The Executive Comeback: How to Put Back the Shine In Your Star


A client of mine and I recently had a long talk about how scary it can be when, for some reason, you’re losing favor at work – or, as she put it, “when the shine is off your star.”

We thought of several situations where we’d seen it happen.

  • One executive was tasked with implementing a risky, high stakes project that put him in a treacherous no-win position. When things predictably became challenging, he felt like the fall guy.
  • Another leader watched as his position was eliminated during an org change. He retained his employment but ended up hidden in a distant corner of the organization, feeling like he added no value at all.
  • Two other leaders actually lost their jobs entirely, leaving them searching without a safety net for new roles and new companies – a painful and highly stressful endeavor.

If you’ve ever fallen into one of these situations, you know how you can easily feel dejected, even rejected, and downright depressed. You can lose faith, question your own value, and even give up.

Or, you can stage an Executive Comeback.

I was pleased to contribute to Joann Lublin’s Wall Street Journal column, “How to Mount an Executive Comeback,” on this topic. In her article, Lublin quotes the CEO of Avnet, William Amelio, who says: “It’s how you recover from a job loss that really builds your character.” It’s also how you recover from any career downturn that builds your character. I believe the opposite is also true: your character is going to help you create job gains and create a much more positive and exciting career upturn.

If you want to stage your own comeback, start by asking yourself some key questions:

  • Why do you need a “comeback?”
  • What happened, or what changed, that has you feeling “on the outs?”
  • What’s your perspective on the situation? What other views are out there?
  • What is the true story – the empowered version of how you’re leading your way out of what could be perceived as a negative situation and back to a place of leadership and positive impact?
  • What actions can you take to move forward – onward and upward?
  • How can you keep your spirits up and your motivation high during this transition?
  • What is your ultimate outcome, and how would you describe it to others?

Answering questions like these can be the basis for a program of personal development: your Executive Comeback.

By looking honestly at your situation, and learning to tell your story, while at the same time building an action plan based on positive results, you are creating your Executive Comeback.

If you feel like “the shine is off your star,” or you want to move to a more powerful place in your organization as a leader, let’s set up a time to talk. You can reach me directly here.

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