Navigating Ups and Downs of the C-Suite – Part 2

by | Sep 5, 2019 | Career Transition, Leadership, Networking, Private Equity | 0 comments

Part II: Portfolio Career

For the last five years, we have been guiding a number of our high-powered clients toward the “portfolio life,” where doing a multitude of things is actually more flexible than doing one big thing. When you’re in the corporate role and you’ve got that one big job, you dedicate up to 70 hours a week, plus travel, plus all those other things that end up taking up all of your time. On the other hand, if you’re doing five things, each one of those things is satisfying a different need and together bringing a newfound work and life satisfaction. I am working with a client right now who has developed a portfolio that includes writing, consulting, teaching, and a couple of other activities. He thinks of himself as the CEO of his own work-life ecosystem. He has these five verticals and truly enjoys this new life, which includes a level of flexibility he never had before. When you’re managing five smaller jobs, you can actually turn some of those off while focusing on others.

One of those multiples in the portfolio life often includes board work, whether that be not-for-profit or for-profit work. This is an impactful way for our clients to flex their industry-specific muscles and know-how, without the added pressure of being responsible for the day-to-day performance of the company.

Help is Here

Generally speaking, as a society we really are not very good at self-reflection. That is exactly why it is beneficial to have a coach who can make you aware of the possibilities that exist. After all, it is understandable when the vision for career options for executives and those in the C-Suite narrows as a result of spending so many years focused on a singular type of job. You’ve been really busy in your role for the last 35 years and you haven’t had time to really open your eyes to what the possibilities are and that’s something that a coach can help you do.

Our clients come to realize pretty quickly that while they seemingly had all of the answers when it came to running their companies in the corporate world, when it comes to considering the options available and how they intersect on a personal level, having a good coach who is going to be able to tell you that’s a good idea, maybe it’s a bad idea or you better consider other possibilities when it comes to what that next role is. For instance, a lot of executives that have been in large companies find themselves in transition in their mid-50s and think that it would be a great idea to do one private equity gig before they move onto the final stop in their career track. Becoming private equity portfolio company CEO, for example, sounds great because you can run a manageable sized enterprise for two-to-five years, s potentially making a boat-load of money in the process, but what our clients come to realize quickly is that they really do need somebody to look them in the eye and say this is a good idea or a bad idea for you based on your skills and experience. There are always risks, not to mention the toll on your personal life at a time when you should be reaping the benefits of your successful career.

When it comes to engaging with our clients, our process involves an in-depth assessment that includes straightforward, honest and actionable feedback. What is more, together, we take a deep dive into your personal life as well as your work life, and how the two intersect. This often involves getting our clients’ partners involved at the start of the journey.

Please stop by next week, when I write about some of my favorite strategies to helping clients figure out where they want to take their career paths. Hint: The next job may not be all that important.

Now that we have reviewed the current state of leadership for today’s C-Suite and highlighted the exciting options that may be available to clients, I share some of my favorite questions and strategies for helping clients figure out what is to come.


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