One of the things I tell my kids (that they hate) is that life isn’t always fair... deal with it.
Sure, life should be fair. But, it often is not.
Some people die well before their time. That’s not fair.
Some people win the DNA lottery whereas others don’t. That’s not fair.
Some people get advantages in their career; meanwhile, others don’t. That’s not fair.
While I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor to make the world a more fair place, until that happens, I think it’s worth operating within the world as it is as opposed to as we wished it to be.
Some career advantages are unalterable and well documented by the empirical evidence.
For example, recruiters will look at two identical resumes — one with a man’s name at the top, and another with a woman’s — and the male's resume will get more interviews.
(Incidentally, this is why I gave my three daughters “male” nicknames so that the unfairness in the world could be leveraged to their advantage.)
Another unfairness is how two people can present the same idea to a senior executive team. One person will be taken seriously, while the other will not... even though their ideas are completely identical.
Is this fair?
Is it true?
One of the reasons this happens is due to differences in two people’s gravitas.
My former McKinsey clients used to marvel at how I could take their ideas (with their permission) and present it to the CEO as a “McKinsey recommendation.” The same idea that got ignored for the prior five years suddenly had the CEO’s attention.
This has nothing to do with the inherent merit of the recommendation. It has everything to do with the difference in gravitas of a minimum wage employee versus mighty “McKinsey.”
In short, McKinsey and other top firms are masters at "gravitas arbitrage" — exploiting differences in gravitas.
Is this fair?
Again, is it true?
While some aspects of gravitas can’t be altered (e.g., gender, pedigree), many aspects of your gravitas are malleable.
In other words, your gravitas “level” isn’t set for life. It can be managed and altered for the better.
In short, gravitas enhancement is a skill set that can be learned and used for your own benefit. The key is to learn which forces shape gravitas and how you can redirect them to help your career.
If you'd like to improve your gravitas, you'll be interested in learning about my program on How to Develop Gravitas for Extreme Career Success. To be notified when the program is available in my next limited release, submit the form below.