THIRD SECRET OF SUCCESS

Being able to update your resume (curriculum vitae) every year is an important part of success.

I am not suggesting that you update it and put it out on the street, just that you need to be able to update the contents every year, and that you should also set up a formal process, and allocate time, to make this happen. (See “Second Secret of Time Management” posted 30/9/2010).

You have to ask yourself “What do I know today that I didn’t know a year ago, what can I do today that I couldn’t do a year ago or what can I do measurably better today than I could do a year ago ?”

If you can’t answer positively to at least one part of this question, then you have not only just wasted a year of personal growth, but you have actually gone backwards, as those that you compete with may not have let the time pass so unproductively.

I am not just talking about competition as being the sole concern of those that are seeking to climb the corporate ladder, but I am including all elements of business, politics, study and life in general.
It is just as true for a corporate executive, a wine maker in Bordeaux or an MBA student, and it also holds true for retirees, despite their supposed non-compete status.

As the Rolling Stones say “And time waits for no one and it won’t wait for me”.

I also believe that you do need to do this personal review as a formal process, as just doing it whilst you drive to work, or navigate your tractor through the vines, makes it too easy to gloss over details and so delude yourself into believing that you have actually achieved a year of personal growth. A formal process implies that not only will you need to list these “upgrades” to your skills and/or knowledge, but that you will also be able to document evidence that these upgrades have actually occurred.

I find that it also helps to seek outside confirmation from for example peers, subordinates and superiors (in a work context), or partners and friends (in a personal context) that they have also seen visible evidence of these changes, and would be prepared to sign off (if asked) on the changes in your resume.

It’s also not enough just to list a promotion, as climbing a rung on the corporate ladder is not in itself a sure sign that you have actually advanced your skills or knowledge in the last 12 months, only that you have been chosen as the best of what is available in the selection process.

Some promotions are more an indication of the lack of skill of the promoters rather than a sure sign of skills in the one promoted. In the latter half of the 20th century, the IT industry grew massively each year, and became a breeding ground for promotions of the “most visibly able” rather than the “truly capable”, as in many companies the growth in the number of management positions to fill was greater than the growth in skilled candidates. It was only towards the end of the 1900’s that tough times showed that many had titles that far exceeded their true abilities, skills and experience to actually effectively fill the role.

These are generally the people who are first to go when culling processes start, and we should have learned by now that in this century the regular corporate cull has become a fact of life.
True learning and skills development, and putting this knowledge to use, is not only a key element in corporate life preservation, but is also what makes life more interesting and worthwhile.

The Olympic motto in Latin is “Citius, Altius, Fortius” which translates to “Higher, Faster, Stronger ”.
To this we should add “Acutulior” which means “cleverer”.

Seoul Olympics, group of runners racing, focus on legs

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2 Responses to THIRD SECRET OF SUCCESS

  1. ugur candan says:

    “most visibly able” rather than the “truly capable”… Hmmmm. Is it any different in any other industry? Or was it any different at any time? I do not think so. One other obervation If “truly capable”s are not visible they disappear over time. Should we advise “truely capable”s to be visible. ? An other challange: what if “corporate life preservation” or “making life more interesting” is not the main aim? “Being worthwhile” could this be a part of a CV? I totally agree with what you had stated but I just wanted to ask for more. Your Fan in istanbul.

  2. leshayman says:

    Hi Ugur,
    I think that you are right about it being true of all industries and across all decades, but I felt that it was most pronounced in the 20th century when growth in IT was meteoric for an extended time period, so it was a good example … i am sure there are others.
    I think that “being worthwhile” would fit well on a CV if you could describe how, and I also believe that being “truly capable” and “visible” are not mutually exclusive, but I have found that generally “truly capable” and “politician” tend to be.
    Les

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