Management is about leadership--of people, of ideas, of markets. It is not merely about how far you go, and definitely not about doing what you are told to do; it is about doing what you are paid to do. Managers need to remind themselves about this eternal truth.
A career means different things to different people. To some, it is an end point: it is a statement of ambition e.g. I must become the CEO of this company. To others, it means the landmarks on the way e.g. I must become regional manager in two years and general manager in three years thereafter. To most it is a combination. However, these are all ‘destinations’ and not the ‘journey’.
Many managers spend a lot of their working time, thinking about how to accelerate their promotions, how to impress the boss more than their colleagues, and how to earn money faster. The management world is indeed very competitive.
Young managers are taught to think that they should ‘take charge’ of their career, that they should purposefully plan what they wish to be, what milestones they should achieve and by when. The reality is completely different.
The most common complaint heard in company corridors pertains to the company’s appraisal system and the quality of feedback to the manager from his superior. Whatever is done, it never seems to be good enough. Improving on this aspect is a constant effort everywhere, all the time.
It is in the first ten years after the working career begins that the greatest neglect of youthful health begins. Sportsmen stop playing sports, teetotalers drink alcohol, non-smokers smoke, active youngsters sit on desk jobs, and starving hostel inmates eat rich foods. These early years are the ones to watch.
All endings are also beginnings. It is just that we don’t know it at that time. In a delightful book, The Five People You Meet In Heaven, Mitch Albom narrates the story of an 83 year old war veteran, who discovers people who affected his life without anyone knowing about it.