CXO

Careers are like nature: Only the fittest survive

Ever notice that some people have great careers even though they're not the best at what they do? This week, John M. McKee says that's because they know the most important rule of success. He shares it in this blog.

Recently, an author who's writing a book about how to survive and thrive in a challenging environment asked me for an interview.

Knowing that I speak to a lot of people about careers, he wanted some tips and tactics for his book. I told him that for the most part the majority of career questions come from one of these three key perspectives:

1. The employed — looking for guidance on things such as:
  • moving up the ladder
  • dealing with a career hiccup that may be holding them back
  • dealing with others in the organization
  • getting a raise
2. The unemployed — looking for advice about:
  • getting back in the job market
  • taking advantage of social networking
  • setting up a consulting practice
  • rethinking their whole life plan
3. The recently terminated — in a highly emotional state, they're trying to grapple with:
  • dealing with how getting tanked can impact someone who has always had a job
  • getting through this new and difficult situation

(This is transition coaching. It's all about helping an individual transition out of where he or she is and into where he or she would prefer to be.)

Over the past 15 months, I've had more calls from people in the second and third situations. I'd prefer to be hearing from more of those in the first category above, but the economy is in a bad place and the outlook is pretty grim. It seems likely that many people who are unemployed currently are going to continue in that place for a while.
Here's the best advice I can give any individual who's in any of those situations What got you here, may not get you there.
If you want a long and productive career, keep that advice first and foremost in your mind. If you're unemployed, give it a lot of thought before you dive into the next job.

  1. The most successful careerists realize that it's all about evolution. Like animals in the wild — even entire species — it's survival of the fittest.
  2. Industries start, grow, thrive, get old, and usually then disappear. It's the same thing with companies.
  3. Careers that are too dependent on the success of the industry or company are at risk.
Those who have the longest and most satisfying careers share a common realization that their success has a great deal to do with keeping a close eye on the environment. Whether it's the economy, the city they live in, or the company they work for.
As the world around you changes, or the business environments change, or the people making the decisions move on, it's time to make a decision. Is your plan still smart for the long term? Most people continue as if little is really changing. They're kind of "managing by crossed fingers" and hoping they'll be OK. Not a good plan.
In nature and in business those who adapt and make changes will survive. The rest, even though they may be great at what they're doing, don't survive.
Here's to your future....

About

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

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