A Unique View of Careers

From Tom Peters, former McKinsey partner and author of the best seller, In Search of Excellence:

“It’s over. no more vertical. no more ladder. that’s not the way careers work anymore. Linearity is out. A career is now a checkerboard. Or even a maze. It’s full of moves that go sideways, forward, slide on the diagonal, even go backward when that makes sense. (It often does.) A career is a portfolio of projects that teach you new skills, gain you new expertise, develop new capabilities, grow your colleague set, and constantly reinvent you as a brand.”

“For the blue-collar worker, the driving force behind change was factory automation using programmable machine tools. For the office worker, it’s office automation using computer technology: enterprise-resource-planning systems, groupware, intranets, extranets, expert systems, the Web, and e-commerce.”

“…white-collar workers themselves are catching on: They need to rethink the very nature of work. If they’re going to have work in the future, they must be able to demonstrate clearly, precisely, and convincingly how they can add value. The answer — the only answer — is the project.”

“Distinguished project work is the future of work — for the simple reason that more than 90% of white-collar jobs are in jeopardy today. They are in the process of being transformed beyond identification � or completely eliminated.”

“Here’s a dirty little secret from my professional career: The research that became “In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies” (with Robert H. Waterman, Harper & Row, 1982) was a McKinsey project that virtually no one in the firm cared two hoots about.”

“WOW Projects = Changing the rules. Changing the rules = Pissing off members of the Establishment. Period. i.e. it is axiomatic.”

“Reward excellent failures.”

“Punish mediocre successes.”

Is he right? Read & decide.


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