I read an excellent book several years ago by Marcus Buckingham entitled “First Break All The Rules“. In a future post, I’ll likely spend more time talking about it. For now, I want to focus on one of the book’s most startling facts. In the first part of the book, Marcus noted over 70% of workers in the United States were disengaged at work. Late last month, I read a post from a friend of mine (Kirk Weisler) that noted Gallup’s updated statistics have not changed much since the book was published. Reading that post got me wondering if there was anything I could do about this.
Something came immediately to mind. If over 70% of current employees are less than engaged at work, being in the top 30% should be relatively easy. However, the statistics seem to indicate that we will need to provide the engagement ourselves. So how might we do that?
I have been thinking about this for a few days, now, and the possibilities have me “fired-up”, and excited about work—my work. As part of that, I thought it was time to create a manifesto for “The Career Forge”. So, in the interest of developing ourselves to achieve career success, I offer you the following manifesto, and call to action.
Leadership, defined! We should all be striving to be leaders. Now, when I say “leader”, I do not necessarily mean a CEO, administrator, boss, or other title-based head of an organization. Rather, I am using a broader definition of the term. When I say “leader”, I mean a mover, a shaker, a front-runner. My hope is that every reader and follower of this blog will become a highly sought after resource in their chosen endeavors. You and I should be striving to become the person others think of when they need services we provide.
Leaders are learners! There is no state of arrival for a leader. Leadership is never fully attained. In order to be a leader, an individual needs to be constantly seeking out opportunities to learn and grow. Without that search, entropy sets in and the organism (or in this case, leadership) starts to decay. Beginning today, each of us should seek out new opportunities and put ourselves in situations that are just a bit beyond what we are certain we can do. We should constantly look for ways to challenge ourselves!
Leaders are readers! Blogs are good sources of information, newspapers and magazines are also great. However, most of these sources are designed to break topics into bite sized chunks. They provide good overviews but rarely dive deeply into a topic. In essence, they are the appetizers. Books, on the other hand, are the “main course”. A good book not only provides a good overview, but will dive deeply into one or more aspects of a topic. Commit to reading one book a month on either self-improvement, or the field where you are striving for leadership. In a year, that would be twelve books! In most fields, having absorbed the information contained in even a few books would make you an expert. Think of the knowledge you would have after having read twelve! In the future, I will strive to suggest at least two titles a month. I urge you to either read one of my suggestions, or find one of your own. If you find related material, post your suggestions in the comments section!
Leaders are action-oriented! This is the most important point of the manifesto. There are many highly learned people that are not working at the top of their game. The reason? They have focused on formal learning, but have yet to put anything into practice. It is true that taking action often incurs risk. However, almost nothing worthwhile comes without risk, or cost. If you fail, so what? As long as you learn something from the failure, the effort is not wasted. So, take action! Find a way to put your learning into practice, or act upon your reading! Don’t just sit there, do something! I will strive to put at least one suggestion for action in each post. I challenge you to either use my suggestion, or come up with one of your own. In either case, do something, and feel free to comment on your results!
In conclusion, I am challenging all of us to become leaders. To help with this, I will be reformatting future posts. First, each blog entry will have three sections. The first section will introduce the topic of the post. It will provide my thoughts and either what I have discovered about the topic or why I found the topic interesting. The second section will be entitled “Call To Action” and contain brainstorming about how the topic might be put into practice. The third section will be called “Read to Lead”, and will contain links to further reading on the subject focusing on books that I have found helpful.
So, let’s get started!