Kinder Morgan Exec Shares Key Points in Career Advancement

Advancement means different things to different people – for some, it may mean being able to take a vacation from work and for others, it can mean climbing on top of coworkers to get to the top. But it’s imperative to determine your personal meaning before setting out on the road to advancement.

“We’re programmed from a very early age to think that advancement is material gain,” Lisa Shorb, vice president of HR, IT and administration at Kinder Morgan, told attendees of a Women’s Energy Network luncheon Wednesday. “And we start striving for advancement at an early age.”

Shorb, who has 32 years of experience in energy, shared lessons she learned along the way and encouraged women to become actively engaged in their career advancement.

Some of her key points were:

The Reality of Advancement     

As your responsibility increases, your personal rights decrease. For example, Sunday night I’m getting ready for Monday morning. I can’t go to work Monday and get ready for Monday. Those are sacrifices I need to make to be in the job that I’m in. 

Company Politics

Political hierarchies at companies are typically unwritten. With politics – they’re really relationships. And relationships are required for day-to-day success, problem-solving and advancement. As you advance, you start to learn while politics are important. At any level you’re advancing, you’re going to have to deal with unwritten rules if you want to be successful.

Bad Decisions

If you can’t move out of judging yourself, then you’re not going to be able to grapple with a bad decision. If you make a bad decision, acknowledge it and figure out what caused you to make it (were you rushed, did you compromise your values were you missing a technical piece that you needed)? You should always ask, ‘what happened’ and ‘how did it happen’ rather than ‘who did it?’ And you have to fail forward to learn from anything. Once you get into higher-level positions, you’re going to make some bad calls. It happens.

Robe of Power

I advise you to put on your robe of power. And that’s as simple as saying ‘I am enough.’ You don’t have to explain that to other people. But always be honest with yourself – if you have a flaw or lack certain skills, ask yourself if you’re willing to humble yourself to learn it. The problem is when people move up the food chain and they lack certain skills, there’s a struggle to recognize that and humble themselves enough to learn what they need to keep going.


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