We receive numerous requests for Career Advice, in good times and bad. Rudyard Kipling managed to summarise the challenges better than we could ever dream to.
So, first piece of advice to people who have lost jobs, are looking for jobs, or, are unhappy in jobs/ may be struggling to piece together a career road mad, the first paragraph is for you, over to you Mr Kipling;
“If you can keep your head when all about you,
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
What does he mean here?
I think a modern-day interpretation of this message is Pause…….Reflect. In times of adversity remember those in the graveyard that would cherish Health over Wealth. Communication methods now make it very easy for us to point the finger at others and some organisations will struggle to ever lose the blame culture that courses through the life blood of their ever-decreasing brand value.
Second part, back yourself, but (there is always a but, ask any toilet lid) factor in to your thinking why others may mistrust you. One of the most important lessons I learnt in my career was that doubt and mistrust were normally allocated from prior experience, somebody offered what you can do but didn’t deliver.
If a client/company/colleague doubts you, it may be because they have had a bad experience not with you but with somebody who promised the same. Remember the formula, Response = Answer + Example.
Second piece of advice for Executives that are leading in crisis for the first time, inexperienced or quite frankly can’t see the wood for the trees, Mr Kipling offered up another literary paradigm of wisdom.
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
First part of his message, very simple, it’s very important you can communicate with your board/shareholders but never lose touch with your workforce. Remember as a leader to treat people as people - not a line item, cost or an overhead. The word Humility is consistent across all forms of religion and is one of few words that consistently means the same whatever religion you may follow; in essence it infers to be ‘grounded from the earth’.
Second part, detach from becoming too emotionally susceptible to the positive and negative appreciation of difficult decisions, this will make you impervious to the wounds of a friend or foe, don’t be enchanted by acceptance, seniority or sycophantic behaviour. Just because your decision is celebrated doesn’t make it right, just because your thoughts are ridiculed it, doesn’t make them wrong (calibrate your opinions with cognitive diversity – don’t fall guilty to group think).
Make yourself an arbiter of honesty, meritocracy and humility.
Thank you, Mr Kipling. A splendid poem on career advice.
Next bit of Career Advice to be shared will be extracted from the work of Rob Bidduplh, author of Odd Dog Out.
Author: Daniel Murphy - Director and Co-Founder at www.ecap.ae