We first encountered Carla Harris and her philosophies on career success thanks to TED, and were struck by her passion and enthusiasm. In researching more about her, we learnt that she’s a Harvard alumna, has a 30+ year career on Wall Street, and is also a successful singer and author – in short, a multi-talented woman, and an inspiration to so many.
The secret to growing your power is to give it away. When you empower other people, you grow your impact and your influence exponentially.”
Carla began her investment banking career in 1987, starting in mergers and acquisitions “to learn the most in the shortest period of time”. She has been with Morgan Stanley for over 30 years, and is now Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, among other roles. She has released a number of albums, and has performed at Carnegie Hall multiple times. She is also a sought-after speaker, and has written books about career success.
Carla’s TED talk, given at TEDWomen 2018, focuses on sponsors, people “who will speak on your behalf in the top-level, closed-door meetings you’re not invited to (yet)”. It is roughly 13½ minutes long, and below the video we recap highlights, together with more of her pearls on performance, relationships, perceptions, power, risk and mistakes, among others.
In her talk, Carla references the year-end evaluation process, called moderation in some companies, where employees are allocated into categories e.g. top, middle, lower. This ranking then is “translated into a bonus range that would be assigned to each professional”. During his career, our Executive Director has experienced these types of meetings a number of times, including when selecting bursary candidates at a previous employer, and Carla’s description of the importance of someone speaking on your behalf is spot-on. And, on the topic of performance reviews: for more on preparing for your one-to-one performance discussion with your direct manager, see our post: Ace your Performance Appraisal.
One of Carla’s insights that is particularly useful for those starting out is that career success is not merely a function of how smart you are and how hard you work. “The combination of the two did not equal maximising my success, so I had to ask myself what’s missing in this success equation… You cannot have a 100% meritocratic environment when there is a human element involved in the evaluative equation, because by definition, that makes it subjective… there's not one evaluative process that I can think of, whether it's in academia, health care, financial services, not one that does not have a human element. So that means it has that measure of subjectivity. There is a measure of subjectivity in who is presenting your case. There is a measure of subjectivity in what they say and how they interpret any objective data that you might have. There is a measure of subjectivity in how they say what they're going to say to influence the outcome. So therefore, you need to make sure that that person who is speaking [on your behalf] has your best interests at heart and has the power to get it, whatever it is for you, to get it done behind closed doors.”
A timely post from Mercer about how we should actively manage our careers, by taking the Future of Work into our own hands... Given how this resonates with Protagion’s principles, we’re bringing it to our readers’ and members’ attention too through a summary below and a link to the full article.
The original post was written by Christina Dove, Partner at Mercer. Christina is based in the United Kingdom, and is Continuous Improvement Leader for Europe & Global Delivery. She’s worked at Mercer for 30+ years, having joined Mercer as an actuarial student in 1988. In her current role, she is responsible for creating a lean business culture within Mercer globally, delivering global transformation projects. Her team of 25 crosses the United States, Portugal, Poland, the United Kingdom and India.
Referencing Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2018 report, Christina’s article asserts that, as the future is here, the onus is on us – individuals and employers – to determine our own roles in it.
She sets out five suggestions on how we can take the future of work into our own hands: