Developing the system for my growth was the platform that allowed me the opportunity to work in different industries over the years. There is no magic in it, just ingredients.
In my previous post I used a description of 3 strengths:
- Love of learning -- I am profoundly interested in knowledge and people. Sometimes there is a specific go-to-market focus. Malcolm Gladwell called someone who gathers extensive information Maven in The Tipping Point. It means being curious and skeptical. Inquirer editor John Timpane just taught us that skepticism requires the official story to explain itself.
- Talent for getting the right people in the room -- this is what Malcolm Gladwell called the connector. It's not just about knowing many people, it's about remembering what people are passionate about and honoring that.
- Perseverance -- there is balance between being patient and making something happen. My mother always said that when we're in a hurry we should s l o w down. I like to think about this more as endurance and resilience with the added bonus of commitment. Believing in yourself, yet not ignoring the feedback.
Pretty simple stuff. One just has to do it. What fascinates me is how enamored we have become with the ladders or systems already created. In a previous post I tackle the difference. Take for example the whole 'networking' phenomenon. I consider the network an outcome, a result of the many connections and relationships we build over time, one at a time. I prefer to lead people to the water not to make them drink, but to make them think. If in the process we build connections, that's more than welcome.
We tabled the thought of my roots being European from Part I. The reason why I discovered it was so important for me to honor my roots is, it turns out, value and truth-driven. In Italy, the conversation is the context in which we think together, learn, work, and live. If you've ever traveled to the less tourist destinations, you may have noticed groups of people debating animatedly at streets corners; probably, but not only, about politics.
In Italy, it is difficult not to engage in casual conversations even about deep subjects on trains, buses, in line at the supermarket, in stores, when delighting in some communal experience in the main square. Throughout school, most exams are conversations with the teacher and the class, where you are required not only to demonstrate diligence on notion and facts. You are also graded on presentation and engagement level. You are, in fact, thinking with the group and making your case.
Sure, we have heard about corruption and scandals at Parmalat and Telecom Italia. I also wrote about a wonderful leadership journey at Eni. The heart of Italian business is entrepreneurship -- small to mid-sized companies that embody the spirit and gusto for work we have come to admire in entrepreneurs.
Comparatively speaking, many of my experiences in the US have felt very transactional, with an eye to instant gratification and a constant need for something and someone new. Think about it, how we reward new customers vs. keep current ones happy; we are gratifying to new people vs. letting the people in our lives know how important they are to us; have that 'grass is greener' elsewhere approach to work, at times. There is virtue with thinking about 'what's next'. Not at the expense of building foundations thoughtfully.
To put it with Tom Peters, it isn't old if you have not done it.
What's your point?
My point is that there are no formulas, just ingredients. Some things may work for you, if you're willing to do the work. You need to actually do stuff. With dedication, persistence, sense of humor, and love. Especially love.
There are no guarantees in life. Evolution and growth are an option. Your choice.
Do you have a career strategy?
How do you design your growth?
What does execution on that look like?