Role model for the next 70 years of career
Britain’s Queen has just celebrated 70 years of reign with a star-studded 4-day party weekend that put crowds in a festive mood across the country, adoringly hailing their record-breaking platinum feat. little monarch. Exceptional in almost every way, there are nevertheless a few lessons we can learn from Elizabeth II’s long reign. The first is that this type of longevity at work may not remain so exceptional. Half of this spring’s college graduates will likely live to be 100. Like Elizabeth, they too can spend seven decades at work. Here are four pieces of advice she could have credibly placed in a keynote.
Say yes: Take the stretch work
Elizabeth II was thrust into a leadership role at the tender age of 25, following the abdication of her uncle and the untimely death of her father. The young queen tackled her destiny with grace and determination. She took the role – and her subjects – seriously and invested time and effort in listening and learning on the job. She was not what most people would consider a natural leader, brimming with charisma and confidence. But she stubbornly lowered her head and focused on the task at hand, earning the trust and respect of her people with composure, skill, and courage.
Women are often given leadership roles that they do not necessarily covet and for which they often do not feel ready. The glass cliffs are a reality. Also, many of my corporate clients complain about wanting to promote women – but their offers are turned down. Elizabeth is a role model of how you can grow in almost any job. No one is ever ready for these kinds of roles. Saying yes to leadership is shorthand for saying yes to growth itself. With dedication, you can, like Elizabeth, not only learn the ropes, but come to embody the institution itself.
Stay steady: Uproar goes with the Territory
We talk about the VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) these days, but change and upheaval are nothing new, as the tumultuous reign of Elizabeth reminds us. Ascending the British throne in 1952 as Europe was still emerging from the decimation of World War II, she would continue to navigate a series of shape-shifting and country-defining earthquakes – from the Troubles in Northern Ireland, deconcentration in the UK and decolonization in Africa until the UK’s abrupt accession to the European Communities and its Brexiteering withdrawal half a century later.
Without forgetting that the tremors of life are never limited to the professional field. The Queen’s personal life — or rather, her family’s shenanigans, love and otherwise — would have tested any woman’s best work and life management skills. She admitted it in her legendary remarks about the low point in her life, her Annus horribilis after the death of Princess Diana. Even then, his measured words reflected a mastery of powerful understatement. “1992 is not a year I will look back on with unmitigated pleasure.” Through decades and debacles, his constant and unifying presence has been a gift to his nation, which many other more fragile countries envy.
Far from taking inspiration from Brene Brown’s contemporary invitation to make vulnerability and sharing stories part of your leadership playbook, the Queen has chosen to take on the chaos with a very British rendering of the upper lip steep. Some years she smiled more, others less. But she went on and on, doing work few would envy, year after year, working with 14 different prime ministers of every possible political hue – from Churchill and Thatcher to a rather sad finale with a not quite worthy of – his Boris. Chaos and tumult inevitably breed division, but the queen models inclusion and continuity over time. Its values of duty and constancy – calm in the face of repeated storms – have earned it the confidence of the population close to filial love. Courage has always been at the heart of leadership. We’re just not (yet) used to seeing him wrapped up in that kind of calm, feminine package.
Create your brand: And build it over time
The Queen’s brand is remarkably strong – and personal. It helps, of course, to have your face on every piece of the kingdom. But she’s built her own brand as deftly as any Kardashian. From the eerie, colorful costumes and Corgi dogs at her feet to her scripted (and much-watched) annual Christmas message, she has spread her voice and feminine stamp across the Commonwealth. Until the very mention of the word “queen”. Repetition helps, and seven decades makes you the mistress of almost anything you do.
But as any contemporary brand consultant will tell you, brands are truly rooted in values. And the Queen has demonstrated hers, year after year, with the sweat of her tape-cutting scissors and confidential conversations with her heads of state (see Peter Morgan’s play The Queen for an imaginary glimpse of what has been said). Although these have been regularly tested and sometimes challenged, she has lived up to her look, her message and her functions through thick and thin. His brand has now stood the test of time and proven its enduring relevance and ‘stickiness’, especially in times of growing uncertainty and democratic instability. The most powerful brands become like beacons, anchored on unchanging shores – beaming their constant invitation home through the darkness.
(Re)defining success: Who remains standing
The Queen’s Commonwealth-wide platinum festivities and seemingly unfazed popularity must confuse more than one anti-monarchist. Not to mention her deeply unpopular Prime Minister, who proves an almost perfect foil to the Queen’s unwavering commitment to standing up for what she believes in.
Like the clumsy, innocent girl at the start of any romantic comedy, the beautiful young British queen has been on a long and intensely public heroin journey. A life of service, family and politics. She has been pushed and pushed, fallen and picked up again and again, become the unwitting star of a Netflix series, the matriarch of a controversial team, the witness of a defeated empire, of a country detached from its closest neighbors. relatives.
She’s the antithesis of the type of leadership taught in business schools – confident, charismatic and cool. But as she celebrates her platinum jubilee at 96, she offers a whole new metric of success for a rapidly aging global population. Pure longevity. Elizabeth has now become Britain’s longest-serving and reigning monarch, longest-serving female head of state, longest-serving and longest-serving current monarch, and longest-serving and longest-serving outgoing head of state. ancient”. And she did it her way.
Suddenly, all those fiery, talkative leaders of old seem a bit… teenagers. Here is a lady whose crown may forever be out of reach, but many may still choose to follow in her footsteps.