2020 will be remembered for only one thing. But this doesn’t mean pressing pause on your executive career, especially if you’re ready for a change. At times like these, stay future focused. Build your skills, harness the power (and rewards) of networking and boost your personal brand. As specialist executive career consultants, we’ve taken a look at how to leverage, consolidate and amplify your executive skills so that you can move forward (or sideways) with confidence.
Focus on key skills that transcend sectors
A pandemic still needs leaders to be productive, balancing business deliverables with nurturing teams, keeping people engaged and motivated while demonstrating clear direction.
You’re likely to have already witnessed how colleagues and team members process stress, change and uncertainty differently. Over the last few months, wellbeing – and building psychological assets – has topped the agenda for every organisation. When they’re not socially connected and part of an office community, it’s easy for people to start feeling invisible. How have you helped your team cope? What did you learn that you can take forward?
Your ability to communicate with credibility and optimism is a vitally important skill with immense transferable value. Being realistic about the challenges the current pandemic has brought, yet staying positive is the trait of a true leader. Demonstrating ‘deliberate calm’ will position you for success in any sector – but if you’re not feeling confident about particular elements in your arsenal of skills, take action. Now is the right time to invest in yourself further with some executive coaching.
Build and nurture online relationships with virtual networking to enhance your executive career
We’re all making more use of online platforms. As well as forging new relationships and nurturing existing connections, check in on old ones. Revisit your LinkedIn profile – it’s a great time to restructure the way you appear on the world’s most popular business platform, highlighting the skills that are currently in demand by many businesses.
During lockdown or isolation you may have more time to write insightful posts, giving unique perspectives on how you personally have dealt with the pandemic – in the new spirit of transparency, authenticity and empathy, include what’s made you a stronger, more effective leader.
When we emerge, there’s likely to be strong competition for executive-level jobs – get yourself in the strongest position now by investing in your personal branding.
Benefit from the rise of executive interim roles
The media is full of stories about recruitment freezes, substantial restructures and businesses having to change strategy to survive. So is it a good time to look for a new role? Sectors that are thriving include healthcare, IT, life sciences, online retailers, pharmaceuticals and …video conferencing services, unsurprisingly.
“We’ve recently supported an amazing couple who have both just secured executive roles within a tier one investment bank and an asset management company, despite the difficult employment market. With the right mindset and determination, it’s always a good time to go after the role you want”. Victoria, CEO, City CV.
You might find additional opportunities open up if you’re willing to consider interim roles within your executive career. What you offer may be a solution for a business’s current challenge, especially if you show you can either save them – or make them – money. It’s a way of applying your own experience, skills and insight to benefit an organisation on a short-term basis – and boost your own portfolio at the same time. Your expertise can be a huge asset in this scenario – you can add value quickly as there’s less need for training or onboarding. It’s your chance to make a real impact. There may not be time to set up and nurture a support network so you’ll need to be self-sufficient and able to hit the ground running.
With fresh eyes and experience accrued from other backgrounds you could bring a different perspective – without the distractions of internal politics. Sometimes external opinions can shine a light into where your skills are best suited and help you finalise a plan – our experienced team can offer expert advice and a tailored programme of support.
Finally, take a look at some valuable insights on reinventing your career during a pandemic from Herminia Ibarra, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School in her Harvard Business Review article.
Onwards and upwards. Navigate the pandemic your way, look after yourself, your health and your aspirations. While it may feel like the world is standing still, you don’t need to plateau your own development – boost your chances of success and fulfilment with executive coaching, whether you’re thinking of new roles, a sideways move or a complete career transition.