Cat: Have you ever looked back on some kind of disaster and wondered how you didn’t see it coming? I’ve got some warning signs to watch out for – so it doesn’t happen again. I’m Cat Miller, and this is DiceTV.
Jim Collins, who wrote the book Good to Great, lays out a map of corporate decline in his new work, How the Mighty Fall. Even though the book’s about companies, a lot of what Collins observes can be applied to a career.
Here’s what to watch for.
We’ve probably all been here. Line up a few successes, and pretty soon we think we’re invincible.
Confidence is one thing. Overconfidence is another. The wise worker knows the difference between the two. So, remember Han Solo’s line in Star Wars: “Don’t get cocky.”
Cocky leads to deciding you did such a great job straightening out the server rack, you should try overhauling the tech support team’s workflow. While you’re at it, the company Web site sure looks dated, so you’ll learn a little HTML and CSS, and get that fixed up, too.
Some people might be able to pull off such a scattershot approach, but not many. Stick to what you’re good at. If you’re the sys admin, be THE Sys Admin.
Ever seen this? You’ve got a deadline. But you’re sure that even if you nip here and tuck there, you’ll still be able to deliver on time. Or, you’ve lost a developer. But if you can just eek out an extra hour a day from the rest of thee team, you’ll still be fine. This is called denial-of-risk, and you’ve got to watch out for it. Think of the Windows guy who never thought this Linux thing was going to catch on.
Okay, so you’ve woken to up to fact that you’re sliding. You’re looking for a silver bullet. You’re looking for new and groundbreaking ways to use your COBOL skills, or thinking about putting together a startup to build a Pick-based killer app.
Fortunately, Collins shows that, as long as you take some drastic action, even getting to stage four doesn’t mean you’re doomed. As long as you can take a candid look at where you are, you can take the steps to get back to your core strengths.
I’m Cat Miller, this has been DiceTV, and we now return you to your regular desktop.