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Executive Career Management: Dealing with Things as They Are, Not as We Want Them to Be

executive career managementThe economy is constantly in flux, and as executives, it's our job to navigate the ebbs and flows of market volatility. As we begin the second quarter of 2023, economic turbulence may be on the horizon. While some sectors have experienced sustained growth and relative stability, other industry verticals are struggling with the effects of central bank interest rate hikes and market uncertainty.

At AchieveNEXT, we have a vast network of CFOs and CHROs across North America who watch economic indicators and plan accordingly. The CFOs are already limiting discretionary spending and travel expenses. They and the CHROs want to avoid layoffs. But they know that a significant downturn requires cuts to the budget, and that means cutting payroll. While no one can predict the future with certainty, it's clear that cost-cutting measures may be necessary in the face of a significant downturn. As executives, it's our responsibility to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.

Adjust Your Way of Thinking

Adopting the right mindset is one of the first steps in preparing for economic uncertainty. We must deal with things as they are, not as we want them to be. This requires us to be honest with ourselves and objectively assess our positions within our organizations. Are we core to the business, or are we expendable? Are we adding quantifiable financial value, or are we simply coasting along?

It can be tempting to paint a rosy picture of the future, especially when our jobs and livelihoods are at stake. However, we must resist the urge to bury our heads in the sand and hope everything will turn out okay. Instead, we must face the uncomfortable reality that our positions may be at risk and take proactive steps to address this possibility.

This may involve upskilling ourselves or finding ways to add more value to our current roles. Alternatively, we may need to look for other opportunities that align better with our skills and aspirations. Whatever the case, the key is to deal with things as they are, not as we want them to be.

Take Off the Rose-Colored Glasses

To illustrate this point, let's look at the example of GE's nuclear power business in the 1980s. Following the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident in 1979, nuclear power was not a popular option in the United States. The executives who ran GE's nuclear business spent hundreds of hours preparing their sales forecast for CEO Jack Welch's review. They projected to sell relatively few new nuclear construction projects in the coming decade. Still, they were trying to be optimistic and needed their forecast to look as encouraging as possible.

However, Welch saw through their rose-tinted glasses and told them, "These numbers are based on what you want reality to be. You're not dealing with things as they really are. You guys are not going to sell a single new reactor in the US in the next 7-10 years. You better own that now and figure out another way to hit your numbers."

In the same way, we must be honest with ourselves and deal with reality head-on, even if it's uncomfortable or inconvenient. We cannot control the economy or the job market, but we can control our response to these external factors.

Be Certain During Uncertainty with AchieveNEXT

Economic uncertainty is a fact of life for executives, and we must learn to deal with it effectively. By adopting the right mindset and facing reality head-on, we can prepare ourselves for the future. 

If you need more clarification about your career prospects and want to ensure that you're prepared for whatever the future may hold, AchieveNEXT can help. Our executive career management services are designed to provide the tools and resources you need to navigate these uncertain times and come out on top. From personalized coaching and networking opportunities to cutting-edge insights and thought leadership, we've got everything you need to take your career to the next level.

Why wait? Contact our team today to learn more about our executive career management services and how we can help you achieve your professional goals. With our help, you can take control of your career and thrive in any environment.

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