The Career Advice You Probably Didn't Get

Season #1

This morning I'm using about the fact that you might not have found me through my TED Talk, so I want to share with you key messages from the TED Talk that will help you in your career journey.

First of all, I needed to have a definition of leadership that was actionable if I wanted to help women grow in their careers and be successful. I couldn't find one that met all my criteria, which you can read about in my book. No Ceiling, no Walls. So I developed one and here's my definition. Attend to the three parts because each is important.

Leadership is using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging to the greatness in others.

  • Part one is what I call "using personal greatness."
  • Part two is achieving and sustaining outcomes, which is where The Missing 33% belongs. We talk more about that in my book and throughout the Be Business Savvy website.
  • Part three is about engaging others: individuals, teams inside the organization, outside the organization, et cetera.

Leaders @ Every Level

Now, per this definition, it's important to realize that leadership manifests at every level.

  • Individual contributors can use their strengths and attributes to. deliver results that drive the business forward by engaging others, even if it's their colleagues or customers.
  • Managers and executives are expected to use their strengths and attributes to move the organization forward by engaging not only colleagues and in many cases customers, but also by engaging their direct reports successfully one-on-one and /or in teams.

So leadership manifests at every level and every day. you can work on identifying what outcomes you want to produce that day or move forward, who you have to engage with in order to do that, and on what personal strengths you're going to draw.

The Missing 33%

A second important message in my TED Talk Is about the importance of The Missing 33% of the career success equation for women. Women don't get mentored on the importance of business, strategic and financial acumen.

  • Most organizations don't provide any formal feedback by way of performance reviews on that.
  • Nor are women in most cases mentored into positions that are in the core of the business and help them gain, develop, and demonstrate their business strategic and financial acumen.

Leadership Differs by Level

Key point number three is that leadership differs by level. The way you demonstrate leadership looks different when you're an individual contributor than it does when you're a manager or an executive.

These three points are crucial because the only way and the best way to advance in your career is on the foundation of your proven and perceived leadership skills.

Take Action

Okay. So let's sum this up with some actionable tips.

Leadership is using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others.

  1. You are a leader. Think of yourself every day. As being able to and expected to use your greatness to move the organization forward by engaging the greatness and others.
  2. Generally speaking, women are perceived of as lacking the business financial and strategic acumen that comes along with the achieving and sustaining extraordinary outcomes portion of the leadership definition. So make sure every day that you are becoming more business savvy. In other words, enhancing your business, financial and strategic acumen. And that you demonstrate those in your actions and in what you say.
  3. Recognize that leadership differs by levels, and so do the expectations for how you show up as being business savvy. If you're at career start, you're not expected to fully understand and talk the language that your CFO uses when doing quarterly earnings calls. But by the time you're a senior manager, you darn well better understand that level of financial acumen and be using it to take proper action.

This is Susan Colantuono coming to you on a beautiful morning on the shores of Puerto Rico.

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Podcast produced and original theme music by Megan Tuck