Are you prepared?
The perks of some jobs are nothing short of regal. How would you like a no-limits salary package, frequent first-class travel to exotic destinations, multiple residences, luxury cars, and guaranteed employment for your lifetime?
If that sounds like a job for a king (or queen), you’re right. The world’s 29 reigning monarchs enjoy privileges like these — and more. From the well-known House of Windsor to the lesser-known kingdoms of Bhutan, Brunei, and Tonga, being king is a career to die for—or more often, a career that isn’t yours until someone dies.
Earlier generations occasionally sped up a royal succession with a bit of homicide. In modern empires, the long life spans of reigning royals create a unique challenge for their successors: How do you prepare for and demonstrate you are ready for a job that won’t be yours for decades?
How Can You Prepare?
While most executives aren’t in line for a gilded throne, they share with future monarchs the need to use a current role to prepare for the next. For a leader wanting to move to the C-suite, using this interlude to enhance a personal brand is a vital step. Consider these actions:
- Know yourself. Few of us are omnicompetent. While a C-level executive needs a broad knowledge and skill base, trying to do everything equally well or attempting to create the impression you can do it all is counterproductive. Leverage your strengths and develop the ability to quickly identify people who can compensate for your non-strengths.
- Seek insight from those around you. Complete a comprehensive 360 review with anonymous input and use what it tells you. However far off something seems, there is a modicum of truth you are wise to consider.
- Get a mentor. Very few companies provide the coaching and guidance a developing executive needs to move up in an organization. Find someone who has succeeded where you want to go, has nothing to gain or lose in your success, and learn all you can.
- Cultivate accountability. The farther you go and the higher you get in an organization, the less people around you will tell you the truth. Accountability is not a tough conversation when you don’t accomplish something. It’s getting insight and input, so you don’t fail. Include regular conversation with someone you trust who will ask candid questions and challenge your thinking.
- Invest in the package. The brilliance of a brand is easily dimmed by dated packaging. You can’t avoid the reality that people make an initial assessment about who you are by what they see. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Ensure you have the physical stamina to lead a team of energetic, young professionals.
In a highly-competitive market, investing in yourself while you prepare for your future is more than good branding, it’s smart business.
Adapted from Sharpen Your Life, by Joe Jordan. Available on Amazon Kindle.