My name is Mark Wayman, and I’m a Headhunter focused on gaming and high tech.  Over the last twelve years I have placed 800+ executives.  Compensation starts at $100,000, average placement is $200,000+, and last year I placed eight executives north of a million dollars.

What do highly successful executives (top 2%) do differently than everyone else?  How do they end up with the best jobs and the biggest compensation packages?  This is part two in my series on the “secrets” these top executives utilize when managing their careers.

Personal Accountability – Successful executives don’t find fault or place blame on others. Candidates tell me they were fired because the company was no good, their boss was a jerk and/or their spouse did not support them.  It’s their parents fault, kids fault, the dog’s veterinarian’s fault.  Consider this: the only common thread in all your dysfunctional relationships is…YOU!  This has become a huge American cultural issue.  It’s always someone else’s fault.  Take responsibility for your actions and learn from your mistakes.  No one is going to judge you.  There was only one perfect human being.

Get the Right People on the Bus – Successful executives don’t worry about what other people think. Not everyone is going to agree with you or like you.  The world is full of unhappy, miserable people that want to drag you into their vortex.  Avoid them like the plague.  Let me tell you, there is a long line of Mark Wayman haters.  Because I would not represent them as a candidate.  Because I won’t do business with their company.  Because I won’t invest in their cooking show.  Focus on getting the right people on the bus.  People that support you and want to help you be successful.  You don’t need that many!

Givers, Not Takers – Sure, you can make a case for takers like Steve Jobs, but successful narcissist megalomaniacs are an anomaly. My experience is that authenticity, genuineness, and caring about other people are the attributes most common to success.  People want to do business with those they like and trust.  And always remember, to whom much is given…much is required.

Be Realistic – Successful executives are REALISTIC. Every day I see candidates that want to double their salary.  That…is silly.  And being unrealistic is a great way to ensure no Executive Recruiter will represent you.  Maybe your Dad will double your salary, but no company will.  Even if I thought you were worth it, no HR person is going to support me.  A second issue is executives that are making way above market rate compensation, then get terminated and start a job search.  They get their head around that big salary and end up on the beach for six to twelve months trying to duplicate it.  In some cases…they never work again.  Be realistic in your expectations.