4 Keys to Successful Leadership Transitions

4 Keys to Successful Leadership Transitions

Leadership Transitions – sometimes they are welcomed and sometimes they are dreaded. Either way, they are never easy and when not done well can leave lasting scars. If you are in a transitional situation, these 4 keys to successful leadership transitions are useful.

Too often, people focus on the logistical aspects of the transition and neglect the interpersonal. The departing leader, the new leader and the board all play critical roles. They must manage the interpersonal, and if they do, there is a much greater probability that the transition will go smoothly.

Business leadership transitions occur for many reasons:

  • An owner selling the business to a family member, partner or outside interest.
  • Leadership change opens the role allowing another team member to advance in the organization.
  • Crisis such as death, accident or illness requires an immediate transition
  • A leader chooses to leave the organization or is forced out by owners or board

So, how best can leaders best handle transitions? Consider the following 4 keys to successful leadership transitions as a guide.

1. Clearly define roles.

For the former leader within the organization. While a clean break is usually healthiest for the new leaders and the organization, for many reasons this often does not occur. If the former leader is the owner, parent or CEO becoming chairman, they will still want to be involved in some way. It is healthiest for the organization if the former leader has a well-defined and limited role. Most of his communication should be with the new leader and not the people under them.

2. The former leader creates a new identity. 

This really applies to those who are transitions, however staying within the organization. Identity is attached to leadership in the sense of the leader’s purpose within the organization. During the time of transition, that identity is shifting and needs a new focus. Often the new leader, board members or consultants could help the former leader create their new identity. 

What are the former leader’s passions, interests, and hobbies? While hobbies, such as golf, are time-consuming they rarely offer the mental stimulation or recognition they need to form their new identity. Could they volunteer, mentor or consult outside the organization or take on a project of some kind? This is a time when the former leader could make a difference by getting involved in a non-profit or helping young entrepreneurs.

3. Communication is key. 

When both the former and new leaders talk about their new relationship, their emotions, and identities, they could work through many issues festering just below the surface. The new leaders must always treat the former leader respectfully and explain upfront that they may be doing some things differently. 

They could identify where they are aligned and not aligned, and discuss how to resolve the unaligned areas. Everyone must be invested in helping the former leader move on and the new leaders take charge.

4. Role of the Board. 

The best way that members of the board could support the transition is to transition along with leadership. Members of the board who have served with the former leader and are aligned with him/her could serve as confidantes to the former leader and guide him/her through the transition. They too ought to depart the board and allow new leadership to create their own board of advisors. 

Too often board members use the justification of having institutional knowledge when in fact this knowledge could prevent the organization from moving forward in a reinvigorated way. Boards today require fresh thinking and diverse perspectives. 

What better time to create that, than in a transition of leadership.

The smoothest transitions often have a well-articulated succession plan and clear processes for managing and communicating the changes. They also address the identity, emotional and relationship issues of both the former and new leaders and create an environment of open communication among the leaders and the board. The organization moves forward by respecting the former leader while having the latitude to innovate and build a team for the future. 

When done well, everyone excels in their new roles and the organization thrives. As an additional option consider hiring a transitional leader to aid the process.

10 Ways to Improve Analytical Skills.

10 ways to improve analytical skills

In such fast-paced working environments, having high-level analytical abilities is an absolute must. Employees are expected to think on their feet, solve problems and analyze data in real-time. We’ve put together a list of 10 ways to improve analytical skills.

To do all these things and achieve professional success, it’s in a person’s best interest to continuously seek ways to improve.

Here we’ve listed 10 ways to improve analytical skills. and, as a result, not just improve your career but also create greater efficiency in all areas of your life.

1. Read More Frequently

A good way to start expanding your analytical skills is through the power of the written word. Indeed, the more you expose yourself to different ideas, the more you’ll increase your own cognitive abilities. The trick, however, is to not skim over pages.

When reading a book, magazine or article, you should think about the overall plot, take note of each character in the story and think about other possible scenarios. This will stimulate deep thinking and force you to test your logic and broaden your imagination.  All of which strengthen your mind’s ability to think analytically. 

2. Listen to Podcasts

If you commute to work daily and spend hours behind the wheel, this is an exceptional portion of time to activate brainpower.  Thought-provoking podcasts increase your critical thinking skills while on the road.  And, if you happen to be in a highly competitive industry, podcasts are a great way to stay up to date on current happenings.

Podcasts?  There’s an app for that! These days it seems the boom in podcast hosts is peaking. There is huge exposure available to opinions and expert advice in just about all industries. 

A few good podcasts worth listening to include Developer Tea, Broken Brain, Applying Awareness and TED Radio Hour, all of which will offer useful tips for stimulating creativity and challenging your thoughts and ideas. All of which, ultimately, help you enhance mental capacity.

3. Exercise

With everything we’ve learned about exercise in modern times, it’s no stretch to understand that moving the body is good for the mind.

The type of exercise you choose to do is entirely up to you, but taking a tai chi or Zumba class might be a good idea. You will need to memorize steps and sequences as well as focus on executing them in a controlled manner, effectively challenging both your analytical thinking skills and your physical stamina. 

4. Play Brain Games

Brain games like Sudoku, chess, backgammon, and Scrabble can help expand your critical thinking skills. It’s true, just 15 minutes a day of playtime can increase your mental stimulation and improve your analytical skills. 

Bonus points: The best part is that they are fun and they can be used as bonding experiences. 

So, instead of sitting in front of the TV all evening, play a brain game with your family and monitor your improvement over time. And if you can’t get anyone to play with you, don’t worry: ask google about Lumosity. It has plenty of brain games designed to encourage your thinking.

5. Surround Yourself with Different Personalities

If you socialize in a small circle, you’ll most likely discuss the same topics day in and day out. 

Although it’s not bad to have a tight-knit group, it’s important to surround yourself with people that you wouldn’t normally socialize with. These are the people that will spark your imagination and offer you a new and different perspective. 

If you’re not sure where to meet different people, start by attending networking events and engaging with everyone you meet there. You’ll be surprised by the effect that others can have on your analytical abilities.

6. Learn Something New Every Day

After graduating from high school or university, most people become passive when it comes to testing themselves and learning new things. Once we are comfortable in our careers and know what we are good at it, we tend to put a pause on learning. 

Try to learn something new every day; whether it’s a feature on your phone or a new recipe, it’s essential to keep testing yourself and gaining new skills.

7. Take an Online Course

This could be a short LinkedIn or Udemy course!  It doesn’t need to be extensive. Try to take courses in subjects that you aren’t very familiar with or good at. For example, not many people are born Excel gurus, but with time and dedication, you can master the use of formulas and cells and become an Excel expert yourself. 

The point is to expand your knowledge and challenge yourself with topics you don’t have any prior experience in.

8. Join a Book Club

We mentioned earlier that reading is a great way to increase cognitive abilities, but why not take it one step further by joining a book club?

You’ll not only be engaged in stories that you wouldn’t usually take a second look at but also challenge your thinking by analyzing the book and discussing it with fellow club members. You’ll also hear a different perspective and make new friends in the process!

9. Ask Questions

Curiosity drives us to be more motivated, intelligent and creative. The questions that we ask encourage us to pursue different outlets and methods, forcing us to compare what we previously thought and come to a logical solution. So, when you’re next interested in a topic, don’t be afraid to ask questions. After all, the more knowledge you soak up, the better your analytical skills will become.

10. Be Observant

When you’re observant, you tend to notice more around you, and this sparks your critical thinking. We often focus on getting things done quickly rather than slowing down and focusing on the details. But it’s important to take time to watch how others behave; doing so might even help you find new methods of dealing with any problems you might face. 

Standing out in a Competitive Industry

Standing out in a Competitive Industry

When you’re applying for a job, standing out from the crowd is always a challenge. But, this tough task can suddenly seem insurmountable when you’re applying for an extremely competitive position. Have a read below for 5 actions that are helpful to you standing out in a competitive industry.

However, spending all of your time obsessing over the intense competition will only serve to make you feel more anxious and self-conscious—qualities that definitely won’t help you approach your job hunt and interviews with confidence. So, let go of that intimidation and instead focus on doing what you need to do to separate yourself from the pack.

But, how can you draw positive attention to yourself, when there are hundreds of other people applying to that exact same job? Here are five tips that are sure to help you stand out from that pile of other applicants.

1. Get Personal

Feeling like you’re submitting your materials into cyberspace is always frustrating—especially when you put so much time and effort into them. And, when you know that tons of other people are following that exact same process, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a long line just waiting to draw your number.

This is when making a personal connection can make a huge difference. What exactly does this mean? Start by seeing if you know anyone who currently works for that employer. Whether it’s an old friend or an acquaintance on LinkedIn, having someone who can hand-deliver your resume or put in a good word for you can really help to put your name at the top of the interview list.

If you can’t track down someone who can refer or recommend you, you should still make an effort to be as personal as possible in your application materials. Skip that generic “To Whom It May Concern” line (those letters typically find their way directly to the wastebasket!), and instead do some digging to see if you can find the name of the person you’d be working directly for—or even the hiring manager.

Knowing that you put in the legwork and research necessary to personally address your documents immediately portrays you as a dedicated and resourceful applicant. And, that reputation is sure to put you back at the top of the pile!

2. Improve Your Documents

A resume that’s riddled with typos and grammatical errors. A cover letter that contains the wrong company name. Yes, they’re all sure to make the hiring manager remember you—but not necessarily in a positive light.

It seems basic, but going through your resume and cover letter with a fine-tooth comb is absolutely necessary. Not only is this a best practice when applying for any sort of job, it’s also a surefire way to help you differentiate yourself from the crowd—you wouldn’t believe how much of your competition is immediately discounted, simply because their documents are sloppy.

Aside from just scanning for basic errors, now’s also a great time to polish your materials and make sure that they’re memorable and impactful. Ensure that you include quantifiable achievements in your resume that don’t only tell how great you are at what you do, but show it as well. Start your cover letter off with an engaging and captivating story, rather than that standard, “I’m writing in regards to…” line.

No, you don’t want to send a singing telegram or print your resume on hot pink paper. However, these more subtle tweaks and additions can really help you to be remembered—in a way that’s not eccentric and over-the-top.

3. Go Above and Beyond

I won’t deny that your resume and cover letter are extremely important documents for job search success. But, does that mean they’re absolutely the only things you need in order to land your dream job? Absolutely not.

You should never hesitate to go the extra mile, show some initiative, and share some other materials that a potential employer might care about. Go ahead and send them a link to your portfolio or personal blog. Anything that helps them to get a better sense of who you are as a candidate will benefit you!

You can even take things one step further by completing a sample specifically for that employer. Applying for a social media management position? Pull together a brief example of a social media strategy that you think could work for them. Want to be a data analyst? Share that amazing Excel spreadsheet you built—complicated macros and all. Showing that extra effort demonstrates how interested you are in the position. And, if they actually like the sample work you create? Well, then you’ve already got one foot in the door!

4. Polish Your Social Media Presence

Your work examples and official career documents will only take you so far. After all, employers pretty much expect that you’ll put your best foot forward when it comes to those materials. So, what will they do next? More than likely, hiring managers will look you up on social media.

Believe me, you don’t want to be remembered as the candidate who stars in that video for “Phi Sigma Rho’s Longest Keg Stand” or the applicant who writes scathing reviews of every single ex-boss on Facebook.

So, before even submitting your stuff, ensure you’ve taken the time to clean up your social media profiles. Bonus points for actually taking the time to polish and update your LinkedIn profile while you’re at it!

5. Follow Up

You know all of that intense competition we talked about? Well, it not only overwhelms you—it’s also pretty overwhelming to the hiring manager as well. Suddenly, they have an inbox full of submissions, and it’s up to them to weed out the junk in order to find those diamonds in the rough.

So, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back immediately about that job you’re so excited about. In fact, you likely won’t receive a super timely response. This is why following up is so important.

If you haven’t heard anything (whether that’s a “yes”, “thanks, but no thanks”, or a “we’ve received your submission” email) in about a week or two, feel free to reach out personally and check in on a timeline for a hiring decision. Make an attempt to use the most personalized email address you can find. But, if you can’t hunt one of those down, a general “info” or “careers” address will suffice as well.

Craft a friendly message just asking for an update on the hiring process for that specific position, reiterate your excitement about the opportunity, and thank them for their time. Still radio silence? You’re free to follow up once more. But, after that, it’s time to let it go. We all know there’s a fine line between being persistent and being a pest.

Standing out from the crowd when the job competition is stiff can undoubtedly be tough. But, it’s not impossible! It just involves some thought and creativity. Put these tips to use, and you’re sure to find your way to the top of that resume pile.

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at PWU is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

3 Tips for Starting a New Job

3 Tips for Starting a New Job

The job search time has been invested.  The efforts are now paid-in-full. Your first day on the job is scheduled. Sweet victory! Now it’s time to focus on exceeding expectations after you join the company. Here are 3 Tips for starting a new job.

1. Make relationships your number one priority.

The first month in a job is an important time to meet new colleagues, both inside and outside of your team. It’s important to continue cultivating those relationships in the months that follow. 

Do this in ways that feel natural to you. If you’re a fan of formal feedback, schedule in periodic feedback chats with your manager and colleagues. If you’d prefer a more casual approach, put in the effort to organize coffee or drinks with coworkers.

Importantly, be sure these efforts are not just focused on your manager or people above you. While it is important to be on the radar of higher-ups, it’s equally critical that others get fair attention. This includes those you work with and who work under you.

Spending all your effort on people above you can be perceived as sucking up—which means you’ll not only not build relationships with other colleagues, but potentially that they’ll distrust your motives. 

2. Write down your goals, and get feedback on them

Your manager might have a very defined set of goals for you, particularly if you’re in a role like sales which typically has very measurable and predetermined targets. If this isn’t the case, however, it’s important to give yourself some goals to work towards. 

Think about it like this: If you haven’t set yourself a target, how will you be able to measure whether you’ve done a good job after six months?

Putting tangible deliverables on paper—even if they change—is a good way to both stay on track as well as to create evidence for your manager and colleagues that you can deliver. This is no doubt helpful for formal reviews but can be equally as useful as a reflection tool to make sure you’re prioritizing the right things. 

You might write your goals in collaboration with your manager and/or colleagues. If you come up with them on your own, however, be sure to seek feedback from (at least) your manager, as you’re still new to the role and want to be sure you’re focusing on the right things. 

Lastly, remember that goals aren’t useful if you simply write them down and forget about them. Schedule yourself reminders to review your progress, either alone or with others, which can give you a chance to re-adjust if things aren’t going as planned. 

3. Keep an open mind and ask questions

While starting a new job can be daunting. There’s a lot to learn, being new to the company also gives you a fresh perspective—and one that can be invaluable to the rest of the team. Since you’re coming in without preconceptions or biases, you may well identify areas for improvement that others have overlooked. 

It’s therefore important that you ask questions when you don’t understand why things are a certain way. Rather than accepting them at face value. Just because a process, standing meeting or team structure exists in a certain way, that doesn’t mean that it’s a big picture ideal.

As a new hire, you’re in a unique place to be able to identify inefficiencies and broken processes. 

That said, approach areas for improvement with curiosity. There’s no room for judgment since there may well be a reason that something is done a certain way. It’s better to appear curious and learn something new than to assume you know the right answer. And potentially be proven wrong.

We hope these 3 Tips for starting a new job help. This can be a very playful time to relax, be yourself and get to know your new work environment.

If you wanted to take it a step further, check our previous entry on Setting Career Goals. We’ve put together 7 helpful tips here: https://powerwriterscanada.ca/7-success-tips-to-setting-career-goals/

Career Breaks and The Comeback

Take a career break and coming back

Career breaks occur for all sorts of reasons.  Some may choose to take a step back in favor of dedicated family time.  Others come by a career break following redundancy in the company.  Perhaps you’ve decided to enjoy different experiences, such as traveling or to rediscover your interests. Whatever the reasoning, here are 6 tips on navigating career breaks and the comeback.

Whatever motives got you there, the time may come when you decide to jump back onto the career ladder.

Getting a job can be daunting enough, but it can be even more unnerving once you’ve taken a break from work. You may feel anxious about starting a new job or you may worry that your skills are a little rusty because a lot has changed since you’ve been away from the workplace.

If you feel you’re in this situation, below are six effective tips to help increase your chances of getting hired following a career break.

Six Tips to The Comeback

1. Assess your situation

Many people make the mistake of jumping straight back into the first job they can find. Firstly, if you’re not sure about a job, the interviewer may sense your uncertainty and will be unlikely to take you further in the hiring process.

Secondly, if you secure a job that isn’t suitable for you, you could even find yourself job hopping frequently before you find the right one. It’s therefore important to take some time to assess your situation first and decide what you want to do. Open your mind and remember, what was right for you before your career break, may not be what the best fit is for you now.

2. Update your resume with your career break.

It’s common for a candidate to believe that a gap in their resume will ruin their career.

However, instead of seeing it as a handicap, see it as something positive that can differentiate you from other candidates. If you haven’t been working for a long period of time, don’t hide it. A break can provide lots of benefits that can make you just as, if not more hireable, even if it’s just been a chance for you to take a step back and re-evaluate your future career.

Add all the new skills you may have developed during your break, and explain how these can relate to the job you’re now applying for. 

For example:

Did you take a diploma course specializing in new technology?

Did you do volunteer work and develop your leadership skills, which will help you to lead a team more effectively? 

Or perhaps traveling the world helped to give you a much-needed confidence boost?

3. Network

When looking for your first job after a career break, don’t forget to use your existing connections. Spend some time reaching out to your previous colleagues, clients, friends, and family. Let them know that you’re seeking a new position.

They may have the perfect job for you or be able to point you in the right direction. This is also a good opportunity to prepare any potential references that could support your new job applications.

4. Be prepared for your interview

Before you attend your first interview, make sure you’re prepared to answer questions about your career break. You may be asked why you have a career gap and what you did with your time. Honesty is the first step. Make it clear what you did during your break and why you decided it was the right thing for you to do.

You could tailor your answers to demonstrate how your break will benefit the role you are now applying for. Think critically about some of the concerns an interviewer may have. They may wonder whether you’re ready to get back on the career ladder for example. In this case, explain why you have decided to re-join the workforce, whilst emphasizing your passion, drive, and focus.

5. Look for career returner programs

As well as using job boards to search for jobs, research the various career returner programs that may be available. Deloitte is just one example of an organization that runs this kind of scheme. Their return to work program lasts for 20 weeks and is aimed at men and women who have taken a career break. Whether the break has been for family or other reasons, the scheme provides tailored support and experience to help you readjust to being back at work.

JP Morgan is another business offering a similar scheme. Their global ReEntry Program provides networking and mentorship opportunities to senior executives who are looking to re-join corporate life after taking a career break.

6. Be confident

Whether you’ve been away from work for 12 months or 2 years, getting back into the hiring pool can be nerve-racking. However, the most important thing is that you remain confident in your abilities.

Without confidence, you can easily undervalue what you can offer an employer. Write down your skills and strengths on a piece of paper. Refer to this during your job search, to help give you a boost of energy.

If you’re uncertain, ask friends and family to share their feedback on where your strengths lie. They may offer some suggestions that you had not previously considered.

If you’re concerned that your skills are no longer up-to-date, take a refresher course. Make sure you do your research too. Look at the employer’s website and social media channels.

You should also look at their competitors, read the latest industry news and research industry trends. Knowing you have all the information you need, will help you to be much more confident, especially during interviews.

Everyone has their own career path

Taking a career break is more common than you may think, despite the stigma that is sometimes attached behind how potential candidates will fill that void. Everyone has different career ladders they climb at their own pace depending on what their goals are in life.

So if you’re feeling apprehensive about jumping back into the workforce after a career break, remember these tips to put you on the right path with renewed confidence.

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at Power Writers Canada is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

The Road to Executive Level Leadership

The Road to Executive Leadership

With there being a lot fewer executive positions than mid-level management roles, the road to executive leadership is highly competitive. Therefore, it’s abundantly more difficult to climb to this next rung of the corporate ladder. 

However, with the right attitude, work ethic and connections, you can prove your value and earn that coveted executive title and responsibility.

1. Understand And Embody ‘Executive Presence’

It seems as though the concept and practices of executive presence have tremendously increased in value over the years.  Last week we dove deep into what EP really is and found that, at the roots, executive presence is the powerful ability to inspire confidence.

Executive presence includes first impressions of appearance, interpersonal communication skills, and body language.  EP consists of effective listening, effectively maneuvering through office politics and exuding authentic charisma. 

Technical skills might have landed the job, but an executive presence moves a manager up. 

 2. Develop Your Strategic Thinking Skills

Lower levels of leadership focus on the day-to-day execution of the strategy. Executive levels focus on developing a broader view of the organization.

The development of strategic thinking allows you to become aware of the big picture.  Develop more skills in seeing the interconnections between the operating systems and long game strategy. Lean into thinking more strategically and from a systems perspective.

3. Maximize your Influence.

Given that great leadership is about influence, and not authority, you have to learn how to maximize your influence. Your ability to influence others is impacted by how you are perceived. Therefore, you have to figure out how to increase the perception of your value. The single best way to do that is to solve important problems for influential executives. 

4. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone – Network with the Entire Team

To lead at the executive level requires comfort outside of usual routines.  It’s relatively easy to limit our office interactions to those inside our sphere of expertise, however, to build confidence as a leader you’ll want to connect with the entire team.  Start expanding your tribe outside your core area.

Network with people from different parts of your organization in order to learn different business functions or program areas.

Build your reputation outside your comfort zone.  This way if/when opportunities open for advancement, decision-makers already know your name, and know it well.

5. Work With A Leadership Development Coach

As professional athletes know well, a trusted coach can soften the learning curve dramatically. A coach will guide you to clearly see your strengths, blind spots, and competencies. They will also show you how to identify the people and roles that will enable you to thrive.

Some coaches are focused on skill development, others are sounding boards. Find a coach who can do both and make the investment. 

6. Build Self-Awareness For Growth.

This is a big one. It can also be the toughest one to chew on. Building greater self-awareness about one’s leadership presence and effectiveness is a key piece to preparing for an executive-level position. If possible, participate in a 360-degree feedback process.

This process can uncover your leadership strengths to build upon, as well as, identify others’ perceptions of your efficacy.  Disparities included.

7. Be Clear in Your Goals.

If you have a clear goal for your career, let it be known. Ask your immediate supervisor to craft a skill plan for you on exactly what you need to do to get to the level you want. Then start executing. It will take a combination of building relationships, professional training, results you’ve achieved, and lots and lots of emotional intelligence. If you really are in it for the long haul, let it be known.

8. Develop Executive Courage.

It’s usually the tough decisions that move the needle. Therefore, executive courage around action, communication and trust is a critical leadership skill. Like any muscle, the more you flex it, the stronger it becomes. You cultivate executive courage by trying new strategies (even if some fail), engaging in crucial conversations and confronting challenging situations that trigger discomfort.

9. Manage Up

Managing up is a common challenge for emerging leaders. It’s important to manage your own boss, as well as extended relationships with your boss’ boss, board members, C-level executives, etc. These relationships directly correlate with the level of influence you have. Knowing what to communicate, when and with whom, will increase the visibility of your impact as a leader. 

10. Think About What The Company Needs

The end result, on the road to executive leadership, you want to build your business acumen. By showing you can make good judgments and quick decisions, you show preparedness toward the next step in career growth.

An executive is accountable at a whole new level. If a manager wants to move up, they need to think about what the company needs. Have the team you manage to be outstanding. Be known as someone who helps other people succeed. Be someone whose word is impeccable.

What Executive Presence Really Is

Executive Presence - What it really is.

In 2014, Sylvia Ann Hewlett and her team huddled over an extensive collection of data drawn from 14 sectors of corporate America. The goal was to identify, at the corporate level, what Executive Presence really is and why we need it.  

What the data reflected was that Executive Presence is not so much about performance. It’s not about what you do when ‘delivering the goods’ or ‘hitting the numbers’.  It’s about what you signal. 

Executive Presence or EP. What is it and where do I get some?

In the simplest terms, executive presence is about the ability to inspire confidence. It includes first impressions of appearance, interpersonal communication skills, and body language.  Executive presence consists of effective listening, effectively maneuvering through office politics and exuding authentic charisma. 

As a leader, you inspire confidence by showing that you are capable and reliable. Which is critical to being trustworthy of supporters.  By contrast, inspiring confidence with your own superiors shows that you have the potential for greater achievements in career growth.

The 3 Main Pillars of Executive Presence

As part of the 2014 study, the group singled out 3 main traits associated with EP.

#1. Gravitas

Gravitas is the projection of credibility and assertiveness with the confidence to convey a clear message.  In comparison, gravitas is the way of signaling impact in a compelling manner.

As an example, the study asked senior leaders who they saw as career role models.  Significantly, the #1 role model identified was Nelson Mandala.  A man that earned his placement through sincerity and understanding the power of symbolism.  Nelson Mandala had gravitas in spades and showed it by routinely connecting at a very human level.

#2. Communication

Communication includes the ability to read an audience. To assess a complex situation and act accordingly. This is the ability to command a room. It’s what you say, when you say it, how you say it, and to whom you say it. Communication is also portrayed through the masterful use of body language and concise speaking skills.

These skills combined show you’re able to communicate the authority of a leader.

#3. Appearance

While the data showed appearance to be the smaller piece of the puzzle, it is still worth significant attention. Appearance is commonly referred to as “looking the part.”

By taking the time to look and feel your best, it shows consideration and respect toward the people you interact with. Appearance also includes dressing appropriately for the environment and occasion which in a corporate setting carries high-level importance.

Why You Need Executive Presence

Ultimately, executive presence determines whether you gain access to opportunity.

There’s a saying in leadership, “All the important decisions about you will be made when you’re not in the room.” It’s true. In particular, whether it’s a decision about an important opportunity, a promotion to a critical role or an assignment to a high-visibility project, it’s likely that you won’t be in the room.

Therefore, the opportunities you gain access to depend on the confidence you’ve already inspired in the decision-makers. Additionally, the more significant the opportunity, the more important executive presence becomes.

How To Build Your Executive Presence

As with any other skill, some people are naturally more gifted at executive presence than others. That being said, everyone can improve their EP with focus and practice.

Cultivate a foundation of quiet confidence.

At its core, executive presence is about confidence, yet “the more confidence the better” isn’t always the way. Presence is confidence without arrogance.

Sadly, confidence is often confused with cockiness however, the truly “present” executive is one who doesn’t need to trumpet his achievements. Instead, he or she has an internal resolve driven by a solid sense of self-worth. As a result, they have learned healthy, effective ways of dealing with challenges and relationships.

Key points to focus on while developing your own executive presence:

  • Learn to operate effectively under stress.
  • Become an excellent listener. 
  • Build your communication skills.
  • Understand how others experience you.
  • Have a vision, and articulate it well.

Most importantly, find your voice as an executive.

Identify your assets and leverage them to the max. Some people are naturally gregarious and can fill a room with their personality. Others rely on their listening ability, sense of timing, and ability to maintain their composure when others get emotional.

In an increasingly diverse world, executive presence will look very different from one executive to another. Just keep building the confidence of others that can step you up as a leader if and when times get tough.

6 Quality Interview Questions

6 quality interview questions

The key to getting a great job offer is portraying an authentic, positive and lasting impression. Whether you’re a seasoned employee or just getting started, these 6 quality interview questions can help the process.

With a professional resume, this is achieved in the first point of contact.  In addition to this, you’ve got to nail the job interview. Asking insightful questions during a job interview demonstrates professionalism, thoughtfulness, and commitment.

That being said, candidates can get lost when it comes to asking the right sort of questions. This blunder shows either a lack of preparation or the stress of the interview. Neither of which leaves a positive impression. 

Like much of life, the failsafe is to be present during the entire interview. Presence shows confidence. Additionally, the best interview questions are oftentimes the ones asked naturally from engagement in the conversation. 

6 Quality Interview Questions

1. What is the history of this position?

It’s valuable to ask about the history of the role. In this case, the answer is useful to know what environment you’re entering.   Furthermore, it shows forethought and attentive care for the position. 

Perhaps this opening was recently created to support company growth. In which case, ask a follow-up question about who owned the responsibilities up to this point, and how the duties will be transitioned.

If you are interviewing for a position left vacant by someone’s departure, get a sense of what happened.

  • Why did the predecessor leave the job?
  • Where they promoted or internally transferred?

If the predecessor was internally repositioned, ask about direct training potential.

2. How does this position support management and serve direct reports?

Certainly, the answers to this question will help you gain insight into the position and how it fits the framework of the company as a whole.

  • Who is your support?
  • Who will you supervise and guide?

Consequently, understanding this will offer a glimpse of what skills are critical for your success.

3. In the first 6 months, what accomplishments would you like from me?

This targetted question shows your commitment to adding value and delivering on expectations. It’s one thing to understand routine tasks and responsibilities, it’s yet another to fully understand expectations.

Altogether, an interview has a singular goal. To demonstrate your fit for the position.  Inquiring about expectations directly speaks to this goal.

4. Which part of the position has the steepest learning curve? What can I do in order to get up to speed quickly?

For some jobs, learning the technology or the internal company procedures is the most challenging aspect of coming on board. For others, it is about understanding the human network. Therefore, guidance on how to speed up the learning process can give you a significant advantage.

5. How is the feedback process structured?

Feedback is how humans improve. To excel in a new role, you’re going to need analysis as a way of marking the perimeter of success. 

Does this company limit its feedback cycle to the annual reviews? Does the hiring manager make it a priority to deliver just-in-time acknowledgment and suggestions for improvement?

As a result, asking these questions represents your intent to learn and grow with the role.

6. What opportunities will I have to learn and grow?

Does the company offer formal or informal mentoring and coaching? Does it invest in continued education or professional training?

Great companies want to hire people who are dedicated to personal and professional growth. Show your hiring manager that continued development is important to you.

Close the interview on a high note.

As a bonus, there are several questions one must never ask during an interview. 

Asking about money, raises and promotions are taboo and can show yourself as arrogant and self-serving. 

Stay away from company gossip. It matters not what your friends, friend says about the company politics or a piece of news read in a local paper, keep your head in the game of professionalism and acknowledge the interview as an opportunity. 

The goal is to end the interview in a powerful and impactful way. For this reason, maintaining professionalism, acting authentically and these 6 quality interview questions are all part of the equation of your success.

7 Success Tips to Setting Career Goals

7 steps to setting career goals

With the beginning of every new year and now a new decade, many are looking within and setting career goals for short and long-game success.  Have a read for 7 success tips to setting career goals at any time of year!

Setting goals is a significant component of the career planning process. To have a successful and satisfying career, it’s best to define your goals and devise a strategy to achieve them. Having a career action plan is like a roadmap that will guide you from choosing a satisfying occupation to progressing through an extended and successful career.

How Setting Goals Affects Your Career Success

Look at your career action plan as a 2-sided approach with both long and short-term goals. Without a doubt, the more specific you can be about each step will greatly increase your probability of achievement.

Especially if or when barriers get in the way.  Life moves quick and ultimately we never know what experience is just around the corner. Your plan can be your peace of mind in the event of sudden unexpected changes.

The Difference Between Short and Long Term Goals

Consider a short-term goal as obtainable in approximately six months.  Long-term goals look ahead to roughly three to five years to achieve. Naturally, the timelines are somewhat fluid. Sometimes you can crack a short-term goal in fewer than three months and other times a long-term one may reach fulfillment towards the end of a decade.

Just ask Bill and Melinda Gates how long it’s has taken to eradicate Polio in 3rd world regions or how many years they’ve been working on developing clean and safe nuclear power plants for global benefit.

To achieve each long-term goal, you must first accomplish a series of short-term goals.

For example, let’s say you aspire to become a doctor. That may be your ultimate long-term goal, but before you can tackle it, you must achieve a few others, such as complete college (four years), medical school (another four years), and a medical residency (three to eight years).

Along the road to reaching those long-term goals, there are several short-term goals to clear as well. Such as, excelling in entrance exams and applying to college, medical school, and eventually residencies. Since grades matter when it comes to achieving those goals, it is necessary to break your short-term goals down even further, like earning a high-grade point average and remembering to eat healthy along the way.

7 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Reaching Your Goals

Your hard work will play the most prominent role in your success, but if you don’t formulate your goals correctly, it will be much more challenging to accomplish them. Ideally, your short-term and long-term goals meet the following criteria:

#1: Have specific goals. You might say, “I want to be successful.” Well, who doesn’t? But can you define what success means? Success to one person may mean becoming CEO of a company while to another person it may mean getting home from work no later than 6 p.m.

#2: Your goals must be measurable. Have a timeframe for achieving your goals and a way to determine when you have reached them.

#3: Don’t be negative. Your goal should be something you want rather than something you want to avoid. It is much better to say, for instance, “I want to improve my skills over the next four years so that I qualify for a better job” than “I don’t want to be stuck in this job for another four years.”

#4: Be realistic. Your long-term goals must be compatible with your abilities and skills. Stating “I want to win a Grammy Award” if you can’t sing or play an instrument will set you up for failure.

#5: Your goal must be reachable within your time frame. Break a long-term goal down into smaller goals. It is better to take baby steps than one big giant leap.

#6: Pair each goal with an action. For instance, if your goal is to become a writer, sign up for a writing class. 

#7: Be flexible. Don’t give up if you encounter barriers that threaten to impede your progress. Instead, modify your goals accordingly. As an example, say you need to continue working but this is keeping you from going to college full-time. Be flexible. Although it won’t be possible to finish your bachelor’s degree in four years, you can still enroll in school part-time and take a bit longer.

The point is, goals can become actuality with patience, perseverance and a solid plan. Need help?  Our team at Power Writers Canada is here to help. We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca Toggle panel: Yoast SEO

4 Career Benefits of the Holiday Season

holiday season career perks

The holidays are just around the corner and with them are a much-needed break. For many, especially if you’ve recently started a new job, it’s tempting to skip the holiday downtime for fear it will reflect badly on your productivity. Truly though, with a bit of planning and heart, these 4 holiday season career benefits

1. Taking breaks improves productivity

It’s easy to believe that working late and not taking time off means you will get more work done. However, recent research has found that when working long hours, employees lose creativity while also find it hard to maintain the same intensity level in their work. So, by working yourself too hard, it could actually be detrimental to the quality of your work.

A better strategy is to budget your time around daily, weekly, monthly tasks.

Especially if you’re seeking to maximize the career benefits of the holiday season.

To help manage the workload try assembling a plan.  Take early stock of all high-level tasks that must be finished before your break.  Write these into your schedule and tag them for importance.  This is your mandatory list.

Secondly, form a list of mid-level tasks.  These are the non-immediate-but-overall-important tasks that will greatly benefit current and upcoming workflows.

Lastly, write yourself a bonus list. I find this one the most fun to write.  These are the tasks that if you got to them, it would be considered stepping ahead of your goals. Be specific here to help guide the process.

What small elements would boost your current progress to the next level?

These 3 lists combined will not only gain you traction on the current momentum, but they’ll also greatly ease your mind when away from the office.

2. You’ll be healthier

If you don’t take the time off to relax and unwind, you are putting yourself at risk of becoming overly stressed. We all know stress has negative implications for your health with outcomes such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression.

It’s important to look after yourself, as well as your workload. 

With an increase in spending and pressure of family, it can be easy to lose focus on your self-care needs at this time of year. 

Now is a great time to use those massage gift certificates or max out the annual health benefits package.  Book the acupuncture, check-in with the chiropractor, make the time for a little pampering.

3. Quality time with loved ones

Chances are that if you’re working long hours, you don’t get to spend as much time with your loved ones as you’d like to.

By taking this annual leave from work, you set time aside to connect and appreciate, whether it be at home or on a trip together. Spending time with your friends and family may be just what you need to unwind and improve your mood after a stressful period at work.

4. Work-Life balance is important

If a good work-life balance is not met in your job, it’s likely that you will start to build negative feelings towards work or your employer. In order to be happy at work and maintain the drive to work to the best of your ability, it’s important for you to balance work and your personal life.

There is so much to do and see in the world, which just isn’t going to happen from the confines of your office. Take a break and experience new things, or you may regret it later.

If you’ve been meaning to take up a new hobby, this could be your chance to give it a go and you never know, it may even open doors to new opportunities in the future. Step away from the computer and go enjoy yourself over the holidays! 

As always, if needed, our team at PWC is here to help. We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization and Recruiter Services.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca