Why Some people in top management are afraid of growth?

May 22, 2008

Why Some people in top management are afraid of growth? Was the question asked recently. I tried to answer in the following way.

When they are among the Top Management they have reached the peak, they don’t know where to go next. Usually after the peak is downfall. So they are afraid of that.

When I look closely at this question, I realise there are two scenarios :

First is since you have reached the top, you can not go up further and you need to put in efforts to stay there. But then, to stay at the top you need different qualities than when you were climbing. Most people don’t know what does it mean.

Second is once you reach one peak, you need to create another peak (new challenges) to get that feeling of going up. But before you start climbing another peak, you have to get down or you have to learn new tricks. You need energy (drive) to get out of the comfort zone and recharge yourself. Either because of age or because of fear of failure many people don’t try these things and become insecure in their “Top” position.”

Mentor’s advice

May 15, 2008

I read an article in CIO magazine wherein 5 CIOs have shared what their mentors told them. One of the CIO said :

Be decisive.

“I had a wonderful mentor who told me the speed to make a decision is an important quality of an executive. When you move from being an analyst and developer—someone who expects to have all the data before making a decision—up to executive, you have to understand your gut feelings play more of a role. You reach a level where you’re being paid to rely on your experience. If you wait for every single data point, every time, you may be seen as indecisive or weak.”
-Robert Urwiler, SVP and CIO, Vail Resorts

This reminded me of one recent episode that I was watching on “Are you smarter than fifth grader”. There, the contestant was a professional poker player. He said that relying on only guts is not good nor was being overly logical. He said that when your combine logic with your guts it gives you best results. No wonder he went out with half a million doller kitty in his bag.

I am so happy to find validation for my thoughts that entrepreneurial way of decision making is so important and it pays.

Managing Your boss

May 15, 2008

We need to manage the boss in many ways. It is not in a negative context, as managing has multiple aspects. Managing a boss is part of managing our careers. In that conext we need to understand the boss as an important factor. Boss (to large extent) has a major influence on how we are perceived by his boss and by his peers. Boss has an influence on at least pace of our growth and on extent of our exposure or learning. Which means boss has control over effectiveness to be successful. So what do we do manage boss? First, one needs to understand him/her as human being – person without the title. Very often we look from the lenses of title. My experience is that look at the boss first as a professional and how he has reached that position. What is that he has and you don’t have in terms of professional qualities. That gives good insight into his/her positives and negatives. Understand boss’s scope of work, his standing among the peers and his aspirations. This is little complex work. But once you figure out this, you would understand where do you stand in this situtation. You would understand what are boss’s expectations from you to help him “win” and further his aspirations. This would also give you scope of your work, its relative importance in the organisation and thus you would get to know opportunities for your growth. You can then decide if your aspirations – growth, learning, exposure etc – can be fulfilled in the given situation. Reaching out to boss with your analysis of the situation, your expections and suggestions of how you can create a win-win situation for boss and yourself helps. It is a very interesting work.

The key question is what do you do after analysing in the above way and realising that your values, aspirations and professional thoughts do not match with your boss’s. Well, in that case we look at the organisation – the leader – boss’s boss. There is a always a possibility that your boss might be wrong in the corporate context and your thinking might be right. If this is the situation, have some patience. Find out ways to communicate with larger set of people in the organisation and stick to the values without leaving the boss.

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