Tortoise and Hare management lesson

I recently wrote ’8 pointers on how to get a job’, but neglected one important point. Do not martyr yourself and die on the job. I know plenty of people who have a distinct work modus operandi – I see it on CV’s and this is reinforced when I meet them.

They take a new position, determined to show everyone how well they can do – no, how much better than anyone else they can do the job. Off to the races they go. Loads of travel, loads of meetings, off-sites, constant emails, proposals, conference calls, on-the-go-gophers.. 12/18/ 24 months later, they indeed have done the job of 3 people, or completed a task that should have taken triple the time. Ta-da!!

They’re exhausted, but have a satisfied “I told you I’d do it better and faster” look. Ironically, many times they then go on to lament that they don’t know what to do next, they’ve worked themselves out of a job, maybe it’s time to move on-no one knows how hard they worked anyhow..With all the travel they never really knew what was going on at HQ, nor spent any time building their contacts. Their health has suffered, their family has suffered, but they can rightfully stake their claim of how quickly they scaled that mountain of work.

But as we all know, it’s not a 100 yard dash. It’s not even a marathon. It’s a steady pace, goes on a long, long time. There are always business goals to meet; that never changes. But don’t burn out on a new job, with a “Look At Me” grin when you plant the flag at the top of the mountain, race down to be asked to run up another one. And you will.

Steady is plenty good, I assure you. Use your time to know the people within the organization better, to build your network and dialogue. That’s more valuable than racing to catch that flight, secure in the knowledge that everyone knows how damned hard you work.

Sinatra sang about it, in “Nice and Easy”

The problem now of course is
To simply hold your horses
To rush would be a crime
‘Cause nice and easy does it every time

And if you’re reading this, silently saying “but my boss does that too, hell, we all work like that”, have a good long talk with yourself about what you want to do with your life and career.You may not see it, but others do.


Written by Neal Horwitz, President of Henry Hale Maguire


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