Becoming a great executive requires a set of skills beyond what's needed to be a leader. Executive skills are subtle and can be elusive to managers, demanding a great deal of focus, courage, and dedication. These skills include taking (almost irrational) career risk, learning to scale by trusting your team, and developing advanced soft skills. New skills are hard for leaders to develop simply because they’ve already found success, which makes them less motivated to make substantive skill shifts. But those who see change as a path to growth will ascend to top roles within an organization.
So well explained Nikhyl! Thanks for taking time to share your wisdom with us.
Great article. One idea is to think of a broader "life portfolio". After Act 1 in career, start Act 1 on a different passion - family, sport, non-profit, different professional domain, etc. while pursuing a slower path in Act 2. It can be more joyful, fulfilling, and realistic than going all in on a low probability Act 2 path.
Thanks for sharing your insight. I'd also love to hear more about you navigated your Act II. You are absolutely right that growth tends to slow down during that phase but I am curious if there are any tips for driving continual growth in this stage of your career.
thanks for sharing !
Brilliant article Nikhyl. Can I have your email so I can shoot an email mentioning my predicament?
Thanks for writing this post; it def helps me to understand why I am feeling 'stucked' in my act II stage. Even more important, what it takes for me to progress forward.
I do recognize the soft skill gap I have and have seen that's partially the reason I am not getting things done in the way/ timeline I want it to be.
My question is, what action I should be taking to get over this phase?
When I felt frustrated, I usually just changed the environment I am in, roughly every two year. But I don't think that solves the fundamental problems and I certainly don't find fulfillment in current situation. I don't mind taking risk ( thinking about change industry) nor do I lose the drive to improve - actually have been actively learning (new hard skill) whenever I have time.
This article is very inspiring Nikhyl, looking forward for the Act III.
This article is gold. I really loved it
Nikhyl thanks for sharing the advice. Very well written analysis.
Really enjoyed this being a leader for a number of years and having many of these challenges. I'm curious - what do you use to create your diagrams. They are awesome!
Excellent article with deep insights
Thank you for sharing these pearls of wisdom.
Very well articulated. One of the few articles covering career grown beyond technology leaders/line managers
What a beautiful piece. Would love to hear personal stories of how you navigated Act II, and whether you ever considered getting off the train to do other things. E.g., starting your own company or going independent.
"What got you here won't get you there" resonated strongly with me. I got promoted quickly at a high-growing startup and learned the hard way that being a manager is a whole different ballgame: https://productlessons.substack.com/p/letter-to-new-managers