Thursday, January 22, 2009

Career Development - To Those Who Do It Right


Sometimes Career Development involves just taking stock of, and reinforcing, what we’re doing right. This article is an acknowledgement of all those hard-working corporate managers & executives, at every level, who come to work each day and give it their all.

This is to you, the managers & executives who drive Corporate America - especially those of you in the major companies.

Too often the focus of Career Development discussions is on correcting negatives, or developing new skills. Sometimes we need to just take stock of the things we do right, and reinforce those characteristics & values for ourselves and others. Getting an occasional pat on the back helps the ol’ libido too.

Having “been there and done that”, I know first-hand that the corporate world is a unique environment, requiring a great deal of it’s managers & executives. They live under a constant barrage of rules & regulations, often setting rules for themselves beyond those imposed from above. They often work in “vanilla” environments, in tiny offices or grey cubicles; bathed in fluorescent light.

It can be difficult to establish individuality; the culture requiring a high degree of conformance.
There is constant scrutiny; from higher-ups, the Board, Regulators, and -of course- the “never-satisfied” Investors & Analysts.

No one is truly their own boss; at any level. Many initiatives require committee or project-team participation. Watchful eyes are everywhere. Decisions of any consequence often require involvement by several layers of management. The hours can be long, the work tedious, and the rewards nebulous.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep an eye on the big-picture, what with all the complexities.
The business environment can be fierce, and failure is often harshly dealt with. The government and media attitudes toward big business can be downright hostile at times; making everyone’s job more difficult. Some moron will get caught in an illegal or immoral act and everyone comes under a new spate of scrutiny; guilt by association being the primary driver.

As a manager or executive, you’re expected to provide leadership; but there are restrictions on your freedom of action. I was watching the Golden Globe Awards on TV recently, and was reminded of the abstract manner in which most managers & executives must derive satisfaction from, and recognition for, their work. There are few award ceremonies; usually just the retirement parties when one is being kicked out. There are few plaques, or trophies, or other concrete acknowledgements of achievement. No one’s taking pictures of managers & executives walking the red carpet in fancy tuxedos & gowns. No media representatives are asking for “warm & fuzzy” interviews. There are few blatant opportunities to crow one’s accomplishments and “shine”; no tear-filled acceptance speeches.

If you’re one of the army of people who regularly and reliably come to work and give your best; honestly, morally, and decently - give yourself a pat on the back.

You are an example to yourself and others of why America is still a formidable economic force despite all the competition, and despite all of the outside interference. You are the soldiers and leaders who drive the economic machine. You are shining examples of what’s right in America.
I salute you - and I encourage others to follow in your footsteps.
If you’re not one of these people, it’s past-time to get with the program.
Good luck to you all.

Al Walsh, Owner/Founder, Walsh Enterprises - Business Advisors

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