When Bad Things Happen To Great Executives

Where might your executive career land if your company was the subject of a hostile takeover?

Or sunk by a bankruptcy filing or liquidation?

Or the very latest to see its voluminous customer data breached and its brand significantly devalued?

Or caught in some kind of media scandal?

No matter our standing and seniority in today’s global enterprise, there are things beyond our immediate control that could rather quickly push us to a surprise, perhaps panicked career move in the wake of something that threatens your company.

We’ve all known friends who ended up on the wrong size of an organisational restructuring, a layoff or ‘reduction in force’, or a lack of funding that proved fatal for the entire company. We may have even experienced one or more of these setbacks ourselves.

As the old adage goes, the way you treated people on your own way up is exactly how they’ll treat you on the way back down.

The sometimes sudden nature of events beyond our control should remind all of us that bad things can happen to great companies, and by extension, to great executives, too, and when our backs are up against the wall, it’s our personal and professional relationships alone that can bail us out.

This is why it’s so important for today’s global leaders to invest in their own relationship networks. One never knows when the strength of an executive’s bonds with peers in the same company, the same industry and/or the same geographic region could be all that separates him or her from a successful career move, or the potential disaster of going down with the ship.

These are important linkages for advice in tough times. They represent a brain trust of sorts, able to counsel you as you navigate the complexities of change, and perhaps even the ambiguity of corporate chaos.

These are sources of strength amid the brewing storm. These are potential points of clarity and safe harbour when your association with a distressed employer starts to overwhelm.

When you’re part of a high-flying company, or when you feel your executive career has reached its pinnacle, it’s important to remember how fleeting your experience there could be. It’s important to take the time to acknowledge that you can go on to a successful, fulfilling role elsewhere at any time because of the character you’ve shown and grace you’ve exhibited throughout your career.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And when it makes more sense to leave than to stay, just remember that you’re not facing the challenge alone. The people you’ve helped along the way, the peers you’ve impressed and the mentors who helped you know yourself better are all in the same fight with you.

Knowing that should give you all the resolve you need, come what may.

Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2015


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