John Con­nolly’s guide for the cor­po­rate climbers

The Australian - The Deal - - News - John Con­nolly

COM­ING up to the fes­tive sea­son, 360 re­view and bonus time, it’s nat­u­ral to think about life’s big ques­tions: how do I get my boss’s job or find a new bet­ter paid one?

So, to­day, here are the 10 very prag­matic com­mand­ments of get­ting ahead in a big com­pany. None in­clude power dress­ing, body lan­guage, so­cial me­dia or build­ing your own brand but all are based on more than 40 years of ob­serv­ing how de­ci­sions are really made in ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions around the world.

Get a men­tor: Not a per­sonal coach but some­one se­nior in the com­pany who will be flat­tered by you ask­ing and there­fore will go out of their way to make sure you suc­ceed. The higher up the ex­ec­u­tive ranks the bet­ter.

Work in head of­fice: To para­phrase Aus­tralia’s own Machi­avelli, PJ Keat­ing, “Un­less you are run­ning an op­er­a­tion/ di­vi­sion/re­gion or a coun­try you are just camp­ing out. No one se­ri­ous knows you ex­ist.”

Get lucky: To para­phrase the princess of soul, Tina Turner, “What’s luck got to do with it?” An­swer: a lot. Both Nic­colo Machi­avelli (so fa­mous they named a Sydney restau­rant af­ter him) and Peter Drucker (the God­fa­ther of mod­ern man­age­ment) said things like “op­por­tu­nity knocks, but it knocks only once, you have to be ready for the accident”. In other words you can’t choose the weather but you can choose what to wear. Do a job you like and work for a com­pany you ad­mire: All large cor­po­ra­tions are ul­ti­mately de­grad­ing so min­imise the pain.

Know what you are good at: All strat­egy comes down to cre­at­ing dif­fer­ences. Know what your strengths are, build on them and make sure peo­ple know about them.

Work harder than any­one else: Don’t buy “the work smart not hard line”. Bosses love staff who work as hard as they do. Just make sure they know.

Be trust­wor­thy: Keep your mouth shut. Don’t gos­sip. Do what you say you will do. There are very, very few peo­ple in any com­pany that a boss can really trust. Be one of them.

Be tough but fair: All of us want lead­ers who will take the hard de­ci­sions but treat peo­ple fairly. Model that in your role. Most man­age­ment the­o­ries are fairy

tales we want to be­lieve: Your com­pany will be ap­ply­ing one or more of them so you have to pre­tend you buy in. But re­mem­ber suc­cess­ful man­agers make smart choices, are in­cred­i­bly per­sis­tent and have lots of luck.

Suck up: Un­til you are in one of the top jobs in your com­pany no one wants to know what you really think. That’s just nor­mal cor­po­rate pro­pa­ganda. Drink the Kool Aid, pre­tend you like it and tell your boss he or she is a ge­nius for mix­ing it.

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