The Executive Leadership Gene: Do You Possess It?

The Executive Leadership Gene: Do You Possess It?

Is executive leadership a matter of nature, nurture, or both? Probably the latter but nature likely plays a much larger role than anyone had imagined.  Have you heard of rs4950? No, it is not a new Star Wars character but is “the leadership gene,” an inherited DNA sequence associated with natural leadership.  Its discovery created quite a stir when Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, PhD, University College London & Centre for Economic Performance (LSE) and his team identified the heritability of leadership skills.  Their findings revealed “genes might affect the development of individual attributes affecting the predisposition to occupy a leadership position.”

Regardless of genetics, my executive clients are—undeniably—leaders in their industries.  When I work with executives to craft their individual career narratives, the focus of our discussion is on uncovering their “unique leadership DNA”: the skills, knowledge, attributes, and career accomplishments that make them different than every other leader who does what they do at their level and in their space.

In order to convey key points of executive leadership distinction and unique business value, it is crucial to identify your common experience and success threads, including the ways in which you’ve influenced the business, the operation, the organization, the culture, process, technology, people, and relationships.  Equally important to demonstrate are the specific types of business problems you can help a company solve and how this aligns to your past experience.

If you are looking for a partner to help identify and convey your unique executive leadership DNA, contact me to learn more about how we can work together.

Demonstrating Executive Leadership Through Your Resume

Demonstrating Executive Leadership Through Your Resume

Innovation — “driving growth, new products, and new methods of delivering value to customers”* — is critical in business but remains difficult to cultivate and quantify. Harvard Business Review recently published an article on five qualities that innovative leaders share. They are:

  • Maintaining a Strategic Business Perspective: At the core of every innovative leader is a thorough understanding of their industry — the broader market, competitive landscape, and customer base — and a clear view on how industry trends will affect their business in both the short and long term.
  • Demonstrating Curiosity: Innovative leaders embody curiosity. They possess a lifelong desire to learn, frequently ask questions, and stimulate new ways of thinking in themselves and others.
  • Seizing Opportunities: Being proactive when presented with an unexpected opportunity is a frequently cited executive leadership quality. Innovative leaders are also able to change direction rapidly but responsibly, and without indulging in over-analysis.
  • Managing Risk: A greater risk-taking tolerance to advance the business is a hallmark of innovative leadership. Experimenting with new approaches is a shared trait, as is the ability to quickly respond when there are setbacks.
  • Leading Courageously: Not averse to conflicts, innovative leaders transform challenging situations into opportunities to demonstrate their decisiveness and are accountable when making difficult decisions.

If those qualities sound familiar, you are probably like my clients: successful, driven, and at the top of your industry. Yet, translating the traits of innovative leaders into a career narrative suitable for a resume remains elusive for many.

Resumes that make a real impact highlight value through career accomplishments — and the metrics associated with those accomplishments. My process for achieving that finished product — the resume — involves a depth of engagement with my clients to help uncover their leadership strengths, differentiators, and successes.

*Visit Harvard Business Review  to read more about innovation and the five qualities that innovative leaders share, or contact me directly to discuss how to extend your executive leadership accomplishments onto your resume.

Your Executive Resume: How to Include 25 Years of Work Experience

Your Executive Resume: How to Include 25 Years of Work Experience

Do you ever watch those “Year in Review” segments on television and marvel at how broadcasters manage to convert the essence of a year into a three-minute story?  Identifying essential content is a crucial skill for journalists because a lot happens in just one year and the duration of their segments must be adhered to—or they lose their audience.

Imagine trying an approach like that with your career and your executive resume: a “Career in Review,” if you will?

It’s not easy.

Many of my clients approach me because they are leaders in their industry, have been with their company for more than ten years, and are struggling to separate the “must include” information from the “nice to include” information in their executive resume. They have achieved great success but need to identify their career milestones and determine a compelling narrative for their executive resume.

When I begin working with my clients, I ask them to take a step back and think about their tangible achievements, such as:

  • The teams they have assembled
  • The sizes of the businesses they have led
  • The brands or products they have developed or launched
  • The complex business problems they have solved
  • The business changes they have steered
  • The technology they have implemented
  • The new strategies they have employed
  • The markets they have penetrated or channels they have expanded

This approach arms me with some of the essential building blocks I need to begin to craft an effective—and concise—executive resume.

If you are looking for a partner to help make you as marketable as possible, contact me today to learn more about how we can work together.