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Behaviors and Mindsets that Ruin Careers

Bill Lane was Jack Welch’s speechwriter for nearly two decades. In Losing It, he draws on his experiences primarily at GE to highlight the behaviors that are career killers. Naturally, Welch figures into much of this book. Reading the stories you might recognize a few areas where you may need to rethink your approach or behavior.

Most of his insights are the kind of common sense that we easily see overlooked by others but forget to put into practice in our own lives. Here is a selection of ideas to think about:

The best advice I can give anyone in management in business, organizations, politics, the military, or life in general is to fight and strive endlessly to expand your responsibilities and never stop, never coast, never get comfortable, no matter how many people tell you how great you are and how well you are doing.

“Show off” with actions, never words.

“You need to ask yourself every day of your career, ‘Am I up to speed? Am I pushing the envelope, or am I stagnating and falling behind?’” Are you still living off the same achievement you had 20 years ago?

The ultimate sustainable advantage in your career is the ability to learn.

Incuriosity leaves you vulnerable to lies and dissembling.

Good leaders put their heads down and do what has to be done, within the inflexible ropes of absolute integrity.

“Superficiality—[managing at too high a level] – leads you to decisions that I think are ‘glossy’—made at too high a level, without real understanding of the data—and leads to decisions that do not account for key data, such as risk.” Without real diligence, the organization slides into a mindset of slack.

“Uninvolved” emperors or empresses (at any level) usually design elaborate and sometimes clever mechanisms to protect themselves from the vulnerabilities and snickers caused by their feckless or disconnected behavior.

Very few people have ever gotten hurt by keeping their mouths shut.

Of Related Interest:
  5 Leadership Lessons: Inside Welch's Communication Revolution at GE

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:59 AM
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