Author Topic: Resources for development into executive role?  (Read 3166 times)

StiffUpperLip

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Resources for development into executive role?
« on: August 02, 2016, 02:51:57 PM »
I am in middle management at a large company (2bn turnover) and struggling to plot a path which might lead anywhere up from here. I want to develop and have the ambition to drive this upward momentum but am hitting a barrier not knowing in which direction I need to move.  Hoping this makes sense?

I come from a working class background and was the first in my family to go to uni and the only member of my family to work in a management role in a company so I often feel lost in plotting my career path. My hubby is in a working class role too so no help there.

I was hoping that the readership here might contain a goodly number of executives or FIREd executives willing to point me in the direction of some resources to help me find my way?

I have tried good old Google which just sends me to job sites and interview coaching services which is way ahead if where I am at the moment.

Briefly,  I'm looking for pointers toward information which will help me plot a course from middle management to the executive level.  Thanks!

mskyle

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2016, 03:16:04 PM »
This might be too basic for you, but have you ever looked at Ask A Manager? It's an advice column (the author also has some books and has written other places as well) that deals with all kinds of (mainly white-collar) workplace stuff. Really good information and she (and the commenters) are pretty good about talking about workplace norms without assuming that all the readers come from families of white-collar, middle-class office workers. It might be a good jumping-off place.

StiffUpperLip

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2016, 03:29:48 PM »
mskyle

Thanks for the tip, I can't see anything on the site but have submitted a question so will wait and see if it gets answered...

marty998

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2016, 03:33:56 PM »
Find a good mentor within your organisation. Better yet, build your own panel of mentors (a personal board of directors) that you can go to for advice for. One for people management, one for commercial acumen, one for work/life balancing etc etc.

mozar

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2016, 04:08:45 PM »
The more specific you are on this site, the better advice you'll get. What is your title, how many years have you been working? Do you live in an area with a lot of opportunities or few opportunities?  Are you on linked in? Do recruiters contact you?
The big jumps in responsibility /pay usually happen when you negotiate for something better at a new company.
2 years ago I had just joined the forum and asked for work advice, I said I was making 65k and stuck at a staff level. Someone said, hey mozar, you are underpaid for what you do. I didn't even know I was underpaid. With help from the forum I was able to negotiate 2 raises and now I make 94k and I am at senior level in a new company.

StiffUpperLip

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2016, 04:37:40 PM »
I can't be super specific as I work in a niche so very identifiable.

I'm in the UK, currently working in environmental compliance with a small team (3 reportees). I have 10 years of relevant job history starting in technical support as a graduate but moving into environmental management quite swiftly simply due to the opportunities available in my company at the time.

I'm 33 and earn 52k in my current position. I'm honestly bored of my day job and know that while competent enough I've got as much as I can from my current role in terms of development and such.

I am looking for some pointers to help me get to the next level as I rose relatively quickly up to my current level (for my company) but now seem to be stagnating.

I feel like if I could build myself a roadway/development plan I would feel like I was getting somewhere but don't know where to start in terms of mapping the path from where I am to where I want to be.

StiffUpperLip

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2016, 04:40:30 PM »
marty998 the idea of a personal board of directors is an intriguing one, I'll have to have a ponder on that. I've struggled to gain a mentor in the past but spreading the load by assigning specific areas of development need might just be the way to go.

chasesfish

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2016, 06:33:58 PM »
In my world/organization, I'm also middle management and have really studied this and sought out advice.  The best I can figure is its a combination of:

1) Performance
2) Sponsor/sponsorship (Who have you worked for in the past that needs a good person)
3) Willingness to move when the opening occurs
4) Developing trust and confident with a wider range of upper management that you won't do something stupid and cost the the organization a lot of money or a lot of important people

Usually these decisions are made two levels up, but finding a strong sponsor to work for who can advocate for you is really important.  The higher up you go, the more people that have to buy into you into that position, so its important to have a credible sponsor and build working trust with all the other people involved in your career decision.

StiffUpperLip

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2016, 11:58:32 PM »
Thanks chasesfish, looking like I have a lot of work to do!

chasesfish

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2016, 05:54:20 AM »
I'll add that there are two types of managers to look for, ones that build people and ones that are moving up themselves.  They may not be one in the same, there are some great "people developers" that don't want to move higher than they currently are, then there are also some hard-driving performers that will probably move up, but aren't the best developers of people.  You need to find both inside your company.

ender

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2016, 06:23:30 AM »
2) Sponsor/sponsorship (Who have you worked for in the past that needs a good person)

In addition to this, I would recommend seeking out mentorship relationships with people doing the types of roles you want to do in the future.

Particularly if you want to stay at the same company you currently work for long term, having someone intimately familiar with how their leadership team makes decisions about this sort of thing can be invaluable.

The higher you get in management the more important networking becomes.

Axecleaver

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2016, 08:52:26 AM »
I grew up working class, and transitioning into management was a real culture shock for me. The good news is that working class values and sensibilities will serve you very well in a typically middle class management career. It's differentiating, in a good way. Pay attention to the cultural differences, a mentor to help you is going to be really important.

Always be looking at competitor companies for other opportunities. Especially in niche fields, a lot of times you need someone in power above you to retire or die to make room for you to move up. At the same time, participate in your firm's transition planning - what happens when Bob retires? This will demonstrate your strategic thinking and help make a better case for you to move up.

In terms of development resources, read. A lot. There are tons of great business books available, all of which speak to what makes great leaders. Google up "top 100 business books" for a starting point.

jamesbond007

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2016, 12:54:32 PM »
All great suggestions here. But the sad truth, sometimes, is that you will jump quickly if you move around.

StiffUpperLip

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2016, 12:41:11 PM »
Thanks for all the fantastic advice!  I knew this was the right place to come :-)

I've got myself my first mentor today and booked on a leadership academy through my company.  I might add another mentor or two in the future following this as I really like the idea of a personal board of directors!

I got a rejection email from a new job I applied for today though so that has lit a fire under me to get moving on this, I feel like I've let my professional development stagnate the last couple of years having small children (1&4).

Onwards and upwards!  Thanks all!

MissNancyPryor

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2016, 12:48:06 PM »
Great responses indeed.  I will add that what made the difference for me was to make visible contributions especially with difficult, 10-foot-pole assignments and projects.  Not the kind where a team does the work and you get up and give the presentation to receive credit, but that you are seen as the do-er, the organizer, the good idea guy who then is willing to do the hard work to make it happen.  You rally the team and drive it to conclusion.  You will get their attention that way and your personal stock will definitely rise. 

jamesbond007

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Re: Resources for development into executive role?
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2016, 04:58:30 PM »
I got a rejection email from a new job I applied for today though so that has lit a fire under me to get moving on this, I feel like I've let my professional development stagnate the last couple of years having small children (1&4).

Onwards and upwards!  Thanks all!

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