The Inside-Outside Leaders

The Inside-Outside Leaders

A recent Harvard Business Review article caught my attention.  And it will catch your attention, if you are in need of managing your transition time between career posts.

The article, “Solve the Succession Crisis by Growing Inside-Outside Leaders” by Joseph L. Bower (reprint R0711E) states that “the most effective CEOs…are those who are developed within the company –but manage to retain an outside perspective.”

Bower suggests four tactics that can enhance career movement for internal executives.  I find that these steps are also very useful when you are considering a new career move and are outside of a formal organization.

Here is an adaption of Bower’s steps tailored to executives in transition.

First, when in transition, look for companies that have career paths and that understand that career growth comes from more than just going for a week of training.  An excellent company will talk to you about mentoring, challenging assignments, profit/loss responsibility – all of which are great ways for you to find ways to grow in a company.

Try to identify 20 of those companies as targets for your job search.

Second, use your transition time to find senior managers who you can talk with about industry organizational challenges, so you will keep up with rapid industry changes and develop new, innovative strategies to address issues.  Read and learn as much as you can.  Find seminars that will expand your thought processes into different directions.

Identify at least 30 executives with whom you would like to work.

Third, use your transition time to network with the 30 people mentioned above and expand your network to include your former customers, vendors, senior people in your industry association, etc. (Remember that good networking involves a “give-give” relationship.)

Fourth, get feedback from trusted advisors, friends and colleagues.  These are the people who know you best, know how you need to “polish” your interpersonal and business skills.  During transition, you have time to practice some new behaviors that may lead to success in your next position.

Although your transition time may be an anxious time for you, in some executives the transition is an adventure that leads to career growth.

Give these steps a try.  It may make the transition more pleasurable and it is definitely (according to Bower) something you should keep up once you land inside a company.

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