Have you ever faced a problem at work that seemed so overwhelming, so insurmountable that you struggled to even know how to begin to resolve it? And the more you studied the problem, the more convinced you became that the solution must be equally as complex. Your exercise in problem solving became a downward spiral until you were more confused by the answer you came up with than you were with the original problem.
If you read the Harvard Business Review, you might have noticed a recent article proclaiming “The New Employer-Employee Compact.” The article, like all the other articles and books written on the subject, reminds us that the days of lifelong employment with a single company are over. (Thanks for that news flash!) Then the authors, who include the cofounder and executive chairman of LinkedIn, put forward the idea of “tours of duty” as the solution. You can read more about their ideas in the June 2013 issue.
As a manager, you’re tasked with finding and evaluating talent. You need to know which people will fit on your team. You must determine who has the right skill set to make the necessary contributions. And you must decide what blend of talent and personalities will allow the team to achieve its goals. No easy job, for sure.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” And for Lincoln, the opportunities did come in large part because he created them. He was known for his hard work and determination. But it all started with two things: his willingness to prepare and his understanding that opportunities will present themselves.
A few weeks ago, the San Francisco 49ers, with the 131st pick in the NFL draft, chose Marcus Lattimore, a running back out of the University of South Carolina. Considered by many to be the most talented running back in the 2013 draft, Lattimore wasn’t chosen until the fourth round because he had suffered not one but two knee injuries while in college. So while he possessed the talent, there was some question about whether he would ever be able to demonstrate it on Sunday afternoons in the NFL.
My oldest graduated from college this weekend. In addition to reminding me that I am, indeed, getting older, it caused me to consider what sage career and life advice I might have for him. My first thought was that I had the order of those two things reversed—that I should be providing him advice on life first and career second.
I was traveling last week and had tossed a couple of recent copies of Harvard Business Review (HBR) into my briefcase before leaving home. So on the plane, I dutifully grabbed the April issue and was greeted by a cover that said, “We Studied 25,453 Companies over 44 Years to Find the 3 Rules for Success.” As was HBR’s intention, they had my attention.
Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. Begin it well and serenely with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson