Your Work Life, Visually

Forrest's consulting bio, run through

Recently, we had all the Manasclerk Company folks’ CVs/resumes redone by a professional writer. Yes, I am well aware of the irony that a group of people who have all been paid to write had to hire someone else to write consulting bios. But that’s the way it is: a good writer seems to be flummoxed at his own tooting.

One of the team had the bright idea to run mine through Tagxedo, a wordle-ty…

Sometimes You Really Can’t Describe What You Do

Höckerschwan, White swan, Cygnus olor, Wild duck, Stockente, Anas platyrhynchos ginsheim-gustavsburg. (c) 2010 Vera Buhl, CC-BY-SA-3

I was really frustrated. I was trying to explain what a particular Work Swan — one of these people who are “hidden” high potentials, like Andersen’s “ugly duckling” — brought to the table and I just kept hitting a wall. I knew that this person brought a solid set of skills, but they were transformative. When you added him to a project, he changed the game. He didn’t deliver what you asked…

#1 Book That New Executives Must Read

KODIAK, Alaska (Sept. 27, 2011) The Naval Research Laboratory tactical satellite IV (TacSat-4) lifts-off from the Alaskan Aerospace Corporation's Kodiak Launch Complex aboard a Minotaur IV+ launch vehicle. TacSat-4 will have a unique highly elliptical orbit which augments current geosynchronous satellite communications and will support to tactical handhelds. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)

You just got promoted into the Executive suites. You’ve been a manager for awhile now, with ever-increasing managerial responsibilities. You know how to manage that smaller group. But now you’re going to be running a full line of business, your own PL. You know how to manage 100. How do you manage 2,000?

Most business books have little to give the new executive other than platitudes that sound…

Top Reasons Why Your Resume Says “Career stalled”

New York-to-Paris automobile race: [Automobile stuck in snow]

Have you ever considered that your career path is a lot like a movie? Film scholar Chris Simmons, a colleague of mine, lectured once on the massive blockbuster, Titanic. He showed how everything in its visual language spoonfed what the director wanted you to see, know and feel. The director made deliberate choices to make it easy for us as the audience to come along with his storytelling.

How Having Closed Sector vs. Open Sector Career Affects Your Success

Marine Sgt. at New Orleans, La. By Howard R.Hollem. Library of Congress collection via Flickr.

Guy Benveniste had a great thought in article from 1977 about “Survival inside bureaucracy” that are even more relevant in today’s New Economy / Creative Class work-world.

Benveniste postulated that there were three different types of careers:
Closed sector
Open sector

Closed sector careers are what my father generation expected. Your entire career is within a…

Know Who’s Really Your Customer — THE Secret to Success

Yardmaster in railroad yards working, Amarillo, TX, 1943. By Jack Delano via Library of Congress Collection (LOC)

A parable. Of sorts.

Just then a young man came up to Forrest to test him, saying, “Sam Walton, the late billionaire who founded Walmart, taught us to succeed already.”

“Well what did he tell us after he became a billionaire?” Forrest asked him.

And the young man answered him: “Sam taught us thusly: ‘There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from…

High Potentials Are Farther From Normal Than You Might Think

Man sits apart. By Mead Schaeffer, c. 1933. Good Housekeeping magazine?

In my post about “Why You High Potentials Get Missed in Your 20s”, Michael Bates commented that “When the curves are so close together, all sorts of mistakes are possible, including a high-potential’s misjudgment of his own potential.”

This is kind of true and kind of not. Let’s take a look at it in more detail.

First, let’s talk about growth trajectories. Most people recognize that…

Why You High Potentials Don’t Get “Tapped” in Your 20s

Man sits apart. By Mead Schaeffer, c. 1933. Good Housekeeping magazine?

I’ve written before about the importance of being “tapped” for bigger and better things when you are in your 20s if you are a very high potential on the Jaques scale. During my research for a recent project on intelligence testing, I discovered that Gillian Stamp, the bioss founder (and ex-BIOSS and London School of Economics professor), said something along these lines in her summary of…

Internal Hires: Lower Turnover, Better Performance & Lower Pay?!

Great tubular bridge, etching. Via Library of Congress. PD.

Do internal hires or external hires make better employees? Who gets paid more?

Luck Does Not Determine Your Essential Character

I like to point out idiocy by “experts” when I see it. And management writing in Harvard Business Review is usually such a fertile field! Today, let’s look at idiocy about luck and being a great strategist from Hans H. Hinterhuber and Wolfgang Popp (“Are You a Strategist or Just a Manager?”, Jan-Feb 1992).

As Moltke observed, the good strategist also needs good luck….

So, if we assum…

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