I recently watched a panel of prominent CMOs speak about what drives their success. Most of their answers were familiar - great mentorship, opportunities delivered at an early age, taking chances, etc. But one person’s comment struck me. This executive stated that what made her successful was how competent she was at her job.
I loved the simplicity of this statement. I loved listening to somebody who is crazy smart, who put in the time and put in the hard work to be highly skilled and highly competent in their discipline. In a time of job hopping, where we are seeing people, especially marketers, leave their roles in less than two years, it is refreshing to listen to an executive leader state that their success came from experience and taking the time to learn and become excellent at their work. Gaining extreme competence in your discipline takes time, and the most successful executives I know stay at a company for 3-4 years so they can learn the skills needed to excel in their next position.
When we see an executive who has left more than one company in less than two years, it is a massive yellow flag for us. Here’s why:
- Unproven, long-term success: Shine Talent wants to see executives who can have multiple successes within the same company. With less than two years in the role, it is hard to showcase ongoing success, making an impact in multiple ways at a company.
- Inability to manage through adversity: All companies have ups and downs and most people have had a bad boss from time to time. We want executives who can manage their teams through tough times and who continue to show up on the toughest of days.
- Limited learning: When you are in a company for a longer period, you are typically given the opportunity to try new things and stretch yourself. Companies want to retain great talent, and a top way of doing that is giving employees more responsibility. When people leave early, they only scratch the surface of learning.
- Ability to adapt: Staying with a company for a long period of time exposes you to new situations and challenges. We want to see how executives can navigate obstacles and that they have the problem-solving skills to overcome complex challenges.
- Leadership and loyalty: People follow great leaders, and companies anticipate that when a great executive is hired, many of their best team members will follow. It takes time to earn respect and to nurture relationships throughout an organization. Shine Talent wants to hire executives who know how to build a loyal following and take the time to cultivate deep relationships across an organization.
To be an outstanding leader who is highly competent in their discipline, it takes time. The biggest yellow flag that signals a lack of competence, is time in the job. I encourage everyone to be thoughtful about this as they build their careers and for hiring leaders to recognize this warning signal as they build out their teams.