A huge number of people who work in offices are not paid to dig ditches or split logs, so if they are not paid for their brawn they must be paid for their brain? Apparently not.
People who work in command and control organisations, despite their best intentions, if they want to survive and thrive are mainly paid for the following, check which or these attributes YOU have and which you have to build on.
The ideal command and control candidate for the top:
- decisive. i.e .do you make decisions very quickly indeed.The shorter the gap between being presented with a need for a decision and the decision coming out your mouth, the more decisive you are.
- does an awful lot. The more you do, the better value you are. Everyone knows that there is only one thing worse than doing the wrong thing right, and that is not doing enough of it.
- walks places very fast. Upping the pace of a walk to a fast stride is just the beginning of a meteoric career path. You need speed to ensure dynamism. The older you get, the greater the need to gallop down corridors to maintain your aura of urgency.
- delivers. If you make snap decisions, do a lot of rubbish and run down corridors , it is all for naught unless you deliver. Doesn’t matter what you deliver, as long as you do. Like a postman with a heavy round at Christmas, what is IN those parcels is irrelevant, just get delivering.
- has a lot of staff. The more you have, the more important you are. You must be, otherwise why would you have all those staff?
- has the right face. Not much you can do about this if you don’t. Preferably a male face.
- positive. Are you positive that your boss is right? Then by agreeing with him (it’s a him, you read point 6 right?) so are you! Handy!
- has a good team of staff who agree with you. If your staff agreed with you less, they would be in charge. And you are in charge, so therefore see point 7.
- maintains good relationships. The currency is popularity. Popularity among others above and alongside you. But don’t be too popular. That way lies flavour of the month, and last month was December. Don’t be a January because February comes round soon enough.
None of these attributes for success will be improved by thinking or the consequence of thinking, learning. In fact the opposite is true. If you think, you have to slow down and stop being so decisive [point 1], you might stop doing an awful lot, as most of it might turn to be rubbish [point 2]. You might find that your boss is wrong [point 7], or even worse, that you are. You might start to find that it spreads, and that your team start thinking too [point 8] and then where would you be?
It is important to recognise that learning and thinking are just code-words for self-doubt and lack of confidence. Avoid them at all costs!
EDIT this post originally came out over a year ago, and I took it down from public view during one of the 4 restructures since November 2011. Now times are saner, this blog was referenced on my last application form I filled in for my own job, and the content and style went down well with the first manager I’ve had in the organisation who didn’t treat me as a problem but as an opportunity, and wants to see what we can do publicly and officially with systems thinking and all that. Hence this post resurfacing like an rusty abandoned shopping trolley in a dank park lake. And John Seddon commented on it, which pleased me no end.
Bring on the mucky faced lad!