The most difficult and impactful decisions in a leader's life are the people decisions. Drawing from examples in the military, a leader has to assess whether an issue was a mistake or a lack of discipline. One merits second chances and the other demands more aggressive action. Here's a case and outcome that illustrates the situation. How would you have handled this situation?
The quote from writer, William Gibson, “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed,” always makes me pause. For anyone leading a business and engaging in setting strategy, Gibson’s perspective should be imprinted on your frontal lobe as a blunt reminder of your need to cultivate a discovery-driven culture or risk obsolescence.
Instead of letting your days just happen, invest a few minutes before work to prepare your attitude and strive to succeed at every encounter. Here's how I do it:
It happens to just about everyone during their careers. Those who say it doesn’t are fooling themselves. The “it” I’m referencing is a period of doubt about where they are and what they are doing in their careers. It's a period of self-questioning that can lead to change or just more of the same. If change is the answer, you have to rewrite the story you've been telling yourself about you.
The question, "Do I have to be a jerk to get ahead?" is spoken out of frustration. There's no doubt that in sharp-elbowed organizations, noisy, manipulative individuals can be the ones gaining the plum assignments and key promotions. If you want to get ahead, you don't have to mimic their behaviors, but you do have to choose a strategy to compete. Here are some ideas to help you get ahead without compromising your values:
Every year I read Peter Drucker's classic article, "Managing Oneself" as part of my personal-professional career navigation process. His powerful questions and frank commentary on what we need to do in our careers helps me reorient and reset on my priorities and activities. I've added five questions of my own that are relevant in our emerging world.
There are more than a few reasons your firm or industry won't make it through the next decade. While you won't derail or defuse the power of the many disruptive market forces swirling in our world, it's the lack of imagination for harnessing these forces that may ultimately relegate your firm to the business history books. Ironically, imagination may be the most controllable and most important of the tools you need to survive and even thrive in this world.