complete change in mindset. Many successful middle managers decide they want to vye for the most senior position in their discipline. For example, a mid-level marketing manager might set the goal of becoming the chief marketing officer. Naturally, they might begin to meticulously plan their climb towards this position, rung by rung up the corporate ladder. The rationale here is that each rung would be a “realistic” move as the years go by. And, if they’re lucky, they’ll reach CMO status one day. If not, they’ll be left by the wayside along with the majority of frustrated middle managers.

 

So how can you make sure you don’t become a middle management castaway? The first thing you need to do is think big. Solid career planning that leads to real results requires that you take the time to think out-of-the-box when it comes to your ultimate career dream. Taking the mid-level marketing manager as an example, trying out “what if” scenarios is key. For instance, what if you envisioned yourself as CEO or in another C-suite role? Would a series of short term, step-by-step plans to move up the ranks in marketing necessarily make sense? Of course not. To be a CEO, you would need to acquire experience in nearly every other discipline in the company. But if you limit yourself to in-the-box planning limited to the next rung on your career ladder, you’ll miss the big picture...and find yourself stopped in your tracks. 

 

Only after taking the time to think big can you then start to see the multiple paths available to you to achieve your ultimate goal. And once you’ve identified these paths, you can then begin to choose one to plan your next step.

 

When you’ve chosen a path, formulate goals that will allow you to stick to it. Don’t make what I call the gym membership mistake and commit to seven workouts a week. Instead, aim for two days and then build up gradually. For instance, if you know you want to learn about the financial side of your company, attempting to gorge on every financial report in sight is unrealistic. Sure, just like the gym, you’ll start out with great intentions and full of energy. But then, little by little, the stack of reports will start gathering dust and you’ll blame yourself for failing to live up to your own expectations.

 

A much more productive plan would be to munch on a couple of reports for a given amount of time and then to increase any intake as time permits. The important thing is that  once you have your overall vision in place (and not just your next short term move), accomplishing your vision bit by bit will lead to real progress.

 

To summarize:

 

Give yourself some time to work out your ultimate goal, leaving “realistic” short-term goals aside.

Make a plan towards accomplishing this goal, acknowledging that there are mutliple paths.

Begin one or two steps towards the goal, increasing these steps as you are able.

 

Good luck and don’t forget to dream!

 

And always remember: 

 

Great managers are made. Not born.

 

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How to make 2021 a year of opportunity

A business associate of mine stopped me in the elevator the other day lamenting how quickly 2020 had passed without any new business opportunities. I told him that this was indeed unfortunate, but that he probably shouldn’t expect any for 2021 either. Stopped in his tracks, he looked at me with a combination of shock and consternation. Of course, I understood his reaction, so I began to explain that there’s simply no such thing as a year without new opportunities...

 

Contrary to what we’ve all been raised to believe, opportunities do not come knocking at our door. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that they don’t exist. On the contrary, opportunities are abound everywhere - but they aren’t going to show up at our doorstep. So how do we see them? By occasionally allowing ourselves to divert our energies from the daily grind. Once we lift our heads out of our never ending to-do lists, we’ll notice that there are bigger and greater things out there that have the potential to move us to the next level.

 

 

My New Year’s wish for all of us is that we’ll take the time to notice all of the exciting opportunities out there, making 2021 a year to remember.   

And always remember:

Great managers are made. Not born. 

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2021 - A New Beginning

New beginnings always bring new opportunities - but it’s up to us to decide whether to make these opportunities our own - an important part of career goals for managers. Unfortunately, from my experience, very few of us take full advantage of new opportunities. This is usually attributed to what people mistakenly call a “realistic” view of such opportunities. They incorrectly overestimate the gap between where they are and where they could be. So they decide it’s not realistic to go for the opportunity - better to stay put. 

Others who understand the importance of career goals for managers realize that opportunities cannot be wasted. Yes, it takes work, but it’s not impossible. I hope you’re part of this second category of managers. It’s 2021 and you have a world of opportunities awaiting you. Here’s how to get going: 

First, it’s important to understand that seizing new opportunities means making some changes of your own. To do this, you’ll have to take an inventory of your current habits to see which ones might help or hinder your journey towards new opportunities. For example, when making decisions, do you often seek advice from everyone in your department? Perhaps such a habit has caused you to miss out on time sensitive deals. 

Once you’ve taken your habit inventory, follow these steps:

 

1.    Identify the habits you need to change.
2.    Reduce these habits so that you can control them. This means being able to take them out and put them away as needed. If you get this right, you’ll find that you’ve made room for desirable habits to take root and grow.
3.    Nourish and monitor your desirable habits. With persistence, they will become second nature and lead you towards success.

With this plan, you’ll seize the right opportunities in 2021 and before you know it, it’ll will be your year of success. During 2021, I’ll explore some of the topics I’ve touched on in more detail in the following posts:

 

1.    “Think big but start small: the #1 key to success”
2.    “Identify habits that are harming your career”
3.    “Reduce harmful habits: why and how?”
4.    “Find your untapped potential: why and how?”

 

Look out for this special 2021 series. And always remember: 

Great managers are made. Not born.


 

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My 4 holiday wishes to help make your career dreams come true

At this time of year, as we gather with our loved ones to celebrate the holidays, we find ourselves reflecting on our lives - family, friends, and career. Often, we ask ourselves where we are in achieving our dreams. Are we completely satisfied? Are we possibly a little disappointed? This is probably why one of the most popular greetings during this time of year is “may all your dreams come true.” 

 

So what about your career dreams? Have you met your own expectations? To help you along, allow me to wish you 4 things this holiday season.

 

Holiday Wish #1: Unleash your dreams.

At this magical time of year, dare to dream what you’ve never dreamed before. Dreams allow us to think “out of the box” - to transcend the normal borders of our imagination - beyond how to measure success at work. Use your innate ability to dream about your dream career - especially if it seems to be “the impossible dream.” You see, such “impossibility” is actually the stuff dreams are made of...and facing impossibility in your dreams is the only way to overcome it in life. Here are four useful reminders that will hopefully get you dreaming:

 

Just as in fairy tales, in real life, dreams are meant to come true.

Every great thing we’ve ever known - ideas, inventions, cures - started with a dream. 

If you don’t have a dream, you can’t make it come true.


 

Holiday Wish #2: Visualize your success.

This holiday season, do overtime. No, not at work - visualizing. Clearly visualizing the results of your dreams is a crucial bridge towards making the impossible a reality and part of how to measure success at work. This is because of the simple fact that anything you can visualize, you can accomplish.

 

So start by visualizing yourself in your corner office. What does it look like? Where is your desk? What’s the view outside your window? Then visualize yourself in different situations in your new job. What’s it like to run a staff meeting? Give an important presentation? Determine a budget? Don’t worry if your visualizations are a little dull or blurred at the beginning. The more you visualize, the sharper and more detailed the images will become. And make sure that your other senses (hearing, smelling, feeling, maybe even tasting) get in on the act as well. The more senses you involve, the more you’ll actually really know what it’s like to have your dream job. So close your eyes and get to work.

 

Holiday Wish #3: Put your visualization into words.

After you’ve visualized your dream job in as much detail as possible, seize the opportunity to express it in words. When we put our dream job into words, we make it concrete so that we can set the goals needed to turn it into reality. When putting your visualization into words, here are some general questions you should answer:

 

1. What is your dream job?

2. When do you want to begin it?

3. What are some of the major milestones you’ll need to accomplish along the way?

 

So start putting things into words - whether you write them down or record them, now is the time. 

 

Holiday Wish #4: Plan it out.

If you’ve gotten this far (with or without the egg nog), consider how you’ll start realizing your dream as you begin the new year. Of course, this isn’t the time to make a very detailed plan, but while you’ve got things going, it would be a good idea to think about the following:

 

1. Break down your overall dream job goal into smaller, more manageable “mini-goals.”

2. Assign a rough due date for each of these mini-goals.

3. Keep your eyes on the ball. No backup plans.

4. And of course, believe in your dreams!

 

And finally, I’d like to wish you a very joyous holiday season, filled with love, happiness, and peace for all. 

 

Best wishes

 

Etika

 

P.S. And don’t forget. Great managers are made. Not born.

 

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3 step process to find out what others think about you

This, of course, would be the game changer - worth everything you could give, wouldn’t it? So here’s my 3-step process on how to get it:

1.    Spot the differences. Make a list of the differences between you and the person who actually got the last promotion. Did they have different skill sets? Personality traits? Accomplishments?

2.    Grow your grapevine. Schedule meetings with a variety of people at your company who can give you an honest opinion about how others see you. Are you seen as a viable candidate for promotion? What do people value in you? What would they change in how you do things?

3.    Crosscheck your info. By now, you’ve got a lot of information. Make up a chart of your strengths and weaknesses versus the person who was promoted. Did you really have a chance for this last promotion? If so, how can you position yourself better next time? 


Following my 3-step discovery process to make sure you’re not passed up the next time a promotion opportunity comes along. In the full EMP course, you’ll have the opportunity to take the Executive Mirror Questionnaire, which will help you pinpoint those areas that your boss will never tell you about. 

So remember that the 3-step discovery process will help you:

1 understand how others see you as a manager;
2 identify what you have to learn or do to get promoted next time;
3 shorten the time it’ll take for your next promotion;
4 reduce the frustration and heartache associated with not succeeding.

I’ve put together a 6-hour power course to help you get the promotion you deserve. My GIFT to you. No sales. No marketing. for FREE . Get started today.
https://bit.ly/3g3ciDP
Enjoy  : )

And always remember: 

Great managers are made. Not born.
https://myexecutivemirror.com/


 

 

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The best version of yourself? This is the time to begin your journey.

1.    Be yourself. One of the most popular (and worst) pieces of management advice is to find a role model to imitate. This advice works against you from day one. Instead of acknowledging your unique abilities and talents, using a role model re-shifts your focus on what you don’t have. Instead, it is far more productive to concentrate on your positive points, as this will strengthen you and fuel your motivation. More importantly, you invest your energies in building up yourself as a success.

2.    Differentiate yourself from others. Find out what’s special about you and make it prominent, so that decision makers will recognize how to differentiate between you and others. This will become your relative advantage, or your USP (unique selling proposition), just as in marketing. And like in marketing, you’ll need to manage your brand, ensuring that it always stands for something that others don’t have.

3.    Say no to cookie-cutter solutions. As a unique brand, you should shy away from catch-all formulas for success. So save your valuable time and money by avoiding all kinds of general classes, seminars and workshops. These are the places that will stamp out your uniqueness, rather than provide an opportunity to let it flourish.

I’ve put together a 6-hour power course to help you get the promotion you deserve. My GIFT to you. No sales. No marketing. for FREE . Get started today.
https://bit.ly/3g3ciDP
Enjoy  : )

 

And always remember: 

Great managers are made. Not born.

https://myexecutivemirror.com/

 

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Why is it so hard for us to hire top performers?

It seems like hiring top performers has gotten almost impossibly challenging. No doubt, the furious pace of global business is a big contributor, with demand for top performers climbing all of the time. 

 

But the truth is that hiring top performers has always been one of HR’s most difficult challenges. It’s something I struggled with when I began my own career over three decades ago.

 

When the difficulty of hiring top performers first came up in my career, I made a list of possible reasons:

 

- Headhunters aren’t doing their job.

- Organizations can’t offer enough money.

- Role descriptions aren’t accurate.

- Role/industry/company image/location aren’t attractive.

- Ego issues (on both sides)

- “Old school” hiring practices

 

While these were good hunches, I knew that I needed to check with the field. As I was lucky enough to have working relationships with many of the top HR industry leaders, I asked them why they thought hiring top performer was so challenging. After analyzing all of their answers, I boiled them down to four main points:

 

1. Incompetent headhunters

2. Differences in compensation expectations

3. Inflated egos making unrealistic demands

4. Unattractiveness of industry/organization/location 

 

This was from the HR perspective, but what about the top performers themselves? Again, as I had access to many top performers (I had “raised” most of them), I asked them the same question from their perspective: Why did you turn down your latest job offer?

 

This time, I received a much wider range of answers, but here are the top four (in descending order):

 

1. Organizational culture

2. Intraorganizational mobility

3. Compensation package

4. Hiring process

 

When I analyzed the data, I was surprised to see that compensation was listed as third. According to the HR professionals, they were missing out on top performers because of money. But according to the performers themselves, this clearly wasn’t the case. The number one reason was organizational culture. What was I missing?

 

To answer this, I needed to somehow bridge the perspectives of HR and the top performers themselves.

 

So I went back to the top performers to ask them what they think organizations see as their biggest challenge in hiring them. I got three answers:

 

- Incompetent headhunters

- Compensation demands

- Top performer’s ego

 

Clearly, the top performers were able to put themselves in the shoes of the organization - so much that unless the organizations were told that their culture was the number one culprit, recruiting top performers would remain elusive forever.

 

So it was now time to focus on organizational culture. As it’s such a catch-all term, I returned to the top performers to ask what they meant by organizational culture.

 

From their responses, their understanding of organizational culture seemed to center on how much a top performer can develop and advance within an organization. To gauge this, they’ll ask themselves some of the following questions:

 

- Is the organization open enough so that new performers can really learn how it operates? 

- How transparent is the organization in terms of employee promotion and turnover? 

- Is leadership development a priority?

- Are there sufficient resources for this?

 

Following this, I understood that many organizations, when attempting to attract top performers, were making the mistake of prioritizing money over an open organizational culture that encouraged top performer growth and advancement. This, of course, with work, can be changed.

 

From my perspective, every organization has the potential to hire top performers. They just need to make the choice to develop this potential.

 

What are your thoughts on the challenges of hiring top performers? I’d love to hear your ideas.

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Discover your hidden potential

Successful career goals for managers require that we constantly improve ourselves, whether it’s how to increase productivity, run our meetings, or manage our teams. The good news about always improving is that we end up with super skills that would require others years of experience to achieve. But surprisingly, our quest for improvement can actually prevent us from getting that next promotion.

 

Sounds backwards, doesn’t it? After all, we’ve been taught from an early age that improvement is one of the most important keys to standing out from the crowd.

 

Indeed, this is true. But consider this example. You’re a wiz at planning and running meetings. No one in your organization can do it like you, as you’ve perfected meetings to an art - from creating reader-friendly agendas and accommodating all of the participants to following up on the open issues. In fact, when someone in your organization wants to hold a high-stakes meeting, you’re the address.

 

Of course, you weren’t born with these meeting super skills. You’ve been perfecting them, bit by bit, for years now. And the more compliments you’ve received over the years, the more energy you’ve put into becoming the company’s resident Meeting Meister.

 

But let’s consider for a moment what being Meeting Meister might actually have cost you. While you were investing time perfecting l’art du meeting, were you perhaps denying other talents and skills from emerging?

 

For example, what about that side of you that likes to sit alone and come up with crazy ideas? When was the last time you gave yourself the time and space to just brainstorm? Or have you only allowed such ideas to come up within the framework of a well-oiled meeting?

 

My point here is that in pursuing improvement, sometimes we find ourselves stuck in certain managerial patterns, earning titles such as “the best at”, often at the expense of developing innate talents we’ve inadvertently muzzled.

 

If it were our only goal to remain, for example, the Meeting Meister, then this wouldn’t be a problem. But it is, because decision makers want to see well-rounded managers, not just specialists.

 

And so those managers who are simply known as “the best at…” are eventually left behind, sentenced to life in Middle Management Land.

 

Preventing such a life sentence requires developing your innate potential so that you can strive towards well-roundedness. I wish there were a magic formula to find out what your potential is, but alas, there isn’t.

 

Nevertheless, no need to despair because there is a surefire way of finding out what your potential is on your own: give it time and space. Once you let your potential out to breathe, it’ll blossom and become a natural way of shaping how you do things.

 

I’ll give you an example. Let’s go back to the Meeting Meister. Remember that they are good at planning meetings and making sure everyone participates. But what would happen if the Meeting Meister exercised a more “entrepreneurial spirit” and called an impromptu gathering, limiting the time people could speak? One outcome I’m familiar with is that more ideas might be generated in a shorter timeframe. And as far as the Meeting Meister is concerned, this would naturally feed into their innate talent of quick brainstorming.

 

So the result here is both a Meeting Meister and an entrepreneurial type of manager, all rolled into one - a much more well-rounded candidate for promotion.

 

Again, I can’t provide a one size fits all solution for everyone, but if you begin by reducing some of the habits that come most naturally to you, you’ll begin to discover hidden potential you’ve had all along.

 

Here are some key points to remember:

 

 - Successful career goals for managers include constant improvement.

 

 - An often neglected part of improvement is the hidden potential we’ve all got...

    we just have to find it.

 

 - Give yourself time and space to discover your hidden potential by reducing

    automatic behaviors.

 

 - A well-rounded manager always tops the promotion list.

 

And always remember:

 

Great managers are made. Not born.

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