Margaret Wheatley Quote

One of my favorite quotes is from Margaret Wheatley.

Image Courtesy of Creative Commons by © Torrey Wiley
Image Courtesy of Creative Commons by © Torrey Wiley
Margaret wrote:
Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.
Whenever we are faced with problems – whether those problems are business-related or personal – we would all be wise to remember her words.

Resilience – The Key to Success

There’s a great post on the Harvard Business Review by Rosabeth Moss Kanter entitled: Surprises Are the New Normal; Resilience Is the New Skill.

Rosabeth writes:

The difference between winners and losers is how they handle losing.

That’s a key finding from my ongoing research on great companies and effective leaders: no one can completely avoid troubles and potential pitfalls are everywhere, so the real skill is the resilience to climb out of the hole and bounce back.

Image Courtesy of Creative Commons by FMWRC - U.S. Army - Official Image Archive - Athens Greece - XXVIII Olympiad
Image Courtesy of Creative Commons by FMWRC – U.S. Army – Official Image Archive – Athens Greece – XXVIII Olympiad

One of the things I have noticed over the years in working with successful executives is that NONE OF THEM had a steady rise to the top.  They all experienced “bumps in the road” as they progressed in their career.  Some of these mistakes were self-inflicted.  Others were the result of factors totally beyond the executive’s control. But what these executives had in common was that while they all experienced adversity – they all possessed the ability to bounce back.  While less successful people would have folded under the first whiff of adversity – these executives just rolled up their sleeves and got back to work.

Bottom line: Successful people just don’t quit.

And Kanter concludes:

Potential troubles lurk around every corner, whether they stem from unexpected environmental jolts or individual flaws and mistakes. Whatever the source, what matters is how we deal with them. When surprises are the new normal, resilience is the new skill.

Adversity is to be expected – And change is the new norm.

Which is why in today’s world – the skill we all need most is Resilience.

None Of Us Is As Smart As All Of Us

I just came across a great and motivating quote by Seth Godin today:
“None of us is as smart as all of us.”
I think his quote is spot-on.
While it is hard not be somewhat overwhelmed by the problems we all face on a daily basis…the reality is that as severe as our problems currently are…whether those problems are personal or professional…..if we all work together, collectively we can…and we will….find solutions.
That is why networking and working together with our colleagues is so important.
Image Courtesy of Creative Commons by © Toffhoff
Image Courtesy of Creative Commons by © Toffhoff
Remember this – No one single person is smart enough to solve all of our problems.
But all of us together are smart enough to solve them….

Peter Drucker on the Importance of Focus

Peter Drucker was a legendary Management Consultant who passed away at the age of 95 in 2005.
He was the author of classics such as “The Practice of Management”, “The Effective Executive” & “Drucker on Management”.
Forbes magazine deemed him “the founder of modern management”.

Image Courtesy of Creative Commons by © Isaac Mao
Image Courtesy of Creative Commons by © Isaac Mao

One of my favorite quotes of his appears in his autobiography, Adventures of a Bystander.

Drucker wrote:

“Bucky Fuller and Marshall McLuhan exemplify to me the importance of being single-minded.  The single-minded ones, the monomaniacs, are the only true achievers.  The rest, the ones like me, may have more fun; but they fritter themselves away.  The Fullers and the McLuhans carry out a ‘mission’, the rest of us have ‘interests’.  Whenever anything is being accomplished, it is being done, I have learned, by a monomaniac with a mission.”

We are all too often guilty of loading too much on our plates.  We waste time on Facebook or Twitter.  We binge-watch episodes of House of Cards.  Or we spread ourselves too thin when we decide that we are going  to start a garden, and train for a marathon and learn Spanish – all within the next 6 months.

Bottom line – Drucker’s advice is prudent.

If we really want to accomplish something that is important to us, whether it is building our careers or raising a family, we would be better served if – instead of ‘frittering’ ourselves away – we focused our time & energies on that one “mission”.

When we are focused & diligent – only then we can succeed…..



5 Reasons to Consider a Lateral Move

In my last post, Career Advice – Step Back To Step Ahead, I wrote about the advice I had received from a very successful Sr. Executive I know about the value of making a lateral career move.

Well, it appears that Megan Ragsdale, writing over at at the Career Revolution website concurs.

She recently wrote a post entitled, 5 Reasons a Lateral Move is Better than a Promotion.

In her post, Megan wrote:

“It’s human nature. We want to move up in the world, make more money, improve our social standing and even increase our power. In a world that’s so focused on being upwardly mobile, why would anyone waste her time making career moves from side to side?…..One common element among those most successful people is that they understand the difference between pay and promotion and career progression, and that you don’t need the first two things in order to achieve the third.”

Megan goes on to list the following reasons:

1) Lateral career moves can better position you for the future.

2) Parallel career moves demonstrate strong learning agility. 

3) Moving laterally improves your visibility with a broader group of leaders. 

4) It shows your boss and your leaders that you’re willing to do the work. 

5) Lateral moves can keep you better engaged. 

Megan’s complete post can be found here.

It is a good read and definitely provides some interesting perspective.

Career Advice – Step Back To Step Ahead

One of the best bits of advice I received regarding managing your career came from a gentleman I know who is currently a Sr. VP of R&D for a major company.

I first met him when I was looking to fill a senior level Retained Search I was working on.

He happened to be in NYC for a conference and we agreed to meet in the lobby of the New York Hilton.

During our first meeting, I realized this guy had it all – he was intelligent, articulate, passionate, charismatic etc. – plus he was genuinely a nice person.

Image Courtesy of Creative Commons Businessman Crossing the Finish Line - Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
Image Courtesy of Creative Commons Businessman Crossing the Finish Line – Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

But I also noticed something else interesting on his resume.

Early in his career, at a relatively young age, he was a Lab Manager for a small company that was focused on a relatively narrow product line.  He reported directly to the owner.  Yet his next job was only at a chemist level for a major company – working in an entirely different product area.

I asked him to explain what happened….

He replied that while he enjoyed being the Lab Manager and was happy to have such a high level of responsibility at a young age, he realized he had plateaued at that company.  There simply was no where else for him to go.  Additionally, the company he was working for was narrowly focused in terms of product type. He said his long term goal was to be a senior executive at a major company and he realized that in order to achieve that goal, he needed to broaden his experience and become well versed in a variety of different product areas.

So he swallowed his pride – took a step back – and took a different position at a major company at the chemist level.

He said it was the best move he ever made.

And he went on to say that he encouraged the people that he mentored to consider not only lateral moves – but – in certain situations -moves that could be perceived of as a “step back”.  Obviously he stressed, the moves had to make long term strategic sense. He was not advocating just randomly taking a step back. But he said – in the right situation – the philosophy of taking a step back to get ahead can provide a powerful boost to your long term career success.

His advice is spot on…..

Warren Buffett’s Career Advice

Warren Buffett is a legendary investor without peer – but the Oracle of Omaha can offer some sage career advice as well.

Image Courtesy of Creative Commons by Aaron Friedman
Image Courtesy of Creative Commons by Aaron Friedman

According to a post on the Lifehacker site:

“Fortune magazine drops in on a Q&A Warren Buffett offered to 150 business students, and the advice dispensed by the Oracle of Omaha on investing and money in general is elegantly simple. 

When one student asked Buffett how to best spend his free time to further his investing knowledge, Buffett avoided generalized advice and told him to stick to what he knows. Fortune paraphrases:

For most people, the bulk of their income is going to come from earning power in their chosen profession. Therefore, from the standpoint of building wealth, free time is better spent sharpening one’s professional skills rather than studying investing.

Warren’s advice is prudent.

But how many of us actually do this?  How many of us actually spend our free time doing things that will enable us to get better at our jobs and make us more marketable?

As a Recruiter, I often hear people lament about how their careers are stagnant, or that they are not earning what they think they are worth.  But when I ask them what are they doing to invest in themselves and get better at their jobs, often there is no response.

Maybe – if we are really serious about developing our careers – we should follow Warren’s advice and spend more time developing our professional skills and less time following other pursuits.

Maybe we should all start investing in ourselves.