This week's lesson came in the form of a meeting that I set up and have been preparing for well over a month. I aspire to be in the C-suite oneday in the near future and I desired some good professional development advice from someone that I held in a high regard. He had done an amazing job migrating his way to the C-suite from what I could see from afar, so I thought who better to get advice from. I asked my assistant to schedule a meeting with him to discuss my professional growth opportunities within the company. Once it was scheduled, I began conducting my research on the best questions to ask an executive, consulted with my professional mentor, and even bought a new blouse to prepare for my meeting scheduled on March 29th. I had a busy schedule that day, so I shortened my lunch just before my meeting so that I could refresh my make-up and take some additional time to review my questions. I was only given a 30 minute appointment time, therefore I knew that I had to make every minute count.
I arrived to the meeting early to make sure that I made use of every minute that I had. Yet, he arrived a few minutes late and needed to rush to the bathroom prior to inviting me into his office. With only about 20 minutes left in our meeting time, I jumped right into my questions.
I first began by thanking him for taking this meeting and expressing how appreciative I was for him making time to meet with me. I started by asking him what he attributes his career success to and he proceeded to tell me how much his experience in business development has played a key role. This comment made me excited because my education and experience is based in business as well. He then went on to tell me how he has managed to always have the right people on his team that allowed him to gain from their success. This is when the meeting began to take a turn that I did not anticipate. As I asked more questions about ways for me to grow, he countinued to talk about him and how he has always done what was best for him. He also referenced a previous employee of his that did a really good job in growing his career, this person just happened to be someone who he had previous promoted to a position that I had also interviewed with him for so I took this as a bit of a dig.
Our 20 minute meeting quickly came to an end and I thanked him and left to head to yet another meeting. I did not have time to process my thoughts until after a good night of rest. However, the next morning I woke up with the very clear conclusion that in order to continue to succeed in this business I have the remember a few things:
1. I must always have my own back and remember the value that I bring to the table.
2. I must continue to equip myself to be the most qualified candidate in the stack.
3. Everyone is not always who they seem to be from afar.
My original goal was to leave the meeting with a game plan on what I needed to do next on my journey to the C-suite and I still accomplished that goal. I realized that my loyalty in this game cannot be to any one executive or company. I must to continue to be the truest to myself and those who I love. I am responsible for my own career growth through execution and credibility.
Now I am eager to being this new week with my eye on the prize!