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Julia L.

@julia_yl497

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Desiring the role of a CEO

Many young professionals and MBA students desire to become a CEO. What stands out is the mindset to want to lead.

Many aspirants want to have an impact. They desire to make a real and tangible difference in the world. They see business as a vehicle for impact, and the role of a CEO as a destination for creating change.

@julia_yl497

Ask an Expert: How Do I Become a CEO?

hbr.org

If you long to create an impact and aspire to lead an organisation, consider what it takes to lead thousands of employees and be great at it.

It requires:

  • motivation and focus for a journey that will likely take decades. (In 2020, the average age of new CEOs and CFOs at the biggest U.S. companies was 54 and 48 years old, respectively.
  • skills that will distinguish you among your peers and enable you to lead at scale.

Consider in which pathway your potential leadership impact lies.

  • The organisational architect. These leaders can build strong teams and organisational structures, systems, and processes that lead to exceptional results.
  • The relationship maven. These leaders focus on cultivating relationships and helping other people grow.
  • The passion player. These leaders focus on purpose - what they will accomplish and why.
  • They understand the fundamental reality that to build a real advantage is to create an engine for growth that will endure.
  • They can reimagine markets and attract exceptional talent.
  • They know how to assemble strong players across business functions and can give direction, resources, and freedom to deliver.

People who are naturally drawn to this instinctively rethink systems, processes, and reporting structures. They have a fixer mindset and can persuade and motivate others to exceed expectations.

  • They are people persons.
  • They naturally form genuine relationships with a diverse group of executives, internally and externally.
  • People like them because they have an earnestness that causes trust and goodwill with customers, partners, and suppliers.
  • In time, these leaders naturally bring different people together to start deals and collaborations that get bigger over time.
  • They have a natural curiosity about people. They keep in touch with the people they find most interesting.
  • These leaders have an infectious energy and compelling conversation about "why we do this" that draws people toward them.
  • They believe doing something significant is what matters, and they use that belief to gather and motivate others to their cause.
  • They are often deep experts in a specific area.
  • They often take risks.

These leaders start this pathway by identifying purpose-driven leaders, reading their books, watching their speeches and videos. They notice how they frame problems and tell stories.

Career negotiation and opportunities for advancement

Professionals often think of career negotiation as bargaining over an offer package.

Although reaching agreement on pay and benefits is necessary, it is vital to think more broadly about your career to include opportunities for advancement.

Negotiating Your Next Job

hbr.org

  • Asking negotiations. You propose something that's standard for someone in your role or at your level.
  • Bending negotiations. You request a personal exception or unusual arrangement, for example, remote work setup or a promotion where you lack conventional qualifications.
  • Shaping negotiations. You propose ways to play a role in changing your organizational environment or creating a new initiative.

Organizations may be very open to shaping negotiations during challenging or fast-changing times,

People often walk blind into a potential negotiation. They lack information on what is negotiable. It is vital to reduce vagueness and ensure that you get a fair opportunity.

Write down all the questions you have.

  • What is potentially negotiable?
  • How should I negotiate?
  • Who will be my counterparts, and what do they care about?

Find answers from talent professionals, a media search, or contact a professional on LinkedIn who can tell you more about the hiring manager.

Negotiating your role - the scope of your authority and your developmental opportunities - may benefit your career more than negotiating your pay. Negotiating your workload, responsibilities, location and travel requirements may be critical to advance professionally.

Keep your eye on larger objectives. Negotiate with the right parties about the right issues.

Negotiators frequently start their preparation focused on the opportunity right in front of them, such as a job offer.

Instead, consider your short- and long-term goals, then work backwards from those objectives to define the next steps you want to take. Include quality-of-life and professional considerations.

As you try to reduce ambiguity, you will think of people who might give you information, advice, or social support. Also, figure out who will speak up in favour of your proposal.

Talk to key stakeholders individually to get their feedback and input. It enables you to explore people's interests and concerns and incorporate their ideas into your game plan. If you're concerned about appearing conniving or manipulative, explain that you're seeking input on an idea you have.

There will be false starts and reversals. Maximise the odds of your success by setting targets for yourself that are specific and realistic. Negotiations often fizzle out because larger goals become buried by everyday work.

Great careers are not made in a vacuum. You need work and life partners, and negotiation is at the heart of finding ways to realise your path.

  • Make it relevant:  if what you're telling someone isn't aligned with their goals in some way, the impact of your feedback will be limited.
  • Stay focused on a limited number of issues you want to address.
  • Provide context, if you hope to influence someone's behavior.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Be compassionate.
  • Follow-up: from time to time, refer back to what you agreed when you had your conversation.

6 Ways Truly Effective Leaders Deliver Feedback

inc.com

Constraints vs Obstacles

Constraints are viewed as obstacles. The common wisdom regarding obstacles suggests that we have to remove all constraints.

We tend to believe that by getting rid of all rules and regulations, real creativity and innovation will start to emerge.

Why Constraints Are Good for Innovation

hbr.org

Embracing Constraints

New research suggests that managers can innovate better by embracing and working with constraints, instead of viewing them as a hindrance to innovation.

The Mind Needs A Challenge

When there are no challenges in the creative process, complacency comes in, and people tend to go for the most intuitive and easy ideas rather than investing in the development of better but difficult to implement ideas.

Providing Limited Resources

Managers may intentionally limit inputs by capping resources in corporate entrepreneurship projects, to motivate employees to challenge themselves and innovate.

A Balancing Act

Do not impose too many constraints, otherwise, employee motivation is hampered and creative ideas don't have breathing space.

Why progress studies are important
  • We still need a lot of progress for major challenges. We haven't yet cured all diseases; we don't yet know how to solve climate change; we don't yet understand how best to predict or mitigate natural disasters.
  • A lot of progress can also come from smaller advances that build upon one another and represent an enormous advance for society. The list of opportunities for improvement is very long.

Progress studies would consider the problem widely. They would study successful people, organizations, institutions, policies, and cultures, and attempt to create policies and prescriptions to help improve our ability to generate useful progress in the future.

We Need a New Science of Progress

theatlantic.com

The world would benefit from an organized effort from various disciplines to understand:

  • How we should identify and train brilliant young people.
  • How the most effective small groups exchange and share ideas.
  • Which incentives should exist for participants in innovative ecosystems (scientists, entrepreneurs, managers, and engineers)
  • How much organizations differ in productivity. One recent study found that teaching better management practices to firms in Italy improved productivity by 49 percent over 15 years compared with peer firms that didn’t receive the training.
  • How scientists should be selected and funded. A recent paper concluded that long-term grants to high-potential scientists made those scientists 96 percent more likely to produce breakthrough work.
  • The Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University tried to encourage optimistic thinking about the future through fiction and narrative.
  • An applied history movement is needed to help draw lessons from history and apply them to real-world problems.
  • In a world with Progress Studies, a new focus on progress belongs to a school of thought that would encourage a decentralized shift in priorities among academics, philanthropists, and funding agencies. This has already happened in climate-science research and the designation of Keynesian economics, which helped economists focus on fiscal policy as a tool for recession fighting.

In effect, the goal of Progress Studies is to treat, not merely to understand.

The success of Progress Studies will lie in the following:

  • its ability to identify effective progress-increasing interventions
  • the extent to which they are adopted by universities, funding agencies, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and other institutions.
Subjective Evaluation In Interviews

On the employer’s side, the entire job interview process is subjective, from the shortlisting of applications to the screening phone call, and finally when the candidate is at the door.

Candidates are hired on gut instinct and those who had a good connection during the short call or meet are preferred. The effectiveness of the job interview turns to zero when the role of bias is maximized and the competencies of the employee are sidelined, or overlooked.

Job Interviews Don’t Work

fs.blog

  • Usually, a typical job interview has the employer(s) sit in a room (or a video conference software) and make them answer unstructured questions, gauging their ability to charm them, and appear as the right fit by feeling like ‘one of the gang’. The candidate is selected or rejected based on how good he ‘performed’ on the interview day.
  • Charisma can also be faked during an interview process, and the interviewer can be duped into hiring a wrong candidate who was able to manufacture charm and likeability to get selected. This makes hiring based on what is portrayed by the candidate to be inherently flawed.

In an ideal world, the competence of a person should get him or her the job. In reality, bias gets in the way and is normally related to age, gender, race, appearance and even social class.

Another common mistake is to hire someone who is well-liked by the interviewer due to them being similar. This eventually narrows down the range of skill sets and diversity of thinking in the workplace.

Invisible, unconscious biases dominate an interview process.

Attractive people tend to look more smart and qualified than they are. Tall people command more respect and those with deep voices appear trustworthy.

Some biases from the interviewer are implicit, and the candidates are not allowed to display their expertise and eventually are bracketed as ‘rejects’.

This is due to the fact that the judgement has been made and also confirmed by the interviewer and now there is no reason to question the bias.

A job interview process expects the candidate to summarize his entire profile and prove his fitment for the job in a few minutes. This indirectly facilitates lying, deception, exaggeration and hiding of facts from the candidate.

Candidates take credit for things they haven’t done, tailor their answers according to the interviewer’s needs, and even construct elaborate experiences to provide richer answers.

This is a logical fallacy that associates people’s behaviour in one area with other situations and circumstances. The interviewer can correlate a behavioural trait as a visible outcome of certain innate characteristics.

Judging the candidate and selecting or rejecting them with one observed attribute like them sending a thank you note or not isn't going to get the recruiter the best candidates.

Experience is not a guarantee of expertise.

Interviewers tend to associate a knowledgeable candidate having loads of experience with competency. In reality, there are many factors involved in learning from past experience, and the one having less experience are not incompetent automatically.

  • A structured interview focused on weeding out the distractions and noise and revealing the competencies of the candidates is a better alternative. The questions are identical and are asked in the same manner to all candidates and there is no unconscious judgement introduced.
  • Interviews provide a physical interaction with the prospects, people who may be working together in the future. Candidates too expect an interview, wanting a ‘chat’ before they join the organization. A challenging interview or series of interviews often make the candidate more inclined towards accepting the offer.

Blind auditions can work in some sectors to measure competency and minimize any personal bias. Interviews showcase their work without providing any personal information like age, race or gender.

This makes the interview hire on merit and not due to their own likeness.

The International Space Station

The ISS is a multi-nation super satellite, the largest single construct in space, made between 1998 and 2011.

  • As of 2018, 230 astronauts and 18 countries have visited the International Space Station. It includes contributions(money and resources) from 15 nations like Russia, USA, and Europe.

  • The ISS is assisted (and even controlled) by mission control centers in Houston and Moscow, along with a payload control center in Huntsville, Ala.

International Space Station: Facts, History & Tracking

space.com

The International Space Center circles the globe every 90 minutes at a speed of 17,500 mph. It flies at an altitude of 248 miles above Earth.

It holds a crew of three to six people, and for a long time, used the Russian Soyuz spacecraft as a way to transport astronauts. SpaceX has sent 2 more astronauts in May 2020, using their Special Dragon Spacecraft, courtesy Elon Musk.

Astronauts mainly perform experiments and do maintenance at the ISS. They also do some personal care and exercise, reach out to Earth to conduct some media or school events, and occasionally perform spacewalks. They also use a bit of Twitter.

Human health research, especially eye problems are a major activity. Biological activities, animal tests and testing of appliances in space is also done.

Astronauts going outside in space for urgent repairs or routine checks is a potentially dangerous and usually fatal activity. NASA is currently testing a robot called ‘Robonaut’ to replace this outside work, for the safety of human astronauts.

The ISS weighs 861,804 pounds, with livable space comparable to a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet.
It consists of labs, living quarters, solar panels and connector nodes.

Debates have a major impact

There’s a reason why we place such importance on debates: They show us things about candidates that other venues do not, but they may also overwhelm everything else we know about the candidate.

10 presidential debates that made an impact

nbcnews.com

1960 — Kennedy v. Nixon

The first televised presidential debate in U.S. history may be the most consequential.

Political mythology holds that Americans who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon was better, while those who watched it on television thought Kennedy was better.

1976 — Carter v. Ford

A moment that may have impacted the final result was when Ford stumbled over a question during their second debate regarding Poland, which he insisted was not under "Soviet domination." It was, and Ford had to retract his statement, contributing to the view that he was in over his head.

1980 — Reagan v. Carter

There was widespread dissatisfaction with Carter but also concerns about Reagan's experience and temperament.

With their first and only televised debate late in the election, Reagan convinced the American voters he was up for the job with a single liner ("There you go again") and an FDR-inspired closing statement (“Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”)

1984 — Reagan v. Mondale

Reagans first televised debate against Mondale brought renewed focus on his advanced age (Reagan was 73 at the time) and raised questions about how engaged he was in the business of the White House.

However, Reagan was able to diffuse it with a simple joke: "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.”

1988 — Bush v. Dukakis

The beginning of the end of Michael Dukakis' once-promising presidential run was when he was asked about an arguably "gotcha" question about whether he would stand by his anti-death penalty position even if his wife were "raped and murdered."

In the years since, Dukakis defended his robotic response. He didn't think his answer was that bad.

1988 — Quayle v. Benson

Veteran Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen faced off against the youthful (and many argued inexperienced) Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle.

During the debate, Quayle tried to link himself to the legacy of former President John F. Kenndey. But Bentsen said, "I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." It sparked spontaneous applause.

1992 — Bush v. Clinton v. Perot

The unusual inclusion of a third party candidate insured an even greater level of interest in the 1992 presidential debates.

The first so-called "town hall" format was introduced. This format was very favorable to the Arkansas Gov, Bill Clinton, who was known for his physical comfort with voters.
President George H.W. Bush was more awkward in these kinds of encounters
. When he was asked how the national debt and recession had impacted his life or the lives of anyone close to him, he was caught on camera looking at his wristwatch, increasing the perception that he was indifferent and detached from the concerns that touched Americans.

2000 — Gore v. Bush

Vice President Gore was sighing during Bush's answers and deemed smug and disrespectful. Then, he appeared to be ready to pounce on Bush physically, and his aggressiveness was held against him.

2008 — Palin v. Biden

Sarah Palin, the polarizing Alaska governor, entered the stage following a series of embarrassing headlines and poorly received interviews. Sen. Joe Biden had to walk a delicate balance since there was an increased sensitivity to sexism in the campaign.

The debate ended up without any major incident. Palin made many factual errors and mostly pursued her own talking point instead of answering the moderator.

2012 — Obama v. Romney

After a dull first debate, President Obama saw his re-election chances in trouble. During his second prime-time against Republican Mitt Romney, Romney tried to rebuke Obama for allegedly not calling the recent embassy attack in Benghazi a terrorist attack.

A confident Obama urged moderator Candy Crowley to "get the transcript." Crowley interjected and confirmed that the president had indeed called the incident an "act of terror."

Passion seems to be essential for success and happiness.
Psychologists have devised tools that can measure passion to some extent. Questions were chosen that carefully differentiate passion from other experiences. Not surprisingly, people who score higher on the passion scale tend to be more committed and less likely to change jobs.

How a 'growth mindset' can lead to success

bbc.com

While some people have a clear calling from an early age, many spend their whole careers without having ever discovered their passion.

The most basic foundation of passion is an intense interest in what you're doing.

Some people tend to see their abilities as fixed, that you either have a talent for something or you don't. Others have a growth mindset where they believe that abilities can change over time.

These mindsets determine how we face challenges: We either give up when we are faced with difficulties or we persevere knowing that we will improve over time.

People with a fixed mindset:

  • They believe that the core interest remains the same and won't really change.
  • They fail to see connections between disciplines.
  • They may continue to search for the "perfect" job while neglecting the other possibilities in front of them.

Those with a growth mindset:

  • They believe that regardless of how central their interests are to them, they can change.
  • They approach material outside of their field with curiosity.
  • They see possibilities between disciplines that lead to greater creativity.

We should move beyond the idea of "finding your passion." There is no secret, perfect job you just need to discover. If you don't like something at first, it can take time for things to develop. To ignite your passion:

  • Focus on your work's value to society.
  • Follow inspiring mentors.
  • Make a special effort to develop your own expertise.

With the right mindset, a little bit of interest can grow into a passion.

Find out if your performance evaluation is according to what you understand. Identify your goals and key performance indicators with your manager, and discuss accordingly.

6 Ways to Take Control of Your Career Development If Your Company Doesn't Care About It

hbr.org

Ask for feedback, learn from it and adjust your performance (or behavior) according to the areas of improvement that you get to know from others.

Example: After giving a presentation, talk about what went well and ask if there is something that you could have done better.

Keeping a journal with a record of your learnings and feedback (areas of improvement) can keep us on the right path, and speed up our progress, and learning too.

Listing out 5 or 10 areas of improvement and tracking the progress in weekly or monthly reviews is a great way to develop your career.

Your routine work is not sufficient to get you noticed. Taking initiatives at charity work, company events, or in on-campus recruiting can help you become more visible with seniors.

The world is going through a digital transition with new technologies like AI, cloud-based computing and Internet Of Things encompassing our work lives.

Developing expertise in an emerging area of growing importance can lead to promotions and other career openings.

Instead of directly approaching someone to be your mentor, which can be intrusive, try the organic approach in your normal conversations, so that a helpful senior can volunteer to be your mentor in a particular area of expertise.

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