its an obstacle course - Its Not a Career Ladder, Its an...

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It’s Not a Career Ladder, It’s an Obstacle Course Published: May 21, 2010 This interview with Barbara J. Krumsiek, chief executive and chairwoman of the Calvert Group Ltd., an investment firm, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant . Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times Barbara J. Krumsiek, chief executive and chairwoman of the Calvert Group, an investment firm, dislikes the idea of a “career ladder.” She says it suggests “you can’t get past the person ahead of you unless you push them off the ladder.” Q. Were there any surprises for you when you became the C.E.O. for the first time? A. I used an executive coach and got some advice on coming into a new organization. The advice was to ask each executive, “Tell me about your job, but now tell me about what you think you do here that is not in that job description that you think is really critical.” Wow, did I learn a lot about them, and it was very informative in shaping the team. I also asked this a lot my first couple years at Calvert: Tell me one thing that’s going on at Calvert that you think I don’t know that you think I should know. Q. Tell me about your first management experience. A. I’m not a trained business or organization development person. I’m a mathematician. I was an analyst and had no one working for me for the first seven years of my career. I developed the business strategy for entering a new market, working with all the other departments. Booz Allen, the outside consultant who’d been helping the team launch this product, recommended that I run this business. All of a sudden I went from no one working for me to having 200 people working for me. Q. And how old were you? A. Thirty. Q. Talk about that. A. I really admired and liked the team of people I was working with. Being able to work with my peers is probably the single most important attribute that helped me along my path or, as I like to
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call it, my career obstacle course. In those days, I don’t think it was really appreciated. That was my strength. The biggest success was convincing or cajoling one of my colleagues on that team who was probably 20 years older than me to work for me and head systems operations. I still keep a note from him. He probably worked for me for seven or eight years until I moved on, and the note was thanking me. He was promoted to vice president while he was working for me. He said no one worked harder for him in his career than I had worked to support him and move him forward. I keep that note because it was very special. Q.
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course CSR 309 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.

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its an obstacle course - Its Not a Career Ladder, Its an...

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