With a pending merger between Duke Energy and Cinergy, Duke Energy’s Group Vice President Theopolis Holman sought insight on how to unite the two organizations successfully with a new leadership team.
“Mergers can test the best management,” says Holman, an executive with 34 years in the energy industry.
To prepare for the transition, Holman, who oversees a division of 9,000 employees and service contractors, participated in the Executive Leadership Council Institute’s professional development course, Getting to the Top and Staying There. He says the intensive, two-day program explored how black executives can implement current business imperatives. The program paid particular attention to the areas of communication, project management, and collaboration as opportunities for sustaining leadership.
Holman says that the course increased his confidence in the face of the large-scale merger and helped him sharpen his focus on the following leadership priorities to create a world-class business unit:
Acknowledge that people are your most valuable asset. Holman makes an effort to know his team both professionally and personally by scheduling time to talk with them and by directly interacting with them on work assignments.
Measure results. Holman now measures every aspect of his division’s business. He has implemented processes to capture results that include how much money and time a project saved as well as a project’s return on investment.
Ask for help. Holman says he frequently holds focus groups and creates task forces to solicit feedback and input from other professionals.
For more information about executive education courses offered at the Executive Leadership Council Institute, visit www.elcinfo.com.
What You Look Like Online
According to a survey of 100 executive recruiters conducted by executive job search and recruiting organization ExecuNet, 77% of recruiters use search engines to check the backgrounds of potential job candidates. Of those, 35% of recruiters have eliminated a candidate from consideration based on information they found online.
Marian H. Carrington, principal of Carrington & Carrington, a Chicago-based executive recruitment firm, concurs. “We research potential job candidates online even before we call them. What we find undoubtedly determines whether we invite them in for an interview.”
Carrington suggests that professionals manage
their online image by taking these steps:
Check yourself out. Log on to popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN; type in your name; and carefully read through the various entries.
Clean up your image. Remove any information — inappropriate pictures, derogatory comments, foul language, or lewd jokes — that does not contribute to a professional image. If you find anything questionable, contact the person who owns the site and request that it be removed. Be prepared to explain any online information that prospective employers may uncover.
Create a positive presence. Design a professional Web page for yourself. Post academic papers, research, awards, etc., to publicize your professional qualifications and career accomplishments. Creative types could start a blog to discuss their professional expertise. Carrington says, “It’s important to know that what’s not online about you can be just as indicative as what is.”
The Book List
The Inside Track to Careers in Real Estate by Stan Ross (Urban Land Institute; $19.95) looks at