When you are in survival mode you cannot thrive. The reason is simple: when surviving your mind is occupied with holding on (stagnation+posturing) and not with pushing forward (action) or changing things up (innovating). The switch from surviving to thriving requires a change in mindset. It also requires honesty with your situation.
Survival: For the most part Corporate America is broken. From layoffs, morale issues, bad starting salaries, no bonuses, failing products, and higher costs, to incompetent and overpaid execs that wont retire; it’s hard to picture thriving. You have little control over your fate. You know talent and hard work may not be enough, who you know might matter more. You feel like a fraud when you get home and a rat on a wheel at work. You’re surviving.
Thriving: There are good folks all around. Frauds get found out. Illusions of success crumble. Remain genuine, remain true to yourself, keep a strong work ethic, your word solid, avoid gossip, treat people fairly, continue to self educate and you will thrive. Your reputation will spread. Good people at the top want to surround themselves with better people because they’ve realized posturing and nepotism without competency is a failing model. Talent wins in the end.
Conclusion: If you the worker follow the tips above, if you the manager encourage that behavior, and if you the company protect the talented individual from the shadows of posturers and game players then the product and service will improve, the numbers will get better, and success will be the legacy of all of those involved.
As your career progresses you will learn:
1. that not all battles are worth fighting
2. some fights certainly are
3. a good mentor will tell you which is which
4. you have to give the king his shilling to do what you want (good point made in Colin Powell’s biography) but the toll is usually worth it and allows you to do better, bigger things.
The same principle applies to Corporations. Surviving is not thriving. Companies need to learn that dividends, share-prices, and costs are not the only metrics for which a company can or should be measured by or managed. That people AND products are equally important and in a quality dip in one or the other will have consequences. And lastly, that layoffs are not creative and actually destructive in the longterm and can be avoided by hiring good people, and the right amount of people from the start.
Stay strong, good luck!