How Do You Fuel Career Growth? Take It From a CEO – It’s Grit

Several weeks ago I had the chance to meet with employees in Baxter’s Rotational Development Programs. These are high-potential recent college grads that experience a variety of roles in their chosen discipline – R&D, Finance, Sales and beyond – to build their skills and leadership capabilities. In other words, they are the talent that will define Baxter’s future.

Connecting with energized young professionals takes me back to my own roots, when I was an eager new hire engineering my own plunge into corporate life. My burning questions to senior leadership back then were the same ones I hear today: What motivates you? How did you get from Point A to Point B? What’s the secret to career success?

Depending on the moment, my answers reflect a range of qualities I’ve come to view as essential to effective leadership, from a strategic mindset and embrace of diversity to adaptability and a sense of humor.

But lately I’ve realized that there’s one quality I tend to emphasize above all. Call it persistence, tenacity, drive, or grit. It’s the will to keep charging forward and deliver outstanding results, even – or especially – when you encounter resistance along the way.

This isn’t about going against the grain as a workplace renegade. This is, instead, about how you navigate challenges to achieve outcomes in line with your company’s mission and values.

Wherever you may work, I hope you operate within a structure and culture that allow you to drive day-to-day results as effectively as possible. But then there are those “aha” moments when inspiration strikes, or hard work yields new insights. You envision a solution that can improve performance, or glimpse an opportunity to seize. How do you own those moments? How do you manage resistance? Do you demonstrate the courage of your convictions? Those are the moments that will define a career.

Baxter’s mission is to save and sustain lives. Employees across the company embrace this…and the truly exceptional ones strive to make a bigger difference every day. They are determined to see obstacles as opportunities. Their resolve is what propels us forward; and it’s what propels them forward, too.

There are many paths for career advancement, and no two are ever the same. But for me, your tenacity as you reach beyond expectations is what will define your ultimate potential.

—Joe Almeida, Chairman and CEO

Learn more about careers that impact lives and our commitment to personal and professional growth.