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#037 - What Does it Take to be an Executive?
Episode 3719th April 2021 • Wanna Grab Coffee? • Robert Greiner, Charles Knight, Igor Geyfman
00:00:00 00:34:58

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What is an executive?

Today we focus our career discussion on the executive ranks of an organization. We talk about what the role of an executive is, what attributes make up an executive, and what skills we can all start building today to succeed as an executive.

It turns out, defining an executive role is not straightforward. There are several attributes that can encompass a modern executive:

  • Signing authority
  • Weight of role power (towards the top of a multi-layered organization)
  • Responsibility/Ownership of large initiatives
  • Decisionmaking authority to allocate the organization's resources
  • Large "blast radius" (decisions impact lots of people)

We also discuss five cornerstone skills for succeeding as an executive. Luckily, these are all skills you can start building, practicing, improving, and demonstrating today:

  • Dealing with complexity
  • Defining and living your core values
  • Mastering the art of delegation
  • Building and cultivating exceptional relationships
  • Broadening your gaze internally and externally

We hope this podcast episode demystifies what it means to be an executive. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for joining us today and don't forget to hit the subscribe button or reach out at


Robert Greiner 0:05

We did this escape room yesterday. So Have y'all done an escape room before?

Charles Knight 0:09

I had not.

Igor Geyfman 0:10

an in person one?

Robert Greiner 0:11

Yes. Yeah, Charles, you know, they're there. Right?

Charles Knight 0:13

I do know what they are. Yeah.

Robert Greiner 0:15

Okay. So the only other time I, I've done something similar dining, I used to order these, like date night in a box things that they would send popcorn and a movie or some kind of activity. And that one was like a murder mystery. And I always thought those things were cool. I liked the idea of escape rooms. I just never done it before. And so the team set one up. And we did this team building like five on five race, and they had somebody in the actual escape room with a GoPro on. And they built this web system where you could look at inventory and pictures and stuff. And the person's going through and you're like directing them. And it was pretty good. It was pretty immersive.

I was surprised.

Charles Knight 0:55

The added element of the human in the room, that's kind of cool. could also be a little freaky.

Robert Greiner 0:59

It took some getting used to, because he would like open a book and we had to find the word 31 on page 573, or whatever. And he would just open the book and sit there until you said, Oh, hey, will you count out 31 words, that kind of thing. But it was pretty cool. Like it was the camera was good quality. And he moved slow enough to where you didn't get dizzy or anything. So it was much better executed than I was hoping for, which is cool. But that when I told Amelia what I was doing, she goes man, that's You're so lucky, you get to do that for work. And later. I was like it's not really work. It was more of a social thing. And she goes, Oh, I thought you did that every day. And I said oh yeah, sorry to disappoint you. I don't get to do escape rooms every day. Although that would be cool,

Charles Knight 1:44

man. Love it.

Robert Greiner 1:46

Yeah. So we were going to talk line number five again, but Igor spilled a bunch of what did you spill all of your desk tea, soda, coffee?

Igor Geyfman 1:53

No, it's worse. It's this. I had this hankering for this orange gina soda. And so it has both orange juice. And it's like sugary.

Charles Knight 2:04

Oh, man.

Igor Geyfman 2:04

I normally drink unsweet tea or coffee. And so if I spell that, it's roughly like spilling muddy water. This, like, everything is sticky. And it's 100 times worse than like my wrist sticking to my mouse pad right now.

Charles Knight 2:20

That's just disgusting.

Igor Geyfman 2:22

It's gross. It's so bad.

Robert Greiner 2:25


sounded really awkward. There's no video on so we could just hear some rustling around

Igor Geyfman 2:29

rustling and then yeah, me and sound grunting.

Robert Greiner 2:32

Yeah. I don't have any of it recorded though. Unfortunately, we could have played that bad intro. Yeah, bad. Charles, you had a topic you wanted to cover today? Yeah, you'd be having a lot of coaching conversations lately.

Charles Knight 2:42

Yeah, yeah, this goes way back to sometime last year, there was a, there was a person at our company that I got connected with randomly to chat. Like we use a donut system via slack that randomly pairs people together. And I want to say he asked me the questions. Hey, what does it mean to be an executive? Ooo, What a wonderful question, because it's not very straightforward to answer. And recently, this idea of an executive has come up again, in our company around how we are different from other consulting companies. And it's that if you come join us, then our promises that we will do our best to work with you to develop you to this executive. And we recognize at least as a leadership team, that that's pretty ill defined, what does it actually mean? And I think it's individual, each person has their own definition of it, I would love to talk about that with you all, and explore what does an executive mean to you? Do you feel like you are an executive? Have you always wanted to be an executive? Things like that? You know, go with them?

Robert Greiner 3:48

Yeah, let's do it.

Igor Geyfman 3:49


Charles Knight 3:49

I'll start with my because I've reflected back to when I was recruited by the company. And I don't know if they use the word executive, when, as part of the recruiting pitch, there was a lot of a we believe we can develop you. And you have what it takes Charles and everybody else too is not special to get to vice president or to that level within our organization within 10 to 15 years. And so I think when I started off at our company, that's what I equated to being an executive was achieving the title of vice president. And but I don't think that's, that's certainly not it. I've been Vice President for a couple years now. And I would say it's probably not until maybe last year, that I think I've really solidified in my mind what an executive means. And in saying that, Holy moly, like how confusing and difficult it must be for our folks to to understand what that means. And that's why we get questions. So what is it you do all day, Charles? Because we don't know. And anyway, I figured we might illuminate that a little bit. And do that in the context of just talking about what does it mean to be an executive? Robert, do you remember that as part of your I know, you came in as an experienced hire. But was this notion of developing you to an executive, something that y'all discussed? Are you remembered, during that process,

Robert Greiner 5:14

I remember that coming up from time to time, I don't remember it being the forefront of the culture. And we've talked about this in prior episodes around the stories we tell and the values that we talk about within an organization like I never got the impression that was a thing that the company really tried to help but a lot of resource and energy around for everybody. I believe that now like I see that now, I didn't really connect those dots until later. But I do remember individuals, talking about the path to an executive type role, getting career trajectory towards that end, development areas towards that end. And ultimately, that being like a thing to aspire to, and saying, Hey, this is what I'm, this is why we're working on this thing. So you can be a better executive, or you can be an effective executive later in your career. So that's definitely been woven into the fabric of my experience here.

Charles Knight 6:09

Yeah, but not as part of the recruiting pitch, which wouldn't make sense you came in through a different channel, but experienced hire versus like our college recruiting is it's got a very honed message in several different touch points with with potential candidates and recruits and stuff like that. And so I can see why that didn't come up necessarily. I think that's a miss to be frank, because I do think that is something that is different differentiating

Robert Greiner 6:34

for us, me, though, it

was the opportunity to get a manager role. So I was in a tech lead, like surely straggling, like senior developer tech lead role, when I was at Southwest. And coming in it was the whole discussion was like, this is an opportunity to become a manager. And there was a discussion around career upside, because I took a pay cut to come here. But I was at a bit of a ceiling, where I came from there wasn't really there four manager positions open in the entire organization. And those people have been here forever, they're not going anywhere. So the pace of promotion was lower, there were a finite amount of spots, and people didn't move as much. And then if something did open, you would still be competing with people like outside of the organization, like the whole world, really. And so I didn't really see an intentional effort to grow everyone equally. And what you can't do just some organizations can't. And that was an appealing thing to me here, which is, hey, you are you can go as fast as you can go, basically.

Charles Knight 7:34

Yeah, there are no constraints, right? There's no, it's not a pyramid where there's just a few people up at the top. It's it's meant to be wide open. Igor, do you remember your initial conversations with our company? And was anything discussed about executives or vice presidents and stuff like that?

Igor Geyfman 7:50

Not that I recall, maybe it was discussed. I just it just didn't stick out in my head is something that I remember. It's certainly something that I think about now, and that I've heard since joining, but yeah, prior to joining, and during the recruiting process, I can't say that that was something that really stuck out to me.

Charles Knight 8:08

I, unfortunately, neither of you were college recruits. I would love to get another person that was recruited from college to see if they had a similar.

Robert Greiner 8:16

Yeah, especially recently.

Charles Knight 8:17

Yeah. Especially recently. I don't know. But I think just in terms of what we talked about, all right, Robert, you're in my experience, at least, like being an executive was about growth into new roles. You know, for you, you're interested in about becoming a manager, I wanted to make it to Vice President. Those require promotions and growth and learning. There's a title aspect to this too. That might be part of the answer to what does it mean to be an executive?

Robert Greiner 8:43

Those are proxies? Yeah, that's one thing I thought was interesting. When you pose the question is the first my brain went right where yours went, which was at our firm, that's vice president. And it's because as an example, you get to, or you have the responsibility to sign your name on a piece of paper that obligates the company commitment, and no other role below that has Signing Authority. And so that's a good that's a good way to distinguish, quote, unquote, executive or not in the firm or a way. But I was thinking about that growth and titles, those are really proxies for what it means to be an executive, that's a much more nuanced kind of position that it varies. There are some similarities from organization organization, but it also varies. I had a friend who he worked for a really large bank, his title was vice president. He was like at a tech lead responsibility. But the pay scale and where you had to slot people in was a little bit dated for their digital transformation. You have to pay a little bit more to get people with the skills that you need. They were slotted in this vice president role. They're doing like DevOps every day. Nothing wrong with that. That's not traditionally what we think of when we mean executive though, so I don't think we can really use title in and of itself. It's more of the wait and responsibility and distance may be a proxy is distance from the bottom of the organization, if that makes sense to

Charles Knight:

Yeah, Igor, has anybody asked you? What does it mean to be an executive before? And I know you've talked to a lot of folks,

Igor Geyfman:

they haven't.

But it's an interesting question. And then maybe it bears some, like thought exercises to like, understand the edges of what it means to be an executive, or maybe what it means to not be an executive. One of the things that Robert just mentioned is like Signing Authority. And I ran a consulting company when I was a teenager, like starting at 15, or something like that. And high school and college, I executed, contracts and I had Signing Authority, does that make me an executive? Maybe it's a factor, I think maybe we should ask, what is the difference between a manager and an executive, right? Because we tend to have a pretty good understanding of an individual contributor. And then as you progress, you become a manager where you manage individual contributors. So the question might be, how does being an executive differ from being a manager? Yeah, what are the different accountabilities and so on?

Robert Greiner:

That's a great question. I would say if we're, if we can help to try to chip away at what the definition is by showing what it's not my vote would be no, you were not an executive. When you were a one man shop, you did have Signing Authority. And maybe it's this combination of things. There was no distance, though, between you and the bottom of the organization. You were at the bottom of the organization, it was just you. Yeah, I think that there's the level of layers, and then your ability to make decisions that like move a really large ship, right, like you are allowed to allocate resources towards an endeavor, commit an organization that has people that work for it in a certain direction, like those kind of weighty, heavier decisions are, I think, what we're talking about when we talk about executive worrying about people's jobs, those types of things. So yeah, you technically had Signing Authority. And there's, again, there's nothing taking away from that role. That's not what I would have in mind, when we're thinking about executives and career growth towards an executive level.

Igor Geyfman:

When I think about that role, it was probably 98% individual contributor, the work was agreed upon and directed by me and the client, I did have some level of agency or let's call it the organization, but it was basically just me, of what work to pursue and work not to pursue, and how to reinvest funds or not to reinvest funds, but for the most part, the job was individual contributor with, you know, some flavors of what I would today call an executive function. I'm in agreement with you as that was not an executive role, but it did have the beginnings of some executive accountabilities

Robert Greiner:

was, is it really then around the response, the level of responsibility you have is being an executive and amalgam of executive level responsibilities. That's more of those responsibilities you have, the more senior you are,

Charles Knight:

I think that's part of it, I was gonna say a lot of this, what we're talking about now around like Signing Authority, allocating resources, being distanced from the, from the entry level parts of the organization, we talked about that. Internally, I think this is this is well known, just in general to in terms of the business landscape. To me, those things fall under the responsibilities of an officer of the company, which I think as an executive, you certainly become an officer of the company. Like when I became a vice president, I had to sign papers of saying as such, but I would take these responsibilities on, but I don't think Can you be an officer of the company and not an executive?

Robert Greiner:

I think so you can have Signing Authority like that all of the mechanical stuff maybe goes under officer of the company, executive, though, that's more, hey, when business declines due to COVID, you're the first one that takes a pay cut, right? Like your compensation is can swing dramatically. There's much more upside, maybe, and also much higher downside, if things aren't going well. And then you parent, all of the being responsible for our attrition. And there are financial metrics to meet like we're accountable for revenue, right? Like we make commitments every term. So in, in our business, it's four month periods instead of three. And we have we put our estimates down on pieces of paper, and then those get used to make forecasts and you're generally responsible for bringing in that level of revenue. That's another thing that might fall under executive responsibilities.

Igor Geyfman:

An entry level salesperson

has the same accountability.

Robert Greiner:

That's a like a bogey, though.

That's a technical performance based metric. And even if that's true, though, even if what you said is true, then, I think what we're coming to the conclusion of as we talk this out, because I guess we don't really fully know, is it's a collection of those responsibilities, a combination of things, not just any one thing.

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah. What do you think about a man Manager, as a manager, you're you feel accountable for like your team and your team's performance. Right as an individual contributor, you feel accountable for your own performance as an executive, maybe you feel accountable for the firm's performance. Is that the right like, way to level those three

kind of categories of roles?

Robert Greiner:

We do have compensation structures that are based on company performance. So yeah,

Charles Knight:

yeah, it's, it's like degrees, right? As if you're accountable for a team versus accountable for the organization. You know, do you all want to hear what was some of my answer to that? That person that asked me what it meant to be an executive?

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, did you already know the answer and

seeing how close we got?

Charles Knight:

No, not well.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, let's hear it, man.

Charles Knight:

I'm not saying I'm right. But this because one of the things that I'm, I'm just jotting down some notes here, we talked about responsibility. We talked about like titles, and assigning authority level in the organization. A lot of this is really subjective. And yes, I think I took that to the extreme. And what I said was that, to me, at least being an executive, is, it's a mindset, more than anything else, that you have to adopt that you have to embrace and embody. And yeah, you have to do all these other things, too. But to me, it's when I was trying to describe it. It's not the things that I do. It's really not that because other people can do that. And someone says, Oh, no, they're not an executive. And so to me, I focused on really the mindset of what it meant to be an executive. And I think I said something to the effect of, as an executive, I have the power and authority and the autonomy, to do what I believe is in the best interest of the firm, and its people, something like that. And I have a responsibility to to make tough decisions that are in alignment with that. It's really that it's because I remember, when I got promoted to Vice President, I did feel a significant burden taken on. And it wasn't because I got a new title. It wasn't because I got an increase in salary. It wasn't because I put my name on a contract, it was something else. And I think it's the, you assume the burden of making really tough calls when you're in difficult situations. And and I think people who opt in to doing that, to taking on that sort of responsibility, they need to develop some sort of their own personal mindset of what it means to be an executive. And for me, that mindset is anchored to like stewarding the organization on behalf of the people that work for us, who are non executives, like that's a mindset that I embrace, as opposed to, I don't know, maybe people have other mindsets that are oriented less on the employees of the firm and more on the firm itself. I don't know What do y'all What do y'all think any questions or reactions to my mindset,

Robert Greiner:

it does resonate with me the idea around autonomy, and you have much more independent control over what you do and don't do, which puts you in a position where and I think this is intentional, right, put you in a position to have really outsized impact, because you're focusing on where you can provide maximal lift or multiplication of leverage. I think a lot of people, though, kind of abuse that or don't fully understand that, with that autonomy, you have the responsibility that comes along with it. It's kind of like when you go to college, I remember my first semester, I was thinking, Oh, I have this four hour gap in the middle of my Monday, I guess I'll go play some pool and ping pong. And then you learn really quickly, it's Oh, no, I need to really get some work done. During this time, I need to prepare for my next class or get homework done or work on my semester project. And so you had these larger chunks of time and freedom. But also, it was up to you to manage that because you had all these responsibilities. And there's a similar kind of analogy here, where he at Charles, like you could show up to and not show up to whatever you want. If you don't tend to the right things, though. The downside is much, much higher.

Igor Geyfman:

I think where you went with the conversation makes a lot of sense with me. I think it lines up with this understanding of having a broader sense of responsibility to the organization, rather than to yourself or to some smaller subset of the organization like a team. Yeah. To me, that's a sensible way to think about it. Probably more so than any specific characters of what an executive might be. And I love the answer that it's a mindset.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, I think I want to add to that it's a mindset and also a commitment. I guess I want to use the word commitment

Robert Greiner:

and set of responsibilities,

Charles Knight:

yeah, to deliver on the set of responsibilities. But I, as I just think about my journey over the past several years, and I don't think this ever ends now we're always learning and growing and the environment around us is changing. And so I think my mindset and definition of what it means to be an executive will change. But right now, having thought through this, I feel way more committed to the organization by embracing this mindset and accepting the responsibilities that comes along with it. And so there's a, I don't know if it's mindset alone, but it's mindset and a commitment to take the actions necessary to do what is expected and to do what's right. And to know what and to know what is right. I think that's part of it, too. Going back to your point, Robert, it's nobody tells us what to do. Really, there are certain things that we have to do is it's expected and there are policies around it, but nobody's have, nobody has eyes on us. And that's, and that's why I think I under appreciated the level of scrutiny that was placed on people who are about to make the leap from non vice president vice president, for example, it's because of that, right, you are expected to operate autonomously and to know what is right and really difficult situations and to no one to ask for help, if you need help. And that's not something that most people are expected to be able to do when they first joined right out of college. It's something that that I guess you're at least we tried to train people to do over time.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, yeah. On that note, too, I think, what one more thing, I'll add in the bucket of things that if you have enough of them, maybe you could be considered an executive. Again, I don't think there's any kind of quantitative score here. But I do think a proxy is also you get whole responsibility. So go lead this digital transformation. Like you're the one accountable person for this major initiative and an organization, there's no one else that rolls up to, that could be another proxy for that matter.

Your skill set has to be very broad, you have to already be good and have mastery over building solid relationships, right, not pissing everyone off that you work with, because you can no longer get results on your own. You don't do anything you enable and facilitate, and mobilize and coach and guide teams to move towards your intent. You're not really talking about how anymore. And so if you don't, if you don't have good relationship management, if you don't have good self management, General, leadership, coaching skills, right, like you still have direct reports, those kinds of things. If you don't have all of those kind of on lockdown, you're gonna have a much harder time being effective in your executive role. So you have to be really good at those things that help provide the case to get you there in the first place.

Charles Knight:

I think when I talked about how we try to train and develop people, to be executives, to your point, we emphasize growing people as generalists and generalists have a broad set of skills and expertise. And yeah, I think to be able to navigate a lot of that complexity that we're hinting at in terms of increased responsibility and autonomy and knowing what's right signing contracts and stuff like that. You have to be a generalist, like I think, I don't know if there's a way to be an executive, while also claiming to be a specialist. I don't know. Does that is that controversial to you all? Or would you all agree that that to be an executive is to be a generalist?

Igor Geyfman:

I agree, I think it's got to be one of its defining features, you want to

Robert Greiner:

leverage your specialty. So like, our CFO, for instance, has potentially deep expertise. And definitely ours does definitely deep expertise in the realm of Finance. But there's so much more to his job, which is, and I don't know if y'all listen to the town hall we had last night, but there was a question about, hey, we have X dollars in the bank, what are we gonna do with all that money, and he broke down, hey, it's not really this much, because this is a loan over here. And we have these taxes coming up. And we have this other thing coming up. And we were going to want to get our offices ready for reopening and whatever safety procedures we need. And so he's got in his mind, like all of these things, that a finite amount of resources that might look good on a piece of paper, were all the way they all have to go. And he's gonna have to make decisions, or be one of the key decision makers around what gets done and what doesn't. And that has potential safety impacts and it affects the whole company. And that could be the the difference between being able to pay college hires more so could actually hit the pockets of everyone in the organization. And so that those kinds of things that he's thinking about are definitely deeply entrenched in what it means to be an executive and that doesn't, that is informed by his expertise as a finance person, that is not dependent necessarily. It's necessary but not sufficient. Maybe. So, Igor, I completely agree with you, man.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, there's, I've been thinking about this a lot, not in the context of executives. But certainly though, as we look at the executives that we admire, like our CFO, for example, one of the things that I'm impressed by is their ability to maybe it's their ability to, you know, be comfortable with a lot of complexity, because to be able to make a decision with all those things that you considered that you, you articulated, Robert, that's really hard. That's really complex. That's a difficult decision. That's a set of difficult decisions that have clear direct effects, but also secondary effects that, that some can maybe be anticipated others not. And I think part of the mindset, or the skills needed to be an executive, and maybe we can shift to talking about that, what are attributes or skills or qualities of an executive that people can start to, you know, look for and cultivate within themselves? Maybe we can do that here in the next few minutes or so? Yeah, one of them, I would say is comfort with complexity. And by complexity, it could be, Oh, my gosh, there's so many moving parts. Like I don't know how to make sense of this. Or it could be things are changing. It's like really volatile. The y'all have heard of the vuca. acronym, volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. All of those things to me can roll up underneath a broad complexity term. I know C is for complexity, but we can dig into that later

Robert Greiner:

and mean complexity the same way that like, can offend or something might mean. Yeah, so I do get what you're saying. I think you're right,

Charles Knight:

because I think this part of what I admire about executives think about chief executive of the United States, the President, right, the ability for them to stay calm under pressure and make life and death decisions, as commander in chief, like that's, that requires some steadiness and ability to hold competing views, right from your cabinet, for example. And I think that's what I tried to aspire to do is to be able to hold even contradictory ideas in my head long enough to be able to make sense of those things. And then make the best decision that I can just given all the information that I have, as opposed to just reacting and reacting without pausing to think about ramifications and weigh pros and cons and stuff like that. Does that

make sense?

Robert Greiner:

anything about this idea of blast radius, we talked about that term in our technical architecture, right? If you have a catastrophic system fault, how many other systems do you take down when this one little thing goes wrong? And the wider that blast radius is the more risk you have in an organization? And I think there's a analog equivalent there, too. The higher you are, if you look at the President's, quote, unquote, blast radius, like those decisions matter, on a scale of 1000s, or hundreds of 1000s of lives, right? Or more, ours may be the ability to stay solvent as an organization as a company. Those are still those affect multitudes of people outside of your, your individual impact.

Charles Knight:

Yep. Alright, so that's my quality, to look for in cultivators just being

Robert Greiner:

ability to manage and handle and be comfortable with complexity.

That's a good

Charles Knight:

Yeah. Robert, Igor do want to offer a couple

Robert Greiner:

Can I offer two

Charles Knight:


Robert Greiner:


no. Okay.

If it's just one, then it's

Charles Knight:

no Robert, you had the hard stop, I thought. So if you want to take up time, go for it. Man. I don't want to stifle your brilliance.

Robert Greiner:

So definitely delegation, your ability to hand down and trust your people with larger and larger responsibilities as you get larger and larger responsibilities is critical. So that's something that you can practice at almost any level of leadership, and is a keystone skill that is learnable. It's a learned behavior. And if you can master delegation and get better and better at it, then that will create a tailwind for you. In your growth towards and success in being an executive. The other one I mentioned before, is relationships. You have to be really good at building relationships and helping get things done through people, whether they report to you you report to them or they're your peers, that's ultra ultra important. And you can you're not doing individual work anymore. If you don't have great relationships, people are going to fight you every step of the way. And I think that's so those are two sort of key ones relationships, delegation that I would say are things you can practice at any level, and will get help you prepare for the executive role.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, if you're going two offer to let me add one to the mix, and then Igor we'll let you do two or three or five, whatever,

Robert Greiner:

however many you want.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, however many you want. So for me, mine was comfort with complexity. The second one I would say is to identify and cultivate your own core values. Because as an executive like the president, United States, nobody's going to tell the president what to do. And it's on them. When we talk about the buck stops there, it's all eyes are on the president. And he has to make a call, or she has to make a call to say yes or no. And I think in order to stay calm under pressure, and to be comfortable with complexity, having a, you know, well articulated and embodied set of values, I think, is invaluable. No pun intended. All right, Igor, round us out, my friend.

Igor Geyfman:

All right,

I think I'm just gonna do one. But it's a two parter, because one is internally focused, and the other ones may be a little bit more externally focused. And I think that it's developing and having the broadest possible sense of your organization, the business that it's in, and the external factors that affect it. So the first one is, we talked a little bit about our CFO, James. And I think it's very important for James not to just understand finance, but also to understand the business of consulting, the the functions of talent management, and acquisition, maybe like the marketing and sales function, the operations and delivery functions. And so having as good of an understanding of what makes your business tick, how it makes money, how it's affected by its relationships, and partnerships, who the customers are, your all the different channels that you have all those different sort of factors of your organization, and just developing a broad understanding of that. And just like some of the other factors we talked about here, you can start developing that fairly early. If you practice curiosity, you can definitely gain knowledge and understanding of those things, even as a specialist, individual contributor. And then the other part and I think the best way to look at it is something that you talked to me about a couple of weeks ago, Charles is external factors. So you mentioned pestle to me last time we talked. And I think that's a good enough sort of framework to think about, there's probably other parts of it, I don't know if pestles comprehensive. But so it stands for political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental. And so it's understanding those external factors that affect your affect your organization today will continue to affect your organization as those factors change, and how those things might affect you into the long term, right in, let's say, 510 15 year horizons. Now think as you become a more seasoned and more senior executive, probably the horizons that you're considering are also going to expand as far as thinking about, you know, how those factors play into decisions that you have to make strategies that you abandon or adopt areas where you invest areas where you divest, and so on. So that's what I would say is broad understanding of the organization, both internally and externally

Robert Greiner:

did not think we get here today. I think this is really good. I wish I would have known this 10 years ago, we did meander around what it takes to be an executive, what is an executive look like? What responsibilities might they have or not? I think that's a helpful discussion, because it is a thing that is multifaceted. But then we got into, okay, if you aspire to be an executive, if you if you want to grow your career in that direction, or even if you want to get to the next level, there's five things we outlined, which are learnable behaviors that you can focus on, to accelerate your career, dealing with complexity, getting solid on your core values, and living those out, Mastering the Art of delegation, building and cultivating strong relationships. And then broadening your gaze, internally within the organization and externally, through all the factors that could impact it positively or negatively. That's a really good start.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, the last thing I would just want to emphasize, Igor, that you mentioned that I think warrants its own thing is thinking ahead, like long term thinking. I think that is a key. Anytime that your gaze, I like that analogy, Robert, you should be gazing ahead into the future, not just worried about the short term, you got to balance the short term long term needs too and that's a skill I'm thinking about the future is is a skill that can be learned. And this was great, guys. Thank you for this kind of ad hoc topic here. It's most helpful for me to hear your thoughts. I appreciate it.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah. Awesome. Thanks a lot. It was great talking to ya'll.

Igor Geyfman:

It was a great question.

Robert Greiner:

We'll talk soon seen as well. That's it for today. Thanks for joining. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter at wonder grab coffee or drop us a line at Hello at one grab




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