Hello SOTGC community,
This post was inspired by an amazing guest speaker we had at our Global Sales Meeting for Medtronic Advanced Energy a couple weeks ago. We had the honor of hearing from Ms. Carla Harris who is the Managing Director of Morgan Stanley’s Emerging Managers Program and author of Expect To Win. During her keynote speech she gave us “Carla’s Pearls” among which was some excellent career advice about the variables you need to have in order to move up through the corporate structure. If you get a chance, I would highly recommend getting her book. If you happen to have her speak for your organization, request that she honor your group with a gospel song, which brought many of us to tears with her soulful voice.
We all know that hard work, tenacity, creativity, and perseverance are all things one must have to climb the corporate ladder. Three “must haves” that Carla went over are: Advisor, Mentor, and most importantly a Sponsor. I have summarized the role of each below, not verbatim, but from what I remember of her talk.
Advisor: Someone who can facilitate introductions to the people who can help move your career forward. This person knows the upper level management at your and other companies, and knows who has the ability to help your career and can (when politely asked) introduce you to them and help advance your upward movement.
Mentor: Someone you can tell “the good, the bad, the ugly to.” I laughed when she said this, because that’s what I did (and still do) with my mentor. Be VERY selective when picking this mentor. They should truly care about your professional and personal growth. This is a person you admire, respect, and who has a higher position than you and can offer strategic and intelligent advice on moves to make as you rise in your corporate structure. Your mentor doesn’t need to be in your company, but needs to UNDERSTAND your plan and your ambition. The clearer you are with your mentor on where EXACTLY you want to take your career, the more fine tuned their advice will be.
Sponsor: I never thought about a “sponsor” as someone who was different than a mentor before Carla highlighted how and why they are different. This person MUST be in your company and MUST hold a position of great power and influence. A sponsor is someone you only tell the “good, the good, and the good” to. The reason is, that most of the decisions about the advancement of your career will happen when you are not in the room. The sponsor is someone who IS in the room during these discussion and (as Carla so eloquently put it) “must carry your paper.” You ONLY tell them the good, WHY you are the BEST person for the job. Your sponsor is the one that will need to fight for you when other candidates’ sponsors are fighting for them. The reason you must ONLY know the good about you because there must be NO wavering during their fight for your promotion.
So there you have it folks, a gift from Carla Harris. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE OF CARLA’S PEARLS.