As an executive taking on a new role, you can sense as you walk the halls and sit in meetings that everyone in the company is on high alert. They know change is coming. They’re not sure when, or what, but they know that you will put your imprint on the organization. So they watch and wait.
You want to make your mark. Your boss and the board expect you to make an impact. You have a myriad of ideas and strategies you would like to implement. But your eagerness is tempered with careful consideration of timing.
Studies have repeatedly shown that the ability to learn from experience is what differentiates successful executives from unsuccessful ones. Learning Agility is used to describe those with openness, willingness to learn, curiosity about the world, a willingness to experience new things, good people skills and a high tolerance for ambiguity.
Leaders who are agile exhibit the following six characteristics:
• They're unafraid to challenge the status quo
• They remain calm in the face of difficulty
• They take time to reflect on their experiences
• They purposefully put themselves in challenging situations
• They're open to learning
• They resist the temptation to become defensive in the face of adversity
CFOs can create a pathway to the CEO role by both challenging themselves and capitalizing on their unique position within a company. Responsible for tackling trouble spots, while engaging with shareholders and driving growth, the CFO possesses some of the same qualities desired in the CEO.
CFOs with an eye on the CEO position should focus on:
When you transition to a new role, it’s likely that you have two goals in mind. First, you want to a personal challenge. Second, you want to contribute something of value to the organization. Ideally, new assignments can be just such a win-win: Organizations get energetic new leadership, you get a new career opportunity. But the reality often falls short.
Job transitions, including promotions or a move to a new company, are arduous and stressful. Everyone wants to feel assured that they made the right decision—your organization in hiring you, and you in accepting the job. And yet the first 18 months are a proving ground in which new leaders fail with alarming frequency.
You can improve your chances of making the transition a smooth one by keeping three things in mind.
We’ve talked before about the definition of Learning Agility which is: the ability and willingness to learn from experience, and subsequently apply that learning to perform successfully under new or first-time conditions.
It’s important to point out that this definition of Learning Agility is not meant to imply that if you’re not highly learning agile, you’re incapable of learning. Obviously, everybody can learn. That’s one of the greatest differentiators of the human condition right? When talking about agile learning or being learning agile, I’m referring to a particular type of learning that is different from the kind of learning that helps with things like memory, analysis, and comprehending new information. This kind of learning can be termed traditional learning.
Learning Agility—the ability and willingness to learn from experience and subsequently apply that learning to perform successfully under new, first-time conditions—is grounded in research. Originated at the think tank Center for Creative Leadership and extended by 20 years of global research and practice by Lominger and Korn/Ferry International, Learning Agility’s foundations are in two streams of research that looked at leadership success (and failure). In study after study, it’s been proven that a leader’s success depends on their interest in seeking out new, diverse, and challenging experiences; drawing numerous and varied lessons from those experiences; and integrating and applying those lessons and principles to their next challenge. In other words – being Learning Agile.
Dear Forbes readers . . . I have the privilege of being surrounded by an exceptional leadership team and periodically invite colleagues to contribute to this blog. It is my honor to share this piece written by Bernadine Karunaratne—Executive Vice President, Government Team, Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting—on leadership during a politically charged time for the United States. Ana.
Recently I had the pleasure of speaking to 100 young professionals at the Executive Leadership Council’s (ELC) Leadership Institute Conference in Miami, FL. Attendees came for professional development and to learn how to increase their value at their respective organizations. I was there to reinforce the importance of power, presence, and perception in navigating one’s career.
Power is often misinterpreted as something negative…something that’s intended to be hurtful, so as a result, people tend to prefer to avoid using it. It’s important to note that what power truly is: the ability to influence or motivate towards a desired outcome.
How power is exercised is what makes the difference. There are two faces of power that need to be defined:
Learning Agility’s foundations are two streams of research into leadership success and failure. In study after study, it’s been proven that a leader’s success depends on their interest in seeking out new, diverse, and challenging experiences; drawing numerous and varied lessons from those experiences; and integrating and applying those lessons and principles to their next challenge. In other words – being Learning Agile.
In contrast, the behaviors that trip up executives, sometimes even derailing careers, are the tendency do more of the same, rely too much on past experiences, and default to a favorite solutions. At the extreme, derailed executives appear to quit learning new things altogether. If anything, they just seek out ammunition to support what they already know.