Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer. Super excited, as always, to be here with you this week as I bring to you the latest information that's going to help you advance your career to that next level of leadership.
Now, before we dive into today's episode, I really want to talk to you about this amazing project I've been working on over the last couple of months. I have put together my inaugural group coaching program that is set to launch this November. And I want to make sure that you, as my podcast listener, are one of the first people who get to know about this program.
It's called Executive Ahead of Time. It's a six-week intensive coaching program where I'm going to show you how to become the Executive Ahead of Time.
Because, let's face it. All promotion offers are really set up six months before the offer is actually given to you. Right. So there are things that you need to put in place to set yourself up for that next promotion. So I'm going to be giving you all that juicy stuff in my course. I'm also giving you live group coaching calls. You're going to have peer coaching calls. You get to meet other executives who are challenging themselves to get into higher level leadership positions. We're going to have prizes. It's going to be so much fun. And not only that, but you are going to finally have all of the tools that you need to get a seat at the table. And not only will you have that seat at the table, but you will also know how to actually have a voice at the table.
So I want you to go to www.ExecutiveAheadOfTime.com to get all the details about how to register for my upcoming program and really just to get yourself super psyched about it. Because 2020 has been a crazy year and we might as well end it with a bang. A bang that is actually your career accelerating to that next level. I can't wait. I cannot wait to get you into this program.
And speaking of that program, so today's episode is actually inspired by that. It's part one of a three part series that I have put together for you called C-Suite Secrets.
So I'm going to be basically laying out all of the tools that you're going to be going even deeper in in my group program. But I'm going to be sharing it with you here today.
So you might be somebody who wants to make it into that c-suite level, right? You you dream, you aspire of it, but it feels really far away, really out of your reach. And that is why I show you how to become the executive today so that not only are you setting yourself up for just being inevitable that you get that next promotion, but it also pretty much guarantees that you'll be successful once you get there because you are learning the skills that you need to survive at that higher executive level.
You're becoming the Executive Ahead of Time. So you know what it's going to take to get you there.
So in my podcast series starting this week, C-Suite Secrets, those things that your CEO won't actually tell you to your face. They tell you something different. So in today's episode, I'm going to be talking about what you actually need to say. And then next week, I'm going to be giving you all the C-Suite secrets about what you actually need to be doing. And then for the third and final installment of the series, I'm going to share with you what you need to be thinking.
So all of those things that you're see, your CEO actually wants you to be doing. But how are you supposed to know? How are you supposed to know? Because the playbook for what it actually takes to succeed at the senior executive level is unknown. It feels so confusing. It's not actually what you learn in the MBA program. You learn how to be a great manager. You learn how to be a good leader. But you don't learn how to advocate for your career.
Luckily, I have figured that out for you. So that is what this podcast that's all about. That is what my coaching program is all about, is teaching you those intangible skills and making them tangible so that you can actually have the tools necessary to advance your career to that next level.
So how are we doing this? C-Suite Secrets, week #1. We're talking about what you actually need to be saying to executives. What are the words that need to be coming out of your mouth on a regular basis? And the way that I'm actually going to do it is I actually have five things that I guarantee at some point in your career you have heard from the executive team, and I'm going to tell you what they say to you, what are the words that they say to you. And then I'm going to share with you what they actually mean. So what they're actually saying to you and what they mean is two totally different things.
And this is why it feels so frustrating. I really I get it. I get it. I get it. I see it all the time. People are very confused. They call it mixed messages. But to me, it's not necessarily mixed messages because it's very, very consistent. When they say one thing, this is usually what they actually mean.
So let me just give you the first one. This is going to be the one that we're going to spend the most time on. It's keep doing what you're doing. Right. Have any of you heard this before? They just say, you know what? Just just keep doing what you're doing. You're doing a great job. Just just keep at it. Keep up the hard work. Right? Keep on doing. Keep on trucking along.
No, they don't actually want you to keep doing what you're doing. They actually want you to do something different.
And here is what I mean by this. If you're getting this generic sort of neutral sounding feedback, 'keep doing what you're doing.' What they're talking about is your hard work. Right? They don't want you to get soft on your work. And actually, what you're doing. You get average feedback. So it's just like: 'You're doing a good job. Just keep it up.'
So all of that stuff is true. Right. But you want to do better. You actually want to make it into that next level of executive leadership. Right. So you don't want to keep doing what you're doing. You want to do something better.
So part of the reason why I know that this is what executives actually mean versus what they say is because in my coaching process, I do a 360 interviews with all of my clients. And as part of that process, I get to ask them very direct questions. And one of the things that you guys are often doing wrong is you're not asking the right questions.
So you're having a conversation with your boss or the executive and you're saying something about your productivity, like your work. And they're just basically agreeing with you. They're saying: 'Yeah, you know, you're doing a great job, keep doing what you're doing.' But you're not actually asking what it's going to take to advance you to that next level of leadership.
So I get on the phone with them and the first thing that they say about my client is they'll say:' They do great work. They do a great job. I'm really proud of them. I'm glad they're on my team. All of that stuff is really, really great. And then I say: 'What is it going to take for you to sponsor them or to promote them to director level or senior director or vice president level? What is it actually going to take?'.
And they're like: 'Oh, well, they would have to...' And then they just have a whole laundry list of things that they want you to do different. So they don't actually mean keep doing what you're doing. So that's the number one secret. I want you guys to know and to take away with you.
The #2 today is: 'It's just not a good time.'
So that is something that we hear a lot, especially during covid-19. And you know, where there's all these layoffs happening and hiring freezes and yada, yada, yada. So they'll just tell you: 'You know what? Now is just not a good time. We're just not going to be able to do any promotions this year. We're not going to be able to do any bonuses this year. It's just not a good time to get promoted.'
And in some ways, that's true. Right. It's not a great time. And depending on what industry you work in or where you work, it might feel very daunting that they're really not promoting anybody. And then all of a sudden you see somebody like, Jim over here, who gets promoted, even though the executive told you it's just not a good time. And you start to wonder: 'Hey, why is that?'.
And the reason is because they are doing something different. They are actually creating value for themselves at that senior executive level. So if you hear from your boss or the executives that it's just not a good time to get promoted or to put you up for a promotion, that's fine. So just look at the facts. Are people getting promoted? Is this something that's happening right now?
And then I want you to put yourself in their shoes. Ok. So look at the CFO or, maybe more like a vice president or a senior vice president who understands their value, they know what they bring to the organization. And if they aren't able to do the work that they want to be doing at that higher executive level, the work that they're called to do, if they're not able to be in in the trenches, doing the work, you know what they're going to do? They're going to start shopping around. They're going to look elsewhere for an organization that is hiring so that they can do the work that they are meant to do.
So if you think about it, and it's not a good time at your particular organization, great. Start looking around. Put the feelers out there. See what other opportunities are out there. It doesn't mean that you actually have to leave. It just means that you deserve to be at that higher executive level because you are worth it. Your organization needs you to be at that higher executive level. And if they just happen to not be promoting anyone right now, then go someplace else that does want you to serve at that higher executive level.
C-Suite Secret #3. You need to manage people first.
So this is what you're going to hear a lot, especially if you want to move into a role where you have more direct reports. Or sometimes people get away with becoming director or senior director and having very few direct reports even at that level. And you'll hear from your boss or the executive team that you really need to manage people first.
But what they actually mean, I like this one. So what they actually mean is you can't manage yourself, so how are you going to manage other people? So what's really happening here when they're telling you you need to manage people, is that they don't trust you, right? They don't trust that you can manage a big team. And one are the biggest reasons why they don't trust that you can manage a big team is because you're in the weeds all the time. You you don't manage yourself very well. You kind of micromanage yourself. And the executives can see this and they don't want to give you a team because they're worried that you won't be able to lead at that higher executive level.
So the first thing that you have to do is show them that you are capable of setting boundaries, that you can prioritize, that you can strategically think even while you're doing the work right. You have to show them that you can manage a team and manage a big group of people.
C-Suite secret #4. You need to speak up more, right?
This is very common. We just need you to share your ideas. But what they're really saying is what you're sharing right now doesn't actually matter.
And I know that that's hard to hear, but I want you to think about it. Do you feel like you're talking a lot and they say you need to speak up more? Do you feel like you're doing a lot of work and they still say you need to speak up more? It's simply because you're not speaking to the company vision. You're not giving them the relevant information that they need to hear at that higher executive level.
So they're just basically saying that what you're saying doesn't matter. And you need to do something different.
C-Suite secret #5. It's not up to me.
That is actually partially very true. So depending on who your manager is and depending on their level of influence, it may not be up to them if you get promoted into an executive role. And the other thing that could happen is that a lot of times your boss doesn't want to go to bat for you in those higher level positions because the executive team doesn't really know you.
And so, when they're trying to advocate for your promotion and advocate on your behalf, it's because you don't know the executive team. So when they're telling you something like: 'It's not up to me.' What you need to understand is that that is true. And you need to get in front of the executive team. And you need to make your boss's job easier so that it's just a no brainer that they promote you into this higher level position.
And the final C-Suite Secret is that you need more visibility. Again, this is sort of like a play on what just happened. Which is that you need to get in front of these higher level executives. You need to be taking on higher profile projects. So that one is actually pretty straightforward. That's not really a secret. If they're telling you need more visibility, then that is exactly what they mean.
So put yourself out there, figure out the projects that matter, put yourself in front of the influencers at your organization and really make sure that you're positioning yourself to get promoted into that higher level executive position.
Now, I've given you six different things that c-suite executives will often say, and they mean something other than the way that you interpret it.
And I want to close today by sharing with you an example from one of my clients. So this is really going to show you how you'll know if you need to read between the lines on the information that you're receiving or how you know that you should just listen to them.
And so what happened to her is very early on, she would receive the feedback, just keep doing what you're doing. But something felt off, right? So she felt like she was she didn't really have a voice at the table. She she was having difficulty managing her emotions and she would get frustrated by some of the people at work. She didn't feel like she was getting out of the weeds, she was in there with her team doing the work with them, not really micromanaging them, but really getting her hands dirty and making sure that she worked long hours and and she was trying to prove herself, but it just didn't feel like it was working.
So she was given the feedback: 'keep doing what what you're doing. We really love you. You're great.' But it felt off. And that is the reason that she hired a coach. She hired me because she said: 'look, something is not right here. I'm not figuring this out. They're telling me to keep doing what I'm doing, but it just doesn't feel right. I really feel like I'm not going in the right way.'.
And luckily for us, it was actually true. I don't think she was headed in the right direction. It's really difficult for us as people to see that. To really see ourselves from the outside and see what our blind spots are and really read between the lines ourselves.
So we got to work. We pulled her out of the weeds. I gave her tools to help her manage her emotions. I gave her tools so that she could continue speaking more strategically. And then ultimately I gave her the tools, the communication tools to really speak to the executive team about what her expectations are for a promotion.
So essentially what she did is she became the Executive Ahead of Time. She put herself out there. She got super, super direct. Like so much so that I think she was just like: 'Oh, my gosh, I'm so scared.' But she did it anyway. So here's the fun part. You know what feedback she received? Keep doing what you're doing. This is going to sound really funny to you guys because it's like, wait: 'She's still receiving the same feedback, keep doing what you're doing. So how do I know how do I know if it's working? Should I really just keep doing what I'm doing?'
And this is how we know. This is how we know the difference. She's not upset about it. She has a voice at the table, the executive team knows her name. She is able to manage her emotions. She is a role model for her organization. Other teams bring her in. The CEO admires her, calls her out in all hands. And covid is also happening at the same time. So for her, there is an element of waiting. But, what she also needs to do is, just like I said, when when you're being told it's not a good time, put the feelers out there into the world. Who else is hiring? What other opportunities? It doesn't have to be stressful and it doesn't mean that she's even going to leave. But in the meantime, she's still leaning in. She is being that Executive Ahead of Time and she knows the difference.
So these are the things that I want you to really, really check-in with yourself. Does it bother you when you receive this feedback?
Now, I'm going to give you the six things here again. So if you are told these things and it really annoys you because, first of all, you don't know what to do with it, you don't believe it, you feel frustrated by it and you're still not getting ahead. So if you're being told, keep doing what you're doing, it's just not a good time. You need to manage people first, you need to speak up more, it's not up to me, and you need more visibility, and that's frustrating you, then it might mean that you need to do something different.
It might mean that you need to read between the lines and figure out what you can do instead. Because please, please, please, I want you to get promoted. It matters. It matters to your organization. It matters to the longevity of your career. It matters to your family. We need you at a higher level executive position, and if you just read between the lines and you figure out what to do instead, then you will be able to get there.
Thank you so much for listening this week and I'll see you soon.