CUES Podcast

CUES Podcast 93: Step Up to Opportunity and Avoid Sabotaging Your Career—An Interview With Connie Miller

June 05, 2020 CUES
CUES Podcast
CUES Podcast 93: Step Up to Opportunity and Avoid Sabotaging Your Career—An Interview With Connie Miller
Show Notes

Connie Miller recalls an episode of late-night TV when the house band didn’t have a drummer. The host appealed to the audience asking, “Hey, do we have any drummers in the audience?” One man raised his hand, came up on stage, played really well and so launched his career as a professional musician.
“I often wonder how many other drummers were in the audience that talked themselves out of raising their hand rather than stepping into an amazing opportunity,” says Miller, president/CEO of $342 million Icon Credit Union, in the Boise, Idaho, area, and author of Don’t Sabotage Your Career: 11 Power-Filled Steps to Succeed.

In this episode, Miller says her passion is helping people grow. She wrote her book at the encouragement of friends and people in her professional network who had come to her as a 22-year veteran of credit union leadership for advice on their own careers. Miller says some of the advice she gives has to do with helping people change their bad habits.

“I have seen people grow from teller to executive,” Miller explains. “I’ve also seen many employees with expertise, smarts and education but they get passed up for a promotion or other leadership responsibilities because it would be a poor decision to move them into a leadership role” because of poor behavior traits or lack of communication skills. 

In this episode, Miller describes several unconscious habits people have that can get in the way of career growth. Here are just two of them:

They’re not fully committed to the organization’s mission. Instead, people who want to grow their careers need to live and breathe what the company stands for. “Unless it is something that is unethical, illegal or immoral,” she says, “you have an obligation to your company to both fulfill its mission and truly be in alignment with your supervisor or your board. When employees try to dig their heels in … because of their personal preferences, it doesn’t bode well in building trust with the leadership and building your career. I am talking about trying to reach the North Star, the same ‘why’ as your leadership. It really sabotages yourself when you’re not striving to be in alignment.”

They avoid difficult but needed conversations. “When you can … build your leadership mantra of creating a culture of open communication, it truly does build trust and accountable teams,” she explains in the show. “And you become very respected, however, most people avoid this. Those same people will the ones who pair off with another employee and gossip. What they don’t realize is that it really hurts their personal brand and it really breaks down trust. You will make a terrible supervisor if you don’t have the courage to talk to your employees about how they can grow.”

The show also gets into:

  • Miller’s career growth in the credit union industry
  • How the pandemic has shown people how resilient they can be
  • The value of reflection for leaders—and prospective book authors
  • Tips to help organizational leaders think of you when considering who to choose for a promotion