Whether it’s an internal promotion, a call from a search consultant or you have heard about it on the grapevine, when the opportunity presents itself will you be prepared for it?
Lack of preparation is one of the main reasons you will miss out on your next senior appointment, and similarly, if you are match fit when the time comes to leave the subs bench and get on the pitch, the more you will be able to make of the opportunity coming your way.
Our 8 point checklist will help you to prepare and the more preparation you do the more high value opportunities you can expect to come your way:
Have a vision
Visualisation is a powerful way to bring about what you want in life and visualising the type of position you want to hold is a great way to project yourself into the future. Having a vision of the type of business you want to lead, what it stands for, what its history might look like and what its future prospects could hold are all important aspects to imagine. Ask yourself how you will improve this organisation, build upon its past and shape its future purpose. When you have clarity on this, in addition to the size, style, maturity, functions, markets and ambitions of your ideal future business you are well placed to know whether an opportunity will suit you as soon as you get to hear about it. If you are unsure, this future vision will enable you to ask key questions to establish suitability straight away.
Case study: One of the leading CEO’s we work with has a 3 point plan for future opportunities and always asks the following:
- Is it a challenger business? I.e. not the number one brand in the market.
- Is it a technology business? This expertise lies in high end technology products with high levels of R&D and innovation.
- Is it a turnaround? He only works with businesses that need incisive action and re-building.
Everyone is different and wants something different. What would your top 3 questions be?
Build your expertise with the best people
Becoming a key influencer in your area of expertise is critical to being noticed and presenting yourself to the world you want to lead. Initially you must develop your expertise by learning from those who have gone before you. Read all the books in your chosen field, attend the conferences and read the published papers. If you want to propel yourself even faster find out who the current world leader in your field is and find ways to connect with them, preferably speak with them and ask them for their advice. True leaders are confident enough to share, in fact they generally enjoy doing so. Not only will you be learning from the best but they will probably connect you to your best future opportunities.
Create a personal brand
What are your values? How do you want to be perceived by your target market? Define who you want to appeal to and what will make your appealing, study those above you to understand what they have in common and work on developing these attributes. When you have what it takes to be successful, take what you have to market, present yourself to the market by attending the best events you can get into, write thoughtful pieces which are interesting and add value, or enrich the knowledge of your audience. Use social media to promote your brand and work with and alongside those already established in the market. Following and re-posting the messages of key influencers you want to be associated with will enhance your own position.
If possible, offer your services as a presenter or write for a trade magazine or industry blog. If you can’t do this consider producing your own blogs and vlogs (short videos) which you can publish on your own social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter (much like you have found this blog you are reading now).
Punch above your weight
Landing your dream senior appointment is one thing, but nothing destroys a reputation faster than ability to deliver. Getting match fit therefore requires you to always be working at a grade above your current level. To do this you need to build up your competence levels in your current role to ‘unconscious competence’ so you can take on bigger things.
Volunteer to work on new projects, land a hand where it will be welcome and put yourself out as a consequence in the way of opportunity. A key to success is giving before you get. If you give yourself to others you will learn and grow your value. If getting noticed is a problem look for where and when the people you want to join hangout, it may be early mornings or late nights in the office or at certain meetings. Whatever commitments you make, be prepared to deliver and take responsibility for doing your best work.
I don’t mean to turn up wearing a sports kit covered in logos, I mean get people to sponsor you as a trusted colleague or associate to their peer group. Referrals usually lead to the best opportunities and their endorsements are the best door openers in the market.
Keep your profile up to date
Have an updated LinkedIn profile, up to date CV and like a graphic designer carries a portfolio if design work have a similar portfolio of business cases you have worked on, pictures of the teams you have worked with, product brochures you have been involved with and plans of structures you have built or helped to build. Before and after comparisons are particularly useful to demonstrate what you have helped to deliver.
Like anything, the more you do of something the easier it should become. Practice your networking, practice your helpfulness, practice learning by reading the books and going on the courses, practice interviewing with people you respect or search consultants when the opportunity presents.
Stay true to yourself
Sometimes all that glitters is not gold, taking a senior appointment that does not fit with your values, lifestyle or core competencies will ultimately fail if the conflict becomes too great. Matching what you stand for with the right future opportunity will ensure a strong long-term fit.
EP Executive Search LLP is a specialist search and selection partnership focussed on the advanced engineering and manufacturing sectors. To speak to a consultant about your next senior appointment, call us today on 01530 833 825.