Signature Leaders Blog
Reminders to Inspire

Are You Climbing the Career Ladder or the Learning Curve?

Posted by Carol Seymour on Feb 24, 2020 10:00:00 AM


It is predicted that half of the S&P 500 will no longer be a part of that list within 10 years.1

Disruption is all around us, and it is continuous. There will always be new markets created, financial market crises, election years, trade wars, virus breakouts, floods and other natural disasters, and more. Last year alone, the amount spent investing in digital technology reached almost $2 trillion. The creation and pace of new business models such as Uber, Airbnb, Tesla, and others will continue to disrupt the way we innovate, organize, develop and train, and most importantly, lead.

When we are the business that is getting disrupted, it’s easy to fall ball back on what we know. Neuroscience tells us that when we are in high-stress situations, it’s easy to resort to familiar patterns and experiences that have worked for us before. Unfortunately, our tendency is to back away from learning during stress, but we do our best thinking – and learning – when we are in uncharted territory! When we are not the experts, we become the “interns,” and we begin to ask thoughtful questions, take in new data, and pull diverse thinkers and experience into the discussion.

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Topics: Leadership, Managing Your Career, Setting Priorities

Why Career Aspirations Backfire (And How To Keep It From Happening To You)

Posted by Carol Seymour on Sep 27, 2019 10:00:00 AM


Jan aspired to be the COO. It wasn’t something she had planned on early in her career, but when she got to mid-management, she was put in charge of a major initiative to help fix an operationally deficient business unit. She found she was good at identifying quick wins and quickly making a difference. She began to be recognized for her work and was given more of the same. Her mentor told her she should think about the COO role in her future. She felt honored that he thought of her that way, and the recognition invigorated her to strongly consider that path. Pretty soon, the vision crystallized in her mind, and she began to articulate that, one day, she wanted to be the COO.

This sounds like the beginning of a story with a happy ending. Jan capitalized on recognition, took in the counsel of a mentor, and began to vocalize her aspirations. But there was one thing she didn’t know until it was too late. Jan had the wrong goal. When she became COO, she immediately knew she was in the wrong job. It was not what she anticipated it to be.

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Topics: Leadership, Managing Your Career, Advocating for Yourself

What's the Scouting Report on You?

Posted by Carol Seymour on Aug 21, 2019 10:00:00 AM


You are a top performer and have been for your whole career. Your manager knows it and is a great mentor and coach. But what if your manager leaves the company? How well are you known throughout the rest of the organization?

You may be doing very well with your own work group, perhaps even across your business unit. But what about beyond your day-to-day routines and meetings. How many relationships do you have across the enterprise in other units? In other geographies? In different functions?

If the scouting report on you is “she is a top performer, she always gets things done,” that’s good! But it’s not good enough. What is it about you that is valuable to others?

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Topics: Personal Brand, Managing Your Career, Advocating for Yourself, Intentional Mindset

How Many Levels Does Your Network Have?

Posted by Carol Seymour on Feb 13, 2019 12:21:20 PM

 “Stop right there,” she said. “I’m in.”

I was dumbfounded that Ronee Hagen, CEO of PGI, Inc. (a Blackstone Company), had just agreed to join us as our CEO guest at a Signature Program. It was 2013. I had been introduced to her only a few weeks before by a mutual contact who thought we might hit it off with a joint passion for developing more women leaders. But I was just a new entrepreneur starting to gather some momentum and Ronee was the CEO of a company with over $7B in revenue.

But her response wasn’t luck.

The foundation for this successful conversation had started years before that call.

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Topics: Managing Your Career, Relationships, Intentional Mindset

“E” is for: Enlighten your Sponsor with new intelligence he/she may not have access to

Posted by Carol Seymour on Aug 2, 2018 10:00:00 AM

At this point in 2018, you have probably heard the term “reverse mentoring.” It is where less experienced professionals mentor their own leaders. Cox Communications, located here in Atlanta, GA, is doing this using the Wisdom Warriors book to facilitate discussions. Many other companies are employing this relatively new concept to get the most out of their workforce and give their leaders access to the skills and knowledge available in its up-and-comers. Reverse mentoring allows companies to bring new perspectives into leadership conversations and make it a safe space to give and receive information.

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Topics: Sponsorship, Managing Your Career

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