Most career-oriented managers approach their annual performance reviews hoping to get useful feedback about what they need to do to increase their chances of getting promoted. But more often than not, they come away dissatisfied, feeling the feedback was inadequate. Even high-performers with top performance ratings get feedback from their bosses that can be vague, contradictory and unhelpful. Why is this, and what can you do to get the feedback you need to fuel your career development?
It's no secret that promotion rates in most industries have slowed during the extended recession. The good news, at least in the United States, is that with the current glimmers of economic growth the "ice floes" surrounding upward movement are beginning to break up. The bad news: competition for the C-suite positions that will open up over the next few years will be intense due the backlog in promotional activity. As a result, upwardly-aspiring executives need to take steps now to position themselves to be "first off the bench" as opportunities for promotion become available.
Witnessing the downward-spiral of Carla Sanders' career was painful — yet her experience offers an important commentary on the requirements of executive leadership in today's organizations. (Carla's an actual executive whose name has been changed.)
Many companies extol the value of work-life balance for their employees, but the reality for senior executives? There isn't any.
Many companies extol the value of work-life balance for their employees, but the reality for senior executives? There isn't any. Frequently, stressed and harried managers look up the organization hierarchy and assume that they'll have greater control of their time when they advance to the C-suite. What they don't understand is that modern-day telecommunications, the hair-trigger requirements of financial markets, and the pace of global organizations create 24 x 7 work lives for most executives. So, forget work-life balance and think personal organization and finding ways to relax.
John Beeson is Principal of Beeson Consulting, a management consulting firm specializing in succession planning; executive assessment, coaching, and development; and organization design. Earlier in his career, John was a partner and officer of Harbridge House, Inc., a Boston-based management consulting firm. In addition to his consulting experience, he worked at Hallmark Cards and Frito-Lay. At both companies his responsibilities included succession planning on a company-wide basis. Over the course of his career, John has assessed and coached scores of executives and participated innumerous executive-level promotion and placement decisions.
John is a graduate of Amherst College and holds an MBA from the Wharton GraduateDivision of the University of Pennsylvania. His articles on succession planning and talent development have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Business Horizons, People & Strategy, and The Conference Board Review. He enjoys a longstanding relationship with The Conference Board, having originated the Succession Planning/Top Talent Development Conference and the Organization Design and Renewal Conference. He also served as principal researcher and co-author of a major Conference Board research report, “Developing Business Leaders for 2010.” He is the author of The Unwritten Rules: The Six Skills You Need to Get Promoted to the Executive Level. In addition to his writing for Big Think, you may also find John's articles on leadership and executive development at the Harvard Business Review.