4 Keys to Successful Leadership Transitions

4 Keys to Successful Leadership Transitions

Leadership Transitions – sometimes they are welcomed and sometimes they are dreaded. Either way, they are never easy and when not done well can leave lasting scars. If you are in a transitional situation, these 4 keys to successful leadership transitions are useful.

Too often, people focus on the logistical aspects of the transition and neglect the interpersonal. The departing leader, the new leader and the board all play critical roles. They must manage the interpersonal, and if they do, there is a much greater probability that the transition will go smoothly.

Business leadership transitions occur for many reasons:

  • An owner selling the business to a family member, partner or outside interest.
  • Leadership change opens the role allowing another team member to advance in the organization.
  • Crisis such as death, accident or illness requires an immediate transition
  • A leader chooses to leave the organization or is forced out by owners or board

So, how best can leaders best handle transitions? Consider the following 4 keys to successful leadership transitions as a guide.

1. Clearly define roles.

For the former leader within the organization. While a clean break is usually healthiest for the new leaders and the organization, for many reasons this often does not occur. If the former leader is the owner, parent or CEO becoming chairman, they will still want to be involved in some way. It is healthiest for the organization if the former leader has a well-defined and limited role. Most of his communication should be with the new leader and not the people under them.

2. The former leader creates a new identity. 

This really applies to those who are transitions, however staying within the organization. Identity is attached to leadership in the sense of the leader’s purpose within the organization. During the time of transition, that identity is shifting and needs a new focus. Often the new leader, board members or consultants could help the former leader create their new identity. 

What are the former leader’s passions, interests, and hobbies? While hobbies, such as golf, are time-consuming they rarely offer the mental stimulation or recognition they need to form their new identity. Could they volunteer, mentor or consult outside the organization or take on a project of some kind? This is a time when the former leader could make a difference by getting involved in a non-profit or helping young entrepreneurs.

3. Communication is key. 

When both the former and new leaders talk about their new relationship, their emotions, and identities, they could work through many issues festering just below the surface. The new leaders must always treat the former leader respectfully and explain upfront that they may be doing some things differently. 

They could identify where they are aligned and not aligned, and discuss how to resolve the unaligned areas. Everyone must be invested in helping the former leader move on and the new leaders take charge.

4. Role of the Board. 

The best way that members of the board could support the transition is to transition along with leadership. Members of the board who have served with the former leader and are aligned with him/her could serve as confidantes to the former leader and guide him/her through the transition. They too ought to depart the board and allow new leadership to create their own board of advisors. 

Too often board members use the justification of having institutional knowledge when in fact this knowledge could prevent the organization from moving forward in a reinvigorated way. Boards today require fresh thinking and diverse perspectives. 

What better time to create that, than in a transition of leadership.

The smoothest transitions often have a well-articulated succession plan and clear processes for managing and communicating the changes. They also address the identity, emotional and relationship issues of both the former and new leaders and create an environment of open communication among the leaders and the board. The organization moves forward by respecting the former leader while having the latitude to innovate and build a team for the future. 

When done well, everyone excels in their new roles and the organization thrives. As an additional option consider hiring a transitional leader to aid the process.

Poor Leadership and Employee Stress

poor leadership and mental health

Lately, we’ve discussed the topic of improving executive leadership and executive presence.  In contrast, let’s take a look at the other side of these skills and how poor leadership and employee stress are linked. Certainly, it is without question that the two go hand in hand.

Defining Expectations.

As a starting point, the management staff of any business or organization is responsible for setting priorities for the staff. These priorities define expectations and allow the entire team to run smoothly.

If management does not fulfill these responsibilities or is doing a poor job, employee stress is going to increase.

What Employees Seek.

When it comes to organization, the human mind is actually a very simple machine to operate. In practice, the mind loves to compartmentalize situations.

Therefore, employees perform best when duties and responsibilities are clearly defined. Defining duties and responsibilities allow the mind to further divide tasks into attainable daily, weekly, and monthly goals.  

Which, as a result, works perfectly in-line with larger goals put forth by management.  

Bite-sized goals. Now that’s the stuff that motivates employees!

Identifying Mental Health Priorities.

Furthermore, to expand the message of how poor leadership and employee stress are entwined, we found this perfect bullet list of risk definitions from the World Health Organization.

Risks to mental health include:

  • inadequate health and safety policies;
  • poor communication and management practices;
  • limited participation in decision-making or low control over one’s area of work;
  • low levels of support for employees;
  • inflexible working hours; and
  • unclear tasks or organizational objectives.

Additionally, The WTO released an information sheet in 2019 that speaks directly to mental health in the workplace.  

“Mental health interventions should be delivered as part of an integrated health and well-being strategy that covers prevention, early identification, support and rehabilitation. Key to success is involving stakeholders and staff at all levels when providing protection, promotion and support interventions and when monitoring their effectiveness. “

Setting Workplace Priorities.

Altogether, leaders are responsible for deciding the team direction. Leaders choose the project focus, and how fast it needs to be done. Unfortunately, some managers project management skills are weak. This throws a team into chaos.

As a rule, the best management goals are ones that are quantifiable. Stick to concrete numbers or measurable benchmarks.

For example, a good goal for a sales department is to increase sales by 15 percent over the next quarter. A poor and vague goal is to “do a good job.”

With this in mind, clear standards of performance allow employees to measure their individual success at work. As a result, a lack of clear standards causes morale to suffer. Which, in turn, makes it very difficult for an employee to gain a sense of fulfillment.

Ultimately, everyone wants to feel like they can ask for a raise, pursue a promotion, and, generally, feel successful at their job.  Indeed, we all want to achieve.

Mental Health Awareness.

What’s inspiring is the framework being established as the norm when it comes to employee stress and the nature of workplace mental health.

Over the years, we’ve seen a rise in corporate efforts that support a positive and healthy work environment for all team members. These days, it’s not uncommon for companies to have a functioning wellness program.

Most recently, some organizations are adopting the title role of Chief Wellness Officer. A role entirely dedicated to navigating employee stress. For example the facilitation of training seminars, leadership coaching, employee support sessions, and programmed stress-reducing retreats.

Furthermore, institutions such as Stanford University School of Medicine offer Chief Wellness Officer courses. While initially, these targetted only healthcare professionals, they are fast becoming desirable by those in high-level leadership roles.

In the case of Standford’s course, registration is formatted as a one-week intensive. Designed to “help participants cultivate expertise in the principles and applications that contribute to physician well-being.”

With learning objectives as follows: 

  • Leadership skills to spearhead the organization’s physician wellness efforts.
  • Knowledge and hands-on experience in developing a customized strategic plan.
  • Expertise in the principles and applications contributed to physician well-being. Including the development of an organizational culture to foster engagement and professional fulfillment.

As leaders who aim to create optimal work environments, our focus points are well defined to encourage healthy and vibrant mental health across our teams.

What Executive Presence Really Is

Executive Presence

In 2014, Sylvia Ann Hewlett and her team huddled over an extensive collection of data drawn from 14 sectors of corporate America. The goal was to identify, at the corporate level, what Executive Presence really is and why we need it.  

What the data reflected was that Executive Presence is not so much about performance. It’s not about what you do when ‘delivering the goods’ or ‘hitting the numbers’.  It’s about what you signal. 

Executive Presence or EP. What is it and where do I get some?

In the simplest terms, executive presence is about the ability to inspire confidence. It includes first impressions of appearance, interpersonal communication skills, and body language.  Executive presence consists of effective listening, effectively maneuvering through office politics and exuding authentic charisma. 

As a leader, you inspire confidence by showing that you are capable and reliable. Which is critical to being trustworthy of supporters.  By contrast, inspiring confidence with your own superiors shows that you have the potential for greater achievements in career growth.

The 3 Main Pillars of Executive Presence

As part of the 2014 study, the group singled out 3 main traits associated with EP.

#1. Gravitas

Gravitas is the projection of credibility and assertiveness with the confidence to convey a clear message.  In comparison, gravitas is the way of signaling impact in a compelling manner.

As an example, the study asked senior leaders who they saw as career role models.  Significantly, the #1 role model identified was Nelson Mandala.  A man that earned his placement through sincerity and understanding the power of symbolism.  Nelson Mandala had gravitas in spades and showed it by routinely connecting at a very human level.

#2. Communication

Communication includes the ability to read an audience. To assess a complex situation and act accordingly. This is the ability to command a room. It’s what you say, when you say it, how you say it, and to whom you say it. Communication is also portrayed through the masterful use of body language and concise speaking skills.

These skills combined show you’re able to communicate the authority of a leader.

#3. Appearance

While the data showed appearance to be the smaller piece of the puzzle, it is still worth significant attention. Appearance is commonly referred to as “looking the part.”

By taking the time to look and feel your best, it shows consideration and respect toward the people you interact with. Appearance also includes dressing appropriately for the environment and occasion which in a corporate setting carries high-level importance.

Why You Need Executive Presence

Ultimately, executive presence determines whether you gain access to opportunity.

There’s a saying in leadership, “All the important decisions about you will be made when you’re not in the room.” It’s true. In particular, whether it’s a decision about an important opportunity, a promotion to a critical role or an assignment to a high-visibility project, it’s likely that you won’t be in the room.

Therefore, the opportunities you gain access to depend on the confidence you’ve already inspired in the decision-makers. Additionally, the more significant the opportunity, the more important executive presence becomes.

How To Build Your Executive Presence

As with any other skill, some people are naturally more gifted at executive presence than others. That being said, everyone can improve their EP with focus and practice.

Cultivate a foundation of quiet confidence.

At its core, executive presence is about confidence, yet “the more confidence the better” isn’t always the way. Presence is confidence without arrogance.

Sadly, confidence is often confused with cockiness however, the truly “present” executive is one who doesn’t need to trumpet his achievements. Instead, he or she has an internal resolve driven by a solid sense of self-worth. As a result, they have learned healthy, effective ways of dealing with challenges and relationships.

Key points to focus on while developing your own executive presence:

  • Learn to operate effectively under stress.
  • Become an excellent listener. 
  • Build your communication skills.
  • Understand how others experience you.
  • Have a vision, and articulate it well.

Most importantly, find your voice as an executive.

Identify your assets and leverage them to the max. Some people are naturally gregarious and can fill a room with their personality. Others rely on their listening ability, sense of timing, and ability to maintain their composure when others get emotional.

In an increasingly diverse world, executive presence will look very different from one executive to another. Just keep building the confidence of others that can step you up as a leader if and when times get tough.

Building Your Senior Management Team

BUilding your senior-level management team

In the startup stage of every enterprise, it’s a matter of survival to create the most cost-effective operating system.  Naturally, this requires owners to do as much as possible on their own. But with growth comes a massive shortage of time which means eventually, building your senior management team will need mandatory.

Especially if your plan is to take the business to the next level.

Building the best team demands matching people’s strengths to specific jobs.  So while your best buddy from grade school may feel like the right choice, you’ll still need to cross-reference strengths and skills to job requirements prior to signing an offer letter.

When assembling a senior team, you’ll want to take the time and consider all the critical areas of your business. At the rudimentary level, we’ve assembled a thorough recap of senior-level roles. 

A Breakdown of the Roles.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 

Basically, and without much exaggeration, the CEO is the boss of everyone and everything (but reports to the Board of Directors). Realistically, you’ll either be the CEO or hire someone more suited to the depth of the role. Which is not entirely uncommon. 

Owners are oftentimes ‘too close to the center’ when it comes to determining the company’s executive strategy. Therefore, hiring your own boss is fundamentally in the company’s best interest. 

Your CEO will have the ability to rise above the daily details and decide where the industry and business are headed. An exceptional CEO must be a remarkable strategic thinker.  They must be able to decide the company’s best route for navigating the future market conditions. 

That being said, the CEO’s ultimate skill is in hiring and firing. It is essential to assemble the right management team as support for your CEO. As a result, your chosen CEO will need to be able to identify and hire the best, fire the ones who don’t work out, and run the show all the same.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

A COO handles a company’s complex operational details. Think about UPS moving three billion packages in the two weeks before Christmas: The company’s COO ensures the business can deliver day after day. Their team creates the systems to track the measurements and take action when the company isn’t delivering as expected.

When ensuring smooth operations become a big part of your business, it’s time to hire someone who revels in measurements, operations, and details.

President

To be honest, the role of a president is a little less specific than other executive team members. Presidents can oversee staff functions–human resources, finance, and strategy–while the COO oversees daily operations. In some organizations, the title of president is a synonym for COO, especially in smaller companies. Sometimes, the president fills gaps left by the COO and CEO. Other times, the title goes to someone you want at the strategy table but who doesn’t have an obvious C-level title.

Additionally, not every enterprise needs a president as many find this title fully covered by the efforts of a CEO and COO.  All things to consider when looking at your own enterprise.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Plain and simple, your CFO handles the money. They create budgets and financing strategies. They figure out if it’s better for your business to lease or buy. Then they build the control systems that monitor your company’s financial health. Money is your business’s blood, and in entrepreneurship, cash flow is everything.

If you don’t know the difference between cash flow and profit–go find yourself a CFO.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Many current business battles are battles of marketing. Especially when corporate strategy hinges on marketing strategy. As a result, companies have been bringing in a marketing expert at the C-level rather than as a traditional vice president role. 

The CMO owns the marketing strategy–and that often includes implementation of the sales strategy. Your CMO will learn your industry inside out and help you position your product/service, differentiate it from your competitors’, enlist distributors, and make sure customers learn to crave your product.

If your business’s success depends mainly on marketing, you need a CMO. That could be you–but only if you have time to keep up with competitors, oversee the marketing plan, and still do the rest of your job–and do it well.

Otherwise, you need to look for the person with the right kind of buzz for the job, ready to keep up on what’s hot and what’s not.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

This role is only really significant if your business or industry is impacted by technology. Specifically, if your company’s chosen programming language affects the overall company strategy. In this case, you may need a CTO.

Is your enterprise tech-based? If so, delve into your professional network and find yourself a strategic thinker rooted in the tech industry. If you are not tech-based, you can sit this hiring process out and keep the focus on the above mentioned senior-level roles.

Building Your Senior Management Team

Ultimately, trust your instincts when interviewing and hiring. You have successfully grown your business to the level of needing an executive team, which is a major win all in itself.

As always with leadership; hire smart, fire fast, keep working that strategy to get the work done.

If you need inspiration for job postings at the Executive and Senior-Level, we’ve got some great site resources available in our Career Help section.

How To Properly Express Career Skills

properly expressing career skills

Sure, we get it.  Talking about yourself can be tricky.  You want to sound proud but at the same time not sound like you’re bragging.  You want to sound highly skilled but not come across as a know it all. Without a doubt, one of the top 3 client frustrations we hear is how to properly express career skills. 

If you’re new to the workforce than a shortage of well-rounded skills can be a limitation. For those with extensive years of work history, the challenge becomes that of streamlining an entire career into a cohesive, easy to read, list of skills. 

The goal is to get that interview.  Here are a few tips we use to keep the message tidy and descriptive.

Skills to Put on a Resume

Stating that you worked as a brand manager at Company XYZ is no longer enough to secure a job interview.  Even if you’re applying for the same position at another company.  The job market is heavily saturated so recruiters and hiring managers are seeking a combination of skills and specific traits associated with job titles. 

So, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to what skills should be listed on your resume.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the basic skills to show off.

1. Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are specific universal abilities. The most sought-after skills recruiters want to see include:

  1. Teamwork
  2. Leadership
  3. General Organization, Motivation, and Time Management Skills
  4. Communication Skills
  5. Creativity
  6. Analytical or Critical Thinking and Numeracy Skills

These are skills we can all relate too however not everyone can deliver efficiently.

Take public speaking for example. Not everyone can handle the stress of standing in front of an audience, especially that of skeptical clients or stakeholders. That’s why you should provide examples of what it looks like when you use that skill.

Put the skill in the context of actual achievement to show hiring managers the impact you have when you’re in action.

2. Job Specific Skills and ATS Keywords

To sieve through large numbers of resumes, companies are turning to applicant tracking systems. This software crawls through applications in search of specific words and phrases, including skill keywords.

Here’s the problem — the algorithms behind the software understand only as much as you tell them. You can’t depend on them to infer your skillset from the jobs you’ve held.

So, how can you improve your chances of having your skills recognized by a resume reading robot? Check out our previous article on how to optimize your resume for ATS for a few tips.

Sharing your unique set of skills requires more than just listing your skills one-by-one in the skills section. To stand out from the crowd, be specific.

If you lead a team of sales representatives, don’t just add “leadership” to the list, share more details like the example below:

Leadership Skills

  1. Lead a team of 4 sales representatives who generated 25% of total sales revenue and outperformed 7 remaining teams.
  2. Motivated team to increase their productivity by 17%.

Being explicit about your abilities isn’t limited to general skills like communication skills, teamwork, or leadership. Do the same for technical skills as well.

A skills section should be the mainstay of any resume.

Ideally, a recruiter or hiring manager should glance at your skills section and see the requirements they’re seeking as well as your unique capabilities.

Need help?  Our team at PWU offers Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization and Recruiter Services. Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Q4 Outlook for San Francisco 2019

Q4 Outlook 2019 San Francisco

To begin with, we want you to know we have good news in the 2019 Q4 outlook. According to data-driven insights from the leading global workforce solutions company ManpowerGroup, Q4 in the San Francisco area is promising.

Hiring trends were found pretty much EVERYWHERE.

  • Durable Goods Manufacturing
  • Nondurable Goods Manufacturing
  • Transportation & Utilities
  • Wholesale & Retail Trade
  • Information and Financial Activities
  • Professional & Business Services
  • Leisure & Hospitality
  • Government

Correspondingly, positive job forecasts were reported across all 50 states with 100 of the largest metro areas reporting a +20% national Outlook for Q4 2019.  This is a 1 percent increase from the previous year-over-year report.

To put in perspective, the last time this survey reported a Q4 Net Employment Outlook as high as +20% was in the fourth quarter of 2006.  See, we told you we had good news!

Relating back to ManpowerGroup® findings specifically for the Bay Area

  • employers are expected to hire at a solid pace of 23 percent growth
  • 25 percent plan to hire more employees from October through December.
  • 2 percent plan to reduce payrolls
  • 72 percent expect to maintain current staff levels
  • 1 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans.

Interestingly, a study of 2800 IT leaders reported the challenge was finding skilled technology professionals. The study was conducted by Robert Half Technologies and was sectioned into major cities accordingly.

We loving this great little infographic made by the team at Robert Half which speaks directly to the state of high tech specifically in San Francisco.

Yes, the tech skills shortage is real.

In previous blogs we’ve talked tech growth and hiring trends, so we’re already aware of the industry boom, however, closing Q4 this strong is a great thing to report. While all aspects of IT have a need for quality employees, if you’re less than fulfilled in your current role or just starting out, now is most certainly the time to revisit the resume.

Our team at PWU engages with all sectors, specifically hundreds of IT professionals. Our business model is perfected for navigating ATS and recruiter profiling. Connect with us when you plan to make career moves through Q4 2019 and beyond.

5 Key Skills for General Manager Success

Any of us working in large or small organizations will attest to the high-value a good General Manager can bring to daily workflow. Although the title itself is very diverse, the executive role of a GM is to plan and execute an umbrella-like influence on business strategies throughout the organization. GM’s are business leaders positioned to assess the health of their market and to align appropriate growth strategies while simultaneously playing an essential role in delivering a delightful experience to customers and gracefully representing the company’s mission.

Jack of all trades and master of EVERYTHING.

We conducted a search for current executive employers seeking General Managers on LinkedIn and began to see patterns pertaining to key skills flagged as necessary for the recruiting and hiring process.  The data also reflected some ideal personality traits associated with successful GM leaders. Individuals with a tendency towards naturally optimistic attitudes achieve as GM’s as do industry leaders with a genuine sense of compassion toward their team. Powerful critical thinkers with instinctual abilities to review and act according to live situations are born for this role.

Check out our active search data here: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/search/?keywords=general%20manager

5 basics of general manager success

Whether your focal industry is retail, hospitality, food & beverage or running a multi-million-dollar hockey team, mastering these 5 skills can help you dive deeper into a successful leadership experience.

  1. Shaping the Work Environment – every company has its own individual work atmosphere which becomes the framework of which the new GM builds strategies.  These are the performance standards that dictate the pace and efforts from all employee’s, they are the business concepts that define the company’s operations and they are the key items that define the overall experience of employment with the company.  The details of these environments are never out of sight for a quality General Manager.
  2. Crafting a Strategic Vision – since the General Manager is the main executive who can commit the entire organization to an absolute strategy, the best GMs are invariably involved in the strategic formulations. They are actionable in approach to leadership rather than just presiding over their team at arm’s length.
  3. Marshaling Resources – allocating resources to support competitive strategies is a cornerstone of the GM role. This high-value operating technique maintains the company’s economic health and allows the company to produce high returns. The name of the game is an absolute focus on strategy.  For you to master this ability on a 360-degree perspective will aide you to gaining an important competitive edge.
  4. Developing Star Performers – The talk then comes to building an optimum team.  Everyone knows how important it is to attract talent, develop them quickly and keep the team challenged and pointed in productive directions.  Yet it’s a struggle to hire those that can make the calls when restructuring is in the company’s best interest.  Lack of management talents ranks at an equal degree to low standards as a cause of poor performance.  Making tough people decisions while nurturing the strongest aspects of your team is vital to success in the GM occupation.
  5. Up and Running – Strategies have been researched, formulated and educated across the organization and now the GM ‘s gaze looks to the supervising of operations and the particular implementation. GM’s are very detail-oriented with a heavy focus on result-based disciplines. Their operating plans are not merely goals, but actual commitments made to themselves and the company that hired them. A keen sense of an organization’s operational capabilities separates top GM’s from their less able executives.  
Job industry leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves.

These 5 responsibilities don’t tell the whole story, of course. Leadership skills and the GM’s personal style and experience are important pieces of the whole picture. However, focusing effort in these areas will help any GM become more effective. And that should mean making the right things happen faster and more often—which is what you want to achieve.

Every career change is unique and our team at Power Writers is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, and LinkedIn Profile Updates.  Contact us here for a free consultation and resume evaluation.

Talent Aquisition in 2019: Internal Promotions

According to an article found in Deloitte Insights, many companies in 2019 are placing more emphasis on hiring within their organization first. According to the writers hiring within has historically not been the route taken by most companies. However, due to the shortage of qualified recruits business’s are starting to see the value in gleaning talent from their existing employee pool. Of course, this is good business sense. Return on Investment for training current employees would be high because they already have a strong knowledge base of how the business operates.

Pros to promoting internally:

  • Your current employees know the culture of the company.
  • Save time and cost on hiring campaigns.
  • Provides an incentive for current company talent.


As talent markets get tighter and the world becomes more connected, a major new trend has emerged from our research: the need to improve internal talent mobility to more effectively move people among jobs, projects, and geographies. This year, internal talent mobility has become a C-suite-level topic, with 76 percent of our survey respondents rating it important and 20 percent rating it one of their organization’s three most urgent issues.



Erica VoliniJeff SchwartzIndranil RoyMaren HauptmannYves Van Durme,Brad DennyJosh Bersin : Talent Mobility: Winning the war on the home front[Web log post]. Retrieved May 9, 2019, from
https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/focus/human-capital-trends/2019/internal-talent-mobility.html

This quote from Claudette Dunlap further highlights the shortage of available candidates. She places emphasis on the fact that there are more jobs available than there are people to fill them.

With more job openings than people to fill them, recruiters have a long road in 2019 to combat the effects of a tight labor market. Not only do recruiters need to overcome the lack of candidates to fill positions, but they will also need to find creative ways to overcome any skills gaps that exist. Finding ways to offer training or career development represents a significant opportunity for differentiation.

Claudette Dunlap, Director of National Sales at TempWorks Software

If you have the existing talent within your organization it makes complete sense to build on their existing skill set. Not only are you creating growth opportunity for your employees but you are also retaining employees during this tight labor market.


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

Trends in Executive Leadership

The Executive Leader of any organization carries a substantial amount of responsibility for the success of a business. Needless to say the investment in training and educating these leaders needs to be an ongoing priority. The landscape of business is constantly changing, therefore, it is important that the education of our leaders changes and adapts with it. In their article found in the Harvard Business Review, Mihnea Moldoveanu and Das Narayandas talk about how, “The need for leadership development has never been more urgent.”

As demand grows for executive education that is customizable, trackable, and measurably effective, new competitors are emerging. Business schools, consultancies, corporate universities, and digital platforms are all vying to provide skills development programs, and each player has certain advantages and constraints.


Moldoveanu, Mihnea and Narayandas, Das (2019, March). Educating the Next Generation of Leaders [Web log post]. Retrieved March 26, 2019, fromhttps://hbr.org/2019/03/educating-the-next-generation-of-leaders

Moldoveanu and Narayandas explain what the training and education opportunities for executive leaders have been as well as the trends we are seeing in this area now. They refer to as the “Personal Learning Cloud” or PLC as an up and coming method of executive leadership training. Essentially what they are referring to here are the online training courses and forums and any sort of social platforms where learning/education can be found at the click of a mouse. These are being sourced not only by traditional institutions but “upstarts” as they say. This clearly opens up the way for leaders to gain access to learning opportunities quicker and more conveniently and most likely at a lower cost point.

Companies are seeing a disconnect between the training their executive leaders are receiving and the actual practical application of that training on the job.


Chief learning officers find that traditional programs no longer adequately prepare executives for the challenges they face today and those they will face tomorrow. Companies are seeking the communicative, interpretive, affective, and perceptual skills needed to lead coherent, proactive collaboration. But most executive education programs—designed as extensions of or substitutes for MBA programs—focus on discipline-based skill sets, such as strategy development and financial analysis, and seriously underplay important relational, communication, and affective skills.
No wonder CLOs say they’re having trouble justifying their annual training budgets.
Executive education programs also fall short of their own stated objective. “Lifelong learning” has been a buzzword in corporate and university circles for decades, but it is still far from a reality. Traditional executive education is simply too episodic, exclusive, and expensive to achieve that goal. Not surprisingly, top business schools, including Rotman and HBS, have seen demand increase significantly for customized, cohort-based programs that address companies’ idiosyncratic talent-development needs. Corporate universities and the personal learning cloud—the growing mix of online courses, social and interactive platforms, and learning tools from both traditional institutions and upstarts—are filling the gap.


Moldoveanu, Mihnea and Narayandas, Das (2019, March). Educating the Next Generation of Leaders [Web log post]. Retrieved March 26, 2019, fromhttps://hbr.org/2019/03/educating-the-next-generation-of-leaders

It appears that more practical, ongoing (online) training is starting to come into favor versus the more traditional forms of education when companies are budgeting for their Executive Leadership training. The benefit of going this route is having a more flexible schedule as well a more tailor-made training program curated specifically for a particular business’s needs. This is will provide companies with a higher Return On Investment for the training of their Executive Leadership because it is less likely the leaders will be spending time and resources on material that will not translate directly into their roles within that company.

Additional Resources:
https://www.aesc.org/insights/thought-leadership

What is a Product Manager?

Project Manager Career Advice
Product Manager
Product Manager

Have you ever wondered what a Product Manager does? In this post, we will take a look at some details about what a Project Managers job portfolio might look like as well as the particular skill set that one might posess as a Product Manager.

The basic explanation of what a Product Manager does is this: they are the lead person when it comes to all aspects of a product. This individual is responsible for anything from the development/ improvements of said product(s) to the marketing and business strategies for the product(s) and everything in between. Think about the process involved in taking a concept from the drawing board to “launch day” and even beyond. All the minute details involved in a successful product management campaign all rest on the shoulders of a compentent Product Manager. Again this is a very basic definition of the work a Product Manager does but it gives you an idea of what one can expect from this professional.


The product manager is the person responsible for defining the why, when, and what of the product that the engineering team builds. This means they lead cross-functional teams from a product’s conception all the way through to its launch.


https://www.aha.io/roadmapping/guide/product-management/what-is-the-role-of-a-product-manager

In an article found in Transparent Career, you can see a list they created for the most popular companies to work for as a Product Manager. Among the list is Apple, Microsoft and Google to name a few. It is not a surprise to read the names on the article and see why any Product Manager would love to work for these industry leaders.

Product Management is an exciting profession it is both analytical and creative. So with that being said a Product Manager should possess both strong creative and analytic problem-solving. Here are a few skills and abilities that come to mind when describing a successful Product Manager:

  • Design skills/knowledge
  • Strong communication skills
  • Adaptability
  • Analytic thinker
  • Problem solving skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Market trend research/knowledge
  • Target audience research/knowledge

In an article found in the hubspot.com blog they go more in depth with what a Product Manager does as well as the different roles that might be carried out depending on the industry and products being managed. See article here.

If you are the kind of person that enjoys doing market research, loves creating design or marketing campaigns, thrives on creative problem solving and you have a visionary leadership mentality then being a Product Manager may be your career.

For information on salary range and popular companies to work for as a Product Manager refer to our previous post-Popular Careers and Employers in San Francisco, CA.


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