Success = Complacency. Antidote = Urgency

Billy Joel has song called Second Wind…here are some lyrics,

“We’re only human, we’re supposed to make mistakes –So take it from me you’ll learn more from your accidents–
Than anything that you could ever learn at school”

The reality is that we reward people who are ‘successful’ and think that ‘failure’ is bad. If babies thought that, they would never walk!”

In an excellent article titled, “Success: A Breeding Ground for Complacency“,  John Kotter reminds us…

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” Bill Gates

I live in Rochester, NY, home of Eastman Kodak; another great American company that has filed for bankruptcy. Why? Because we (yes I worked there for 17 years) became arrogant. We stopped being hungry for change. Success spoiled our drive.

Jeff Bezos, CEO has a mantra, “every day is day one.” In other words, whatever we did yesterday isn’t enough to ensure success tomorrow.

Look at your organization or your job search or your family goals? Is there a sense of urgency (that’s different from desperation, exhaustion, hamster wheel running)? Be clear and energetic. It’s contagious.

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Shopping for a New Boss

About 15 years into my career I figured out that WHO I worked for was as important as what I was doing for work. So when it came to looking for a new job, my search became about looking for a great person to work for.

This may sound crazy; particularly in this tight job market. It takes a lot of confidence (and some money in the bank) to alter our perception of how to find a new job by figuring out who we want to learn from.

My approach was pretty simple. I looked for great places to work; places that were growing and had a focus on customers and building trust. During the interview process, I would pay close attention to the person I would work for. I asked a lot of questions and thought about:

– Would I learn from this person? Do they have skills I want?

– Are they happy and growing in their work?

In an interesting blog post called, “Get Hired, No Resume, No Interview, No Joke,” the author suggests that you “go to good managers you’d like to work for.” Talk to them, understand their issues and see how you might fit into their organization. I’m not suggesting that you abandon networking or applying for work. But author Corcodilos’ suggestion that we pick  “three companies or managers you really, really want to work for because they are shining lights in their industry.”

Like any good sales effort, you may pick 3 and find out that 2 won’t work. So pick two more. If you are not sure how to identify these excellent managers? Ask other people! They will tell you. But you won’t find out unless you ask.

It always worked out for me. I learned a great deal and respected the people I worked for.  It may not be easy but I can assure you it is very worthwhile. Happy shopping!

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I’m Telling Mom…No One Likes a TattleTale

No one likes a tattletale. Well, unless the information is valuable. So when you are looking for a new job (exciting and terrifying), information about a prospective employer can be priceless.

The way it used to beDo you remember the old boys network’? I do. Because I’m a girl (and an old one at that) – the boys network wasn’t really open to me. Yes, I had excellent experience and yes, I had a Master’s Degree but… I was still a girl.

But I never let anything stop me. I just kept trying, learning, sharing, being myself. And I’m happy to report that due to circumstances beyond their control, the network (while still alive and well) isn’t what it used to be.

I also had a little help from my friends, kind and generous mentors and the great equalizer, the internet and it’s child – social media came along.

The way it is now – When you want information about a company, you can turn to sites like This site allows real people to give information about their employer. The good news is that it’s anonymous. That’s also the bad news. The site has input by company, job type, salary and even interview questions.

Like any other ‘crowd-sourced’ site, you need to be careful. One disgruntled person can make the numbers look bad so it’s important thing is to read all the comments. Check out all the data. Particularly around salary. (there are so many helpful sites!) I know it’s an ’employer’s’ market right now, but that won’t last and this probably isn’t the last job you’ll negotiate a salary for. (booyah!)

Image credit – This child’s mother and father… and