The CEO You Need to Know

The CEO You Need to Know


I stumbled into a career a long time ago – relatively ill prepared but anxious to learn. I had no real plan – certainly no strategy.


My goals were equally unsophisticated.


Work hard – make some money. Oh, and there was a company car thrown in too…a brand new Pontiac Catalina that started in one county and ended two zip codes away.


That was about it.


And my source of advice on career – that was easy. I went to my manager and asked for it. Sometimes the counsel was solid – other times, little to none.


In fact, it could be said that any insights offered on building a sustainable career back then all came from the same source – my company.


I didn’t see anything wrong with that. They paid me (by my standards anyway) a good salary. And there was of course the car.


But then an amazing thing happened.


My boss moved on. Then the division changed. In fact, over some 18 months almost everything changed.


And so I repeated the process – I reached out to my new manager, asked for his counsel on my career journey, and re-staked my claim.


And I got another company car.


Then the company morphed again – and I sat down with a new manager, and I gained much needed career counsel and I….well, you get the picture.


And then the company restructured again…and again….and again.


Over the course of my 35 plus years – between mergers, acquisitions, and restructures – that little melodrama played out about 30 times.


Sound hard to believe?


Try living it.


But over time I learned some things – things I wish someone would have whispered in my ear when I started.

Here’s Five Insider’s Tips you need to get your heart around – and then get your head around too.


  1. Your reliance on your company for the sum total of your career advice is like depending on your stock broker to build your estate plan – to include your home purchase, your kids’ college education, retirement, and your last will and testament. Your company has a vested interest in making certain you help make them a profit – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there is limit to the guidance your employer provides.
  2. The boss who loves you likely will not be there 2 years from now. If you place your career plan in a little box and entrust it to someone then you need to assume that box will either be passed around – or forgotten.
  3. Too many employees begin their career journey with the same level of insight I had – make some money. Translation – no real sense of direction at all. Not minimizing the importance of the all-mighty dollar but if you really believe that’s going to sustain you – well, good luck.
  4. Few do any kind of self-inventory as their career unfolds – to include seeking to understand what they truly like (passion), what they’re good at (aptitude), and what they want to do (desire).
  5. Which carries us to the one Insider’s Tip you CANNOT ignore. There is only one CEO when it comes to your career – and it’s not the guy who takes the stage each year at your annual convention.   No, this is the person who looks back at you each morning in the mirror.


I’ve invested a lot of years in the corporate world. The only individuals I saw who survived AND thrived were the ones who embraced the five Insider’s Tips above – and they owned point #5.


You want to instead focus on your next talent management discussion, or your next performance review, or that supervisor who you know is going to carry you to the Promised Land….good luck.


You want to build a sustainable and significant career – take control.


Become a CEO.



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