My Executive Development Journey with “A Seat at the Table”

June 17, 2011

I completed an 8 month women’s executive development program by The Link for Women’s Cindy Tortorici called “A Seat at the Table” yesterday along with eight, now life-long friends.  Throughout this odyssey, I developed my overall career vision, cultivated my influential voice and formalized my community of peers, experts and mentors. In other words, I found ‘me’ and my well needed tribe and baby, do I have plans!  As my Dad simply stated, “Katie, you have never been short of dreams” 😉

The premise of this particular program is that as women aspire from middle management positions to senior leadership roles, there is a tendency to remain focused on being tactical as this is what resulted in us achieving our merits to date. However, the onus now as leaders is to think with vision, develop strategy and to effectively delegate the tactical to those who now report to us.

Here are some of the most valuable lessons I learned along this journey:

Build in 30 minutes of time every day to simply think and plan and then act strategically about your business (phone/email off-solo activity) (See Doug Mendenhall of Spark!)

Before you can lead others, you must first understand how to lead yourself and that means knowing what your personal success patterns (see Susan Clark of Heartspark) are and what your ‘why, how and what’ are (see Simon Sinek)

Take time out to evaluate how ‘balanced’ your current life is with regards to your career, $, health, your partner, your family, your friends, your personal time. Then, design a more ideal balance chart that you want to strive towards over the next year.

If you are not happy with what you are doing and/or who you are doing it with, there is no one else who is responsible for changing those two factors besides yourself. Take responsibility for your own happiness and success.

Don’t make assumptions about your future until you have truly turned over every stone and knocked on every door. Success awaits only those hungry enough to seek it out.

Understand what people come to you for and what drives you throughout all your relationships and journeys.  Let that answer inform your path towards even greater success.

Figure out who you need on your Advisory Board for strategic support, information resources and your particular project team. The higher you get, the more support you need to achieve the dream.

Understand what your body and soul are telling you about your journey and then better align yourself so that you are getting the holistic support you need.

Leverage your unique strengths as an influencer.

Understand what makes you compelling and what then supports evidence for that fact.

Be a risk taker versus a risk talker.

What else would you add to this list?