May 15, 2003
Top executives cite characteristics to cultivate
Top executives have strong opinions on how people sabotage their own careers. The 2002 national CEO top executive survey on promotions, career paths and hiring decisions was a national study I conducted to identify traits, ideals and characteristics that successful leaders seek in developing their workforce.
Here's a brief summary of the more notable characteristics top executives mentioned:
Show results. Leading the list, and cited by every single executive in the survey, was the fact that not producing measurable results on the job is the sure-fire way of ending your career rise.
Find your passion. "People float through life as if it were boring, drudgery or a nuisance - often complaining, yet never determining what would fulfill them," noted a nonprofit director. Several CEOs commented that you'll never be happy if you aren't excited, interested, and enjoying what you do. The true key to success is discovering your inner passion and then finding a way to work in that arena.
Set big goals. "A key career stopper is setting your goals too low or not being willing to put in the time it takes to reach goals," noted CEO Randy Sheparo. "Believing 'I could never do that' or, 'they'll never give me a raise' means it probably won't happen." Don't pay any attention to those well-meaning naysayers who warn you that you can't do it. Assume anything is possible - then do it! Take risks, try new things, initiate, learn and grow from your mistakes. "Act and you shall achieve," notes a health care CEO. "Then, reevaluate and draw up even loftier goals - that's how you'll do more than you ever thought possible."
Money isn't everything. A great salary doesn't equate to happiness. The CEO of a prominent service company says, "A reality I've observed for most people - executive or staff - is that they realize money means very little if you are truly unhappy." Job dissatisfaction is the number one reason people elect to find a new job.
Stay positive. Having a bad attitude can hurt you. "It kills even the most talented," said one top executive. The CEOs surveyed noted that "Nothing moves you ahead faster than the enthusiasm of a great can-do attitude."
Avoid gossip and office politics. Many of the top executives surveyed noted that these two activities will undermine, cripple and even destroy your career. Another executive wisely noted, "When you get enmeshed in gossiping or office politics, you forget about the goals, mission and getting the job done. It'll lead to a lack of outcomes - a career killer every time."
Robin Ryan has appeared on Oprah, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CNN, CNBC and is considered America's top career coach. She is the best-selling author of: 60 Seconds & You're Hired!; Winning Resumes; Winning Cover Letters, and What to Do with the Rest of Your Life. She's the creator of the highly acclaimed audio training program Interview Advantage and The DreamMaker. Robin's passion is helping people find better jobs which she successfully does through her career counseling practice where she offers individual career coaching and resume writing services. A popular national speaker, Robin has spoken to over a thousand audiences on improving their lives and obtaining greater success. To purchase products or contact Robin visit her Web site at www.robinryan.com.