What a Great Day! Jim Gilchrist – CAES

Our regular contributor Jim Gilchrist talks of success with clients in the Middle East!


Career Success





Because three great things happened.

Initially I had a wonderful conversation with a current client in Abu Dhabi. Beyond our evaluation of the effects of current oil prices, the state of local economies and various local employment issues, we hit on what matters most. He was seeing significant results from some of the leadership performance enhancement techniques that we had discussed together. Even better, since he was frequently applying these techniques, in various ways and circumstances, their application was becoming ‘natural’ to him. And he was excited about this progress. For me, this is a great example of effective performance change, because when change becomes the ‘new norm’ it will logically become sustainable. I am always so happy when he tells me about his successes, and I am very grateful for the mutual learning experience.

Then, off to a conversation with a prospective new leadership development client in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Not knowing him well, we did have a very good talk, and I was impressed with his determination to further develop his current leadership performance capability to both help him succeed in his current role, and also to prepare for any next level career opportunities – whenever they may come. I am excited about working with him. I love it when people think strategically about their careers, and his doing so at a relatively young age indicates to me that he has a bright future ahead. In giving him some comparative examples of the recent work that I had been doing, I happened to mention one specific individual client based here in Ontario, Canada, who was waiting to hear the final decision about his interview for a senior VP position. It was not long after we ended the conversation that I answered a knock at my door.

And coincidentally it was my Ontario client, eager to tell me that he had in fact been offered the VP position. I was thrilled to hear this, and obviously so was he. Even better, he wanted me to be aware that, in the final interview, all six panel members made some reference to a capability presentation document that I had developed for him. While I know that these documents are read, I certainly was pleased to hear about how it was used (to whatever degree) in the evaluation of his capability. But most importantly, I was just so pleased that my guy got the position.

Okay, so a wonderful day for my people and me. But, as always, I look for correlations and what I would like readers to take away from this experience. Despite all three being at different position levels, at different career stages, and in different industry sectors in different countries, there are some distinct similarities. A few of them would be that they all:

Are career strategists. While they certainly pay attention to their current situation, they also look ahead to determine what they want in both their short term and long-term careers. And then they realistically evaluate what they will need to do in order to get what they want.

Understand the relationship between their performance and their career success. Not one of them is interested in giving only the impression that they have, or will, obtain performance results. They understand that, in the great majority of cases, true career success will come from their actual performance and their ability to show their potential to perform at the next level. So they all take their performance very seriously, and they have taken steps to develop both their technical and non-technical skills in order to perform to the best of their ability.

Have a growth oriented mindset. Like all strong performers, they are life-long learners and they continually look for effective ways to grow and develop. All of them have already experienced a level of career success, but none of them chose to ‘rest on their laurels’. They stay ahead of most other people because they continue to grow.

Take action. None of them expects anyone to hand them a great career. They do not waste time by complaining about their current situation, the economy or anything else. Nor do they place blame when things do not go their way, or according to their plans. They simply adapt to changing circumstances, and they find ways to keep moving forward.

So while this is not my typical post, I do hope that some readers will find value in my sharing it. There’s obviously a lot more that I could add here, but I hope that some readers will get the basic point – whether or not you have a great career is really up to you.

Jim Gilchrist BES CAES

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